Girl of the Month - Nancy Hill, President and CEO, 4A’s

Hi Ladies! 

Our March “Girl of the Month” is Nancy Hill! We look forward to seeing you all in The Girls’ Lounge @ 4A’s next week!

Q: What makes you a girls’ girl?

A: I actively work to highlight, hire and promote women in the industry. I have never bought into the belief that being the only woman in the room is good for me or for my career (or, for anyone else’s, for that matter).

Q: What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? 

A: I was once told that I was too honest and had too much integrity to make it in advertising. The reason this was the best advice? I’ve spent my entire career since then trying to prove that man wrong!

Q: What is the best decision you have made throughout your career?

A: Somewhere along the way, I decided that I would take on things that no one else wanted to take on. Early on, that manifested itself by me volunteering to run an account that only had a budget of $4.5 million and would only involve radio and outdoor advertising. No one else wanted it. I ran that account off and on for the next ten years. It was Bell Atlantic Mobile, which is now Verizon Wireless. It made my career.

Q: What is your advice to other women about being a strong leader?

A: I liken it to being the flight attendant on the plane that never lands.  People are always watching you to see how they should respond—especially in a perceived crisis. You have to set the example. You have to be confident. You have to act decisively. This does not mean you have to be a man. You can do all this and, be as feminine and strong as you want to be.

Q: What is your advice to having a healthy and successful work-life balance?

A: There is no such thing. If you are good at your job, it takes everything you can give. WHEN YOU ARE WORKING. If you are a good mother/wife/sister/daughter/friend, it takes everything you can give. WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING. It is impossible to do both at the same time. All the technology that we have at our disposal makes it feel like we can do both, but one side or the other always loses. If you are working on your smartphone while you are talking to your husband, you are not really listening. If you are shopping for your family’s vacation while you are at work, you’re not answering that urgent email that just came in from your biggest client.

Girl of the Month - Cammy Grusd, Vice President, Client Relations + Industry Marketing, Clear Channel Media + Entertainment

Hi ladies! Our February “Girl of the Month” is Cammy Grusd. We love your inspiration and advice especially on how to create a healthy and successful work-life balance and “secret” to success. 


Q: What is your power?

A: I am by nature, a connector. I can’t help myself. I love the moment when I meet someone, and I “get” exactly how I can help them or who I should connect them with. I think what also comes with that is being a good listener. Understanding where people are coming from and what they’re trying to achieve is key to making the right connections. 

Q: What is your best advice in forming genuine relationships?

A: When I meet someone, I genuinely am interested in getting to know them as a person, first and foremost. Of course there are thoughts of parlaying introductions, etc, (I am a connector after all)…but I truly enjoy getting to know people. Taking a meeting outside of the office, whether it’s lunch, dinner, drinks or some type of activity, really allows for more casual conversation, to let guards down and open up. Also, don’t talk about business the whole time. Share who you are. Some of my best friends on the planet are those I have met through business.

Q: What is your advice to other females about being a strong leader? 

A: Mentor, be compassionate, and in general stand your ground. You’re ideas and viewpoints are valuable and what you were hired for. Also, remember to substantiate and back up your perspective. That said, it is also important to know when to hold em and know when to fold em. 

Q: How have friendships with female colleagues in the media industry played a role in your success? 

A: I am so lucky to be surrounded by incredible friends and mentors in the media industry. The support and kindness of this tight knit community is so powerful. Bonds we have formed while all working hard, playing together, and supporting one another has solidified a network of amazing people. Specifically, I have been mentored through new roles, presented opportunities, been given references and have been so grateful to be able to pick up the phone to ask advice about challenging situations from brilliant people. 

Q: What is your advice to having a healthy and successful work-life balance? 

A: Time for yourself. Time for family and friends. Decreasing stress. Breathing. Strengthening. Gratitude. 

