Executive Marketing Positions

  • Vice President Marketing, Brand Strategy - DeVry University
  • Vice President Marketing - Prestone Products
  • Director, Economy Brands - MillerCoors
  • Vice President Marketing, Dairy Snacks - ConAgra Foods
  • Director New Products - Jim Beam Brands Worldwide


Education

  • MBA, Thesis on Strategic Planning for New Products, Loyola University of Chicago
  • BS Business Management, Marketing, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana

Specialties

  • Turning around declining businesses with new growth strategies, innovative plans, and new products
  • Driving P&L growth – topline and profit improvement
  • Expanding business into new markets, new consumers/customers
  • Developing impactful communication plans including digital, social
  • Launching Innovation processes and products that drive incremental business
  • Applying consumer packaged goods principles to other businesses for improved results
  • Leading change leadership, optimizing organizations in transition with collaborative approach

How Sharon Can Grow Your Business

  • Track record of leading profitable revenue growth in B2C and B2B businesses
    • B2B mainly through channel partners
  • Success in reversing negative trends in range of highly competitive industries
  • Strengthen strategic planning process to improve plans, alignment, and implementation
  • Uncover unmet needs from customers, and position your product/service to better meet those needs
  • Drive more effective communication with improved differentiation and positioning
  • Successfully enter new segments, appeal to new customers/consumers
  • Grow results from launch of new and improved products/ services
  • Improve team engagement during times of organization transition, change leadership

Success Stories

  • Turned around retail antifreeze business, growing total revenue and EBITDA. Reversed unit decline into growth, with changes in pricing, promotion, merchandising, and communications. Repositioned brand and secured customer support within 90 days.
  • Developed line of products for B2B Heavy Duty Trucking industry, launching in 6 months. Established business, and won Frost & Sullivan Heavy Duty Innovation of the Year.
  • Drove revenue and share gain through game changing, winning promotions for product in highly competitive beer category, resulting in record customer support during peak periods that drove strong share growth for brand, and incremental sales for retailer. New programs for Miller High Life included highly successful SuperBowl and Veterans’ promotions.
  • Achieved net sales and share growth by reinvigorating brand with repositioning, new packaging, innovation, in-store and consumer communications based on consumer insight update, and implementing game changing in store initiatives that secured year round display support from key retailers.
  • Doubled net sales and profit over 4 years and drove share on product line by broadening target, identifying barrier to trial with consumers and leveraging insights to reposition brand and drive innovation.
  • As Innovation lead, developed and launched range of new entries to diversify portfolio, driving annual revenues of over $80M, all with significantly higher profitability than company average. Established innovation process and developed plans to achieve company goals.
  • Developed program roadmap for College, launching two specializations to fast track offerings to appeal to prospective students. These became two of the most popular specializations in the College.

Sharon McLenahan Biography

Sharon’s Marketing career has been defined by taking established brands and businesses that others might consider ‘mature’ and finding new ways to revitalize and drive growth. In case after case, Sharon has demonstrated skill at leveraging the key assets of each company (its brands/products, people and organization) in collaboration with a cross functional team to improve topline and bottom line results.  As a general management marketer, her impact sets up businesses for short term gain while establishing a foundation for long term growth, impacting revenue and improving profitability. 

Sharon’s skill development was built at highly competitive Blue Chip Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies in food (Nestles, Kraft and ConAgra) and beverage alcohol (Jim Beam Brands and MillerCoors). Learning and applying Marketing discipline and practice to successfully drive strong growth against a wide range of companies and industries, Sharon has demonstrated the ability to bring new, game-changing thought to differentiate and build businesses and brands. She then had success applying those approaches to Automotive (Prestone) and Higher Ed (DeVry) that had not previously seen this type of Marketing approach. The success demonstrated her ability to translate the classic marketing principles to new environments and industries. By applying creativity and resourcefulness, Sharon has been able to drive growth across businesses, despite being outspent by competition.

In addition to building established brands, Sharon has driven growth through innovation and bringing companies into new areas. Sharon has successfully built new product development processes that assure efficient development, prioritization, rigor and alignment to improve success rate. Notable innovations included diversifying the portfolio of Jim Beam Brands to bring them into wine, working closely with R&D to introduce the first new flavors in several categories, bringing Prestone into the Heavy Duty Truck field, and expanding product offerings at DeVry University to capture new prospect interests.

Leveraging insights has been a critical part of improving the understanding of the consumer, customer, and competition. This insight is applied toward developing cross functional understanding and translating the insights to more effective strategies, plans, and communications. 

In addition to driving positive results on her businesses, Sharon has also led many initiatives to strengthen employee and team engagement. As a leader in several companies that were going through challenging transitions (mergers, consolidations, acquisitions, etc.) Sharon took lead in launching and championing mentoring programs, programs to improve women’s retention and recruitment, and EAP (Employee Affiliation Programs). She also led identification of best practices and process optimization to optimize organizational results.

Sharon now brings her broad and deep experience to apply to your business needs. With a highly collaborative approach, Sharon will partner with you to truly understand your vision, assets and challenges, and work to find a clearer path to leverage your business strengths for better results, laying a foundation for short term results and long term growth. 

What are you best at?

I am best at reviving tired brands. I believe there is no such thing as a ‘mature’ brand. There is always a way to creatively develop a fresh way of making a business more relevant and differentiated from other choices. The key is working with the team, most notably R&D and insights, to dive deep to understand the product/service and the customer problem it solves and how it best solves the problem in a unique or different way.

Ask:

  • What problem to I solve?
  • How am I different?
  • Can I explain it in a meaningful way?
  • Who needs this?
  • Demonstrate from/today -> to/vision and how product/service makes a difference

Examples: Reddi wip, Egg Beaters, Prestone

I’ve also driven very positive results developing new products, either totally new or to support existing brand and help build differentiation. I have found that a strong cross functional team is critical to new product success, and working with the leadership team to assure alignment, prioritization and focus makes a big difference. 

Examples: Jim Beam Brands into wine, Egg Beaters, Prestone Heavy Duty 

What types of challenges do you love to solve? 

I most enjoy revitalizing old, declining businesses that have lost momentum. Finding new ways to articulate what makes your product or service relevant and the best choice involves a cross functional team, and persistence and rigor to identify the one best thing to say that catches the interest of your prospect. Finding this nugget becomes the key to developing new plans that unlock new potential for growth, possibly with new customers. 

Also, launching new products, when done right, can enhance the meaning and relevance of your product or service so you can better meet their needs. This offers incremental revenue and opportunity for repeat sales.