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Sitting Down With Five Women to Watch

These Execs Share Their Thoughts on What Helped Make Them Successful and What Challenges They Face

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For each of the past 14 years, Advertising Age has honored a select group of women in advertising, marketing and media that we feel will command more and more attention in the years to come.

This year, we profiled 25 women in our Women to Watch special report. Five honorees were kind enough to let us turn the cameras on them for short video segments on what it takes to be successful in their respective fields.

Tara Comonte, chief operating officer-chief financial officer, Mediabrands

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Ms. Comonte helps run Interpublic Group of Cos.' Mediabrands with three other top media executives. So it's no surprise that she attributed her success in the marketing world to rising above corporate politics. "It's petty and a complete waste of time," she said.

Lauren Hobart, CMO-sparkling brands, PepsiCo

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Ms. Hobart is one of the key figures behind the much-hyped Pepsi Refresh Project, an initiative that, safe to say, required a fair amount of risk. So how did she pull it off? By knowing the consumer "intimately well, so you feel you can trust your gut and [do] just that -- trusting your gut and making big bold decisions and sticking to them."

Kathy O' Brien, VP-personal care marketing for North America, Unilever

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Ms. O' Brien led the launch of Dove Men Plus Care in the U.S, a male personal-wash line from a brand made famous in part thanks to her work in recent years on the "Campaign for Real Beauty" for women. With that kind of challenge, "it's a really cool time to be a marketer."

Maureen Sullivan, senior VP-brand and marketing partnerships, AOL

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Ms. Sullivan has been entrusted with the job of resurrecting the AOL brand, and she's bringing her brand of confidence to make those big decisions. "It's the hard work that goes into the confidence that empowers you to really say you think that this idea is the right one."

Beth Waxman Arteta, group business director, JWT, New York

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Ms. Waxman-Arteta attributes her success to "working for amazing people who taught me everything I that needed to know about the business -- in terms of a skill set -- but also taught me a value system around the work ... and that I carry with me all the time."

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