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Possible claims 50/50 gender balance in creative leadership with dual ECD hires


By Bennett Bennett, Staff writer

June 15, 2018 | 4 min read

WPP agency Possible has added Valerie Carlson and Jason Marks as executive creative directors for its Los Angeles and New York offices, respectively.

Possible ECDs

Possible adds Valerie Carlson and Jason Marks as executive creatives for LA and NY offices respectively. / Possible US

The hiring of Carlson and Marks brought the agency’s ratio of women and men in executive creative roles to an even 50:50 ratio.

Carlson previously worked at Method Products as its global vice president of creative and held roles at EVB and SapientNitro, and worked with James Cameron’s production company Lightstorm for the movie Avatar. She has worked in the past with clients such as Abbott, Chrysler, Kraft Foods, MGM Resorts, Fox Entertainment and others. Meanwhile, Marks arrived to Possible New York from McCann’s NY office, where he was an executive creative director. Previous clients included Nike, IBM Watson, Mastercard, Phillips and Burger King.

Possible’s chief creative for the Americas, Danielle Trivisonno-Hawley, said of the new hires: “Martha Hiefield, our CEO, is passionate about making Possible a place where people can do the best work of their careers and feel like they belong. Val and Jason are both incredible creative leaders and that’s paramount – but their desire to breed a culture of inclusivity within their own teams is what excites me the most.”

She added: “We were adamant about making the executive creative leadership team a 50/50 split because then the entire department is able to look up and actually see themselves in leadership roles – and can set a path for themselves. We still have some work to do on the diversity piece, but achieving gender balance amongst the senior creative ranks is pretty remarkable.”

Carlson said: “When I was in design school, the male/female ratio was around 80/20, now when I recruit at ad and design schools, it’s completely flipped. There are so many young women entering the industry and I consider it an important responsibility to be a champion and mentor for them. Danielle Trivisonno-Hawley has already proven that the women at Possible create great work. I’m excited to continue the tradition.”

Carlson will work alongside Possible LA managing director Andrew Solmssen, who added: "I’m incredibly excited for the experience, attitude, and enthusiasm Val brings to Possible Los Angeles. Many of us in the business have been frustrated at the longstanding dynamic of male-dominated creative leadership to female-focused consumer purchasing. It’s overdue, but I couldn’t be more proud that the agency has achieved parity.”

Jason Marks said of taking the reins in the New York office and of Possible’s push to gender parity: “Possible’s commitment to gender balance was natural and necessary. I’ve been lucky enough to have been hired by and worked with some of today’s amazing female leaders. And now to be working with Danielle and the PONY team, it’s how we’re going to win.”

His managing director, Joe Crump spoke of what Marks brings to the office, adding: “Jason’s fingerprints are on some of the web’s most disruptive digital experiences, as well as iconic marketing campaigns. It’s rare to find that range in one creative leader, and we are tremendously lucky that he is joining our family.”

Creative Los Angeles New York

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