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Shared Stories from the Annual Women in Advertising Event

At this year’s annual Women in Advertising event, hosted by Philly Ad Club, six powerhouse women in the advertising industry took the stage — and then brought the house down.

One by one, each of the panelists shared the path they took to success in PR, direct marketing, strategy, and other disciplines. Their anecdotes were both relatable and motivational, and their words of advice audibly resonated with the crowd in the room.

The panelists’ honesty and stories of overcoming professional (and personal) challenges left me feeling freshly inspired in my own career — both as it stands now and in the future.

In the days after the panel, those words of wisdom have still been echoing in my head. If you didn’t make it to this year’s Women in Advertising event (or if you were there and just want a refresher), read on for some of my favorite pieces of advice from the night.

Have resilience.

Professional resilience is a powerful skill, and each of the panelists touched on moments where resilience took them to the next level in their career.

Meredith Avakian-Hardaway, Director of Communications and Marketing, Philadelphia Bar Association, kicked off the discussion by describing how personal obstacles never kept her from her professional duties (even if it meant attending meetings in crutches).

Later in the night, Annie Heckenberger, Vice President, Group Director, Brand Communications Strategy, Digitas Health, shared her own advice on bouncing back from professional obstacles. In the case of doubt from others, especially due to gender —work even harder and become even better because, as Annie put it, “Great work is the best revenge.”

Stay social.

Thanks to social media, we have an unprecedented level of connectedness with the rest of the world. Keeping up with social media is a key part of being in our industry, but there’s still immense value in face-to-face interactions.

Lisa M. Miree-Luke, Head of Corporate Affairs/Communications, Axalta, emphasized the importance of women determining “a sphere of influence” through mentors, mentees, and professional allies who you respect and trust. These are the peers who can build you up, lead you to new opportunities, and provide an honest outside perspective. This kind of feedback can help gut-check your career decisions and prevent you from getting stuck in your ways.

Caroline Kennedy, President, Karma Agency, summed it up perfectly with this sweet and simple advice: “Find those who challenge your assumptions.”

Face your monsters.

Professional monsters come in all forms: a destructive coworker, an unappreciative supervisor, plain old self-doubt, and more. Whatever shape your monster takes, the key is recognizing it rather than hiding from it. Renee Mezzanotte, Executive Vice President, Client Services, DMW Direct, shared her advice on how to do it: “Each of us faces a challenge, but opportunity is based in how you respond to it. Embrace it and then move forward.”

One such monster for many is the risk of a big career change. Whether asking for a significant promotion, getting ready to leave a job, or even wanting to start your own business, the fear of the unknown can be consuming.

Anne A. Buchanan, President and Founder, Buchanan Public Relations, L.L.C, took that risk when she successfully founded her own PR firm, and hasn’t looked back since. Her words of advice for fellow females were straightforward: “The key to taking a professional leap is to stop being afraid.”

These were just a few of the empowering takeaways from the Annual Women in Advertising event. You can get a full recap of the night here.

What were some of your favorite moments? Let us know on Twitter @QuattroPhilly.

Sarah Falchuk

Digital Marketing Manager

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