Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Moment

Being Named CEO

Being Named CEO

More From Shelly

In this video

Lazarus talks about the very unexpected moment that she was told she was being named Ogilvy CEO.

Shelly's Biography

Cause of Choice: WWF
Childhood Ambition: “[Becoming] a wife and a mother.”
Madwoman Role Model: Mary Wells, “who founded her own agency, who was respected by everyone, who was glamorous, who was creative … she was this mythic figure to me … I always used to think, ‘Now what would Mary do?’"
Most Meaningful Advice Received: From David Ogilvy who said, "It's always and only about people."

In her 40-plus years at Ogilvy & Mather, Shelly Lazarus went from frequently being the only woman in the room, to being the woman running the show at the global advertising giant.  Lazarus graduated from Smith College in 1968 and earned an MBA from Columbia University, where she was one of only four women in her class.  After a short stint as a product manager at Clairol, her passion for marketing and brand building led her to Ogilvy & Mather, making her one of few women in the ad industry at that time, particularly on the accounts side.   
Lazarus subsequently spent two years in Dayton, Ohio, where her husband, a pediatrician, was stationed in the Air Force.  While there she headed a division at a local department store and began raising the first of her three children.  Returning to Ogilvy in 1976, she shot up the corporate ladder and formed a close relationship with the firm’s legendary founder, David Ogilvy. When Ogilvy’s first female CEO & Chairman, Charlotte Beers, stepped down in 1996, Lazarus stepped up.  She took the helm of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and remained there for over a dozen years, formally turning over the reins as CEO in 2009, and as Chairman in 2012.
 
Her signature impact at the global advertising giant has been clear branding, close client relationships, and being at the vanguard of integrated marketing campaigns for the digital age. She has overseen advertising campaigns for American Express, Coca-Cola, IBM, Dove and Nestlé, among others. Her numerous accolades and  honors include being the first woman to receive Columbia Business School’s Distinguished Leader in Business award and being consistently ranked amongst Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women in Business.”

Related Videos

Lauri Burns
Lauri Burns
Teen Advocate

Lauri Burns is founder of the Teen Project, a non-profit organization that provides support for teens transitioning out of foster care. Having grown up in turmoil and abuse, Burns ...

Genevieve S. Brown
Genevieve S. Brown
Urban Revitalization Pioneer

Genevieve S. Brown has been called “one of the architects of the New Bronx.” She was a driving force behind the urban revitalization that helped rescue the borough from...

Jenette Kahn
Jenette Kahn
First Female Comic Book Executive

Kahn served as publisher and then president of DC Comics, where she helped the company grow from 35 people (with three women, including herself) to 250 people with women representi...

Cherríe Moraga
Cherríe Moraga
Writer & Playwright

Cherríe Moraga is a playwright, poet, and essayist whose plays and publications have received national recognition for her unique and personal perspective as a Chicana/Anglo...