Nancy Hill

American Association of Advertising Agencies

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Photo: Art Beaulieu
Talk about being a born leader.

Nancy Hill began her leadership training as the oldest of four siblings growing up in a middle-class family in rural Warren, Pa. Today, the agency veteran is president-CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

After graduating from Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, where she coached the men's swim team while in school, Ms. Hill had a short stint in the recording industry before embarking on an ad-agency career that took her to shops big and small, on local and multinational business.

First stop: Doner in Baltimore, where Ms. Hill spent 11 years on a range of accounts, from frozen desserts to financial services. From there she joined Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day and later went on to clock time at Interpublic Group of Cos.' Hill Holliday, where she was president of the San Francisco office, and Omnicom's BBDO Worldwide. She returned to Interpublic as CEO of Lowe Worldwide's New York office.

Ms. Hill's latest challenge is guiding those and hundreds of other 4A's member agencies around the country as she ushers in a new era at the association. After a lengthy search, Ms. Hill earlier this year emerged as the top pick to take the reins from outgoing CEO O. Burtch Drake. "The 4A's today is very different from the past," says Ms. Hill, 50, as she pursues the goal of building "an inclusive, technologically savvy association of the future."

"She brings vision to her role, and it doesn't surprise me one bit that she's continued to grow and to take on increasingly bigger challenges," says Sara Slater, Ms. Hill's best friend and former colleague at Doner. "She thrives in the industry because she loves it."

Although she's no country-clubber like some of her predecessors, Ms. Hill excels at golf. She devotes much of her spare time to a charitable group, People Helping People, through which she's adopted a rural community in Ecuador that she visits several times a year.
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