Chris Marino is Shaping the Next Generation of Marketing Leaders by Paying it Forward

Celebrating 10 Under 10 honoree Chris Marino, MBA ’20

By: Janice Endresen
upper body shot of Chris Marino with a 10 Under 10 graphic identifier overlaid on the photo.

Chris Marino, MBA ’20, head of agency at Google, at Cornell Tech (photo by Jesse Winter)

A visionary leader who believes in using marketing as a force for good and a mentor who strives to empower students, Chris Marino, MBA ’20, a graduate of the Executive MBA Metro NY program at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, is one of the 2024 10 Under 10 Notable Alumni honored by the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.

Chris Marino standing on a stage and speaking into a microphone.
Chris Marino speaking at Google’s US Agency team meeting at their new St John’s Terminal office, June 2024

Marino is a head of agency at Google, where he leads a team that partners with independent media agencies across the U.S to drive large-scale digital transformations. In his role, he’s focused on evangelizing Google’s products and services to enable agency executives to deliver sustainable revenue growth. Marino considers himself “a servant leader who is passionate about shaping the next generation of marketing leaders.”

Prior to Google, Marino led global media and marketing technology at Bloomberg Media. He started his career at American Express, where he would go on to hold leadership roles in social media and performance marketing. He has been recognized by AdWeek as one of 50 transformative media executives, Business Insider as a rising star of brand marketing, and Brand Innovators as a 40 under 40.

Chris Marino standing on a stage and speaking.
Chris Marino delivering a keynote presentation on Bloomberg’s media transformation at the annual Association of National Advertisers Media Conference in Orlando, June 2023 (Photo courtesy of the Association of National Advertisers)

Marino grew up in Queens, NY, and now lives in Manhattan. When not making power moves, he’s “enjoying all NYC has to offer with my wife and our two rescue Newfoundlands.”

Chris Marino smiling and crouching down in the snow with his hands on two large dogs on either side of him and hills and bare trees in the background.
Chris Marino with his two Newfoundlands, Briggs and Tucker, in Woodstock, Vermont

Learn more about Marino in this Q&A.

Marketing as a force for good

What drives your commitment and focus in your professional career?

Marino: Throughout my career, I’ve always been committed to using marketing as a force for good, whether it was democratizing access to unbiased, data-driven journalism at Bloomberg Media or helping small businesses do more business at American Express and Google. I’ve always strived to make a positive impact on people’s lives.

Paying it forward through mentorship

An active mentor for current students both at Syracuse University, his undergraduate alma mater, and at Cornell University, Marino strives to empower students from diverse backgrounds with the skills, confidence, and network to succeed in modern business.

What inspires you to dedicate your time and energy to this community service? What impact do you want to have in the world?

Marino: I’ve always believed in the importance of helping to lift others as we rise. For everyone I dedicate my time to, my only ask is that they do the same when someone is in need. By building that type of community, we can have a much larger impact on others than we can on our own.

What drives your continued engagement with and contribution to the Cornell community?

Marino: I believe in building the next generation of marketing leaders by paying it forward through mentorship. Mentors have had a transformative impact on my career. I’m energized by helping Cornellians find their passion, expand their network, and build a strong foundation to find the right career opportunities.

What does being selected for the 10 Under 10 Notable Alumni list mean to you?

Marino: I’ve long been inspired by the Cornell alumni base, who are having a positive impact across the globe in different industries, disciplines, and communities. It’s an honor to be recognized amongst such an incredible group of professionals. By coming together, we can all continue to learn so much from each other.

A Cornell lesson learned: Nothing is impossible

What are the most valuable things you learned at Cornell that have helped you in your career?

A woman in a wedding dress and man in a tuxedo, holding hands and smiling, and walking between tables set up outside, covered with white tablecloths and filled with guests, with trees and hills in the background.
Chris Marino and his wife, Emily, at their wedding in Napa Valley, May 2024 (photo by Dani Rodriguez)

Marino: Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it, work hard, and surround yourself with smart people. Balancing a full-time job and rigorous executive MBA program was challenging but incredibly rewarding. The Cornell community helped me become a more well-rounded leader. Most importantly, I graduated with a group of lifelong friends who were at my wedding this May.

Did any particular faculty or staff member(s) influence you on your chosen career path?

Marino: Professor Risa Mish [Johnson School professor of practice of management] had a profound impact on my leadership style. Critical Thinking for Business Leaders and Building Leadership Influence were two of the most impactful courses that I took during my time at Cornell. They forever influenced how I try to show up as a leader, inspire others through a common purpose, and solve problems in the workplace. I’ll always be grateful for Risa’s guidance both in and outside of the classroom.

Growth and comfort often don’t coexist

Describe a challenge you encountered as you built your career and how you overcame it.

Marino: Careers are filled with challenging situations, but defined by how you overcome them. After working as a chief of staff at AmEx, my boss at the time encouraged me to take a role overseeing social media strategy. She reminded me that growth and comfort often don’t coexist. I took the role with little digital experience and ended up finding my passion. Through that experience, I learned the power of vulnerability as a leader and the importance of always maintaining a growth mindset. I was clear about what I needed to learn and where I could add value and I surrounded myself with subject matter experts internally and externally. A year later, I had the opportunity to be a headline speaker at Social Media Week, presenting a case study about redefining AmEx’s social media presence.

What is the proudest moment of your career or of your personal life?

Marino: When I reflect on my career to date, I’m most proud of the impact I’ve had on others. Watching colleagues that have reported to me grow as leaders and continue to succeed in their careers is the most fulfilling feeling. In terms of my personal life, I’m most proud of finding my wife, Emily. Without her, life would not be as fulfilling and none of my success would be possible.

What do you do to recharge?

Marino: I’ve always enjoyed experiencing new cultures through travel and food. My favorite way to recharge is either being on a beach or in a restaurant with a glass of wine, a great meal, and good company.

Enjoy the journey

What do you wish you’d known as a current student and what advice would you give to students today?

Marino: Don’t put so much pressure on yourself and enjoy the journey. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to learn from the most distinguished faculty in the world, build relationships with classmates, and come into your own as a leader.

A group of @30 adults, children, and babies standing in a grassy park with trees in the background and holding up Cornell University and SC Johnson College of Business banners.
Cornell Executive MBA Metro NY Class of 2020 meeting up for a reunion at Central Park, June 2021