Alison Clark, Marcus Thomas LLC: "It’s important to pay it forward."

Creating a more inclusive industry is mutually beneficial for everyone

von India Fizer , AdForum

Marcus Thomas LLC
Werbung/Full Service/ Integriert
Cleveland, Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika
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Alison Clark
Chief Client Officer Marcus Thomas LLC

Alison Clark recently joined Marcus Thomas as the Chief Client Officer. An alum of CBX, Colle McVoy, MONO, Leo Burnett Worldwide, DraftFCB, Deutsch LA, DDB Worldwide, and JWT, Alison brings vast experience from working on brands like McDonald’s, General Motors, KFC, Miller, and Nabisco. 

Whether she’s crafting the brand idea for the #TargetRun campaign, relaunching the $2B McDonald’s family business, or driving the Effie-winning PS3 positioning, Alison is a bold servant-leader who thrives on collaboration and cold brew. Her relentless curiosity and drive for thinking outside the lines is what inspires her teams to do their best work.


In what ways can women in advertising pave the way or support younger women hoping to break into advertising? 

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the “busy” of the day, but I’d say: just recognize (remember way back when?) that someone once helped you. It’s important to pay it forward. This can come in the form of accepting that informational Teams chat, doing that extra coffee conversation or offering a small piece of advice – that can go a long way to help get someone in the door. Also, even if you aren’t hiring or don’t have the next right step for someone, connect them to your network for additional opportunities.


How can we close the gap created by ageism, especially among women, in the industry?

Doesn’t everyone just automatically respect their elders? Sadly, we know that’s not true. But I do think there are two sides.

First, as the younger generation, look to recognize the wisdom, power and insight that someone who has gone before you can offer. Make space to look for that. And on the other side, yes – you get to celebrate your successes and what you’ve done in the past. But you also need to stay relevant on work and technology trends, as well as understand that not all generations have the same working style or expectations.

Additionally, I think being intentional about mentoring is a beautiful way to close the gap. Keep in mind that mentoring can work both ways – not only sharing the wisdom that comes from experience, but also benefiting from the fresh perspectives and emerging trends that an up-and-comer might share. At its best, mentorship can and should be mutually beneficial.


How does your experience as a woman in marketing inform your work?

For better or worse, women are allowed to be emotional and have feelings. And no one has done a better job of opening that door than the exceptional Brené Brown. Her advocacy on empathy and vulnerability is a lesson we all can use. And lastly, to quote a classic challenger brand tagline, I just “try harder.”


Gen Z is a generation of digital pioneers and has shifted the framework of many industries. How has this new generation of young women impacted the advertising industry and where do you anticipate they will improve the workplace going forward? 

When I was coming up in the business, there was a strong divide between “traditional” and “digital,” and you had to pick a path to follow. Blissfully, we don’t have that anymore. Native digital thinkers allow us to think more holistically about the brand experience and less about channels or ownership. At Marcus Thomas, we believe in “asking better questions” so that we can create better solutions for our clients. And Gen Z is helping us do that by keeping us on our toes to think bigger, more inclusively, and with fewer limitations.