Alessandra Lariu will leave her post as SVP, digital group creative director at McCann New York to pursue her female-focused mentoring and networking initiative, SheSays, and from that network, create a platform for brands looking to target women.
Lariu joined McCann in 2008. Previously, she was a digital creative at FramFab before joining Agency Republic in London in 2007 and then, briefly, AKQA.
Lariu plans to exit McCann April 15, after which time she'll devote herself to what has up to now been a serious side project to increase the female ratio among digital creatives and generally to lend career support to women in marketing and communications.
Lariu started SheSays in 2006 recognizing the dearth of females in the growing digital marketing landscape. The organization has chapters in New York and London and over 3000 members in seven countries. To date, SheSays has held a series of events and fosters mentoring between women in creative, technical and business development jobs and those trying to build their careers. With the move, Lariu will work with brands and build a platform that allows them to tap into the SheSays network, while allowing women to work in groups on brand assignments.
"I've learned a lot from SheSays over the years and I came up with a way of transforming it into a business," says Lariu. "I want to take advantage of the way women work together and combine that with the fact that many clients are women."
She is also looking to grow the SheSays organization from a mainly event-focused model to providing educational and training.
The organization will host its first course - for women and men - on digital production, in May. "The main issue with agencies is that they don't know how to make things so we'll focus on practical no nonsense courses for men and women to learn just that," she says.