A couple weeks ago, New York City played host to Advertising Week where droves of advertising, marketing, brand, and technology industry folk jetted around the city to network with, learn from, and liaise with the best in the business. Ad Week is comprised of panels, seminars, concerts, and workshops that highlight and celebrate the incredible work of our industry. From the Liberty Theatre, Gotham Comedy Club, to Webster Hall, the venues for this year’s programs were just as diverse as the content.
I attended THRIVE with Arianna Huffington, a discussion-based panel about work-life balance and how to keep employees happy and healthy. Huffington interviewed charismatic entrepreneur and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban, and moderated a panel with 5 awesome women at the top of their industries: Ellyn Shook, Chief Leadership & Human Resources Officer at Accenture; Joanna Coles, Chief Content Officer at Hearst; Carolyn Everson VP, Global Marketing Solutions Facebook; Lori Lee, Senior Executive Vice President and Global Marketing Officer AT&T; and Bethenny Frankel, CEO and Founder of Skinnygirl (and also famous Housewife of NYC).
The panel discussed the cultural shift in the workforce that prioritizes work-life balance and recharging as a tool to increase and maintain inspiration and productivity in the workplace. For those who couldn’t attend, here are a few fun takeaways.
“No Balls, No Babies”
At the beginning of his interview with Arianna, Mark Cuban shared one of his favorite sayings about finding success in business, “No Balls, No Babies”. While perhaps a little crass, I loved how Mark’s quote defines his view of success and what it takes to thrive. He elaborated on the phrase: “You have to show up. No matter how many times you fail; you have to succeed just once. If you don’t have the balls, you can’t get the babies.” In a room full of young professionals, many of whom deal with mini-failures in their everyday work, it was great to hear him openly discuss how it is okay to stumble, and how risky decisions are often accompanied by big rewards.
“Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast”
This quote is originally attributed to Peter Drucker, but was repeated by Carolyn Everson in her discussion of how she leads company culture at Facebook. Carolyn explained that companies need to consider people their most important assets. At Facebook, she manages her team holistically, ensuring that her employees are fulfilled outside of work, as well as inside the office. She believes that no matter how good your strategies and products are, if the people surrounding them aren’t happy, success won’t be sustainable. This concept was particularly exciting for me. It’s encouraging to know that enormous companies like Facebook are leading the charge on keeping their employees truly content in their work spaces.
Binge-eating Oreos in a hotel in India
One of the most visually delightful anecdotes came from Ellyn Shook of Accenture. She was describing her new wellness blog and how important it is to not only show healthy behavior, but also to share the low moments. On a weeklong business trip to India, she retired to her hotel room, exhausted from the travel and the day’s work. She came back from a big Indian dinner and looked down to realize that somehow she had eaten an entire sleeve–about 10 Oreos–in one sitting. She took a picture of this moment and posted it to her wellness Instagram to remind her followers that sometimes, you can falter a bit. No one is perfect, and balancing the good and the not-so-good simply makes you human.
The Repeats Rule
After a discussion about the double standard in professional dressing norms, Arianna shared her seemingly bold idea of a cultural shift around women’s clothing. She said she wanted to start a trend of repeats, where women are not just excused from but expected to repeat their work clothing at events. This moment stuck out to me because even women with the access to unlimited fashionable clothing feel the pressure of “looking the part.” This felt like a promising shift towards devaluing the things women put on their bodies and transferring that focus onto their actions and words.
I enjoyed Advertising Week 2016, and I’m excited to see what next year brings to town!