Women Are Smarter

Business Insider published a list of the 33 most creative women in advertising. Of course, it is a totally subjective list. I would make a different list and so would you. Be that as it may, there are some interesting aspects to this list.

For one, W+K’s ECD in Portland, Susan Hoffman, is ranked the #1 most creative woman in advertising, while W+K’s new Global Co-ECD, Colleen DeCourcy, earns but a #6 slot. Also, I didn’t realize that Kelly Diaz, #27, of Mother starred in the spot she wrote for Kotex. It’s not easy to work both sides of the camera, and she nailed it.


Sad to say, but I hadn’t heard of #33 Sara Rotman, founder of My Own Damn Company before. I like the name of her shop, so I did some research. Last summer, Forbes ran a compelling interview with Rotman, who specializes in fashion advertising. Here’s a slice:

Now that you’ve made it to $90 million in annual revenues and a client roster that has included Carolina Herrera, Tory Burch and Vera Wang, what’s different about being in charge vs. being an employee?

“The victories and failures are mine. I work constantly. I never don’t answer the phone. Some people are built as employees and some are built as entrepreneurs. I have a lot of wonderful employees who have no interest in making all of their friends also clients. Nine times out of ten I’m having dinner with a friend who’s a client. You have to commit your life to the job. Doing it for myself makes me feel great; doing it for someone else made me want to kill myself.”

There’s a lot of insight packed in to Rottman’s response. Some people are built to be entrepreneurs, while some function better as intrapreneurs. Knowing which one you are is essential. I know this about myself, I don’t want to work two weeks in the span of one, so that’s a leading indicator. Yet my disdain for agency egos, questionable practices and inelegant pocesses — and my conviction that I too can build a better mousetrap — tells me something else.



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.