“Poise under pressure is important,” Dani Mariano from Razorfish

Dec 7, 2023

Welcome to Pass the Mic and the Live Lessons series. Life happens in the moment—and so do opportunities to pass the mic. We’re having live conversations with powerful female leaders, giving them the opportunity to share their wisdom and mentor the masses.

Meet Dani Mariano, President of Razorfish, where she helps brands build relationships in this new digital age. As a female executive in a male-dominated space, Dani leads her teams with a chip on her shoulder. She understands the importance of not only being inclusive, but also in bringing people along on her journey. She’s leading day-to-day operations at a time when exponential growth in emerging spaces has never been more attainable. And she loves spending time with clients, flexing her marketing muscles.

Dani joined Jocelyn Hudak, Director, Content and Digital Marketing and Sophie Anderson, Associate Director, Podcast Sales Marketing for a Pass the Mic interview at Advertising Week New York. Get ready to learn a lot about effective leadership, and give this interview a listen.

Pass the Mic with Dani Mariano - Full interview

Being calm is contagious. People were looking to me to see how I was reacting, and someone said to me, ‘You were calm, so I knew we were going to be okay.’

Dani MarianoPresident of Razorfish

Dani’s cool head and keen insight make a fantastic leadership combination. Here are some interview highlights to savor. 

Being calm is contagious.

Being calm is contagious, Dani Mariano - Pass the Mic

Highlight: “Poise under pressure is really important. And there was a time with one of my clients where a call comes in, ‘Oh, everything is a disaster.’ And what I learned from that situation is that being calm is contagious, because people were looking to me to see how I was reacting to the fire-drill crisis that was going on. And later, after we got through the deliverable, someone said to me, ‘Yeah, I just looked at you and you were calm, so I knew we were going to be okay.’” - Dani Mariano

Collect buy in.

Collect buy in, Dani Mariano - Pass the Mic

Highlight: “You can collect buy-in. And that's really where you get change management to be successful, when you have enough critical mass. And so you're not going to get everyone to maybe align and agree with the decision. But if you can get to about 60% of people to have bought into the decision, understand the rationale, and know why we're doing something, you can get 100% of the people to get on board.”- Dani Mariano

Bring people along on the journey.

Bring people along on the journey, Dani Mariano - Pass the Mic

Highlight: “Walking into a room with everybody bought in, or at least informed and feeling like they are heard, is fantastic as a leader… I do like that the time has been spent to really invest in developing the idea and bringing people along on the journey, so that I don't have to be a referee in terms of evaluating the idea. It's more I can focus on the idea itself.”- Dani Mariano

Escalate early and often.

Escalate early and often, Dani Mariano - Pass the Mic

Highlight: “I typically am a person who says, ‘Hey, escalate early and often.’ And I can wait for good news. I need the bad news because those are the problems I can solve and how I contribute to helping the whole team get to where we're trying to go. And so, I think leadership is being available, being accessible.”- Dani Mariano

Don’t underestimate yourself.

Don’t underestimate yourself, Dani Mariano - Pass the Mic

Highlight: “Believe in yourself and your ability to learn. And don't underestimate what you're capable of. Because if you have that confidence in yourself, I think you will learn it. It will get easier as time goes on.” - Dani Mariano

Be accountable at the right moments.

Be accountable at the right moments, Dani Mariano - Pass the Mic

Highlight: “I think as women, we apologize for a lot of things that we really shouldn't be apologizing for… But I think one of the unwritten rules that I've learned, and actually I learned this from my first mentor, is that there is a very powerful moment when you take accountability at the right moments for the things that you should take accountability for.”- Dani Mariano

Stop apologizing and focus on accountability when and where it makes sense—that’s the kind of message women need more of. For more women-forward messages, check out our Pass the Mic content page.

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