I started my career in advertising at the age of twenty-two. From the moment I entered the profession, I noticed an entry-level workforce of almost all women and executive leadership of almost all men. White men, of course. I also noticed very few people over the age of 40.
During my long career I have worked for five different agencies, some big and world renowned, others small and more boutique-like. These observations about gender and age held in each one.
Advertising is a boom and bust industry. After a new business win, agencies go on hiring sprees. After a client loss, agencies lay off workers. What would happen to me at the age of 50 if I was left standing without a chair when the music stopped?
In this world, there is one profession where white hair, age and experience amount to assets not liabilities. College professor.
Over eight long years, I chipped away at my doctoral degree to gain the qualifications to teach full time. I now teach marketing and communications in the MBA program for St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN.
My research focuses on the culture of ad agencies, a subject largely neglected by scholars. I provide a voice to an unstudied population on issues of critical importance to them and to me. This work empowers women to view the industry differently because as yet, only male researchers have delved into these topics and a female point of view has been sorely lacking. Until now.