An Exiting Agency CEO Looks Back on the Last 40 Years


By Lynn Fantom

Published on September 24, 2015.

lynn-fantomWhen I started in advertising, there was no guarantee that your job would still be yours after maternity leave. No law protected you against sexual harassment.

It was 1975, and my first job after graduating Phi Beta Kappa magna cum laude from Smith College was as a secretary at a prestigious publishing house in Boston. While I started out taking dictation and typing, my male counterparts from Yale got to write the book-jacket copy in the promotions department. And, the pay assumed I had a trust fund. I switched to the client side and three years later started ascending the ladder at Chicago and New York advertising agencies. By the late ’80s, I was running the New York office of a respected direct marketing agency. Although I was proud I had proven my prowess, I didn’t object when the agency’s head told me I could have the top job — but not the title — because clients wouldn’t feel comfortable with a woman at the helm.  Read article.