Big Boss Man Woman

Ad Age released its list of 2008 Women to Watch in advertising, marketing and media.
Two of the women I took note of are Karen Kaplan and Pam Hamlin, president of Hill Holiday and Arnold, respectively.
Kaplan’s rise is particularly noteworthy.

In an industry where shop hopping is the norm, Karen Kaplan has ascended from receptionist to agency president in the past 26 years all under the same roof. To boot, she lives in the same ZIP code where she grew up, in North Boston, with her husband of 25 years, a son and a daughter.
She joined Hill Holliday in 1982 with a B.A. in French literature from the University of Massachusetts. “The year that I spent on the reception desk proved to be very useful, because it was the perfect place to study people and figure out what I wanted to do next,” she says.
“She truly did it the old-fashioned way: She earned it,” says Jack Connors, chairman emeritus of Hill Holliday and Ms. Kaplan’s former boss.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.