People who lead organizations by soliciting and prioritizing the input of peers have always inspired Cynthia Rogers.
"I've been lucky to work for people who know how to hold a vision and enlist the people around them [to carry out] that vision without implementing a command-and-control model," she explained.
As Darwin Digital's new president, said Ms. Rogers, "being that kind of leader is very much a part of this role."
Ms. Rogers will oversee all aspects of the interactive agency's business, including client services, media buying, technology development, production and staffing in Darwin Digital's New York and San Francisco locations.
"Her hiring is meant to help take Darwin Digital to the next level," said CEO Coby O'Brien. "We want to be a more significant player in the field."
PULLING FROM EXPERIENCE
The large building under construction outside Ms. Rogers' new Manhattan office window symbolizes the "construction" underway at Saatchi & Saatchi's interactive arm. In an attempt to position Darwin as an even more sophisticated, effective partner for clients seeking online marketing solutions, Ms. Rogers, 45, said she will pull from experience on both the client and agency sides of traditional and interactive advertising.
Darwin's clients include Procter & Gamble Co., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Johnson & Johnson. It's also recently started working with E-Trade, Macromedia and Smarterkids.com, bringing its annual billings to more than $50 million since its August 1997 launch.
"I will be drawing on my end-to-end business experience," she said. "That perspective is important both to our organization and in order to be a next-level partner with our clients."
Ms. Rogers joined Darwin this month, having previously worked as an interactive strategy consultant for two years. She also was managing director for Avon Products' online and offline marketing start-up, Avon LifeDesigns, and held the same title for Worldcom Group, a global alliance of independently owned public relations agencies.
Ms. Rogers said her goals for the interactive shop include hiring additional staff, implementing internal initiatives to ensure stable growth, creating interactive opportunities for clients and capitalizing on the connection with Saatchi & Saatchi. That could include incorporating the Saatchi & Saatchi name.
"One of my objectives is to work with Saatchi's existing clients to help them make the most of the digital world," she said. "[And Saatchi's] global presence gives us a huge advantage in helping our clients."
Like other interactive agencies, Darwin's biggest challenge will be attracting additional creative and technological talent, Ms. Rogers said.
"There is a huge demand for really brilliant, really excellent people to fuel the growth in this space," she said. "That's our only limiting factor." She said she hopes the agency's vision will lure top talent.
Still, Ms. Rogers has every intention of putting Darwin at the forefront of the digital marketing world. "We want to play a lead role in developing the model [of this industry] as it evolves," she said.
Copyright March 1999, Crain Communications Inc.