A Million Dollar Lift for Women - She Runs It
Thought Leadership

A Million Dollar Lift for Women

By Lynn Branigan

Despite a federal loan pause during the pandemic, student loan balances have continued to increase in the US, rising to $1.73tn in 2021. The heartbreaking reality of educational loan debt is that it comes due at a critical time in people’s lives, just as they are starting to build a career. The domino effect of the loan burden can prohibit people from buying a home or a car, starting a family, saving for retirement, starting a business, and contributing to charities to help others.

In 2012, the She Runs It Foundation Board decided to make a difference in the lives of rising stars in marketing and media by eliminating a portion of their student loans. The checks were not always large, often $10,000 or so, but they were big enough to close a gap, make a dent, or eliminate arrears. By making individuals “current” with their debt obligations, the grants redefined the starting point for the recipients on their journey to success.

This year She Runs It will write 17 more checks, including our 113th check, to deserving members of the She Runs It community. These checks will push our total historical contribution past the $1 million mark. We are proud, and we are honored to help lift so many with this valuable member benefit.

I knew we would get to this point eventually, but the milestone was achieved at an accelerated pace in the past two years thanks to two factors: the single-minded determination of Jacki Kelley, who has been our Foundation Board Chair since 2019, and our Corporate Alliance Partners, who have stepped up in amazing ways to support us throughout the pandemic.

We are delighted to celebrate International Women’s Month by distributing 17 checks to women who have contributed to our community and the industry, and who have remarkable intentions to contribute even more. This group will comprise the loan relief class of 2021, and they will meet several times during 2022 to nurture a network and work together on a project to help enrich She Runs It. We will celebrate these recipients during a dedicated event on March 8, coinciding with International Women’s Day. Please see the events page of our website to register.


Congratulations to the 2021 She Runs It Loan Relief recipients:

  1. Cameron Arnette, Senior Art Director, Energy BBDO
  2. Jennifer Clarke, VP Strategy Director, BX Practice Lead, dentsu
  3. Kristen Cleghorn, Associate Creative Director, dentsu
  4. Nicole Ferrara, CNN Client Success Manager, WarnerMedia
  5. Dominique Galipo, Coordinator, Ad Sales Marketing, ViacomCBS
  6. Rawan Haroun, Marketing Manager and Head of Global Events, Channel Factory
  7. Erica Jennifer Horowitz-Short, Associate Director, Content Collective, Omnicom Media Group
  8. Ruth Hubbard, YouTube Strategy and Insights Manager, Google
  9. Brittany Johnson, Associate Director, Content, Spark Foundry
  10. Nicole Kazan, Account Supervisor, Energy BBDO
  11. Bianca Lev-Mathias, Connections Supervisor, Social Media, YMLY&R
  12. Briana Marino, Current Series Animation Manager, ViacomCBS Media Networks
  13. Ashley Morrissey, Marketing Reporting Lead, Central HQ, IBM
  14. Claire Sullivan, Sales Planner, AMC Networks
  15. Samantha Thiessen, Senior Art Director, Arc Worldwide
  16. Molly Voska, Marketing Manager, Captura Group
  17. Maria Wright, Senior Consultant, Marketing, Transformation and Insights, Deloitte