Perspectives: Women in Advertising: Jennifer Dougherty, EVP, Director of New Business- Americas at Proximity Worldwide.
In honor of International Women’s Day, AdForum is showcasing the achievements of women in advertising in the month of March through a series of interviews. We would like to thank Jennifer Dougherty, EVP, Director of New Business-Americas at Proximity Worldwide, for taking the time to offer her thoughts and reflect on her career.
AdForum: How would you describe the current overall culture at your agency? How would you describe the culture among your female colleagues and what are the differences?
Jennifer: I feel very lucky to be a part of Proximity because we have an amazing culture with an emphasis on inclusiveness. It’s a tight-knit team that has worked together for years.
The community among my female colleagues specifically is much stronger than what I’ve experienced in the past. There’s such an emphasis on women being inclusive and supportive of one another. I see female managers continually looking for people on their team with great potential and giving them the room to run ahead. It’s a very empowering environment.
AdForum: What do you see as being the biggest change in the advertising industry since women have begun to break the “glass ceiling” into Sr. Executive level positions? What are some of the challenges that still exist for women in reaching the upper echelon of management?
Jennifer: It seemed like the first round of females to break into the top echelon were playing the male game. But as more women break through, the culture has evolved to allow women to be themselves. There’s no need to try and fit into the “boys club.” With that, there’s more of an importance placed on flexibility for family time, career development, understanding and empathy.
The challenges that exist are the same as they have always been. Often times the bar is higher for women because we’re women.
AdForum: What do you consider the biggest personal achievement in your career that still fills you with the most pride?
Jennifer : My biggest achievement has always been bringing people up in the industry. People that were on my team years ago are now running other agencies and global accounts. I love seeing my teammates surpass me.
AdForum: How do you find the best work-life balance to help you stay productive and creative at work and to help you live a happy, sane life outside of the office?
Jennifer: It’s hard, but I am lucky to work in an agency that makes this a priority. As I’ve grown in the organization and gained more responsibility, the only way to manage is to set priorities that include both work and non-work. There are some days when work has to take a back seat. And what I’ve come to understand is that in the long run, this actually makes me better at my job. It also makes me a better manager because I can model a healthier balance for my team.
AdForum: Can you reflect on a mentor that helped guide you in your career and tell us what made them special?
Jennifer: My first female boss has continued to mentor me through my career. She told me to never accept the status quo. She encouraged me to be myself and not always try to fit in. She taught me to stand up for myself early in my career, at a time when women didn’t always do that for themselves. Perhaps most importantly she was a mother and taught me the importance of a work-life balance. She always encouraged me to take my vacations and focus on my family so I could be fully present at work.
AdForum: How do you as a successful woman in your industry plan to inspire the next generation of women? In a few words, what advice do you have for women entering the advertising industry?
Jennifer: This is a wonderful industry to learn and grow in. Pursue what makes you the happiest as you navigate through all of the opportunities that the advertising industry has to offer. Be curious from day one and know that you’re never through learning. This attitude will put you ahead of the pack very quickly.