Women in Advertising 2018, Marina Filippelli

"As we begin to see more diversity at the higher levels, we also see representation in the work itself."

Marina Filippelli
COO and Director of Client Services Orci

Perspectives: Women in Advertising 2018

Tell us about who you are and what your job title is?
I consider myself a bit of a hybrid in all aspects of life. I am bilingual and bicultural, having grown up in Latin America and in the US, I am also a working mom, committed to both providing the best of me at work and at home with my son. My career has also straddled two worlds, having spent time in advertising agencies as well as production companies, supporting commercials and films. So in some ways, it's no surprise that my job title today is also a hybrid. As COO and Director of Client Services, I head up client management at the Orcí agency while also playing a role in the operation and management of the agency as a whole.
Was there a job you had at one point, outside of advertising, that prepared you most for success later in life?
My years on set working in production in both film and TV prepared me for success in an unexpected way. When I first went into film, I thought it would help me grow creatively and while it definitely did that, it also helped me see the role that structure and process have on creativity. Film sets move at a rapid pace, so decisions have to be made quickly and definitively. The structure and admittedly strict process that you follow on a film set in many ways allow a large team of people who typically don't know each other, to come together in sometimes stressful situations and make those important and timely creative decisions.
What do you see as being the biggest change in the advertising industry since women have begun to break the “glass ceiling”?
As we begin to see more diversity at the higher levels, we also see representation in the work itself. There are more voices in the room that can say, "Is this campaign representative of our country and our culture, or could we be doing a better job in that area?"

I think for many women, even at high levels, there is still a sense of having to carefully watch how they are perceived in negotiations, when making decisions or when giving feedback, in a way that men don't experience. There is still, in my view, a bias in how people perceive a strong, confident and opinionated man versus a similarly strong, confident and opinionated woman, and this sets women up to have to question themselves more than men do.
From Like A Girl to Fearless Girl, a raft of advertising campaigns have set out to empower women. How do you feel about these campaigns? Can they change attitudes within the industry?
I love them! I think these campaigns are absolutely necessary toward changing the way we think and making us question our biases. I don't believe any single campaign will ultimately change attitudes in this industry, but I do believe that by continuing to bang on that drum, we will see a consistent change-one fearless girl (and boy) at a time.
How have the recent #MeToo and #TimesUp movements played out in the advertising sector? Are they making a significant impact?
I've only recently seen these movements start to take hold in the advertising space. The reality is that most people don't want to talk about uncomfortable issues like race and gender equality, not to mention sexual harassment, but it does seem like questions are being asked and changes are being made at agencies around the world. And I'd say that's a good thing. We seem to be moving toward equal opportunities, equal pay and equal treatment, which are all things we've waited a long time for.
Initiatives such as Free The Bid are trying to create more opportunities for women in advertising. But what could be done at a more grass roots level to attract women in the first place?
To me, part of the answer is always representation. When you choose your career path as a young woman, it helps tremendously to see that other women have successfully done what you want to do. When women from my generation were growing up, there were very few female directors and in some way, that probably influenced our choices. I think creativity in the vein of the "Like a Girl" campaign is a great way to continue to break stereotypes and allow women to see themselves how they really are.
Can you reflect on a mentor that helped guide you in your career and tell us what made them special?
My mentor in advertising was one of the best strategic thinkers I've ever worked with and had an uncanny ability to challenge teams to create great work that helped drive business, while not losing sight of the importance of creativity. I am grateful for the time we worked together as it taught me to think critically and always push myself to go beyond the expected.
How do you as a successful woman plan to inspire the next generation of women? In a few words, what advice do you have for women entering the advertising industry?
My hope is that new generations of women in advertising won't question whether there is a place for them in leadership teams because it will be taken for granted. Until then, I plan to keep talking about this and supporting women to push themselves to achieve their goals. My advice to young women is to never stop asking questions and to never be afraid to give their opinion.
Marina Filippelli
COO and Director of Client Services Orci