Women to Watch

Ad Age, P&M Toast Women to Watch Colombia at Bogota Event

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(From l.) Paola Aldaz, Mastercard; Adriana Pineda, J. Walter Thompson; Adriana Montenegro, Johnson & Johnson; Catalina Sánchez, Y&R/Wunderman; Martha Ortiz, El Colombiano; Catalina Botero, Familia; Lina Echeverri, PaisMarcaOBS; Joanna Prieto, Geek Girls; and Carolina Alzate, ImasD. Credit: Diego Ortiz.

Ad Age's third annual Women to Watch Colombia event, in partnership with local trade publication P&M, honored ten outstanding Colombian women in advertising, marketing, media and technology in Bogota.

Ad Age's Women to Watch, celebrating its 21st anniversary in the U.S. this month, also awards women who are changing the industry in Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, China, Turkey and Europe, where the second annual Women to Watch Europe dinner was held in London in June.

Meet the third class of Ad Age's Women to Watch Colombia:

Paola Aldaz, Carolina Alzate, Catalina Botero.
Paola Aldaz, Carolina Alzate, Catalina Botero. Credit: Diego Ortiz

Paola Aldaz joined Mastercard as VP marketing for Colombia and Ecuador in late 2015 after eight years at Coca-Cola, where she developed a talent for innovation. Credit cards are a challenging product in Colombia, where 84% of transactions are in cash. Her twist on Mastercard's "Priceless" campaign, starting next month, is a program to tackle Colombia's biggest problem, hunger, by delivering a meal to a child in the La Guajira region for every electronic transaction using Mastercard. The goal is one million meals in the first year, she said. Look for Aldaz to turn up next at Mastercard in the U.S., either at Miami headquarters or the innovation lab in New York.

Carolina Alzate is founder and creative director of ImasD, where she does branding, packaging and design for some of the biggest brands in Colombia and other markets, always working with the business partner she met in college (and married, divorced and, last year, re-married).

Catalina Botero is director of brand development at local paper products company Familia, named last month by research firm Ipsos the fourth-most influential brand in Colombia (Google is No. 1). Botero has been developing new digital strategies, and says Familia devotes much of its budget to involving consumers in product and communication design. "Women feel Familia understands them," she said.

Honoree Lina Echeverri with husband and daughter Sergio and Maria Clara Quiceno.
Honoree Lina Echeverri with husband and daughter Sergio and Maria Clara Quiceno. Credit: Diego Ortiz

Lina Echeverri creates marketers. She has started a masters' degree program for marketers at one university and set up a Graduate School of Business at another. She is currently founder-director of MarcaPaisOBS, which seeks to give Colombia a favorable brand image.

Maria Isabel Molano is marketing director of Agricola Himalaya's Te Hindu, Colombia's leading tea brand.

Adriana Montenegro and Adriana Pineda with P&M editorial director Diego Rodriguez.
Adriana Montenegro and Adriana Pineda with P&M editorial director Diego Rodriguez. Credit: Diego Ortiz

Adriana Montenegro, a successful marketer at Samsung, was just hired away to set up consumer marketing for Johnson & Johnson's medical devices, now fairly anonymous products used in operations. "J&J wants to be the biggest company in health that improves peoples' lives," she said. "I'm not selling little screws for soldering, but helping you walk better." Someday, she hopes, patients will ask their surgeons which brand of medical device they plan to use.

Martha Ortiz, director of El Colombiano, says the paper ended 2016 with a record number of subscribers, quite a feat for a 105-year-old daily. "We're listening to the audience, and what's important to them," she said of the 70,000 weekday subscribers (and 140,000 on Sundays). El Colombiano is also developing a distinct voice on social media, leaping in with quick campaigns on topical issues such as violent behavior on social sites.

Adriana Pineda talks tough with clients as VP of strategic planning at J Walter Thompson, and they welcome it. "They deeply appreciate a strategy that, even if it wasn't what they imagined, does really solve their problem," she said.

Honoree Joanna Prieto.
Honoree Joanna Prieto. Credit: Diego Ortiz

Joanna Prieto, executive director of Geek Girls, is creating a tech pipeline for women in Latin America to close the gender gap in jobs. Only 15% of tech positions in Latin America are held by women, she said. Geek Girls focuses on inspiring girls through the stories of women in technology jobs, teaching them skills at Greek Girls Academy, and helping them with the connections to find jobs, Prieto said.

Catalina Sanchez joined Y&R/Wunderman as CEO last year, and her job so far has been to break the two agencies apart. "I began to see how different they are, and knew they'd have to be separate [agencies]," she said. "We're making Y&R more digital and data-inspired; they were depending on Wunderman. And I'm helping Wunderman be not only a digital agency but also an integrated company." It's paying off: in pitches, Y&R just won its first digital account, and Wunderman its first integrated account.

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