marcia-lorente-headshot-21Marcia Lorente, Deutsch’s SVP and Global Planning Director for Unilever, recently spoke with the WLN NY as part of the chapter’s Social Profile Spotlight project.

What hurdles have you overcome to get to where you are today?

My greatest hurdle was my own lack of confidence when facing lack of support within my organization. I signed up for advertising not Sunday choir. My advice to my younger self would be stop looking for external support, that will come when you least expect it, and you don’t need it to make your mark.

What are some qualities/traits in yourself that have helped you advance? What are some traits you see in men that help them advance that we can learn from?

I was always told I was too nice. It took me a while to recognize that is a good thing if you can take the blinders off and realize not everybody is or appreciates it. And accept that that’s okay. I think men care less about other people’s feelings. That’s good and bad. The ideal is to be empathetic without letting it get personal. And that takes work, it’s not gender-specific.

What characteristics in general make for strong leadership and are those harder for women to own?

Controlling emotion. It makes me sad when I see a woman behaving unprofessionally and then trying to justify it or cover it up. No one’s free from losing it. But when it happens to a woman it is the kiss of death because it feeds the cliché that we’re the weaker sex. A man will crack a joke about bad behavior and own it. I think women should learn from that.

What was the scariest/most intimidating moment of your career? How did you prepare for it?

I was caught in a gang crossfire in downtown San Juan, Puerto Rico with some clients. Nothing prepares you for that. I’ve just learned to be extra careful in my travels and do what locals tell me to do. If it’s sticking my face to the bottom of an SUV, so be it.

What would you tell your daughter if she were embarking on a career in Advertising?

You are crazy! I’m kidding. I’d be so proud. I’d advise her to never lose her sense of humor or her sense of self. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.