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Like most people, Linda Srere made New Year's resolutions: work shorter hours, go to the gym more often, eat less junk food, etc.

By now, she's probably thrown them all out the window of her ninth-floor corner office at Young & Rubicam's headquarters. Running Y&R Advertising's flagship New York office makes keeping healthy habits quite difficult.

At a recent luncheon in her honor, Ed Vick, Y&R's chief operating officer, recalled seeing Ms. Srere running around her office scooping handfuls of breakfast cereal to energize a brainstorming session for that particular client.

It's that kind of hands-on management and supportive atmosphere that has gained the 41-year-old Ms. Srere many admirers in the business. They praise her ability to keep a personal touch in an agency with 1,250 employees.


Most of all, they notice her agency has racked up some impressive new-business coups this year, including the Census 2000 project from the U.S. Census Bureau and Citicorp's agency consolidation, a plum worth more than $850 million in billings.

"People perform better when they are supported ... you have to encourage people to take risks," says Ms. Srere, president-CEO at Y&R, New York.

It was a risk in a way when Ms. Srere left her position as chairman of Earle Palmer Brown, New York, to join Y&R. When she joined as director of business development in September 1994, the agency was in the throes of a shakeup under new CEO Peter Georgescu.

Mr. Vick offered her a chance to be Y&R's head of global new business. There was only one catch: at the time, Y&R had no global new-business team.


So she created one. She brought in almost $2 billion in new business in 1996 and was promoted by midyear to group managing director responsible for all of Y&R Advertising's new-business efforts worldwide.

If 1998 goes as planned, she won't have a chance to improve her eating habits. Citibank will go online, a global account involving Y&R offices around the world and managed out of New York. Major efforts will also begin on the Census account.

Plus, she is still on the prowl for the one category still missing in her brand stable: a computer account.

She does plan to take a vacation to go biking in France's Bordeaux region. Next October, honest.

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