AdForum.com recently interviewed IPNY Founding Partner and Creative Director Jill McClabb
“The industry is still a good ol’ boys club but women are beginning to break through the glass ceiling.”
Tell us about your role at IPNY:
As one of the five founding partners at IPNY, I feel very fortunate to be doing what I love everyday. Beyond my overall responsibilities as a Creative Director, I also oversee all of IPNY’s production, including anything from print to video. Building an agency from the ground up is a dream come true, but it means having to wear many different hats.
How did you first get into the industry? What was it like then versus now?
While pursuing a bachelor of fine arts the University of Texas, it became quickly apparent that I could be headed for a life as a starving artist or find another way to use my talent. So I began taking advertising/design/photography classes and discovered that the challenge of these art forms was exhilarating. Upon graduation I moved to New York, because at the time that was the place to be. And I’m still here.
Over the last decade or two the advertising industry has gone through dramatic changes, with digital being the biggest driver. Early in my career, the goal for every art director was a fantastic print campaign, now print is less and less a part of our business. OOH is still thriving as is TV but you have to be on top of digital innovation.
What are some of the challenges that women still face in the industry?
The industry is still a good ol’ boys club but women are beginning to break through the glass ceiling. When I first started in the business, women were not allowed to work on cars or beer accounts. Fortunately that has changed but there are still a lot of barriers to attaining top ECD roles at agencies. Some of it’s driven by clients and some by senior executives at agencies.
Tell us about a project or initiative you are working on. What do you hope to ultimately achieve?
We are working with a very exciting client that is focused on the issues surrounding the First Ammendment. The organization’s goal is to encourage civil discourse, as a way to move conversations away from hate reteroic. Additionally, we are looking to educate and inform citizens about what the first amendment means, so eveyone can live their freedoms more fully. What a grand project to work on! Nice to meld advertising with “for good”.
How does your office culture support women and creativity?
Despite having four other male partners, I can honestly say gender never plays any part in our decision making. We hire people by their talent, not their sex. I actually think advertising has been more welcoming to women than most businesses.
What professional achievement are you most proud of?
Launching The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society brand six years ago. They were an unknown charity at that time. But they did fantastic work in the area of blood cancer, both in terms of funding research and supporting people with the disease. The campaign launched with the line “Someday is Today” which perfectly captured the hope that defines cancer research today.
How do you plan to inspire the next generation of women?
The best way to inspire is to continue to do good work. Women have no where to go but up!