Who are the powerful administrative assistants behind the best advertising agencies? Alexandra Bruell gives you a behind-the-scenes look at five powerful ad agency admins.
• Mama Jo of Razorfish. A former go-go dancer, Mama Jo has worked the front desk for 17 years and has a knack for knowing when an employee is unhappy. Her nurturing nature is what landed her the nickname Mama Jo, and keeps the young employees seeking her advice and counsel as their workplace mama.
• Jay Bennett of Havas Media. Funnyman Bennett is an executive assistant whose humor has landed him in an array of interesting jobs, including with Dr. Ruth Westheimer and drag queen Divine. His ability to keep things light is what makes him such a powerful asset at the serious French company.
• Julie Garner of The Martin Agency. Garner views herself as the “bratty little sister” of company Chairman John Adams. But it’s Garner’s loyalty and beyond-the-call-of-duty service (think driving through a hurricane to assist with a presentation) that has led to additional titles, including executive manager and vice president. When she’s not cooking up delicious food for the company’s top brass, she can be found focusing on her nonprofit, Project Yellow Light.
• Sodavy “Davee” Ek of Colle & McVoy. Ek doubles as a receptionist at Colle & McVoy by day and the fashion director for the annual I Am Minneapolis fashion and variety show by night. She bridges the two worlds by providing co-workers with fashion advice and has even had the opportunity to style the Colle & McVoy CEO for a magazine cover.
• Juan Santos of McCann. As a lobby guard, Santos isn’t your ordinary security staff. Santos has made a name for himself by playing dress-up for the company’s pitches, including as a postman for a U.S. Postal Service pitch and a ship’s captain for another. The company now makes Santos a star in their cultural videos.
— Adapted from “Meet the Admins of Adland: Here’s Who Really Makes Mad Ave Run,” Alexandra Bruell, Advertising Age.