It’s International Women’s Month and I’ve been tasked by my One Lady & A Tribe team to nominate four women who inspire me. Not an easy one (there are many) but after much deliberation, here they are.
“You can’t just be you. You have to double yourself. You have to read books on subjects you know nothing about. You have to travel to places you never thought of travelling. You have to meet every kind of person and endlessly stretch what you know.” Mary Wells Lawrence, Co-Founder and former President of Wells Rich Greene
If you haven’t heard of the early female doyen of advertising, this New York Times article will put you in the picture. Ms Wells flouted the stereotype of early women in advertising and their depiction in the Mad Men series. As Ginia Bellafante writes:
“In the actual world of advertising in 1966, when the current season began, the most talked-about figure on Madison Avenue was the trim and determined Mary Wells, who hopscotched over the era’s endemic prejudices to develop Wells Rich Greene, the iconic agency she would run for more than two decades.”
Mary Wells (who married and become Mary Wells Lawrence) created campaigns for Alka-Seltzer, TWA and Procter & Gamble, among many other notable companies. By the end of year one, Wells Rich Greene had $39 million in billings and 100 employees. Later, her agency was responsible for helping transform the image of New York City with the (still visible) “I ♥ New York”campaign. What a fine legacy.
“My definition of success is using as much of my potential as I possibly can, way beyond the 5 % that I believe we get to use. It means enabling others to do the same by sharing my experience with the generations behind me. It means aligning my divine purpose to my work. It means leaving behind a legacy that has enriched other lives and changed them.”Wendy Luhabe, Social Entrepreneur, Economic Activist and Author
Graduating in Arts from the University of Fort Hare in 1977, Wendy Luhabewent on to become one of the most pioneering and influential women in South Africa. Dedicated to helping others fulfil their potential, she left the international corporate world after ten years to become an economic activist, champion for social change and mentor.
Wendy also became well known further afield, being awarded one of the50 Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World and Global Leader of Tomorrowin 2006.Her career path has represented her values. Her principals are (in her own words), “Integrity, honesty, trust, dependable, generosity, maturity, consistency, being thoughtful, excellence, relationships, collaboration, authenticity, wisdom, understanding, independence.” What could be more inspirational than that?
“To offer advertisers the best service, you have to understand their business and the mindset of the consumers who buy the advertisers’ products or services. You have to take a holistic view, look at the big picture, see how all the components work, get an understanding of the discipline.” Gill Randall, Media Legend and Joint CEO of Spark Media
Full disclosure, Gill has been a friend and colleague of mine for many years, so perhaps I am a bit biased. She inspires me for many reasons; one of them is herdedication to being a pro in all the local and global ever-changing marketing platforms.
Starting out as a direct advertising representative for Caxton in 1982, Gill then become a leader in direct advertising, then Managing Director of NAB (National sales for Caxton local papers) – which she did for over 20 years.
Last year, she became the joint CEO of Spark Media. She also continues to serve the bigger marketing picture in South Africa, by being on the AMASA committee and implementing training at AAA and the University of Johannesburg.
As John Bowles, Founder and Director of Turn Left Media said when she won her Media Owner Legend Award: “Gill is deeply passionate about the media industry and advertising but most importantly about buyer behaviour. She is one of the most loyal individuals I know.”
“The other component piece with experimenting is learning. Feeling like we learned something that will help us continue to empower creative people so that we can get better. So the experiment could go terribly wrong, or nothing happened and it fizzled, and I learned that this combination of things doesn’t produce.” Marissa Shrum, Strategy Director at Mother New York
Ranked byBusiness Insider as One of the 50 Most Creative Women in Advertising in 2016, Marissa Shrum’s resume is already seriously breathtaking and she leads the strategic and creative teams for Target and Microsoft.
Part of her focus has been on changing the way women perceive their bodies – as with the Target Campaign #NOFOMO – No Fear of Missing Out –challenging the stereotype of what a “bikini body” should look like.
During her work with Microsoft, she helped to conceive of the One Million Square Feet of Culture campaign, a program “encompassing a year and a half of art, dance, music, exhibits, experiences, parties and partnerships”,which is extraordinary.
Colleagues say that Shrum’s special quality is her “Ability to tap into cultural moments, big and small, from female body image to dance subcultures, from New York to New Orleans.” I agree and look forward to seeing what she creates next.
Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader