Tony Weisman, CMO, Dunkin'

"We’ve brought human qualities and frailty and vulnerability and weakness into the workplace and it has made us better.”

July 2019

Tony Weisman is known for creating connections across his team and leading them to produce exceptional work that also results in lasting relationships.

Chief People Advocate

Weisman understands that to be the best, one has to have the best—a mentality that has carried him throughout his career. To Weisman, the core of this is hiring the best people.

“Leo Burnett has a saying that the inventory goes up and down the elevator every night,” he shares. During Weisman’s 19-year tenure at Leo Burnett, he made it a point to attract and retain the best talent. How do you make yourself known to an office of over 1,000 people? “I met every new hire on day one. I manage by walking around and am always very accessible.”

Weisman’s commitment to putting people first earned him the additional moniker Chief People Advocate at Leo Burnett.

Leading with Empathy

One of Weisman’s core leadership values is empathy. He believes empathy makes people better brand storytellers and colleagues. “We used to make quite a distinction between work and home. You led two different lives and you were two different people. Today, you work from home, a coffee shop or, really, anywhere. Now you’re one person. The person you are when you’re with your friends, your significant other, and your family is much more human. We’ve brought human qualities and frailty and vulnerability and weakness into the workplace, and it has made us better.”

Above all, Weisman is a believer in people. He encourages his coworkers to be present and listen. He acknowledges the value of having diverse thought in the room and champions the diversity of the company. Weisman takes pride in Dunkin’s zero-tolerance policy for discrimination or injustice of any sort.

Redefining Entrepreneurship

Although Dunkin’ is a large, established corporate brand, Weisman integrates an entrepreneurial spirit in his day-to-day. He views an entrepreneur as someone who doesn’t want to be “shackled by the past” and “wants to create the new.” This is a mindset he brings to work every day at Dunkin’.

This concept also translates to Dunkin’ as a company. When reflecting on the recent rebrand, Weisman explains, “It was less about losing donuts and more about what Dunkin’ could be as a brand.” In his eyes, the difference between brands that survive and those that don’t is a desire to constantly reinvent yourself and “create the new.”


Interview By Rachel Berin & Kelsey Taylor

Fast Facts

Canton, MA
Current role:
CMO, Dunkin’ Brands
Time in current role:
1 year, 8 months
Number of employees:
Previous experience:
CEO, DigitasLBi North America
President, Digitas Boston/Chicago/Detroit/San Francisco
CMO, DraftFCB Chicago
SVP/Account Director, Leo Burnett
Most admired leader:
Barack Obama
Order at Dunkin’:
Power grain breakfast sandwich, coffee with cream & sugar