I can’t say I’ve completely perfected this, but yoga and meditation have really helped me tremendously. Breathing, stretching, strengthening, clearing the head, allowing yourself time to just be. It’s amazing. I like to start with a simple gratitude meditation that basically involves thinking about 10 things you’re grateful for that day. It can be anything (specific or general) from your family, and friends, to having a roof over your head and hot water, to taking quiet time for yourself, to your job. I find that when I feel grateful for basic things, that many people in the world may not have, I feel a hell of a lot less stressed out about the little things. Finding yourself grateful for something or someone that was perhaps stressing you out a few moments ago is also a great perspective change. Also, you can do yoga or meditation easily on the road or if you only have a few minutes.

Make time for family and friends. Even if it means chatting on the way to or from the office, meeting for a quick cup of tea, or scheduling time way in advance for dinner plans. It takes effort, but do it. Also, I try to take a technology break one day a weekend and certainly while on vacation. If you’re not comfortable completely unplugging, turn off your data/roaming settings so you don’t get emails on your mobile for that time, only urgent calls or texts. 


Q: What is your “secret” to success? OR What are the most important actions you take that make you successful?

A: In business and specifically in marketing, we’re always talking about ROI and the importance of proving it. Well, do that for yourself and your team.

What I’ve found to be really impactful is to quantify and qualify your efforts, accomplishments, and contributions. Keep an ongoing list throughout the year and review it monthly or quarterly. It will do several things:

1) Make you proud of what you’ve achieved (especially when you’re having those days when you feel behind).

2) Keep you on track of your goals.

3) It may help you reset/re-prioritize what you or your group are focusing on if there are items in there that don’t seem to be moving the needle.

Girl of the Month - Mari Kim Novak, SVP of Global Advertising Solutions, Rubicon Project

Hi ladies!

Happy New Year! We had so much fun with many of you at The Ipsos Girls’ Lounge @ CES. 

Our 4th “Girl of the Month” is Mari Kim Novak. Congrats on your new position! You are one of our favorite girlfriends! 

Q: In your career, what is the best piece of advice you were ever given thus far?

A: To always ask “why” before answering a question. I have learned that understanding the “why” and the bigger picture to questions and situations allows your answer to be stronger and changes your answer from a choice (yes or no) to a strategic decision.

Q: What is the best decision you have made throughout your career?

A: To follow my heart and join companies and accept positions that were exciting, that were personally interesting to me, and that made me learn new things and perhaps most importantly, forced me to think differently.  

Q: What is your advice to having a healthy and successful work-life balance?

A: My advice is to realize that it is impossible to have balance and to always ask for help when needed. Also, it is important to realize that most women feel the same guilt that you feel every now and then, when you just cannot pull off being in two places at once. But never stop trying!

Q: What is your “secret” to success?

A: Be nice to people…it goes a long way! Also, never stop being curious, asking questions and trying to improve things.

Q: What do you believe will be the most important and rising trend in the media industry this upcoming year?

A: I think this year’s trend and area of importance will be automating the buying and selling of advertising. I have just joined Rubicon Project in late 2013, so I am putting my money where my mouth is, and looking forward to an amazing year.  

Girl of the Month - Dee Salomon, CMO, MediaLink

Hi Ladies!

Our 3rd “Girl of the Month” is Dee Salomon, MediaLink’s newly appointed CMO - congrats Dee!

Q: What makes you a girls’ girl? 

A: Not only am I a girls’ girl, but I’m also quite a girly girl. What does this mean for someone in her fifties? (To be clear, it does not make me a womanly woman!) I entered the workforce on the heels of the Feminist movement, when the notion that a woman could succeed in a man’s world without sublimating her femininity was beginning to germinate. I never wanted to be the woman in the power suit; it’s probably in part what drove me away from investment banking after six years and into the fashion and publishing industries—it made for a much more interesting closet! You see; a girly girl.

