Q&A: Carolyn Bivens

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Carolyn Bivens, longtime president-chief operating officer at Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative Media North America, has been named the first female Commssioner-elect at the Ladies Professional Golf Association. She spoke with Ad Age reporter Rich Thomaselli about her plans going forward.

AA: Do you think your experience at Initiative translates well to this job?

Ms. Bivens: Looking back in the rearview mirror, I feel like my previous 25 years experience have prepared me for this job. This comes at the right time in my career. The fact that I work, and have worked, with all media forms with networks and publishers across a variety of platforms will benefit me.

AA: It's early, but have you thought about how you might change or advance the LPGA's marketing efforts?

Ms. Bivens: I'll build on the momentum this organization has. It doesn't need to be fixed. It's not a turnaround. It's hot. It has a wide variety of personalities who are not only great golfers but interesting people as well.

AA: But some players on the Tour simply don't transcend the game, or aren't interested in marketing or, in the case of the foreign players, haven't mastered English yet. Can you get 100% participation from them?

Ms. Bivens: What I hope I have learned from watching (outgoing commissioner) Ty [Votaw] is to make sure everybody understands the direction we're heading. In terms of expecting 100% participation, no, I don't expect that. Look at the movies. People make movies but not every single one of the actors gets out there and does all the promotion.

AA: So what are your biggest challenges?

Ms. Bivens: As we evaluate ourselves, this organization just isn't in the business of golf but it's in the business of sports and entertainment. My background lends itself to that. The biggest challenge is that we adequately promote the seasoned talent we have along with the young people coming into the tour and those in the pipeline.

AA: So how often do you play?

Ms. Bivens: Well, I'll play a lot more now as commissioner.

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