Christina Hamlin: Shaping marketing strategy at Citizens Bank
Title: Senior vice president and head of marketing integration and operations
Home base: Boston
Mentor: Beth Johnson, chief marketing officer and head of virtual channels at Citizens
Tenure at Citizens: 16 years
What she does: Hamlin is charge of making sure that the bank’s marketing campaigns are planned and executed in the most efficient way.
Foot in the door: Christina Hamlin, who began working at Citizens Bank while in college, aspired to move up at the company from the start. So she has welcomed the opportunity to gain experience in different areas of the business, taking jobs in finance, product management and now marketing. She said each switch came about when “someone who I’ve worked with closely has tapped me on the shoulder,” with Beth Johnson being responsible for her latest move.
Big break: Johnson asked Hamlin to oversee the launch of a premium checking account a few years ago — her biggest assignment to date. Johnson recalled how she was impressed with Hamlin not only because she executed well — “You knocked it out of the park,” Johnson told her — but also because she held her own in front of senior leaders. “You delivered, in addition to having a voice, which is what I really like to see,” Johnson said.
What she learned: Hamlin wasn’t sure at first how to even start on the launch, but she ultimately figured it out. She learned to trust her instincts and to stay strong under pressure — even when facing tough questions from above.
Finding her power: Hamlin is learning how to be more confident by simply observing Johnson. “When I see her around her peers, there are no gender stereotypes,” Hamlin said. “She just has her opinions, and she believes they matter.” And, just as important, Hamlin added, “she believes my opinions matter.”
Strategic role: Her position at Citizens allows Hamlin to observe — and influence — a wide range of initiatives across the company. “I really sit in the center of the marketing organization and I get to work with all of the different marketing challenges,” she said. “We have our hands in just about every strategic initiative, and we are able to influence the strategy, even though we’re not driving the strategy.”
C-suite contender?: Hamlin is closer to believing a C-level title is possible now, from the vantage point of her current job. “Maybe someday,” Hamlin said. “If you had asked me five years ago if I aimed for this role, I would have said, ‘I don’t know. I don’t know if I can get there.’ So we’ll see.”
When she’s not at work: She’s spending time with her husband and her 7-year-old son, who has already been on trips to Disney World six times. “We’re a Disney family,” Hamlin said.