I remain fascinated by women who are able to find success without compromising who they really are and I cannot say that this has always been true for me. Permission to think deeply about what would be a soul-satisfying career was not part of my heritage.

Now, in an environment where we don’t even know what kind of jobs will exist 5 years from now given the velocity of technological and economic change, there seems little downside risk for our sons and daughters to explore and create their destiny in a more deliberate and thoughtful way. And digital tools exist to help them explore their options.

And I have come to realize that satisfaction (better than success!) may not always come from what you do but rather how you go about doing it. Angela Ahrendts gave a TED talk earlier this year about energy as a management tool to ‘achieve extraordinary things.’ This is a risky angle for a CEO of a public company—she was not talking about oil, gas or solar. She was talking about the power of positive human energy. Now here is a girl’s girl! 

Q: What is your power?

A: My power is the ability to apply creative thinking to business challenges and business reality to creative challenges. I have relied on that skill in all of my jobs— in banking, publishing, fashion, and now at MediaLink.

At MediaLink we work on many different kinds of assignments for many different kinds of companies. This has allowed me to discover capabilities that I may have always had but never had the opportunity to recognize.  While I am a skilled marketer, I never understood that I am particularly good at synthesizing information into formats that are easy to understand and from which insight and value can be extracted. Creating organizing principles for massive amounts of information turns out to be a pretty handy skill in our business.

Q: What do you believe will be the most important and rising trend in the media industry this upcoming year? 

A: This year I have been writing about Content Tech – the industry that is growing on the back of content marketing to help with the creation and distribution of content in its many formats. As people become clearer about the components of successful content marketing, the conversations around its growing popularity will help to distinguish brand and product promotion from worthy content brought to you from a brand. We got a glimpse of this a few weeks ago when the FTC held a conference on the topic of content marketing and its appropriate labeling to protect consumers from the ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ that is advertising disguising itself as content.

Good content created by brands is not necessarily the same thing as branded content. It’s a distinction that I believe will get more traction as brands develop the skills that were once the purview of journalists. 


Girl of the Month - Gail Tifford, Senior Director of Media, North America, Unilever

Hi Everyone! 

We are excited to feature our 2nd “Girl of the Month,” Gail Tifford. Gail is the Senior Director of Media for North America at Unilever and a true girls’ girl.

Q: What makes you a girls’ girl?

A: The fact that I can get my children ready for school, put my make-up on, email my best friend and negotiate a multimillion dollar deal….all at the same time.

Q: What is the best decision you have made throughout your career?

A: Besides joining the Girls Lounge … coming back to Unilever. You cannot underestimate the culture of an organization – and it is important to be somewhere that has similar values to yours. Unilever has created a culture that allows me to balance both my work and my personal life.  And that is incredibly meaningful to me.

Q: What is your advice to other women about being a strong leader?

A: My advice would be that you can be strong and powerful, yet at the same time compassionate and kind.

Q: What is your advice for having a healthy and successful work-life balance?

A: Drink lots of wine! ;)

Q: What do you believe will be the most important trend in the media industry this upcoming year?

A: Brands as creators, not just advertisers.

“Women are always juggling multiple projects at once. All at the same time women are dealing with the health of their team, the happiness of the new mom on their team, work-life balance, and the kids at home. I think that we don’t ever have the luxury of being singularly focused.” - Kerry Tucker, EVP Brand Partnerships & Commercial Licensing, Martha Stewart Living 

Girl of the Month - Julie Thompson, Founder, juliethompsoninc

Hi Everyone! 

Every month we are going to highlight “Girls of the Month” from The Ipsos Girls’ Lounge. We are kicking off this new monthly feature with Julie Thompson (@juliethompinc). She is the founder of juliethompsoninc, an ad-world consultancy that connects startups and established brands with Madison Avenue. She’s known for creative and marketing partnerships that get real results, and career-long friendships that mean the most.


Q: What makes you a girls’ girl?

