Chief Marketing, Revenue Officer, Demand MediaJoanne Bradford is facing a grand challenge: attempting to mold Demand Media, a brand once known for its "content farm" sensibilities, into one that attracts big-brand dollars through online advertising and collaboration on branded content. If she can effect that transformation, it seems only a matter of time before an opportunity arises for her to turn in her chief revenue officer and chief marketing officer titles for a chief executive badge.
VP-Global Marketing Solutions, FacebookManaging a global advertising business such as Facebook's is a demanding job, but Carolyn Everson has one simple rule: If she's going to be away more than four straight nights, the kids come, too. "I take the work-life piece very seriously," she said. "What has been really important to me is being a role model for my two daughters to show them what's possible and to have them believe everything is achievable."
That means Ms. Everson's 9-year-old twins have traveled to Australia, China, England, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Nigeria and Spain -- all in the past year. In addition to the fourth graders having an amazing experience, a precedent has been set at her company that a powerful job and a rich family life aren't mutually exclusive. "This notion that you can't have both, I think, is wrong, and it's one reason women opt out and don't go for senior-level positions," she said.
Of course, it helps if your boss is Sheryl Sandberg, who has written what she deems a "call to action" for women in the workplace, Lean In," and who famously leaves work at 5:30 to carve out family time. "Sheryl is a very important reason I'm at this company," Ms. Everson said. "She's an incredible advocate for me personally and women in general."
Founder, Resource InteractiveNancy Kramer turned down a shot to be MTV 's first sales rep in 1981 to start Resource, an ad agency in Columbus, Ohio, with Apple as her first client. She set out to prove co-op ads with retailers could work in a regional test that led to a national assignment.
For the first 15 years, all Resource's clients were tech companies. That included fellow digital pioneer Compuserve, for which the shop did a 1997 Super Bowl ad. That tech focus evolved into what Resource believes is today both the largest independent digital shop and female-owned ad agency in the U.S., with 400 employees and $60 million in revenue. Clients include such major players as Procter & Gamble Co., Nestle and Victoria's Secret.
It wasn't always easy. Ms. Kramer, who's been financially independent since 16 and worked her way through college as a clerk at Kroger, at various times had to get her former husband to co-sign for bank loans and got hit on a lot by male fellow travelers during trips to Silicon Valley.
"In the early years, I chose not to really be focused on the fact I was a woman. I just forged through it," she said. "Now I feel there's really a need to speak out about women not getting paid the same as a man does for the same job."
CEO, YahooFor much of her career, Marissa Mayer has been known as Google Employee No. 20. But in July, she traded in that tile for Yahoo CEO. Yahoo execs have for years extolled the importance of both of its customer bases -- web users and advertisers -- but her early focus is squarely on the former, presumably confident that consumer-side advancements will beget new revenue streams and a Yahoo turnaround. Still, exactly 80% of Yahoo's nearly $5 billion in 2011 gross revenue came from online ads. For now, Ms. Mayer is a big player in the ad business whether she wants to be or not.
Partner, Chief Creative Officer, NakedFernanda "Fefa" Romano became one of the best-known digital creatives during stints in her native Brazil and as a creative director at major agency networks in the U.S. and Europe. This year she joined Naked and is taking on two roles: She opened Naked in Brazil as a partner and chief creative officer and, as she builds a team in Sao Paulo, she's tackling a second role as New York-based creative partner building a content offering for Naked. "That's where the industry's going," she said. "It's a bigger opportunity than advertising
Chief Operating Officer, FacebookSheryl Sandberg has had the Herculean task of making the social network as profitable as it is popular. Facebook earned $3.71 billion in revenue last year -- $3.15 billion of it from ads. Virtually all global brands are committed to the platform (though not necessarily with paid ads), notwithstanding its tumultuous history as a public company. Ms. Sandberg, a highly visible advocate for women in tech, must figure out how to grow Facebook's ad business as its users migrate to mobile.
Senior VP-Advertising, GoogleGoogle's Senior VP-Advertising Susan Wojcicki is an easy pick for any top-list in business, let alone top women in business (she was named No. 25 by Forbes in 2012 and No. 28 by Fortune in 2011) or women in advertising. Google's 18th employee, Ms. Wojcicki built Google's search and text-ad businesses into a nearly $40 billion behemoth, which doesn't count the billions more that run on ad platforms and technologies under her purview. Ms. Wojcicki led the acquisitions of YouTube and DoubleClick, laying the foundation for Google's expansion into display. While others turned the blue links into search phenomenon, Ms. Wojcicki turned those blue links into mountains of revenue for Google.
Ms. Wojcicki is a quiet performer who would rather let the results speak for themselves. In recent interviews, she has said managing a household with four young children and a flock of chickens is every bit the challenge of managing Google. But Ms. Wojcicki has had Larry Page's ear ever since he and Sergey Brin founded Google in her Menlo Park garage. Soon after Mr. Page took over as CEO in early 2012, he gave Ms. Wojcicki a huge vote of confidence by giving her oversight of engineering in addition to ad products and making her one of his 10 direct reports.