Trish Adams

Wieden & Kennedy

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10 of 26 > GO TO Next 2006 Woman to Watch

Calling Trish Adams a woman to watch is wrong, according to her boss, Dave Luhr, chief operating officer at Wieden & Kennedy. "She's a leader to watch, male or female," he says.
Trish Adams, managing director of Wieden & Kennedy's Tokyo office

Ms. Adams is "unflappable, a good manager, energetic, and willing to take risks and chances," Mr. Luhr says. "She nurtures and trains, an art endangered today."

She's now unflappable in Japan, after being named managing director of Wieden's Tokyo office in January. Ms. Adams, who moved to the Tokyo position from group account director at the Portland, Ore., headquarters, is one of the few women who've clawed their way up in the major West Coast creative agencies.

Women should "be themselves. Women have a lot to offer in terms of smarts, personal skills and the way they nurture people," she says, adding, "We often tell our clients that their real power lies in finding their own voice. I think the same applies to the individual."

Wieden's 60-employee Tokyo office includes the W&K Tokyo Lab, a lauded agency addition that produces CDs and DVDs under its own label. "It's an interesting way to stay connected," as well as an attractive tool with which to recruit talent to the agency, Ms. Adams says. Ad clients of the Tokyo office include Wieden's flagship Nike account for both Japan and Nike Asia, Sharp Electronics, Sapporo Beer and Takata, a marketer of child car seats and other safety equipment.

Ms. Adams, 40, also has proved her mettle, riding with Wieden through some ups and downs. She began in 1997 as a management supervisor on the Microsoft Corp. account, which the agency lost 1999. When the independent agency under the independently minded Dan Wieden refused to fire people after Microsoft left, Ms. Adams was charged with coming up with some new business to soften the blow. She won AltaVista Co., then and America Online.

A woman with a spirit of adventure, Ms. Adams once moved to Tokyo with her attorney husband and worked as a marketing communications manager for IBM Corp. Now in her second stint as a "gaigin," or foreigner, she doesn't quite speak the language fluently but plans to take some classes.

She did gain enough experience in Japan to have some definite opinions on where to live. Ms. Adams tried to get housing in the complexes built by client Mori Development, but when none were available, she settled for an apartment in a low-rise building. Wary of the city's earthquakes, Ms. Adams says, "I kind of wanted to be close to the ground here."
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