What advice would you give your younger self?
To speak up. Everybody is so different and everybody has something to give in a conversation. Don’t minimize what you have to give based on who’s in the room or what experience they may or may not have. If you’re passionate about what you do and you have a point of view, speak up.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
When I had kids, I decided that I was going to be setting my own schedule. I was going to be making home and work equal, and in the workplace, it’s hard, especially for a senior-leader woman who also has a working husband, to have kids. So I was setting boundaries and making them important and being vocal about it. And it worked. When you set boundaries purposely, people let those boundaries be your boundaries, but it’s scary to set them.
If you weren’t doing your current job what would you be doing and why?
What I would have done as a kid is voices for cartoons. Now, this whole field coming up with the combination of psychology and neuroscience and understanding the human brain. I love that but I’d be doing it with children. Children are not given a voice at the table—their brilliance is tamped down but their minds are so amazing.
What should the industry do to encourage more women and people of color into its ranks?
In general, the more people can realize everybody processes with the whole brain--people with analytics, people relationally. As much as we can understand that’s all okay and don’t expect a way someone comes to work, a way someone shows up but think about if you’re going to be servicing however many millions from your marketing and communications—you as one person can only talk to a fraction of those people because of your life experiences. With the world becoming more diverse, you can’t not pay attention to the way everyone processes. You need more diversity, more women at the table or you’ll miss a whole swath of customers. Part of it is training to be listening differently. Try to go to other sources—not everybody’s going to all these colleges. Everyone wants to go to the top, but there are all these colleges and universities that no one is tapping into.
Which campaign or other piece of work have you seen in the last year that you wish you had done?
The Google ad with the deaf parent and the hearing son. It’s so connected—a raw emotion of what is going on with that family, with how to use the tool. They put the tool in the middle of the actual action so well that that sticks with me.
See all of Ad Age's 2021 Leading Women U.S. and Europe here.