What would you do if you weren't in PR?
I’d be in the design field. I love home design and just finished a full renovation on my beach house, including building a media barn. This is what I do to relax, and it brings such joy to my family and brings us all together very frequently. I also love garden design. My husband and I love the planning and even some of the planting. It’s a good life. I live with gratitude every day.
Talk about the last time you experienced a fist-pumping victory moment.
We’ve had a lot of big wins this year, but when the doctor tells you your beloved brother’s cancer is in remission, nothing compares to that.
When was the last time you endured a real "agony of defeat" moment? What did you learn from it?
We were on top of the world with Procter & Gamble, working on many great brands and attaining the highest quality scores. We were living the dream and so delighted with ourselves. One day the head of comms came to visit us and at that moment we were alerted we were being eliminated from the agency roster due to its need to scale back on its agencies. It was a few years ago, and it’s still the biggest business agony of defeat. It was our favorite client, our friends, and we had done award-winning work together. I can honestly tell you I’m not over it yet. I should be, but I’m not. That said, I’m still trying to get back in. I’ll keep you posted. Key learning, don’t take anything for granted, particularly P&G.
When did you last take the time to recharge your batteries? What did you do?
My family and I recharge many weekends at the beach. There is nothing more relaxing or fulfilling for me than being with my husband, kids, dog, and friends cooking in the kitchen, playing wacky games such as What Do You Meme?, dancing like fools, and just being outrageously silly. We have not taken a real long vacation in a few years. We’re working on a family trip to India.
What is it about this industry that frustrates the hell out of you sometimes?
What frustrates me every day is giving away our proprietary and innovative thinking and data for free with little client appreciation or respect during the RFP process. Many times we’re not even given a budget, and the entire leadership team is working feverishly to win. How can that be acceptable? It is a constant frustration, and demoralizes our staff and the entire industry. It’s just wrong, and we all need to figure out a solution. As an industry, we build brands and reputations, and drive great business growth like no other discipline. It’s time we push back to build our own value, drive the respect we deserve, and change the process.
When have you seen this industry or your organization really shine?
I have great joy in the SheQuality Project, which Lippe Taylor founded and developed with the PR Council. I was very fortunate through the years to get to know many of the women CEOs, presidents, and female leaders of our industry, but I realized they didn’t know each other, except when they were competing in business every day. Bringing these powerful and dynamic women together through a quarterly dinner series was an important initiative and one of the great delights and industry accomplishments for me. We have all become "sistas for change" and continue to tackle the issues of women in our industry such as creating safe work environments, pay parity, family leave programs, and zero tolerance for harassment of any kind, to name a few. This program is now national, reaching so many women at every level in our industry, and we’re just getting started.
Words to live by?
I do not wish to have power over men, just over myself.
Bombay Sapphire gin martini, very cold with three olives, and always with my husband, just in case I’m tempted to have a second.
What would you tell your 20-year-old self?
Work hard, be fearless, resilient, and kind, but always find joy in everything you do. Work on the stress, smile a lot, and stay curious. Value family above everything else.
Finish the sentence: To ensure career advancement and pay parity for women, I will...
Continue to mentor women on the importance of being financially independent, so they can always stand on their own and be prepared to take care of themselves and their families at all times without depending on anyone else for financial or emotional support.
Who are the three people, living or dead, you would like to host at a dinner party and why?
William and Marie Lippe. There are no two more loving or dynamic people than my parents, who have passed. Dinner together would be a dream. I have so much to tell them. I want to dance with Michelle Obama. And I want to discuss racism with Atticus Finch.
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say to you as you enter?
We’ve been waiting for you. Your family is right over there. Let’s get this party started.