How did it feel to see your name on Campaign US’ 40 Over 40 list?
I was extremely humbled. This is such an inspiring group of leaders, and it was both a surprise and an honor to be included.
Sum up your career in five words.
Showing up every single day.
What are three essential qualities of a great leader?
Be present. Listen. Make decisions (you can always change them).
What drives you toward success?
Fear of failure! No, but really, we take on truly massive assignments. Our clients entrust us with the success of their businesses (and their careers), our people rely on us for their livelihoods and these great responsibilities drive me to be successful.
What's the most creative piece of work you’ve seen recently?
The most creative piece of work I’ve seen recently wasn’t an ad, it was a pièce de résistance, a symbol of protest and bravery that simply blew me away. On June 2, 2021, valedictorian Paxton Smith, of Lake Highlands High School, switched her approved speech to speak to her classmates about abortion rights and against the Texas Republicans’ hardline policy limiting the rights of women in the state. We need more work like this: brave, challenging, authentic.
What do you love most about advertising?
I love that everyone thinks they understand what advertising is, but then the best work always turns that understanding on its head and shifts our way of thinking.
What needs to change most about the industry?
While on paper the advertising industry isn’t as large as some other industries, it has the potential for outsized influence and positive change. Yet, historically we have not used our power to its full potential. Instead of working individually on the most crucial societal issues we face today — racial equity and justice, climate change — we need to come together across agencies and agency holding companies to create more positive and sustainable change.
What advice would you give to someone just entering the industry?
Nothing is set in stone. As far as industries go, advertising is in its infancy, giving you the power to make your mark and make a difference. Advertising owes everything to humanity’s reliance on stories; technologies and trends will come and go, but storytelling will be here forever. Also: Be suspicious of complex acronyms!
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My kids and, more broadly, their generation. As they enter adulthood they are already pioneering, questioning things, believing in things and following their passions fearlessly. It fills me with wonder.
If we took your team out for a drink, how would they describe you?
I think they would say I am empathetic. And, I think they would also say that I care.