What word would you use to describe your childhood and why?
Creativity. In my family, we were always encouraged to find an art form that would enable each of us to creatively express ourselves. For me, it was photography. Around the age of 12, I started by working in the darkroom and printing my father's photographs. Quickly after that, I started to take my own photographs.
Tell us about your most embarrassing fail. How did you recover? I started out my career as a photographer and on one of my first freelance assignments, somehow when I went to develop the film, there was nothing on it. I managed to persuade my client to let me do it over and it turned out fine. After that, I learned the importance of watching every detail of what you do.
What fictional female character (in a book or movie) has always inspired you? Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice has always inspired me. She was strong-willed and smart. She understood the kind of life she wanted to live and would not allow anyone to pressure her into living the life she was expected to live. She was not afraid to speak her mind, which at the time was quite unusual. It was a model for me.
Any real-life women or men you look up to? I have been lucky in my career to work with some fabulous women in many fields — law, communications, management — who were a generation older than me. They gave me confidence that, with hard work and persistence, I could achieve my goals and combine a very successful career with having a family.
What’s something about you no one knows?
I have three published books of my photographs.
Favorite song and why?
“The Times They Are a Changing” by Bob Dylan. Written in the ’60s, the lyrics are still so relevant today. It reminds me that we always need to recognize that the world is and will continue to consistently change. It is critical that you be open to understanding how and what new generations are thinking.
Finish the sentence: To ensure career advancement and pay parity for women, I will.....
...work to create an agency that ensures that women can excel, have every opportunity and have parity in every aspect of their job, not just pay. Furthermore, I will work with our clients, who are equally committed to this concept, to make sure that they are an outspoken voice in the conversation about equality for women in the workplace.
What is it about this industry that frustrates the hell out of you?
There is not enough recognition of the critical role that communications has in growing and protecting companies and institutions in our society. We, in the communications industry, play a very important role in ensuring that our clients — corporations and institutions — achieve their business strategy and growth goals. Moreover, we also help reduce a breadth of risks from financial to reputational. Without communications, a strategy could not succeed because it would be impossible for both internal and external stakeholders to understand what a company or institution is working to achieve. Communications cannot afford to be an afterthought; it needs to be central to every business strategy.
When have you seen this industry or your organization really shine?
Our organization and the industry as a whole is having an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of communications as corporations recognize that they must be more transparent and authentic about how they are handling ESG issues. We are working with our clients to help them put in place policies and procedures, measurement systems and robust goals and commitments. We work with them to measure progress and communicate every aspect of this process. I believe corporations are going to take a leadership role in addressing climate change as well as governance and social issues. Strategic communications is playing an important role in helping corporations do this.
What is your golden rule at work?
Challenges are opportunities. This is one of our Guiding Principles and inherent within the ethos of our firm. Every day we are faced with challenges, large and small, and it is our job to be creative, take advantage of them and turn them into opportunities.