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From Sorrell to IBM’s Piñeyro Sublett: what marketing’s top leaders are thankful for


By Kenneth Hein, US Editor

November 23, 2021 | 6 min read

As we prepare to head off to our Thanksgiving Day celebrations here in the US, The Drum asked top industry leaders to reflect upon what they are most thankful for. They were encouraged to avoid the corny or the obvious. Here’s what they had to say.


There’s much to be thankful for this holiday season in adland and beyond

Carla Piñeyro Sublett, senior vice-president and chief marketer, IBM

Thankful for love in the workplace with friends who have become family.

Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer, Mastercard

I am most thankful for my dogs. They are always there for me and my family every day. Dogs are wonderful creatures, and I believe we have so much to learn from their unconditional love, pure-heartedness and outstanding loyalty.

Greg Hahn, co-founder and chief creative, Mischief

I am extremely blessed and I have a ton to be thankful for. So for purposes of not making this À la recherche du temps perdu by Marcel Proust, I’m going to narrow this down to something I’m grateful for at this exact moment. I’m grateful for Wikipedia for answering, “what’s the longest novel ever written?”

Marla Kaplowitz, president and chief executive officer, 4A’s

I am truly thankful that the agency community has bounced back after a difficult year. Agencies leveraged the challenges of the pandemic and social unrest to iterate their offerings for clients and sharpen their efforts and actions on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in the workplace. Personally, I’m grateful that this year I can spend the holidays with family and friends and appreciate the important people in my life.

Sir Martin Sorrell, executive chairman, S4 Capital

Very simply, life.

Danielle Gonzales, North American chief executive, iProspect

In 2021, I am thankful for the ability to talk and act upon mental health needs at home and work. 2021 brought difficult moments for my family, teammates and friends. We suffered numerous setbacks like not making the team, not fitting in at school, losing loved ones, coming out, overworking, recognizing depression and experiencing overall mental trauma.

But unlike other years when mental health held a massive stigma, in 2021 we started to discuss our mental health needs publicly. We started sharing our stories and offering help and support in public and in a non-shameful way. For this, I am incredibly thankful. I’m thankful to all those who have offered their journeys and ideas on what help truly looks like, thankful for the grace to talk publicly together, thankful that we are in a time where we can discuss and help each other with our mental health needs. And something Robin Arzon said always sticks with me – “we can turn our pain into power” – and I believe her. I have seen my community turn their pain into mental healing power.

Val DiFebo, New York chief executive, Deutsch

This year I’m particularly thankful for my family’s good health and our ability to be together whenever and however we damn please. I’m grateful to our teachers who have heroically navigated our children through a difficult time experientially and psychologically. I’m thankful to my fellow Deutschers and our partners who show up, full force. I’m especially thankful for all the artists among us who were creating, working tirelessly to not only keep us nourished during the pandemic but have deep and entertaining work for us to see live in theaters and performance halls as we emerge from the darkness. I’m grateful for Central Park, my urban oasis, my place for mental nourishment and much needed Zoom breaks. Last but not least, I’ll never take toilet paper, sanitizer or yeast for granted again.

Ann Wool, president, Translation LLC

Giving thanks for all the relentless optimists in my world who wake up each day and embrace new possibilities with passion and vigor.

Jen Costello, chief strategy officer, TBWA\Chiat\Day LA

My tiny gratitude stream of consciousness, in no particular order: for AdWeak and Aisha Hakim’s tweets for reminding us how deliciously absurd what we do for a living is; for Lil Nas X for blurring the lines between reality and fiction all dang year and showing us what real comms planning looks like; for androgynous king Harry Styles being all over my FYP, because it just hasn’t been the same since Prince and Bowie departed; and my one giant gratitude is that I can never unsee the ageism, racism and sexism embedded in how too many agencies operate – while being in a position to change it. Strategy directors hit me up.

Tiffany Pham, chief executive officer, Mogul

I am so grateful for the Mogul community. Our members empower each other with kindness, generosity and authenticity every day; they learn new things and support each other in their goals continually with the help of each other. I am so inspired that this platform, which I initially developed in my bedroom after teaching myself to code, has evolved into such a diverse global community.

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