Jean Batthany

Jean Batthany

Chief Creative Officer / DE+I Advocate / Consultant / Board Member / Mentor / Speaker / Author / Mom

Today we talk to Jean Batthany, who started her career as a designer in an advertising agency, then made several stops in many significant Senior Executive Creative roles at agencies and at Disney. In her latest role, she served as Chief Creative Officer at Walmart until a few months ago, when she decided it was time to take a pause in her working life and publicly shared her reasons and heart in a beautiful LinkedIn post.

Jean shares insights on creative leadership and the challenges of transitioning from a creative doer in an agency to a C-suite leader in a major corporation, her decision to take a career pause and focus on priorities outside of work, and her motivation behind publicly sharing her reasons for doing so on LinkedIn.


[02:52] – Jean Batthany, ex-Chief Creative Officer at Walmart, discusses why it was important to her to make sure I’m a human being, not just a human doing, and discovering her in the next chapter of life while continuing to use creativity to make an impact for brands.

[03:58] – Jean shares the life-changing events that led her to make the deliberate choice to take a break and the motivation behind using her platform to go public with her decision.

[08:02] – Tagging out: why it’s important for authentic leaders to show their true selves rather than putting on a brave face (and how sharing her truth helped others).

[09:00] – Dino shares his own experience with tagging out so he could be more available to his family.

[09:26] – Jean discusses the rational and emotional factors that make it difficult for people to take a career break and why it’s important to step out of the culture of busyness in order to prioritize self-care for physical, mental, and spiritual health.

[13:23] – How the desire to prove herself, a need for change, and grappling with imposter syndrome influenced Jean’s career.

[16:55] – The importance of fostering a safe environment for collaboration.

[20:58] – Jean shares her perspective on leadership, her passion for ideas, and how the big brands embrace the concept of a servant leader.

[21:45] – The challenges and benefits of moving from an agency to a brand-side creative role and the education process in proving the value of creativity.

[26:56] – Jean acknowledges the amount of work that goes into managing a brand’s vision across multiple platforms.

[27:31] – Jean shares the biggest challenges of transitioning from the agency to the brand side as a Chief Creative Officer (CCO) and the vital importance of allies and relationships, both inside and outside of the company, to get ideas through.

[31:39] – How the death of her father and discovering life’s finite nature upended Jean’s definition of success and led her to prioritize time, health, and purposeful impact over positions and possessions.

[33:48] – Jean shares how she’s hitting her stride (age is just a number) and using positive manifestation and her creativity to achieve her personal and professional goals while making a positive impact on the world.

[37:13] – Dino shares the advice he picked up on the power of belief from an interview between Rick Rubin and Malcolm Gladwell on the Broken Record Podcast from Rick’s new book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being.

[37:52] – Jean shares her own take on the power of positivity [as a leader] and the idea that sending positive thoughts out can lead to positive outcomes.

[39:29] – You can connect with Jean on her LinkedIn.

[40:18] – Jean shares how her belief that food is love, learned from her Italian mother-in-law, led her to organize a cooking class for her Walmart creative leadership team as a way of co-creating and connecting.

[43:31] – Jean shares the ubiquitous corporate jargon phrase that triggers her due to the many meetings and lack of progress associated with it.

[44:45] – How Jean’s food for the soul offers her a spiritual reminder to be grateful for another day and another opportunity to make the world a better place.

Contact dino at:

Jean Batthany links:


Authentic Leadership For Everyday People / Dino Cattaneo

Dino on LinkedIn:

Podcast Instagram – @al4edp 

Podcast Twitter – @al4edp

Podcast Facebook:


Fade To Blue (feat. Nancy Beaudette) | Susan Cattaneo

The Hammer & The Heart | Susan Cattaneo


The Creative Act: A Way of Being