CEO, Starcom MediaVest GroupIn 2006, when Laura Desmond took charge of Starcom MediaVest Group's North American operations, she told Ad Age : "Digital won't be an option, it will be a mindset." It's this kind of foresight that has boosted the network's capabilities and portfolios and pushed her up the ranks. She joined Publicis in 1987 as an associate at Leo Burnett Media. Now, Ms. Desmond is global CEO of the Publicis Groupe media network.
She is the only female CEO running a global media agency network with three agencies -- and controls some of the biggest multibillion-dollar ad budgets in the world.
"I grew up in a world where I was given the confidence to search for and reach my potential," she said. "I see it as part of my job to pay it forward. Helping others be extraordinary is the best legacy we can leave the industry."
Managing Director, BBDO, New YorkKirsten Flanik can easily be considered among the most important female executives -- and part of the secret sauce -- at one of the biggest agencies in the world, BBDO. Her account-management prowess was integral to its winning back the Snickers business in 2009. Since then, she's grown the agency's revenue on the Mars account 75%.
The Florida native says her two mentors are her mother, a public school teacher, and BBDO chief creative, David Lubars. "From Day 1 he believed in me and pushed me to be my best," said Ms. Flanik. "He instilled confidence in me, showing me the power of small wins and how small wins motivate you to achieve bigger wins."