Lisa Sherman is the President and CEO of The Ad Council
Lisa Sherman is the President and CEO of the Ad Council, a national organization that uses the power of communications to take on the most important issues facing the nation. Through its vast network of partners across advertising and marketing, media and tech, government agencies and non-profits, the Ad Council spearheads campaigns that promote education, safety, health and community and leave a lasting impact on American life.
An accomplished media and marketing executive, Lisa has successfully led, transformed, and grown brands and businesses throughout her career. She joined the Ad Council from Viacom, where she launched and ultimately led LogoTV, the groundbreaking television network for LGBTQ.
Beyond her duties at Ad Council, Lisa is actively engaged at the intersection of business and social good. She is an Information and Entertainment Steward for the World Economic Forum, an advisory board member of DoSomething Strategic, a board member of MAKERS, and is also on the Board of Trustees for God’s Love We Deliver. A passionate advocate for female empowerment, she is an inductee into the YWCA’s Academy of Women Leaders and a Metzger-Conway fellow at her alma mater, Dickinson College.
What brought you to Davos 2019?
I love that Davos provides a unique intersection of the nonprofit, business, and government sectors-- and an opportunity for these industries to come together to address some of today’s most challenging public issues. The conversations and dialogues held at these convenings set the tone for the year ahead.
I am honored to serve as an Entertainment and Information Steward for the World Economic Forum. In that capacity, I have the opportunity to collaborate with leaders in technology, marketing, media and others to talk about how we can each use our respective platforms to make significant societal change.
Defining leadership moment at Davos:
Without question, a defining Davos moment for me was the dinner and round table discussion the Ad Council co-hosted with NBCU, Pfizer, and The Female Quotient. Together, we led a conversation on the role of business in tackling societal issues. There is no doubt that brands and business are taking a greater role in the areas of public advocacy and social good and sticking their necks out on behalf of cultural issues in a way we haven’t really seen before.
Our dinner and subsequent conversations evoked so many stories of companies who are, themselves, rising to take action on the issues that matter most to their employees, their communities and their constituents.
We were able to foster an honest and intimate conversation around questions like, “when it comes to driving purpose, how do we measure our effect and what constitutes a win?” and “how does employee trust factor into the decision on what causes to invest in?”
Personal motivation to advocate for women and girls:
Above all else, I think it’s so important to ‘pay it forward.’ As you might imagine, there were few female role models to look up to when I entered business in the ‘80s. There were even fewer out gay women leaders. It was harder to see myself represented in C-suite leadership positions. If I had more role models, I would have been able to imagine what was truly possible.
As my friend Shelly Zalis likes to say, “When you put women in any equation, the equation gets better.” And it’s more than just a tagline. It’s how I try to live my live – whether it’s advocating for more female representation in senior positions across our industry or on board seats, I always want to make sure women are an integral part of the equation – because I have seen firsthand how detrimental it can be to work environment when that’s not that case.
Where can people learn more about you and your key projects?
We like to say the Ad Council is where creativity and causes converge. You can get started by going to adcouncil.org to learn more about the social issues we’re currently addressing.
You can also follow us on social media or sign up for one of our newsletters and join the conversation about how to drive meaningful social change in today’s world.
Real change is dependent on each of us. Real change is the result of hundreds, thousands, millions of individual changemakers. Together, as a collective power, we’re an unstoppable force.