The Likability Dilemma with VMLY&R’s Amber Chenevert, Group Director, Strategy & Insights

The Likability Dilemma with VMLY&R’s Amber Chenevert, Group Director, Strategy & Insights; Culture Studio Lead

Do you worry about being liked by others? Do you hold back from what you really think or want for fear of upsetting others? The desire to be liked, whether it’s right or wrong, has a critical relationship to power. The characteristics we tend to “expect or accept” in women like modesty and humility are not the qualities that get professional recognition. Which is unlike the qualities that society likes to see in men such as self-confidence and assertiveness. These are the qualities that get talent ahead in their careers. However, women who are self-confident and assertive usually experience pushback for breaking the social norm.

The bitter reality is that no matter how hard you try, there will always be people out there who don’t like you. Learning to be okay with that is hard work, but you’ll like yourself so much more for it and have a more fulfilling career.

Meet our guest, Amber Chenevert, Group Director of Strategy & Insights and Culture Studio Lead at VMLY&R, who is familiar with these roadblocks herself. Her parents raised her not to worry about being liked but rather to treat everyone fairly–and that has earned her respect at work. As an expert in marketing and building brands, she allows herself to be challenged. She has always been a deep thinker and described as wise beyond her years. Join us as she shares and teaches us about setting boundaries, living out your purpose, and giving people opportunities to tell their stories.


[01:19] How Amber found what she wanted to do for a living
[06:58] Dealing with insecurities, fears, and limiting beliefs
[11:12] Building a personal brand and storytelling
[14:57] Moving forward with what you truly believe 
[15:36] Being fair vs. being liked
[19:37] The difficulty of self-promotion
[24:24] The importance of think time and journaling 
[27:28] Setting boundaries with other people
[29:54] The importance of community
[36:18] The book that has greatly influenced Amber
[37:50] Amber’s favorite quote
[38:55] One word Amber would use to describe herself
[39:57] One habit that has changed Amber’s life
[42:06] Amber’s power song


"I have prioritized fairness." –Amber Chenevert

“‘Do the work, put your head down and people will notice', is just not true. You have to do the work and you have to be seen.” –Amber Chenevert

“Don’t judge a book by its cover, even if it’s beautiful.” –Amber Chenevert

Lightning Round Questions:

What book has greatly influenced you? 

  • “The Warmth of Other Suns” by Isabel Wilkerson

What is your favorite inspiring quote or saying? 

  • Always believe and invest in yourself.

What is one word or moniker you would use to describe yourself? 

  • Perseverance

What is one change you've implanted that made your life better? 

  • Taking rest seriously. Rest is multi-dimensional and I have to prioritize it and engage in so many different aspects of it in order to be whole and healthy.

What power song would you want playing as you walk out onto a stage? 

  • “All the Stars” by Kendrick Lamar

About Amber Chenevert:

Amber Chenevert, PhD
Group Director, Strategy & Insights; Culture Studio Lead

Amber Chenevert’s mix of academic and agency experience gives her a unique perspective on brand strategy that empowers clients to embrace fresh ways to engage consumers and champion industry inclusion. Her global CPG and health technology experience showed her that customer basic needs around the world are quite similar. While her culture acumen allows her to identify nuance that helps marketing messages stick. Amber holds a B.S. in marketing from Hampton University, and a M.A. in advertising from Syracuse University.  She earned her doctorate in advertising from The University of Texas at Austin, specializing in consumer behavior and marketplace diversity. Amber has taught both undergraduate and graduate marketing and advertising courses at The University of Texas at Austin, St. John’s University and New York University.  

As a brand strategist and the Culture Studio lead at VMLY&R,  her goal is to tell human centered stories based on atypical truths. She wants to give more people the opportunity to both tell and be at the center of those stories. A marketplace diversity perspective serves as a guiding light toward her goal. Marketplace diversity considers age, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, and physical ability. It also considers the history, systems, and structures that gives insight into how today’s consumers navigate their access to products, services and assert their collective power. Using marketplace diversity as a base, Amber helps brands unearth their disconnect in culture and find their connection to new market opportunities.





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