Passionately Curious

05 Jul
Passionately Curious

Bruce Symbalisty, CM, Chief Solutions Strategist at Reality Engine, discusses how he knew he had more to learn, why marketing’s greatest challenge makes it unique, and why he suggests marketers stay passionately curious. 

Toolbox for Advancement

What makes the Chartered Marketer designation unique is the personal growth, satisfaction, and contribution to our industry and the ability to leave an indelible mark on your community. It elevates the marketing profession holistically and makes you part of a community often misunderstood from a business level. CMs gain a competitive advantage, recognition, and credibility within the marketing community. It’s like a toolbox for advancement that stresses continuous learning and development to stay ahead and focused on the future.

Passionately Curious

Connecting the Dots and Dashes

Communicating and change-making inspired me. I appreciate the value of interpersonal connections and the process of making those connections. I love ideating and thinking big, leaving no stone unturned, and expressing creativity for those struggling to visualize that designed future. For some, connecting the dots is about learning, buying a product, getting a new sponsor, or building trust and relationships. I like connecting the dots to show value because it’s challenging and exciting.

Something Else to Learn

One thing I wish I had learned was how to network better. My mentor, who became a perfect friend, said, “It doesn’t matter if you’re the best person in this company; somebody out there is better than you.” What I learned from that was that there’s always something else to learn. I wish I had paid more attention when I was younger because it took me a few years to get that.

Unique Challenges

What’s unique about marketing is also the profession’s greatest challenge. Mature leaders experienced in navigating complexity know that a high-performing marketing team strongly meshing and supporting their  sales efforts will lead to explosive outcomes. Some leaders relegate marketing to a series of tasks which holds their organizations back – rather than problem-solving and driving value to deliver on strategies or future-focused growth. This bias often misinforms many leaders during recessionary downturns because the marketing department is usually the first to get cuts in budget and staff. Listen up – research has shown that companies that actively invest in marketing during recessions tend to pick up market share and talent acquisition and outperform everyone else. We’re listening, ideating, and constructing real-time strategies to enable your company to execute and perform.

Look Outside

Staying current centers around continuous learning, whether that’s through workshops, attending seminars, webinars, or simply reading. Earlier in my career, the company president, Josef, my mentor, said, “Stop learning about design and branding and stuff like that. You’re good at that; you know what you’re doing. Learn about architecture, medicine, and other things you don’t know. That will help fill in the gaps in your area of passion.” I often look outside the marketing space for trends, what’s happening, and patterns and how we can apply those perspectives to what we do today to stay relevant.

Passionately Curious

They Need Trust

The changes I have seen revolve around the social construct, political frameworks, and business, which have all sped up the profession. Tool sets like analytical dashboards, digital tools, and the technology stack have advanced dramatically. The area has become quite dense in measurement and analysis, and campaigns or marketing communications are going out faster than ever. Technology and the speed of delivery have increased, and the consumer has much more control than they had in the past. Since the consumer is in the driver’s seat, human nature desires to trust in a product or service, which a great marketer must design, build, and implement. Trust is more important today than ever before.


Some of the biggest challenges I have faced involved dealing with a change in management. I’ve overcome this by recording progress and creating proof points in my team’s work. Having mentors, learning from  their life experiences, and overcoming or navigating challenges they have solved are vital to our career path. You must create a case for the work, build relationships, communicate, and use all the tools a talented marketer has at their disposal.

Game Changer

While artificial intelligence is a tool and a game changer (I think of it as a tool to extend my reality and experience), the trend I’m most excited about is how AI will meet my personal needs. AI will support and surpass us in many ways, but how will it improve my life and community? How will it help us solve problems like climate disasters, housing, and water shortages, and feeding people experiencing homelessness? How will it help us give opportunities to people who cannot afford a higher education? How will AI help us create a better society?

Passionately Curious

My advice is to continue to learn. Keep asking questions and stay passionately curious in life and business. Be passionately curious if you’re devoted to something because that attachment will drive you. Find a mentor because sometimes we need a sounding board to help guide us and provide a balanced perspective. It’s like free therapy; you can learn a lot from it.

Bruce Symbalisty, CM
Chief Solutions Strategist at Reality Engine




12 Jul
Embracing the Chartered Marketer Journey
  • 10:00 am
  • Earl DeMatas