Recap: 2017 GenNext Awards
By She Runs It
by She Runs It Member Monica Song
The 2nd Annual She Runs It GenNext Awards ceremony was fun, inspiring, and an encouraging indicator of how young women in media and marketing are leading the future of our industry. In partnership with Forbes, this year’s event took place in the Forbes on Fifth event space – it was a great night of networking and celebrating these amazing 2017 Honorees:
• Annie Elliott, Associate Creative Director at RPA
• Abi Evans, Managing Director, US Business Development at McGarryBowen
• Lauren Fitzgerald, Managing Director at The Mom Complex
• Elav Horwitz, Global Innovation Director at McCann Worldgroup
• Nazanin Jazayeri, Director, Marketing Sciences North America at Mindshare
• Kelly McCormick, Creative Director at CP&B
• Rachel Mercer, SVP, Head of Digital Strategy & Invention at Deutsch
• Meg Rushton, Vice President, Brand and Communications at The Ad Council
Lynn Branigan, President & CEO of She Runs It, opened the ceremony. After welcoming everyone to the event and thanking the Young Executive board members for organizing this event, Jenny Rooney, Editor of the Forbes CMO Network, moderated interviews with the GenNext recipients.
Before bringing the winners to the stage for a quick Q&A, we played a video asking each woman: What is your greatest accomplishment thus far?
Q: How has travel and language defined you?
A: “I lived in Brazil and I am now fluent in Portuguese. Learning a second language feel like a rebirth because you’re learning everything for the first time. As a perfectionist, it was a very humbling experience. You can’t be afraid to make a mistake. Traveling has made me more empathetic to other people and taught me to live in the present moment.”
Q: What has getting an MBA done for you and your career?
A: “Having an MBA gives you options for the future. It widened my vision to other aspects of the business world, gave me exposure to new topics, and enriched the way I approach my job.”
Q: What drives you?
A: “Impact is so important to me – it is the third metric. To understand the third metric, ask yourself: if money and power are not the driving forces, what is? For me, it is impact. At The Mom Complex, my team of women and I work every day to makes the lives of mothers better, and that impact drives me.”
Q: Can you tell us more about the ‘tech break lunch series’ that you launched?
A: “I started organizing lunch breaks where we talk about technology because I wanted to teach the people around me about data. Everyone should be excited about data and machine learning because it is the future.”
Q: Who would be your dream mentor?
A: “Sheryl Sandberg because there are challenges as the technology landscape changes, and we should focus on the human first. Technological advances should not be innovation for innovation’s sake, innovation should consider the human impact and how it can make people’s lives better.”
Q: Do you have any advice for female creative directors in ad agencies?
A: “Be fearless and trust your gut. Don’t fear failure or look to your supervisors for the answers, dig deep and fight for what you believe in. Look to yourself for the answers.”
Q: What does curiosity look like?
A: “Ask why? and question everything. This is what it feels like to be a designer and a strategist, you have to question everything.”
Q: Can you tell us about the importance of philanthropy to you?
A: “It can be difficult to achieve social good with your work. What I love about my job at The Ad Council is narrative storytelling and the opportunities I have to make a difference. What I’ve learned is that you can make a difference for society no matter where you are.”
We closed the award reception by playing another video asking each of the honorees: If your coworkers could describe you in one word, what would it be?
Special thanks to the She Runs It Young Executives and Events Committees for organizing the 2nd Annual GenNext Awards, our in-kind sponsor – Forbes, and Townhouse for editing the video content.