Annette Stover


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Growing up in France, where agency logos appear at the end of TV spots, Annette Stover devised a parlor game at age 10, guessing which shop produced each commercial before its logo appeared. Almost always, the petit advertising enthusiast got it right.

Though she investigated other avenues -- including a stint in the West Berlin theater industry -- Ms. Stover eventually hit New York in pursuit of advertising. "One well-known headhunter told me that because of my French accent, I'd never amount to anything in U.S. advertising," recalls Ms. Stover, who's also fluent in German and studied modern languages at the Sorbonne.

Clearly, that crystal ball was on the fritz. Ms. Stover's first gig: the legendary Scali McCabe Sloves, followed by posts at JWT, Morgan Anderson Consulting and, in 1997, Euro RSCG Worldwide. In 2006, Ms. Stover rose from chief of staff to her current role as chief operating officer of Euro RSCG's New York office.

In addition to fostering agency culture, Ms. Stover, 43, focuses on operations, communications and new business. In recent years, she was a key member of the teams that won the Charles Schwab, Reckitt Benckiser and Jaguar accounts.

That Ms. Stover "takes the time to get to know everyone" makes her "an extremely popular leader whom people feel very comfortable approaching," says David Jones, global CEO of Euro RSCG Worldwide. Having instituted flex time, a lactation room and a program to green up the Manhattan office, Ms. Stover's dedication to enabling work-life balance "helps the New York office retain key talent," Mr. Jones says.

"Since I'm a working mom myself, I think women here know they can [juggle work and motherhood] without having a strike against them," says Ms. Stover, whose employees have been known to bring quick matters to her at a nearby ballpark, where they can do some business while cheering on her son's Little League team.

Ms. Stover is a major player in the integration of the digital agency Euro RSCG 4D into Euro RSCG's New York operation, leading the charge to reorganize the physical space to enable cross-functional teams. "She's managing an unbelievable number of moving parts and personalities," Mr. Jones says, crediting Ms. Stover for an "extremely smooth" process.

To illustrate the kind of team-oriented agency culture she aims to cultivate, Ms. Stover draws from the theater, another lifelong passion. When an actor drops a prop on stage, she says, it invariably distracts the audience. "But in the theater, the actor who can most elegantly pick up that prop -- even if they're the star -- will do so. To me, that's agency life at its best."
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