SEATTLE, WA (July 25, 2013) – Publicis Seattle hosted Women Who Rock, a panel discussion showcasing six of Seattle’s most successful businesswomen. The event, held at the agency, saw an amazing turnout. The entire office along with friends, clients, and other companies in our building gathered in the agency café for gourmet popcorn, adult beverages and an insightful panel discussion by area business leaders.
The impetus for the event came from a current exhibit of the same name on display at EMP Museum, one of the agency’s clients. Rather than focus on the women who have shaped the music world, Publicis Seattle’s event was a celebration of some of the most successful women running Seattle businesses with a focus on innovation, creativity and culture. The event began with a panel discussion and live audience Q&A and was followed by a curator-led tour of the actual EMP exhibit.
The event was moderated by Shireen Jiwan, Chief Investigator at Sleuth, and the panelists were:
Kimberly Harris – President and CEO, Puget Sound Energy
Halle Hutchison – Managing Director of Brand Management, Alaska Airlines
Renee Erickson – Chef/Owner, The Whale Wins, Boat Street Cafe and The Walrus and the Carpenter
Andrina Bigelow – CEO, Fran’s Chocolates
Amy Bohutinsky – CMO, Zillow
Jill Wenger – Founder and CEO, Totokaelo Design
The panelists gave their perspective on the challenges of business, the inspiration that Seattle gives them, the importance of being true to yourself and where you want to go in life. When Renee Erickson was asked about opening her own restaurant, she responded, “Buying a restaurant at 25 was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. It’s also the best thing I’ve ever done and changed my life forever.”
Halle Hutchison, who oversees Alaska Airlines’ product marketing, sponsorships, advertising and promotions noted, “Being a visionary is one thing. Being a control freak is another. Let the people around you be great, too, and you’ll all share in the successes.”
Andrina Bigelow, a successor to her mother, Fran, as CEO of Fran’s Chocolates spoke about what makes her a successful businesswoman: “We stay true to our mission, we always go back to that same goal. We will never compromise on quality, whether its packing, customer service, our retail stores, every single decision we make. Even if it means we could make a little bit more money by compromising and buying something a little cheaper, an ingredient that’s a little cheaper, going after a product category or segment that’s really popular, we just wont do it. And we’ve started out that way, and continue everyday to stay true to that mission and I think that’s been incredibly powerful for us in terms of success of the business.”
In closing, Jill Wenger offered some advice to the audience: “Let the rest of your peers settle. Be adventurous in your actions.” Another panelist, Amy Bohutinsky added, “I never really planned it this way, even five years ago I don’t know if I would have said ‘I want to be a CMO.’ If anyone’s ever read Sheryl Sandberg’s book, there’s a line it that says a career is a ‘jungle gym not a ladder’ and as long as you know the things you like to do and the things that make you passionate you can’t plan the exact path to get there. It takes just as much work to swing for the fences as it does to lay down a bunt. But only one of these approaches has the potential for greatness. Think about it.”
As an agency rooted in adventurous thinking, it made sense to bring together some of the most adventurous thinkers in the world of business, creativity and culture to share their perspectives. This was an opportunity for 200 of tomorrow’s leaders to listen and learn from some of the country’s most successful business leaders. Women Who Rock was the first in what will be a series of panels, roundtables and other creativity-inspired events hosted by Publicis Seattle, championing the ideas and principles that keep our industry and agency moving forward.
About Publicis Seattle
Publicis Seattle is an integrated marketing communications agency. The agency is part of Publicis Worldwide in the USA, the North American regional operating unit of Paris-based Publicis Worldwide and the largest global agency network within holding company, Publicis Groupe. The mission of Publicis Worldwide is “To Lead the Change” to help our clients leap ahead. Publicis Seattle clients include: T-Mobile, Eddie Bauer, Karcher, Les Schwab and Seabourn.