‘People have a lot to offer’: Exceptional Women of the World featuring Libby Brockhoff, Odysseus Arms

Libby Brockhoff, CEO of Odysseus Arms

Exceptional Women of the World is a podcast that highlights and celebrates the great achievements, lives and POV of amazing women throughout the world of advertising, marketing, digital, tech and creativity.

Libby Brockhoff, CEO of Odysseus Arms in San Francisco, is all about breaking convention and keeping ahead — resulting in penultimate moments in creativity, culture and even world affairs.

A few, in her impressive career so far, stand out. First, she, along with the other founders named a new agency in London “Mother,” with the intention of separating it from the male-dominated stereotypes. More recently, her leadership was front and center with her teams supporting both Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out story on NBC and activating President Obama’s arms trade treaty with Amnesty International.

As the CEO of the only Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) certified female-owned agency in San Francisco, it’s clear that Brockhoff places a great premium on ensuring that the world and brands fully understand her commitment to not only owning and running an agency, but inspiring others to be brave enough to do the same.

Bravery and fearlessness are a constant thread for Brockhoff. She fears nothing — especially large-scale work with daunting deadlines. One looks no further than a global Facebook project to motivate the workforce, at the behest of Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, to take up a good cause, that was to be delivered in less than 10 weeks. Or, YouTube’s massive first paid media campaign that had multiple deliverables on myriad platforms, and had to be completed in less than three months.

Part of the fearlessness may be borne from the rigor she learned at the University of Delaware — an advertising program, led by Ray Nichols, that preached the demands and rigor of day-to-day life and expectations in advertising. What was telling was Nichols’ appreciation for great icons and work in advertising’s past, not skipping over the many women who made meaningful contributions decades ago. To Brockhoff, the discipline, plus the opportunity to have female icons to aspire to, provided a prodigious foundation from which to work.

Brockhoff is not short of opinions and advice. Her “must list” is an eclectic blend of practical (learn to manage finances when you’re young) and creative (see Matthew Barney’s work at a modern art museum). She also believes that creativity and data can actually coexist, but should lean more toward the Moma (Museum of Modern Art) and less Madison Avenue.

Another must? More comedy in the work. (AMEN!!)

But the sage advice that is good for anyone in the industry, not just those breaking in, are around the simple skills: manners, interesting conversations, picking up the phone, doing homework and more. To Brockhoff, these are the things that really show what people really have to offer.

Listen to previous episodes of Exceptional Women of the World here. If you would like to nominate exceptional women to be part of the show, please complete this form: http://bit.ly/EWOWPitch.

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Doug Zanger

Doug Zanger is the Americas editor for The Drum. He leads the Americas editorial team’s content activity in the growing region. Based in Portland, Oregon, he is committed to sharing the most meaningful stories that benefit the global industry and its people. A Minnesota native, Zanger has covered a wide range of brands, issues and personalities, including Aloe Blacc, Seu Jorge, Wendy Clark, Susan Credle, Dan Wieden, Jeff Goodby and more. Fiercely dedicated to diversity, equality and talent, he has interviewed several women in leadership roles through his Exceptional Women of the World podcast.

All by Doug