Women to Watch 2007

Elizabeth Ross

Tribal DDB West

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NEXT: Laura Shuler

"Within 15 minutes of meeting Liz Ross, I knew two things," says Matt Freeman, CEO of Tribal DDB Worldwide. "One, that I would offer her a job running our office in San Francisco. And two, that I had better be nice because I could be working for her someday."

Elizabeth Ross, president, Tribal DDB West
Photo: Lisa Keating


Considering that Ms. Ross believes there's no limit to how one can shake up an organization to work better, Mr. Freeman may have a point. Since joining Tribal DDB in 2004, she's been credited with saving the Clorox Co. interactive business, growing office revenue fivefold and helping it land on the San Francisco Business Times' recent list of best places to work.

"She takes a broad-based perspective on our clients' businesses," Mr. Freeman says. "I think that, as a starting point, elevates her instantly above someone who is trying to hawk a website or sell some banners."

Above all, though, Mr. Freeman cites Ms. Ross' personal skills as the reason for her success both in building a fast-growing company and with clients. Ms. Ross, for her part, blames it all on a love of people.

Ms. Ross, 35, started her career in account management and business development. Now, as the president of Tribal DDB West, she oversees the Dallas and Los Angeles offices in addition to the one in San Francisco. She's led the agency to new-business assignments including from NBC Universal, Visa USA and Nike.

But it seems that Ms. Ross' expectation of change is what will make her continue to climb in the ad world. "The reality is there is no one pulling the strings, telling us we have to operate in a certain way," she says. "For everyone who works here, it's their agency. If we're working in a way that doesn't make sense, let's change it, let's innovate it, let's think differently about it."

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