Digital 40 Over 40 2018: Linda Descano, EVP, Havas PR North America

Linda DescanoLinda Descano
Havas PR North America 

In many organizations, it’s the youngsters who school the older workers on all things digital and social. But in Havas PR’s case, Linda Descano performs as the agency’s head online experimenter—carrying clients and twentysomething team members into the future.

Recruited as Havas PR’s EVP in October 2015 to lead digital/social strategies for clients like WEX Inc., MilliporeSigma, Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, Descano provides cutting-edge counsel and tactical implementation, infusing PR, media relations, thought leadership, advertising, social media, content partnerships and influencer marketing into her campaigns. And as a CFA charterholder, she brings a financial savvy to the table that helps deliver more results for less.

Prior to Descano’s pivot into PR, she spent 20-plus years in financial services, designing and delivering industry-leading integrated campaigns underpinned by social media and content marketing. At Citi, where she served as managing director and global head of content marketing and social media from 2012 to 2015, Descano created the strategic roadmap for centralizing its social media and content marketing efforts worldwide. From 2012 to 2014, as the bank’s U.S. head of content marketing and social media, she ignited brand engagement with numerous digital firsts, including the first content marketing program, first influencer marketing program, first YouTuber collaboration and first financial services advertiser on Instagram, garnering 15-plus industry awards. From 2003 to 2014, as president and CEO of Women & Co., Citi’s award-winning financial lifestyle community for women, she delivered double-digit increases in reach and brand metrics while improving operating efficiency by 50 percent.

More recently, during her tenure as president of New York Women in Communications, Descano led the rebranding of the 87-year-old organization, introducing a fresh and modern new look and language across all channels.

Regularly featured in Business Insider, HuffPost and Social Media Today, Descano has been as ruthlessly effective within the advertising industry as she has been inside her workplaces. Whether for Fortune 500 companies (largely in a male-dominated industry) or the boards on which she has served, she has stayed attuned to possibilities and is constantly reinventing herself.

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