Steele is Carat’s USA CEO and one of Campaign US’s Female Frontier 2020 honorees for ‘making media matter’. Here, we find out the professional rule she lives by and why breaking convention is the way forward.
Can you sum up your journey in less than five words?
Luck favors the ambitious.
What three qualities do you need to be successful?
Humble confidence, fearlessness and respect for others.
What’s your one professional rule? Have you ever broken it?
Yes. Canceled a vacation for work. It never works out. Don’t do it.
How did you feel when you saw your name on Campaign’s Female Frontier’s winner’s list?
Humbled – the other women on the list are phenomenal and I look up to them.
How does the culture at your organization help you to thrive?
We foster people and talent. We are not a top down organization; we build from the bottom up and that’s because our senior leaders listen to their teams.
If we took your boss out for a drink, how would she/he describe you?
Depends which boss…
If we took your team out for a drink, how would they describe you?
I think they would say I focus on, and foster, their strengths - but more than anything I hope they’d mention how much I care about our people and our clients.
Who's your biggest inspiration and why?
My daughters. I want them to know their opportunities are endless.
What advice would you give to someone entering the industry? Any tips for success you'd like to share?
Plan to break conventions. Don’t try to do things the way they’ve been done before.
Can you give one example of something you have worked on that means more to you than just work?
Everything is more than just work. For me, it’s not worth doing if you don’t feel that way. Whether it's helping clients solve big business challenges, inspiring our talent to push beyond boundaries, or evolving our industry to be more meaningful to people. The thing I’m personally most proud of is our CSR initiatives, where our employees collectively chose to work with St. Jude’s to support the advancement of research and treatment for pediatric catastrophic diseases.
What is the most powerful media moment you can remember?
Hands down - the launch of the iPhone in 2007. It was a pivotal moment that transformed our industry and set up a transformational shift in the media ecosystem, by enabling new platforms, catapulting social media, and opening new, more personal connections between brands and people.