Heather Teskey

Chief Marketing Officer

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Leadership starts with listening, and Heather spends much of her day doing just that. As she cultivates an environment of enrichment in the halls of Hallmark Business Connections, she keeps her team members engaged, encouraging discussion and debate. Yet in the midst of all those voices, there is one that stays first and foremost with Heather: our clients.

It’s in this constant atmosphere of collaboration that the Hallmark Business Connections team kicks into high gear to provide solutions that meet clients’ needs. Heather facilitates that success and makes the Hallmark Business Connections’ vision a reality.

In Heather’s role as CMO, she focuses on vision, strategy, marketing, brand, product and innovation.

What business accomplishment are you most proud of?
Hallmark Business Connections--the creation of this company and its vision.

Hallmark Business Connections was formed in 2010 by bringing four subsidiaries together: Hallmark Insights, Hallmark Tributes, Hallmark Business Expressions and Irresistible Ink. All four businesses met together to discuss and envision what this new company could be. There were 20-30 people in the room each knowing they had to work for the greater good of Hallmark. No territories, no baggage allowed. It was an incredible example of leadership.

What was the best advice you ever got about business?
Actually it was about tennis but applies to business as well. Steve Wilkenson, my long-time mentor and the Division 3 tennis coach for Gustavus Adolphus College told me, “You have no control over the outcome (winning or losing). You only have control over three things–your attitude, your effort and your sportsmanship.”

He’s been called the all-time winningest college tennis coach who never made winning his primary goal. Steve’s positive attitude never left him, even during his battle with a terminal disease.

And now when I ask my children, “What are your three areas of focus?” I hear my 4- and 6-year-old chime back in unison: “Attitude! Effort! Sportsmanship!” That’s what we talk about on the ride home from a game. Not the score, the great plays or the ref’s calls. It’s how we measure performance.

Why are you passionate about your job at Hallmark?
I am passionate about our vision. It inspires me that we can make a difference in a life, helping someone reach a goal, feel recognized for a job well done or enhance a relationship that makes people feel better.

What inspires you?
The human moments…the stories of a life changing. When our United Way rep tells us how a Hallmark Business Connections wellness program helped him and his wife lose over 100 pounds and three clothing sizes. When I see one of my team members have a breakthrough and feel the satisfaction of a job well done. When I see an employee feel recognized for all the hard work. When I read recipients’ stories of how recognition impacted their lives and provided an opportunity they couldn’t have had without it. When I see industry trends that show “If you take care of our employees, they will take care of your customers and they will take care of your bottom line.” It’s all about the people who truly make a difference.

What do you think is the biggest challenge for businesses today?
There are lots of them: the noise, the choices, the lack of vision, a fast-changing marketplace carrying with it a lot of temptations to think short-term. After the explosion of growth in the 90s and the subsequent burst, I learned that those things quick to come are quick to go.

Hallmark Business Connections took time to build a foundation of what we stand for. I find myself wanting to do it all, but must keep the discipline of focusing and staying true to our vision.

How do you balance out your work life?
I have a lot of hobbies all influenced by my family. I’m the sister of a stuntman whose mantra is “You can do it.” I run marathons, triathalons and play tennis. The daughter in me has hobbies inspired by my mother…cooking, gardening, cross-stitch, knitting…all done while watching live sports like college basketball, football or tennis. But nothing beats motherhood and journeying with my children as they grow. Talk about running the gamut.

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