Personal Information

Bio

Perry Hewitt is an established leader in digital strategy, with extensive experience in both corporate and not-for-profit sectors. She currently leads marketing at ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization advancing global higher education by improving research, teaching, and learning through innovative use of digital technologies.

As Harvard University’s first chief digital officer, Perry conceived and led digital strategy for marketing, communications, and engagement for audiences including the general public, media, and alumni worldwide. Previously, Perry worked in marketing, editorial, and strategy roles at firms including Crimson Hexagon, Razorfish, Harcourt, and Lotus Development Corporation. She has consulted to media companies on digital product development, and began her career in publishing at Houghton Mifflin.

Perry currently serves in a number of leadership roles at the intersection of marketing, technology, and entrepreneurship. She serves on the national board of Junior Achievement, and as an advisor at the Harvard Business School’s Digital Initiative. She advises students, startups, and cultural institutions; she also writes and speaks on topics including managing digital transformation from cultural change to AI, marketing and content strategy, women and leadership, and the social web.

She has lived and worked in Switzerland, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Australia, and now lives in New York City.

The Toughest Problem I Encountered in Transformation

Digital transformation is challenging -- and there are many "red herring" candidates for the toughest. Technology is tough -- choosing the right approaches and platforms, and then implementing these intelligently. Talent is hard to come by -- the necessary skills seems to be in short supply, and new talent brought in needs to complement and enhance existing institutional knowledge. But the real challenge is creating sustained cultural change: assembling and leading the right teams with the right mindset that work to build bridges within and beyond and organization, to implement successful transformative rather than incremental programs, and to disseminate learning and practice across the enterprise. In the end, it's all about culture.