…We felt incredibly thankful before Thanksgiving. But yesterday, as we eased back into work life after the holiday, we were greeted by news that made us feel luckier than ever.
Karen Kaplan, one of our favorite role models, has personally endorsed the mission of Boston GLOW and made a Title Sponsor contribution on behalf of Hill Holliday to demonstrate her support for the cause.
This is as much a coup for Boston GLOW as it is for me personally. In my first professional performance review, my boss told me the story of a woman who started at a Boston advertising agency as a receptionist and just two decades later, was the driving force behind its success, as President. My boss recounted the story to prove a point: no matter where I began my career (which was, in fact, at a reception desk), I could become a leader in this “man’s world” with enough tenacity and initiative. She presented a tangible example of a woman whose hard work and intelligence created opportunity for her - and implored me never to lose my drive to succeed, no matter where I started.
Today, Karen Kaplan still serves as President of Hill Holliday, Boston’s biggest advertising agency, and is credited for growing their annual billings to over $1 billion. Regularly identified as one of Boston’s most powerful people and a key player in the advertising industry on a national level, there is no doubt Karen is a fierce presence in the boardroom. But beyond that, she is a generous philanthropist and beloved leader of charitable work in the Boston community.
Her contributions have been widely recognized – she is President of the Massachusetts Women’s Forum, a chapter of the International Women’s Forum, an international non-political organization of pre-eminent women leaders worldwide. She is a recipient of the Pinnacle Award from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, honoring business and professional women who have demonstrated excellence in entrepreneurship, management, and lifetime achievement and was inducted into the YWCA Boston’s Academy of Women Achievers. She serves as a Director of the Executive Committee of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and as a member of numerous boards including the Board of Governors of the Chief Executives’ Club of Boston and serves on the board of the Massachusetts Conference for Women.
In 2009, Karen shared her story with the Boston Globe, speaking frankly about starting a career in the midst of back-to-back recessions and her atypical climb to the top. “I think being confident and optimistic is so important. You have to be really open to continuous improvement. You have to be curious, open and empathetic. These days, in particular, you have to be really versatile.” Her work ethic was not an unimportant factor in her success. “I just think if you're willing to outwork everyone else, it's not very hard to do, frankly. From the very beginning, I thought, ‘If I work one more hour a day and a couple of hours on the weekend, I'll pass people who have a 10-year head start on me.’"
Karen embodies everything that Boston GLOW stands for. Hill Holliday is also an ideal partner for Boston GLOW – beyond their impressive portfolio of clients and creative work, the organization is recognized for its support of women’s advancement and efforts to create a fair and happy workplace. HHCC is continually ranked in the top five best companies in Massachusetts for women and diversity. A staggering 65% of Hill Holliday employees are female.
We are elated to have Karen’s personal support and sponsorship from one of Boston’s greatest companies. We have much to be grateful for, even after Thanksgiving!
Can’t wait to see what comes next...