Gray relishes challenges as Margeotes rainmaker

By Published on .

Carolyn gray was a soccer goalie in high school; the "eyes of the team," as she referred to her job then.

Perched on a bright yellow chair in her office, the 28-year-old Ms. Gray is once again the "eyes" of a team. Her role as new-business director at Margeotes/Fertitta & Partners requires her to scan the playing field and coordinate engagement.

"For most people in an agency, new business is their second job," she said. "For me, it is my whole job. . . . I love the challenges in new business. It's never the same game twice."

SMALL-SHOP OPP

Ms. Gray came to Margeotes by way of the new-business departments of McCann-Erickson Worldwide and, before that, Jordan McGrath Case & Partners/Euro RSCG, both New York. The smaller Margeotes appeals to her because of the opportunity to play a more integral role in building and shaping the agency.

She also admires agency President George Fertitta, whom she described as a man who "would never pitch anyone he didn't respect."

Ms. Gray said she thrives on the details and worry of a new-business pitch. But along with the minutiae, she also is philosophical about her work,

"Part of new business is finding the soul of the agency," she noted.

Born in Wayzata, Minn. (yes, she can do the "Fargo" accent), Ms. Gray went to college in upstate New York, at St. Lawrence University, where she received her bachelor of arts in government. After college, she took a detour on her way to the business world, through Martha's Vineyard.

Ms. Gray moved to the resort town with some friends and scanned the newspapers for work. An author was looking for a personal assistant and cook for the summer; Ms. Gray got an interview and the job, then found out who her new boss was: Judy Blume.

"It was great. Here I was with my childhood hero," she said.

KAYAKING

Ms. Gray enjoyed her work with Ms. Blume. The two often went kayaking together and the author insisted Ms. Gray always join the family at the table for meals.

After the job was over, she moved to New York, arriving on Halloween and moving into a friend's parent's apartment on the Upper East Side. She never expected to live in a big city because of her love of the outdoors.

But she's no stranger to the city. Her grandparents lived outside New York and she visited often growing up. And her parents are from New York-her mother worked for Time-Life in the 1960s.

Ms. Gray manages to balance the gridlock of New York with the adventure of numerous vacations. She's been on outdoor treks to New Zealand and on extended visits to villages in Turkey.

And she already is planning her next feat: a kayak trip off the coast of Chile.

A CLIENT HUNT

But her exploring isn't limited to personal time. For Margeotes, Ms. Gray wants to explore the fashion, travel, beer, non-alcoholic beverages, consumer electronics and "focused and sizable" dot.com accounts.

Her goals: "A roster of clients we have passion and respect for," and to make all new-business efforts as "enjoyable as possible."

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