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 now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.