100 Most Influential Women in Advertising

Women in Advertising: The Groundbreakers

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Mary Dillon

President-CEO, U.S. Cellular

Mary Dillon has achieved a rare feat for women: obtaining a CEO seat.

Currently president-CEO of U.S. Cellular, Ms. Dillon was also president of PepsiCo's Quaker Foods division, but is probably best known for her tenure as global chief marketing officer of McDonald's during an impressive growth period for the chain. She was the fast-feeder's top marketing executive from 2005 to 2010 -- a time when it was experiencing a massive turnaround after struggling with operational problems from food quality to store cleanliness. She oversaw the marketing of the company's "I'm lovin' it" campaign in more than 100 countries as well as its Moms' Quality Correspondents initiative, which sought to promote healthier options for children.

Silvia Lagnado

Global Chief Marketing Officer, Bacardi

Silvia Lagnado is global chief marketing officer at Bacardi but she is best known as the global VP who approved Dove's landmark "Campaign for Real Beauty."

The creatively lauded approach broke barriers in 2004 with its frank portrayal of average women as beautiful. She also led much of the rapid global expansion of the brand prior to moving to exec VP-savory foods at parent Unilever in 2006, a few months before Dove launched its critically acclaimed "Evolution" viral video. She left to join Bacardi in 2010.

Janet Kestin, left, and Nancy Vonk
Janet Kestin, left, and Nancy Vonk

Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk

Co-Founders, Swim; Former Co-Ccos, Ogilvy & Mather, Toronto

Former Ogilvy Toronto Co-Chief Creative Officers Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk arguably are the most famous and beloved creative duo in Canada. The pair (with the support of then-client Silvia Lagnado) led Dove and Ogilvy to fame with the highly decorated "Evolution" film from 2007 that uncovered the dirty business of female "glamification" in mass media, the cornerstone of a larger "Real Beauty" initiative that sought to instill self-confidence in young women.

They are longtime advocates of nurturing industry talent, both male and female. In 2005, they co-authored "Pick Me," a book about building and maintaining an ad career. They also write an advertising advice column, "Ask Jancy," for aspiring creatives. Last year, they started Swim, an organization that aims to build the industry's next generation of creative leaders, who (the women especially) will appreciate this two cents from Ms. Kestin: "Stand for something, be clear, be heard. Women [tend to] let themselves be made smaller. Be bigger. Reach. And if you can't do it where you work, work somewhere else."

Jacqueline Hernandez

Chief Operating Officer, Telemundo Media

Jacqueline Hernández has been the highest-ranking woman in both Spanish-language TV and print, publishing Time Inc.'s leading People en Espanol, until 2008, when she joined Telemundo Media, where she is chief operating officer.

Although perennial No. 2 in ratings , Telemundo is poised for continued growth as marketers' interest in reaching Hispanic viewers expands. (Telemundo is part of NBC Universal, now owned by Comcast).

Ms. Hernández is spearheading a rebranding of Telemundo as well as thought leadership projects, starting with one next month that will explore Hispanic media consumption and families. Sample insight: "When Hispanics go buy a car, they do it as a family."

"It's closing the gap between Hispanic and general market," Ms. Hernández said. "It's something we've all linked arms in the industry to do."

Viveca Chan

Chairman-CEO, WE Marketing Group

Viveca Chan says her company is unique not only for being an international Chinese ad agency -- its independent status gives the management team special insights on marketers' needs. "Because we are running our own business, we have much more of a business mind-set. That helps us work with a lot of the entrepreneurs in China who are not just looking for an ad agency, they're looking for a business partner," she said.

Ms. Chan, 55, started WE Marketing in 2005 after previously serving as Grey Global Group's chairman-CEO, Greater China. The company now has a staff of about 200, with four offices in mainland China and one in Hong Kong. Clients include Estée Lauder, Mercedes-Benz and Lufthansa, as well as a number of major Chinese brands. WE is the Chinese representative of Worldwide Partners, a Denver-based global alliance of independent ad agencies.

Denise Morrison

CEO, Campbell Soup Co.

Campbell Soup Co. has been around for more than 140 years, but it never had a female CEO until Denise Morrison took the role in 2011. In the short time span since, she's taken the marketer in a new direction, seeking more growth from non-soup businesses including Bolthouse Farms. Ms. Morrison got her start in sales at Procter & Gamble and spent most of the 1980s at Nestlé USA, where she held various roles, including business director for confections marketing.

She also logged time at Nabisco and Kraft Foods before joining Campbell in 2003. Supermarket News this year ranked her No. 41 on its "Power 50" list of the most influential people in the industry, citing her focus on innovation. And she's not done yet: More than 80 new items are planned for fiscal 2013, including Campbell's Go Soup brand of microwavable pouches, which is aimed at millennials.

Jo Ann Ross

President, Network Sales, CBS

Jo Ann Ross was the first woman to head ad sales for a broadcast TV network and now has notched a new first: She's the broadcast-network ad-sales chief with the longest current tenure in the job, now that Mike Shaw has left ABC and Jon Nesvig departed Fox. That's an achievement, considering she has to negotiate with demanding buyers who may sometimes be put off by the outsize expectations of CBS CEO Leslie Moonves.

Rosemarie Ryan

Co-Founder, Co: Collective

Rosemarie Ryan is an old hand at makeovers.

During her tenure at Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners, the 30-person slip of a shop grew into a 400-person powerhouse. When she moved over to JWT in 2004, she, along with co-president Ty Montague, oversaw a transformation of the venerable agency, helping restructure and rebuild what used to be a "hierarchical, top-down and siloed organization." She even changed JWT's appearance -- "it looked like a bank from the 1950s," she says -- ripping down walls and getting rid of cubicles, a physical manifestation of the internal change the agency was going through.

And now, as co-founder of Co: Collective, she gets to work on something new yet again. This time, she's testing out an entirely new agency model, where the firm acts as a strategic adviser for clients, thinking about both their businesses and their brands. "For me, it's always about 'Are we going to change the world?'" she says. "When I don't feel like I'm pushing the envelope hard enough, I get bored. And being bored is my biggest fear in life, and has been my key motivator."

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