Marketing legend Shelly Lazarus has been described as one of the most powerful executives in advertising and named one of the Top 50 Business Women. One of a mere handful of female graduates from Columbia University with an MBA in the early 1970s, Lazarus propelled herself through the corporate world to become chairman and CEO of the billion-dollar advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather. Shelly was way ahead of her time, stressing the need for balance between work and family life while simultaneously creating an integrated multimedia advertising giant that delivered results for brands. In our conversation, Shelly shares some of her memorable career war stories, and advice for today’s emerging advertising leaders. Join us!
"There’s nothing as powerful as authenticity. Think about the people you respond to and the people you admire. There is an element in authenticity in the center of all of it. If you keep to that view, the most successful and happy people in our industry are people who are comfortable in their own skin. That requires an acceptance of who you are and what you believe." Shelly Lazarus, Chairman Emeritus at OGILVY
About Marketing Legends
Marketing Legends, a series in the WVU Marketing Communications Today podcast, features marketing thinkers, innovators, practitioners and founders — legends of the marketing world — who will talk about their careers and share their wisdom with the marketers of today.
About our Guest
Shelly has been working, as she would say it, “In the business I love,” for more than four decades, almost all of that time at Ogilvy.
Shelly rose through the ranks of Ogilvy & Mather assuming positions of increasing responsibility in the management of the company, including president of O&M Direct North America, Ogilvy & Mather New York and Ogilvy & Mather North America. She was named worldwide CEO of Ogilvy & Mather in 1996 and Chairman in 1997. She became Chairman Emeritus in July 2012.
Shelly started at Ogilvy at a time when the agency’s legendary founder David Ogilvy still walked the halls, and personally preached that the purpose of advertising was to build great brands. Under Shelly’s leadership, that essential mission has remained the centerpiece of the company’s philosophy, extending across regions and marketing disciplines, and attracting some of the world’s largest and most respected brands including American Express, BP, Coca-Cola, IBM and Unilever among many others.
Shelly has been a frequent industry honoree. Advertising Women of New York selected Shelly as its Woman of the Year in 1994. She was honored by Women in Communications with their Matrix Award in 1995, was named Business Woman of the Year by the New York City Partnership in 1996, and Woman of the Year in 2002 by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). Shelly was the first woman to receive Columbia Business School’s Distinguished Leader in Business Award as well as the Advertising Educational Foundation’s (AEF) Lifetime Achievement Award. She was inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame in 2013 and is also a Hall of Fame member of the DMA, American Marketing Association and Crain's New York Business.
Shelly serves on the boards of several corporate, philanthropic and academic institutions: The Blackstone Group, Merck, Rockefeller Capital Management, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, World Wildlife Fund, Partnership for New York City, Lincoln Center, and the Board of Overseers of Columbia Business School, where she received her MBA in 1970. She served for five years as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Smith College, her alma mater. She is a member of Advertising Women of New York, The Committee of 200, Council on Foreign Relations, and Women’s Forum Inc. She has also served as Chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies.
Shelly is the wife of Dr. George Lazarus, a New York pediatrician, and mother to their three grown children.
Meet the Hosts
Cyndi W. Greenglass is a founding partner and president at Livingston Strategies, a data-informed, strategic consulting firm that helps clients develop, execute, and measure their customer communications with a close focus on results. Cyndi has razor-sharp strategic skills matched by impeccable on-the-ground savvy and tactical abilities. She is an Adjunct Instructor in the Data Marketing Communications online master's degree program from West Virginia University.
Greenglass has twice been named into the Top 100 Influential BTB Marketers by Crain’s BtoB Magazine and was the 2012 CADM Chicago Direct Marketer of the Year. She is a member of the Board of Advisors for BRAND United and has taught, trained and presented at over 50 conferences throughout the world.
Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, for business-to-business clients. Ruth serves on the boards of directors of the HIMMS Media Group, and the Business Information Industry Association. She is a trustee of Princeton-In-Asia, past chair of the Business-to-Business Council of the DMA, and past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York.
Ruth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain’s BtoB magazine, and one of 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. She serves as a mentor to fledgling companies at the ERA business accelerator in New York City.
WVU Marketing Communications Today: Marketing Legends is presented by the West Virginia University Reed College of Media, which offers renowned online master’s degree programs in Marketing Communications. Interested in growing your career with a master's degree in Data, Digital or Integrated Marketing Communications? Request more information today!