Watson To Lead AWNY
As it heads towards its 100th anniversary this October, Carol Watson, founder of Tangerine-Watson, has been elected president of the Advertising Women of New York.
Watson says her agenda is packed with new initiatives, including an effort to broaden the organization’s member services and a bid to have more of a national presence—while not losing sight of the group’s New York focus. She cites a wider presence given the increased globalization of the industry and need for people to move more frequently to gain career advancement.
“There’s increasing demand for members who have relocated outside of New York, and from people in other cities familiar with our organization,” said Watson. “We’re exploring how we might accomplish that.” Two cities on the radar include San Francisco and Atlanta.
Also high on the priority list is the centennial anniversary and putting together a number of events to celebrate, including an Advertising Week tie-in that will feature “A Day of Women” on Oct. 4 when many of the Advertising Week panels and other events will be led by women. That day will also feature an awards luncheon honoring the most influential women from the industry’s past, as well as those “carrying the baton moving forward,” said Watson.
The group is recruiting a number of sponsors to support its centennial events. Companies signing up so far include Google, OMD and Time Warner Cable Media. Some of the money from the sponsorships will go to a new education initiative. One facet of that effort is a loan repayment program, where AWNY members can apply for a $10,000 grant to help pay down student loan debt. Ten such grants will be available.
The group has also launched an aggressive recruitment drive with the objective of reaching 2,012 members in time for the centennial in October. Currently, AWNY has a record 1,700 members, up about 10% from a year ago.
The centennial is significant, says Watson, “when you think about what women have accomplished over the last 100 years. Having a career was difficult enough, much less being a CEO of a major company, which was probably unthinkable at the time.”
Almost by definition, the issue of diversity will be elevated under her regime, Watson said, noting that she is the first of 55 AWNY presidents to be a person of color. That said, the group’s members opted to step up its diversity efforts before Watson assumed the presidency. Last fall, it launched the AWNY Multicultural Alliance, which kicked off with a recruitment-networking event at Advertising Week 2011 co-sponsored by the CAB and other cable groups.
Later this month, Bloomberg will host an alliance event that will highlight findings from a major industry diversity study that Tangerine-Watson unveiled last month. It concluded that agencies still have work to do on the diversity front.
Watson has been an AWNY member for eight years and most recently served as vice president. She founded Tangerine-Watson in 2006. She began her career at ad agency Bates and went on to posts at Essence, The New York Times and Vibe.