Browse Conversations

Victoria Podesta
Victoria Podesta, Former Chief Communication Officer of Archer Daniels Midland Company
Alexander Pissios
Alexander Pissios, President of Cinespace Chicago Film Studios
Andrea Zopp
Andrea Zopp, CEO of World Business Chicago
Anne C. Toulouse
Anne C. Toulouse, VP of Advertising & Global Brand Management of The Boeing Company
Anne Pramaggiore
Anne Pramaggiore, Senior Executive Vice President & CEO (Former CEO & President of ComEd) of Exelon Utilities
Aylwin Lewis
Aylwin Lewis, Chairman, CEO & President of Potbelly Sandwich Works, LLC
Bill Bartlett
Bill Bartlett, Vice President of Organizational Development of Novant Health
Bill Kurtis
Bill Kurtis, Founder & Owner of Bill Kurtis Productions & Tallgrass Beef Company
Bridget Coffing
Bridget Coffing, Former Chief Communications Officer of McDonald’s Corporation
Carrie J. Hightman
Carrie J. Hightman, EVP & Chief Legal Officer of NiSource, Inc.
Chris Dornfeld
Chris Dornfeld, President & Co-Founder of Bonfyre
Courteney Monroe
Courteney Monroe, Chief Executive Officer of National Geographic Global Networks
Cristina Gonzalez
Cristina Gonzalez, Director for Client Experience & Change of IBM
David Prosperi
David Prosperi, First Vice President of The Options Clearing Corporation
David Snyder
David Snyder, Publisher of Crain’s Chicago Business
Deborah Rutter
Deborah Rutter, President of John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Drew Lydecker
Drew Lydecker, Co-Founder and President of AVANT Communications
Ed Wehmer
Ed Wehmer, President & CEO of Wintrust Financial Corporation
Edwin Eisendrath
Edwin Eisendrath, Former CEO of Chicago Sun-Times
Gabriela Franco Parcella
Gabriela Franco Parcella, Executive Managing Director of Merlone Geier Partners
Gary Kelly
Gary Kelly, Chief Executive Officer of Southwest Airlines
Gary Sheffer
Gary Sheffer, Former VP of Communications & Public Affairs of General Electric
Greg Cameron
Greg Cameron, President & CEO of Joffrey Ballet
Harry Kraemer
Harry Kraemer, Executive Partner of Madison Dearborn
Howard Tullman
Howard Tullman, Former CEO of 1871 of & General Managing Partner of G2T3V, LLC
Iris Ware
Iris Ware, Chief Learning Officer of City of Detroit
Jack Reed
Jack Reed, U.S. Senator of Rhode Island
James L. Madara
James L. Madara, CEO of American Medical Association
Jeff Winton
Jeff Winton, SVP, Chief Communications Officer of Astellas Pharma US
Jennifer M. Smoter
Jennifer M. Smoter, Former VP of Public Affairs & Brand of AbbVie
Jennifer Mauer
Jennifer Mauer, VP, Enterprise Transformation & Change Strategic Communications of Bristol-Myers Squibb
Jeremy Martin
Jeremy Martin, Director of Public Affairs and Outreach - National Capital Region of Bell Helicopter
Jim Murray and Peter Rahal
Jim Murray and Peter Rahal, President & Founder of RXBAR
Jodi Fyfe
Jodi Fyfe, Chief Executive Officer of Paramount Events
John Canning
John Canning, Founder & Chairman of Madison Dearborn Partners
John Heffner
John Heffner, CEO of Drybar
John R. Ettelson
John R. Ettelson, President & CEO of William Blair & Company
Jon Harris
Jon Harris, Chief Communications Officer of ConAgra Foods
Jonathan Weiss
Jonathan Weiss, CEO of HealthEngine
Julie Howard
Julie Howard, Chairman & CEO of Navigant
Karen Durham-Aguilera
Karen Durham-Aguilera, Executive Director of Arlington National Cemetery
Karen Tripp
Karen Tripp, VP of Communications and Public Affairs of ENVIVA
Kate Bensen
Kate Bensen, CEO of The Chicago Network
Kathy Beiser
Kathy Beiser, Chief Communications Officer of Kaiser Permanente
Keith Alper
Keith Alper, CEO of CPG Agency
Kelly McGrail
Kelly McGrail, VP, Strategic Business Communications of Mars, Incorporated
Kent Nielsen
Kent Nielsen, Co-Founder of Fort Knox Studios
Kim Feil
Kim Feil, CMO & CSO of Aspire Healthy Energy Drinks
Kym White
Kym White, Global Practice Chair, Health of Edelman Consulting
Lauren Dunne
Lauren Dunne, Co-founder and CEO of Varnish Lane
Lisa Osborne Ross
Lisa Osborne Ross, President of Edelman - Washington, D.C.
Luke Saunders
Luke Saunders, Founder & CEO of Farmer's Fridge
Marc Schulman
Marc Schulman, President of Eli's Cheesecake Company
Mary Jo Herseth
Mary Jo Herseth, SVP, Head of Banking, U.S of BMO Private Bank
Matt Shattock
Matt Shattock, Chairman and CEO of Beam Suntory
Maureen Cragin
Maureen Cragin, VP, Communications of Boeing Defense, Space & Security
Merrillyn J. Kosier
Merrillyn J. Kosier, EVP & Chief Marketing Officer of Ariel Investments
Necole Merritt
Necole Merritt, Chief Communications & Marketing Strategist of Entergy Services, Inc.
Nido Qubein
Nido Qubein, President of High Point University
Pam Rose
Pam Rose, Co-Owner of Swirlz Cupcakes
Paula Davis
Paula Davis, VP of Corporate Affairs and Communications of HARMAN
Pedro A. Guerrero
Pedro A. Guerrero, Chief Executive Officer of Guerrero Howe Custom Media
Peter Marino
Peter Marino, Chief Public Affairs & Communications Officer of MillerCoors
Raaja Nemani
Raaja Nemani, CEO & Co-Founder of Bucketfeet
Rick Wetzel
Rick Wetzel, Co-Founder and Chairman of Blaze Pizza
Rob Clark
Rob Clark, VP of Global Communications of Medtronic
Shari Runner
Shari Runner, President & CEO of The Chicago Urban League
Sid Bala
Sid Bala, CEO of alligatortek
Sonny Garg
Sonny Garg, Former Chief Innovation Officer of Exelon
Terry Brady
Terry Brady, President of Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
Tiffany LaBanca
Tiffany LaBanca, SVP of Global Internal Communications of 21st Century Fox
Tom Yorton
Tom Yorton, former Chief Executive Officer of Second City Works
Tonise Paul
Tonise Paul, President & CEO of Energy BBDO