What advice would you give your younger self?
What looks great on the surface doesn’t always work out how we expect it to. My advice would be to take a more Zen-like approach to any challenges or big decisions that you’re faced with. Over the years, I look back at all the things that at the time felt like bad news but actually turned out to be some of the best things that have ever happened to me. And vice versa: The things that felt like instant success didn’t always work out. I now try to keep an open mind, remember to take a deep breath and remind myself of the simple phrase “Good news, bad news—who knows?” Only time will tell.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Deciding to leave my job in NYC and move to San Francisco with a creative director-boyfriend just six weeks after we met. Stephen is now my husband, the amazing father of my two children and co-founder of Yard NYC. At the time most of my friends and family thought I was crazy, but sometimes the bigger risk is not going for what’s “crazy.”
If you weren’t doing your current job, what would you be doing and why?
When I was 5 or 6 years old and my mum would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say a writer or a therapist. And the truth is that in my current job, I feel that I do a bit of both, as our clients call the work we do “brand therapy.” Now, with mental health challenges on the rise, if I wasn’t running an agency and really wanted to change my career, I’d look into studying to become an actual therapist—especially helping working mothers who carry the disproportionate weight of stress.
What should the industry do to encourage more women and people of color into its ranks?
The most obvious things are to provide more opportunities, lead with empathy and flexibility, and make room for both women and people of color to grow and evolve without feeling like they have to sacrifice their identities.
As a female leader in the industry and a mother of two, I see women often leave the industry because they feel like they have to choose between their families and work. I think it’s astounding that we continue to see more and more female CEOs, but not when it comes to big, public companies. We have to crack open the top levels of leadership and create more opportunities at the entry points.
How do you expect emerging tech like Web3 and AI to impact your job in the future?
AI will either be our greatest asset or our greatest competitor—the choice is ours. As a CEO of a highly strategic creative company, I imagine that the rise of AI-powered marketing automation tools will help us to focus more on what we do best: the strategic side of advertising, honing of true insights, crafting razor-sharp positioning and implementing the big, bold brand creations and actions—essentially all the true creative thinking and problem-solving. In the contest between humans and AI, I choose collaboration.