What advice would you give to others who want to be Champions of Change in this industry?
Don’t keep ideas to yourself. If you have an idea about something that hasn’t been done before, share it. People with unique ideas inspire others and contribute to a culture where ideas can come from anywhere. Embrace that and contribute, always.
How did you feel when you saw your name on Campaign’s Female Frontier list?
Validated. In the very moment that I heard about making the list, I was working through feelings of being overwhelmed, feeling like I wasn’t doing enough. When I saw my name on the list, I felt honored and at the same time inspired to do more.
Who’s your biggest inspiration? And why?
Ursula Burns. She was the first Black woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company, at Xerox, until stepping down in 2016. She began her career journey there as an intern in 1980. She worked at Xerox for decades and was often the only one that looked like her in the room. She’s the definition of a pioneer who knew who she was with regards to her self-worth, intellect and potential. And her ability to confidently match her intellect with opportunity is incredible. She also makes me think about every intern I cross paths with. Who will they be and what are we doing to help guide their careers?
What is the greatest opportunity for our industry right now?
Innovation in the agency business model, which would allow us to invest in talent in new and deeper ways that could create a new cultural direction for agencies. We’ve introduced a new Entrepreneur in Residence, founder of Curiosity Labs, who is focused on embedding empathy not only in our day-to-day interactions but also in our approach and partnership with clients.
Qualities you think are critically important for leaders in this industry?
Vulnerability and empathy. No matter how we show up in meetings, we are bringing our full selves into the virtual space, for better or worse. Each person is carrying something that may feel heavy or stressful either personally or professionally. At a time in our country where conversations about race in the workplace, politics and injustice are front and center, leaders have to be equipped and ready to navigate conversations with all levels of staff with compassion and empathy. Leaders aren’t just managing processes, they’re managing emotionally complex human beings, and we have to be prepared to manage their experiences.