‘Recognize the choices you’re making’: Exceptional Women of the World featuring Debby Reiner, Grey NY

Debby Reiner, CEO of Grey New York

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.

Retail became the first love of Debby Reiner, chief executive of Grey New York. Instead of bedtime stories, Reiner wanted her dad to tell her about the new accessory inventory and executive committee. So it’s no surprise that she leads one of the top agencies in the city.

In her mind, at this moment in time, Reiner believes that we should be placing a premium on togetherness — and that is reflected in how brands approach their own station in society. Additionally, applying some focus, rigor and simplicity in the work is key. In fact, overcomplicating the work doesn’t help a brand or agency’s identity and can hold both back.

Holding back is another issue, Reiner believes, for women in the industry. Success, she says, “can be a little bit scary,” but experience and trusting instincts can help get over the barrier and take women to great heights in the business.

Part of that process, and a must in Reiner’s eyes, is to raise one's hand — but also listen more than one talks. From there, a voice can be found and make a significant impact in a career. Moreover, making the right choices — and being able to recognize the opportunity in those choices — will happen often and can be transformative.

Surrounding yourself with the right people can be incredibly valuable. It’s not so much that they are working in parallel for shared goals, but it provides an opportunity to leaders to truly learn and grow as the world changes. Additionally, being with people who are willing to provide candor is critical, and Reiner points to several people who are willing to challenge and push the business forward.

At Grey for close to more than 20 years, Reiner thinks about what her legacy will be and it is clearly linked to her time there, though she had successful stints at other agencies, including J. Walter Thompson. Adding to her thoughts is the fact that the agency turns 100 this year and, in the final analysis, it’s all about continuing to engender a dynamic environment.

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.

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