Liz Kaplow, Hall of Femme 2020

Founder and CEO, Kaplow Communications

What word would you use to describe your childhood and why?
Music — my childhood revolved around music, including family road trips highlighted by singing harmony with my family in the car the entire way. Learning to play the violin, piano and especially the guitar taught me discipline. I believe musical performances were the groundwork for a life in business.

Tell us about your most embarrassing fail. How did you recover?
Starting out in the business, a big pajama company came to us — we thought we’d dazzle them by dressing in their pajamas for the pitch. Instead, they looked dumbfounded. Needless to say, while we didn’t win, we finished. A good lesson about the importance of recovery, rebounding and resiliency.

What fictional female character (in a book or movie) has always inspired you?
Hands down Jo March, the protagonist in Little Women. Jo’s character has always struck me as having that magical combination of kindness and strength. She modeled for me the ability to communicate her point of view with conviction and clarity.

Any real-life women or men you look up to?
Interestingly, Greta Gerwig, the director of the movies Little Women and Lady Bird. Greta is breaking through in a field dominated by men, telling stories that are relevant and modern with strong female characters.

What’s something about you no one knows?
I played the guitar in coffee houses all through college, mostly songs by Joni Mitchell and Carole King. Not only did I get tips, but it also taught me how to connect with people and the importance of being present.

Tell us about your hobby.
Aside from reading and hiking, my family is my main hobby. I love being with my kids, husband and newborn granddaughter, who constantly make me laugh. For me, humor is the ultimate pastime.

Finish the sentence: To ensure career advancement and pay parity for women, I will...
…continue to provide opportunity and mentorship showing the reality of a 360-degree life, combining career and family to achieve the goodness women and men deserve. At Kaplow we use the metaphor T.R.E.E. for trust, respect, energy and enthusiasm. It’s the foundation of what we do, the roots of our culture.

What is it about this industry that frustrates the hell out of you?
The new business process could improve as RFPs don’t always allow for agencies and brands to understand each other. It can also be long and arduous to complete. I would encourage brands to challenge agencies to show how they think and judge their work on past success and forward-thinking solutions.

When have you seen this industry, or your organization really shine?
I’m proud of our agency for promoting from within. Providing a clear path and advancements for people to come up through the company is helping us flourish and retain the best talent. I also believe that we shine when we push the boundaries of public relations and try new things.

What is your golden rule at work?
I try to lead by example. Don’t be afraid to say yes. Always remember that the journey will not be straight and that the biggest gifts come from exploring the detours.

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