A: If you are not a girls’ girl it shows immediately, like a giant, red neon sign flashing, “I am deeply insecure, I lack self-esteem and I am threatened by you.” Girls’ girls are happy in others’ successes, rather than competitive and small-minded. It’s about inclusion. Girls’ girls constantly look to include, and not exclude, other women. They give credit where credit is due. Girls’ girls either are or they aren’t, and you know them when you see them.

That all said, being a girls’ girl can be a developed trait. Often, it’s just about awareness. We all went through regrettable stages in life where we didn’t look out for each other as we should have. But, you can make up for it in later life by realizing that your power comes from generosity, from opening your circle and your world to other women. Being gracious is free, and good karma does come back to you.

Being there for other women is increasingly important in our world, as our devolving civility is showcased on every reality show in vivid HD. With female-to-female bullying––both cyber and physical, with rising numbers of violent crimes toward women, with society’s increasing vote-others-off-the-island mentality… it is more important than ever to band together and support fellow women. It’s never been more critical to be a girls’ girl, and there should be no higher praise.

Q: In your career, what is the best piece of advice you were ever given thus far? 

A: “Be there and reach out when it’s the hardest.” It’s easy to be there when times are good. But, when someone you know has just been laid off or has had misfortune, make that phone call or message them somehow. Reach out. Let them know you will keep eyes and ears open for opportunities. When you are the most busy, find time to send your friend’s resume to 10 people. It still stings when I think of the people I didn’t do that for, and it still warms the heart when I think of when I did. It brought us closer, and built a loyalty that endures through time.

Q: Who is your power woman role model and why?

A: I know I could have picked Mother Teresa, or Gloria Steinem, or so many others. But it’s my sister, Ann. She’s in banking, and without fanfare or limelight-seeking, built a new multi-billion-dollar business for her employer that is now a gold standard for the industry. She’s incredibly smart, tenacious and competitive, but never at another’s expense. Whatever she has set out to do, personally or professionally, she’s done it. She’s got great energy, drive, humor and humility, and balances work, travel and raising kids like no one else I know. She is one of the best people I know on the planet, and the most powerful.

Q: What is your power? (are you a great listener? great at a making connections? etc.)

A: People like to call me a connector. But, I’ll never forget when a client said to me that I should really protect my relationships and not be so free with my introductions. She said that I was “giving my power away.” It gave me pause, but then I realized how short-sighted, yet intensely revealing, that was. That was her deep insecurity showing, like that flashing red neon sign. My power– and frankly, my joy––is in those very introductions that I make, in that inclusion, in that connection between entities and ideas. Don’t be precious or petty about your introductions. You don’t own other people. No one can ever take your relationships––built through time and experience––away from you.

Q: What advice would you give to other women working in the media industry?

First, do whatever you can to enable working moms. Let them work from wherever, whenever, however. Empower them to get their kids successfully out the door, into schools and onto their career paths so Mom can be present and contribute to our businesses. Don’t let them leave the workforce, and remember that this is all a point in time that’s temporary. That 9-year-old child’s recital is only today, only this month, only this year, and Mom needs to be there. Think big picture and help her be present.

Second, remember that the media universe is small, whether you are on Madison Avenue or in Silicon Valley, or any point in between. It seems vast but it’s actually a discrete universe, distinguished by the same players surfacing again and again in new roles at different companies. That boss you couldn’t stand at your first agency has now evolved into a future-focused leader at that cool, new start-up. People change and so do their jobs. Burning any bridge will leave you bridgeless in the end.

Third, remember that as part of that media universe we all have a larger responsibility. As Susan Credle of Leo Burnett just said regarding the privilege of working on Ad Council campaigns: It’s one thing to be held accountable for selling soap, soda or some other sundry product…but any time we put something out into the world, we should ask ourselves not only if it does a good job of selling a product or a company, but we should seriously ask, does the work deserve to live in our world? We not only have a responsibility to the bottom line of our companies but to the progress of humanity.”