100 Most Influential Women in Advertising

Joyce King Thomas Offers Tips on Getting Ahead

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Joyce King Thomas

Partner and Director of Brand Partnerships, Longreads

Former McCann Erickson Chief Creative Officer Joyce King Thomas penned MasterCard's enduring "Priceless" campaign, which transforms a seemingly random list of goods and prices into an equation for an unforgettable moment. Her favorite "Priceless" spot to this day remains the first one, featuring a boy and his dad at a ball game.

After 16 years at the agency, in 2011 she moved to a new gig as partner and director of brand partnerships at Longreads, a destination for the best long-form writing on the web. (Her must-reads there? A story about bowling and another about taking the S.A.T.)

Here, Ms. King Thomas offers a "Priceless" bit of advice for women in advertising:

I was never one of the boys. Two recent articles by female biggies in the business said that being "one of the boys" was a key to their success. The authors happen to be great, but it wasn't true for me, and I hope it won't be true for you. Women have played a major role in my career. Front and center was my boss and mentor, the amazing Nina DiSesa. And Nina wasn't the only one. Over the years, an army of women have cheered me on, pelted me with shrewd advice, bought me shots of tequila when I needed them, and worked nights and weekends to help me succeed. Even now, I'm working on projects generously passed along to me by women.

I do not buy the argument that women are competitive with other women, that there is no room at the top for more than one woman, blah blah blah. In my experience, that 's just an ugly myth.

But I do have a suggestion for every woman reading this. Starting today, let's all pick three women to mentor. I'm not just talking to those at the top, but to those in the middle and those scrambling up by their fingernails. There's always someone lower down the rung than you are. Reach out and give them a yank up.

Get a woman an internship. (Paid, please.) Give a woman some killer advice. Hell, recommend a nanny. And if you have even a smidgen of power, get a woman promoted. Right now.

There's nothing wrong with the boys' club. If you're a boy. Let's stop counting on men to change the ratio in advertising. Time to use a feminine touch.

See more: Most Influential Women in Advertising: The Innovators
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