Former Chairman-Chief Creative, Leo BurnettCheryl Berman she once described herself in a 2009 Wall Street Journal story: "I guess you could say I was Peggy Olson in the 70's, when I walked into an agency called Leo Burnett. When I walked out 30 years later, I guess you could say I was Don Draper."
Ms. Berman logged 32 years at the agency. She started out as a junior copywriter and eventually became the first woman to be elected to the agency's board. She became chairman-chief creative officer in 1996, and was integral to clients such as McDonald's and Disney. Ms. Berman has since opened her own shop, Unbundled.
Founder, ChanelFrench pioneer Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel created the fashion-label powerhouse, starting as a designer for the newly liberated woman of the World War I era.
Going against the grain of traditional girly garb, she gave birth to menswear-inspired sportswear, the little black dress and the general concept of day-to-night apparel.
Her design, once breakthrough and now timeless, continues to empower women around the world. She died in 1971 at the age of 87.
Chairman, BBH U.S.One of three execs who set up Bartle Bogle Hegarty New York in 1999, the strategic super-brain from the U.K. told Ad Age in 2007, "If you don't approach your work with a sense of always looking to do something new, then you are probably not doing your job." Ms. Cookson won AWNY's "Changing the Game" award for driving innovation in 2008.
Chief Creative Officer, Leo BurnettSusan Credle made it to the top the hard way. She started her career in advertising at BBDO in 1985 as a secretary, with no advertising experiencem working her way up to copywriter and eventually BBDO New York executive creative director working on Cingular and Mars. In 2009 she left to take the top creative seat at Leo Burnett USA.
And although she's one of the relatively few women to hold top creative positions at one of the big agencies, Ms. Credle doesn't see herself as one of the few. "I never thought a woman wouldn't have a great opportunity to be successful," she said. "I feel like I can't get away from the 'Where are the women?' question. Asking that question is in some ways fulfilling a prophecy. Asking the question the way we asked it, women believed that they couldn't succeed."
Former Vice Chairman, Leber Katz PartnersThis former vice chairman of Leber Katz Partners (which later merged with Foote, Cone & Belding) is a noted advertising futurist who championed the planning function and helped establish it in the U.S. She was inducted into the AAF Hall of Fame in 2011 and named one of the 50 most powerful women in America by Ladies' Home Journal in 1990. A known pragmatist, she told the Chicago Tribune in 2002 "advertising does not lead it does not break new ground, it is a reflection of society…Most major advertisers are selling to large audiences and it's the mainstream they shoot for, not the fringe. Everything is driven by the bottom line and you can't forget that ."
Executive Creative Director/Partner, Wieden & Kennedy, PortlandSusan Hoffman made Nike famous even before "Just Do It" became part of the brand's basic vocabulary. Her "Revolution" broke ground for its unique execution, featuring gritty black-and-white hand-held shots that interspersed the all-star with the everyman athlete. During her nearly 30 years at W&K, she also opened the agency's Amsterdam and London offices and, in 1992, became its first and only female partner.
Under her leadership, it has become a breeding ground for game-changing work including Old Spice's "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" and "Responses" and Chrysler's Super Bowl spots starring Eminem and Clint Eastwood. "Our work that strikes a chord is so honest, so truthful," she said. "But it's never about telling the consumer what to do; it's about making them feel something."