Veteran brand steward Musa Tariq is joining GoFundMe today as chief marketing officer. He takes on the role as the company seeks to build on the growth it experienced during the upheavals of 2020 and solidify its identity as a direct line of financial assistance to all manner of causes.
It’s not what Tariq calls a “traditional” career move, but not many of his recent decisions have fit a traditional mold. When he left his position of chief brand officer at Ford in 2018 after just over a year, he took six months to travel, intern, mentor and try new things before landing as head of marketing for Airbnb Experiences.
Last summer, he left that position too—one that had become largely impossible to execute during the Covid-19 pandemic as Airbnb experiences rely on in-person gatherings.
But he brings much more than that to GoFundMe. He’s a buzzy marketer who has experience working with some of the world’s top brands, including Nike, Burberry and Apple, and has recently served as an advisor for brands like Masterclass, Time Magazine and home gym startup Tonal. In 2017, while he was at Ford, he was named to Forbes’ list of most influential CMOs.
Adweek caught up with Musa Tariq over the weekend to discuss what fueled this latest career decision, what he expects to accomplish with GoFundMe and how he’s thinking about the future during continued uncertainty.
The following has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Adweek: At Brandweek in 2019, you spoke about how you identified your “North Star”—the ultimate goal that guides how you make career decisions. What about the CMO role at GoFundMe fits within your broader career goals?
Musa Tariq: I’ve always believed that during times of uncertainty it’s important to revert back to your values. Like many people in the madness that was 2020, I really started to think about what was important to me and I knew that whatever I was going to do next, I wanted to help others. My north star of rethinking education remains the same, but I consider this an important detour that aligns deeply with my values. The work GoFundMe has been doing in the world is both remarkable and incredibly important—the impact they’re making on people’s lives during this unprecedented time is crucial. To join them in my opinion wasn’t really a traditional career decision, but more a duty I couldn’t turn down.
When you left Ford, you said that it was because you didn’t feel like the culture there was a good fit. Why did you decide to move on from Airbnb? What have you been up to since you left?
I joined Airbnb to help grow a new business (“Airbnb Experiences”) that I was very passionate about—I absolutely loved the product. During my time there the business was growing rapidly, we were building a world class team and we’d done work I was incredibly proud of. Like many companies, we had to quickly pivot when Covid hit. I realized what I’d come in to do was no longer feasible in the changing travel landscape so it was time to find a new opportunity.
Since leaving in July, I’ve been fortunate to spend lots of time with my 2-year-old, Zane, I’ve been advising some really interesting and exciting companies (Time Magazine, Tonal, Aero, and Holt Renfrew in Canada) and mentoring as much as possible—which is where I find the most joy. I’ve also been eating a lot of ice cream.