Women to Watch

Jill Griffin

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Jill Griffin describes herself as "textbook middle child: Pay attention to me!"

As the girl sandwiched between two sibling brothers, the senior VP-group account director of Havas's interactive unit Media Contacts avidly sought out new experiences as a child growing up in Farmingdale, N.Y. That tendency carried into adulthood; as direct marketing manager at a division of Warner Music Group, her first post-college employer, Ms. Griffin "showed she understood where the business was moving," says her then-boss, Julie Smith, now VP-strategic marketing at Epic Records.

Love of media led Ms. Griffin to media strategy. At Media Direct Partners, part of Interpublic Group of Cos., in 1997 she created the company's first digital media department, which handled Internet media plans and buys. "There were no rules," she recalls. "I figured, `Let's go learn.' "

Moving on to MediaVest, now part of Publicis Groupe, Ms. Griffin again launched and ran the company's first digital unit. "She's got a natural instinct to innovate," says Louis Jones, exec VP-managing director at Media Contacts, who hired Ms. Griffin last January from Omnicom Group's OMD, where Ms. Griffin had made Absolut vodka the first commercial advertiser on Gawker.com. "Jill has got extremely sensitive media antennae," says Nick Denton, Gawker Media publisher. "She's a Web addict. She's heard of weblogs [ that] I [haven't]."

As blogs' popularity grows, marketers are clamoring for insights about them. Despite her enthusiasm for new tactics, however, Ms. Griffin cautions clients that blogs aren't a one-size-fits-all solution. What's right for one marketer isn't right for everyone.

Today the 33-year-old holds profit-and-loss responsibility for Media Contacts' New York and San Francisco offices, overseeing strategy for marketers including ING Direct, Air France and Viacom's Comedy Central. Her daily challenges range from macro concerns-"Digital brings a wealth of data, but are we using it the right way and getting the most insights we can and applying them most efficiently?"-to micro ones, such as making sure the people who report to her are satisfied. One of her main goals is to devise faster, more efficient ways of translating data findings into marketing solutions.

A hearty proponent of establishing a work-life balance, Ms. Griffin has extracurricular interests ranging from singing in the New York Metro Mass Choir to training for the New York City Marathon and serving on the board of 212, New York's Interactive Advertising Club. "One of the things I really liked about Jill is that she's adventuresome," says Mr. Jones. "It's refreshing to have someone of her energy level on staff as an example that you can be wildly successful and have a life."

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