ILA Podcast

Long Life Learning

Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders

with R. Ethan Braden


Life long learning, fueled by a combo of curiosity and humility, is the key to a successful career. R. Ethan Braden, AMA’s 2020 Marketer of the Year, discusses how he encourages learning in his leadership team as well as his own personal life hacks for staying well informed and exploring new things.

Quotes From This Episode

“When we read together, and we consume together, it creates common knowledge. And it creates a common language… there’s a common language that pervades the community of employees as a result of referring to the same texts.”

“The transition that we’ve made in our industry over time went from marketing, to brand, to now storytelling. And I don’t care what you’re in, great stories beat great spreadsheets.”

About R. Ethan Braden

R. Ethan Braden serves as Executive Vice President and the chief marketing and communications officer at Purdue University and Purdue Global. Ranked as one of the Top Ten Most Innovative Schools in America by US News and World Report for four consecutive years, Ethan leads the system in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap by passionately positioning, promoting, and protecting the Purdue brand and portfolio worldwide.

In October 2021, Fast Company Magazine selected Purdue University as one of its inaugural “Brands That Matter,” a list honoring companies and organizations that authentically communicate their mission and ideals and give people compelling reasons to care about them according to Fast Company editors. The only university and the only Indiana entity named a Brand That Matters, Purdue was selected alongside Nike, 3M, McDonald’s, Ford, Yeti, and other large multinational conglomerates, small companies, and nonprofits.

In 2020, the American Marketing Association recognized Ethan as ‘Marketer of the Year,’ and Purdue University’s central marketing and communications team as ‘Team of the Year,’ both for higher education.

He has appeared in Fast Company magazine, the Washington Post, AdAge, The Hechinger Report, and The Morning Brew. Ethan has spoken at Google Marketing Live and Salesforce’s Dreamforce, as well as appeared on numerous podcasts related to brand management, marketing, and higher education. Ethan teaches personal branding to student-athletes in Purdue University’s Optimizing Personal Brand and Image class, an innovative partnership between Purdue’s School of Management and Purdue Athletics prompted by NIL.

Previous to Purdue, Ethan worked for Eli Lilly & Company for over a decade, where he served in a variety of senior marketing and sales leadership roles in the U.S. and globally, building, launching, and managing some of Lilly’s and the pharmaceutical industry’s most successful and life-changing, billion-dollar brands.

Ethan earned his MBA from the University of Notre Dame and his bachelor’s degree from Willamette University (Salem, Oregon). Ethan lives in West Lafayette, Indiana, with his wife, Betsy, their son, Benjamin, and their daughter, Margaret.

Host Scott J. Allen

Scott Allen

Scott J. Allen, Ph.D., is the Standard Products—Dr. James S. Reid Chair in Management at John Carroll University. He is an associate professor and teaches courses in leadership, management skills, and executive communication. He is also a communications coach, consultant, author, podcast host, and entrepreneur. For almost two decades, he’s worked with clients to improve their leadership and communication skills. Learn more about Scott here.

About Phronesis

Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders offers a smart, fast-paced discussion on all things leadership. Scott and his expert guests cover timely, relevant topics and incorporate practical tips designed to help you make a difference in how you lead and live.