Online All Stars: The Snake Charmer

Coleen Decourcy/Illustration: Molly Crabapple

Colleen DeCourcy Chief Digital Officer, TBWA

Since coming over from jtw in late 2007, Colleen DeCourcy has quickly distinguished herself at tbwa as a leading innovator and collaborator. With ample accomplishments to choose from as the agency's chief digital officer, DeCourcy cites her partnership with Omnicom sibling shop 180 to win Adidas' $40 million global digital account, and create Riot - a collective of digital creatives, project managers and planners. "It was a labor of love," she says of the undertaking. "It was a bet backed by hard, hard work and it paid off."

"Advertising at the speed of culture," is how DeCourcy describes a new approach that includes carving out units around clients, bringing the best talent to bear on the work, being nimble and strategic, selling solutions not headcount, and then passing those learnings back to the network.

"I've chosen to put my energy behind getting digital skills front and center at a big agency network," DeCourcy says. "We all know the hurdles that accompany that. The question becomes, 'OK, how am I going to get us over those hurdles as opposed to just identifying or managing them?'?"

The biggest challenge for DeCourcy and her peers is the idea of "ownership" of ideas and work. "It's an old idea that doesn't play to the strengths of the medium I choose to work in," she says. "The great leaders of this time will be the ones who know how to navigate past what was once the only sure way to make great work - the ownership of the work by a strong creative - and onto the only way to make great work in our current situation - the guidance of a great vision through many, many hands."

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