Lisa Fernow

Principal, Fernow Consulting




My marketing career began rather unconventionally at Consumers United Group, one of the oldest and largest corporate democracies in the U.S., where all decisions were made by consensus. There, I marketed group health, life, and other insurance products using early database marketing techniques that many would recognize even today.

At PepsiCo, serving in a variety of marketing roles, I had the pleasure to lead the successful development and launch of a host of new products in the U.S. and globally, many of which exceeded $100 million in revenues their first year. I helped created Pepsi Cola International’s first total refreshment beverage strategy, and developed positionings, marketing initiatives and business development programs for such iconic brands as Doritos, Fritos, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Max, and 7UP. Along the way I’ve bowled with Michael Jordan, been sweat upon by Cindy Crawford, dined with the Chinese government, and gotten stranded in Dubai.

At Time Warner, as the first SVP of Global Strategy for the Cartoon Network Brand Group, I started up this new team and partnered with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Studio Stores, Home Video, Music, Publishing & Interactive, D.C. Comics and 6 Flags Theme Parks to develop Cartoon Network and its 2000+ character properties into an integrated portfolio of brands and launch them in over 145 countries. I also led development of Cartoon Network’s first internet and e-commerce strategy. The brand group became profitable four years ahead of schedule.

In 2000 I founded Fernow Consulting to help organizations innovate more successfully. In 2007 my Nordstrom client asked me to come in-house full time to help them launch their first Consumer Insights group. For two years I collaborated with Nordstrom Division heads, their support functions, and highly specialized peer contributors to deliver insights that led to customer experiences and significantly improved business results.

I received an MBA from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University and a BA in English and Theater from Cornell University.

I’m also a mystery writer, which informs my consulting practice. In 2010, my experimental micro-short story, Death of a Tango Dancer, was featured by King County Library System in their ground-breaking Take Time to Read program. Dead on Her Feet, a full length tango mystery, was published by Booktrope in 2013 and selected by Amazon to be part of their Encore program. Writing mentors include poet Archie Ammons, environmental mystery author Skye Moody, and airline thriller author Lynne Heitman.

Volunteer History

  • Advisory Council, Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University
  • Co-founder, Pacific NW Chapter of the Cornell Entrepreneur Network
  • Lecturer and Mentor, WeWork Labs
  • Lecturer, Founder Institute
  • Innovation Blogger for the American Marketing Association
  • Business Plan Competition Judge, EMBA and Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship programs, University of Washington Foster School of Business
  • Executive Education Advisory Board, University of Washington Foster School of Business
  • Advisor, Medina Foundation’s Express Credit Union
  • Advisor, Food Shift
  • Advisor, Oxfam’s Behind the Brands
  • Board of Directors, Around N Over
  • Board of Directors, Moving Target Theatre Company
  • Advisory Board, Seattle Children’s Theatre
  • Guest Speaker on Innovation and Global Branding

My Approach


My Approach


What makes me (a little) different.

Clients value my ability to ask provocative questions and deliver insights to help them uncover a wider range of possibilities for growth; apply the right strategic frameworks to hard-to-wrangle problems to help them make key trade-offs; and create a climate for everyone to learn and contribute their best work.

The perspective I get from working with clients in a wide range of industries, geographies, and stages of development allows me to cross-pollinate ideas and best practices from each type of organization.  I’m also often able to connect my clients to trends, partners and other resources they might not otherwise discover.

Because I’m also a mystery author and former theater practitioner, I bring an appreciation for the creative process, which informs my innovation practice.

Like you, I’ve been on the front lines, so I tend to approach consulting engagements pragmatically.

While I’ve developed and launched a host of $100MM new products in the U.S. and globally, and accelerated growth for such iconic brands as Diet Pepsi, Fritos and Scooby Doo, I’ve also helped startups bootstrap their way to success, and empowered nonprofits to find breakthrough ways to reach and serve their constituencies.

Sometimes you can’t afford a misstep and will require a robust solution. Other times it’s better to fail fast in market and regroup than to wait for more data. I will work with you to scale the project to give you the right level of support.

When and how we can engage.

You can leverage my expertise to best advantage at the beginning of the innovation process, but I can help at any stage; I’ve been through the cycle many times, and lived with the results.

Sometimes I am asked to come in as a temporary CMO on demand.  Other times it makes sense for me to engage on a project basis.  I am happy to work with your established agencies and other partners; where you don’t have the required skill set internally, I’ll call on my trusted network of subject matter experts to assemble the right team for your needs.

Interested to explore how we might work together?  Email me:!


What to Expect

Every client is unique, and deserves personalized service. You can expect that I’ll:

  • Invest time to understand your needs
  • Tailor the approach to your problem, bringing in the right strategic frameworks for your situation
  • Bring in the right talent, working with your people and preferred partners, and drawing from my extensive network as appropriate
  • Deliver actionable insights and fresh solutions that will improve your chances of success

What My Clients Say

When I took over as President of Sylvan Learning Centers NY DMO advertising co-op, our members believed our existing media plan wasn’t working hard enough, but we lacked the data to inform a change in strategy that we could all agree on. Lisa recommended and supervised a great outside resource that performed a detailed survey of our existing and former customers, and their media usage patterns. The resulting insights into our best customers allowed us to optimize our media mix so that inquiries increased 15%.
Kendra MacLeod

Former President, NYDMA Advertising Co-op, Sylvan Learning Centers

Over the years that I have worked with Lisa, she has provided outstanding insights and guidance. Whether it was setting the direction for my startup venture, growing the business and building a community following, or developing my exit strategy to sell to a company that could take the brand national, Lisa always helped me focus on a key framework for business analysis and identified points of leverage for success. She’s quick, direct, perceptive, seasoned and resourceful.

Trish May

Founder, Athena Partners

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