Takeaways From Wednesday’s Interview With Linda A. Woolley, DMA’s Acting President and CEO
Woolley, whose title on last Tuesday was executive vice president of Washington Operations, made it clear immediately that she's not stepping into Larry Kimmel's shoes. First of all, the former DMA leader wore men's shoes and she wants to wear her own to walk in as perhaps DMA's first female president and CEO.
(An individual named "Jane Bell" was DMA's first president—from 1946 to 1948, when the position was known as "executive or managing director." No one contacted at the organization knows more about Bell's tenure. Previous women breaking ground in leadership positions at DMA include C. Rose Harper, the first board chairwoman, and Sue White, an executive vice president and chief operating officer.)
"I've mostly thought in terms of, 'What do I think the high priorities are for the association?'" Woolley says. "One of the things that is a little different about me, being with the organization vs. somebody who's just coming in from the outside, is I've really had a chance to think about this for a while. …
"The things that are high priority for me, going forward, are really looking very carefully at our programming and, obviously, the big thing that's coming up … in October is our annual meeting and really looking at how all the programming that we do fits with who our membership is and who we want to attract as members. And, to be honest, that's what I did a lot of in Washington."
Woolley has headed DMA's D.C. office and advocacy programs since she arrived in 2008. She is perhaps best known for her testimony before the Federal Trade Commission regarding behavioral targeting and for bringing DMA in as a founding member of the Digital Advertising Alliance.
But, according to DMA, her previous work "includes more than 30 years of extensive leadership experience in corporate public affairs, government relations and corporate and trade association management."
A few of Woolley's other notable remarks during the interview:
- "When [DMA] started 100 years ago, obviously, the only marketing channel available was mail. And, while mail is still important, there are many, many choices that marketers have now that … didn't even exist 10 years ago. I know that when I came to DMA-again, 3.5 years ago-everybody was talking about this new digital marketing … And we've gotten to a point where, just to say 'digital' almost sounds dated and passé."
- "I believe that all of the advocacy work that DMA does is a high priority."
- "Advocacy is, for a lot of companies and for very many of our members, … a gateway into DMA. We've been able to attract lots of new members in the last … three years that I've been on board at DMA through advocacy. They see what we're doing. They see us testify before [the] FTC or before Congress. They hear about an initiative that we're doing around the Advertising Option Icon and they want to be part of that."
- "If you reach out to people, you'll get a lot of ideas. Some of them will be conflicting. Some of them will resonate with you. Some of them won't. But I guarantee you that some of them will be things that you haven't thought of before or they'll put things in a perspective that you haven't thought of before. And those are really the gems. So I definitely plan to do that again."
- "My natural bias goes toward being collaborative and being inclusive and, very often, finding the third or the fourth or the fifth way—not just your way or my way."
- On why she's not moving to New York: "I've got three kids who are grown and out of the house for a long time. … And my husband is retired, so he's pretty agile—in terms of being able to go places at a moment's notice. However, we do have a dog."