Alumnae discuss leadership, marketing, and motherhood at YaleWomen event
While tennis fans followed the on-court action on the final day of the New Haven Open at Yale on Aug. 25, over 100 guests gathered off-court to hear two distinguished alumnae discuss the changing nature of the marketing industry and how to strike a healthy balance between work and family.
During the hour-long event, Susan Holden ‘84, chief financial officer (CFO) of Mother, Advertising Age’s Agency of the Year for 2010, and Linda Schupack ‘83, ‘92 M.B.A., executive vice president of marketing for AMC, shared anecdotes and lessons from their careers.
Holden emphasized the importance of networking for professional development, and explained that the secret to Mother’s success is a work culture that rewards risk and encourages collaboration. The award-winning agency takes this idea so seriously that it is reflected in the physical layout and organizational structure of the company, she noted. There are no closed offices, and work is organized around small teams of people with different skills. Every few months, she said, team members disperse to other parts of the office, where they form a new work unit with a different group of colleagues.
When asked what sets Yale apart from comparable global educational institutions, Holden said that one of the most remarkable things about Yale is the numerous opportunities that Yale students have to learn the habits of leadership.
At AMC, Schupack directs the network’s brand identity and the marketing campaigns for award-winning shows such as “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men,” and “The Walking Dead.”
An English literature major while at Yale, Schupack spoke about how she has relied on that strong foundation of writing throughout her career.
She explained that technologies like the DVR and social networks like Twitter and Facebook have dramatically altered television-viewing habits, and how the challenge for today’s marketers is to integrate these technologies in a way that “advances the story.” New technology, however, is no substitute for great content, Schupack said, adding that part of the reason her team has been so successful is because of the excellent work done by the talented people who work directly on the shows.
The women also addressed the challenge of juggling their careers with motherhood. Strategies they use include ensuring that they keep business trips short and making family a priority when negotiating terms of employment.
The event was jointly organized by the New Haven Open at Yale, the Yale Alumni Association and YaleWomen), a global network of Yale women alums committed to advancing women’s voices, and developing personal and professional relationships online and in-person.