For Liz Valentine, CEO and co-founder (along with Alicia McVey) of Swift in Portland, community is a big deal — and it starts when people walk through the door of the Possible agency. There is a sense of calm but it is quickly obvious that the agency has energy and vitality and is bound together by the work and philosophies that Valentine, McVey and the rest of the leadership convey.
In many ways, Valentine is an ideal player/coach and especially strong at advising women, both inside and outside the agency, to fully understand their worth and value — and to do so with confidence. She coaches women on the important art and craft of negotiation, further helping them see that they can advocate on their own behalf, without fear, and clearly articulate what they deserve, both in and beyond the salary.
Valentine’s fearlessness (praise that she received from a senior male WPP leader) began as she was growing up in the Philadelphia area where her mom, a highly-respected doctor, overcame gender bias in her own career and fought hard for equal pay and equal respect. She took her upbringing and her mother’s influence to heart and has built a very successful business, serving major, global brands with a leadership team that is more than 50% female and an agency that is 60% female.
She advocates taking Cindy Gallop’s closing 3% Conference advice — and encourages women to start their own business. She feels strongly that client-side experience is a powerful part of one’s agency career. And, as all good leaders understand, she knows that leadership is always a work in progress and something that she continues to mold and develop, especially in light of the current political and social climate in the US.
Outside of the day-to-day client work, Valentine and the agency care deeply about being active in the community. Swift’s commitment to Camions of Care, an organization dedicated to education and providing of menstrual health products for low-income and homeless women, is one piece of a broader mission to bring even more good into the world.
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