By Published on .

Fifteen years ago, Rene Cournoyer became one of the first employees of upstart boutique Goodby, Berlin & Silverstein, San Francisco-now Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

Today, Ms. Cournoyer is one of two women at the leading creative shop with the rank of associate partner. Currently she is the lead account manager on Goodby's estimated $70 million Nike account. At Goodby she shepherds some of the key products on which Nike is pinning its future, women's sports and the high end products in its Alpha project. She has worked with Nike executives to target young women and create campaigns that give dignity to women's sports and suggest female empowerment.

"She is the heart of the agency," says Jon Steel, director of planning. "She is the one who says the emperor's naked."

Ms. Cournoyer has the status to do that. In the early days, she even lent the founders money.

"They were a bunch of goofballs back then and they haven't changed that much," she says. A sports buff, Ms. Cournoyer initially planned a career as a sports journalist. When she was relegated in college to covering women's golf, she switched to advertising. But the Appleton, Wis. native hardly has had to abandon her love thanks to her involvement with Nike. She is married and raising two daughters.

"I don't take advertising too seriously," says Ms. Cournoyer. "That is the

Most Popular
In this article: