Kara Peterson, 29

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Kara Peterson let her fingers do the walking right into an ad career.

With a double major in economics and communications, she was mulling over a job offer from an insurance company and realized that, instead, "I wanted to do something fun."

So Ms. Peterson "literally opened up the Yellow Pages" in search of places where she could exercise her creative side. Publicis Groupe's Fallon Worldwide, Minneapolis, gave her a shot as an intern, and a few months later hired heras an assistant account exec.

Last fall, she was promoted to account director and started working on the much-anticipated launch of Ted, United Airlines' discount carrier.

Ms. Peterson, 29, likes being an account person because "you have the opportunity to touch every part of the process."