“There is no greater gift you can receive than to honor your calling. It’s why you were born.” – Oprah Winfrey
In honor of Women’s History Month, we are recognizing some of the women whose calling has left a lasting impression on the marketing industry. We are proud to share extraordinary women who were born to revolutionize the industry and encourage gender equality.
Most commonly known for her world famous cosmetic company, Mary Kay Ash revolutionized direct sales. Ash left her sales job after the man she trained was promoted above her and awarded twice her salary. Her belief that pay should be based on skill, not gender, created the strong will that would later lead to one of the largest multi-level marketing firms in more than 35 markets with products exceeding $3 billion in sales worldwide.
Founder of Caroline Jones Advertising and the first black female Creative Director at J. Walter Thompson, Jones is another woman who worked her way up the ladder. CJA’s largest clients include the likes of Anheuser-Busch and Kentucky Fried Chicken, and her innovative campaigns will be remembered for years to come.
Langtry was once considered one of the most talented and beautiful women in the world. After she and her husband struggled with bankruptcy in the late 1800s, Langtry tried her luck on the big stage. Never looking back, she became one of the most revered actresses and musicians of the era. Her popularity caught the eye of a number of brands and led to what many say was the first celebrity endorsement. It’s hard to imagine companies like Cover Girl and Wrangler without a celebrity endorsing the product – or Chanel No. 5 without Marilyn Monroe for that matter. Lily Langtry’s ambition and charisma blazed the trail for female actresses to expand their presence beyond the stage.
Often referred to as the real Peggy Olson from Mad Men, Phyllis Robinson worked her way from the ground up. Phyllis’ dedication to her trade gained her respect from women and men alike. Her copywriting talent so revered, she helped break the barrier for women to work on more than just female-centric products. Former Esquire art director George Lois once stated Robinson was “the first great modern advertising writer,” and there is no doubt that she paved the way for gender equality in leadership roles within the marketing & advertising industries.
Looking to the future
What must it have been like for Lily Langtry starring in the first celebrity endorsement or Phyllis Robinson, working late nights to make a name for herself in an industry dominated by men? It can be hard to imagine now, but even with the incredible lengths that these women accomplished, the fight isn’t yet over. This month, we celebrate all the women who have endeavored for equality…So, who will be this generation’s game changer?