Insider Makes Name for Herself Looking Outside

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In 1994, Ann Lewnes stepped into her current role as Intel Corp.'s director of worldwide advertising-a position she describes as "ideal."

Don't believe it. The fast tracker is as sure to rise as the sun.

"I do like to do new things," readily acknowledges Ms. Lewnes, 35. "I have a very short attention span normally. . . . I like to wheedle my way into where the action is."

Ms. Lewnes, a political science and journalism major at Lehigh University, left New York and a job at a video trade magazine in 1985 for the counterculture in California. But she quickly ended up with a job editing Intel's company publication.

At the time, Intel was losing money, laying off employees and struggling through a restructuring, and Ms. Lewnes knew zip about chips. But having attended the Bronx High School of Science, she could talk the tech. Asking a lot of questions, she learned about semiconductors.

As Intel rocketed to prosperity, Ms. Lewnes jumped into the action. When sales of Intel's 386 chip failed to take off in the late '80s, Ms. Lewnes was part of the small team that tested the idea of taking marketing straight to PC users.

That was the beginning of Intel's fabled move to build a brand. When Intel stepped up consumer advertising early this decade, the company tapped Ms. Lewnes for a key post. And when Intel expanded into in-store promotions and marketing in 1993, Ms. Lewnes led the charge.

As worldwide ad chief, Ms. Lewnes oversaw Intel's first massive consumer campaign in '94 and consolidated advertising with a global agency, Euro RSCG, in '96.

The energetic Ms. Lewnes is respected inside Intel and has a knack for getting her staff charged up for projects. Yet for a tech company going mainstream, Ms. Lewnes' best asset may be that she's not a techy.

Ms. Lewnes spends off hours with a consuming passion: watching movies and TV and reading about pop culture to spark her creativity.

"I'm a total pop culture freak," she says. "I'm like a sponge for consumer information." That explains why an executive from Intel "inside" spends so much time looking for ideas outside.

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