September 15, 2008
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
out of the pack is tough when you’re young and ambitious.
Some marketers glide to the top while others struggle.
managing director of Draftfcb’s Chicago headquarters hasn’t
glided nor has she struggled. At age 40, Sauder has arrived at
the C-level and serves as the No. 2 executive at the largest agency
in the Midwest. She’s responsible for 1,200 people and supervises
accounts ranging from the United States Postal Service, Kellogg
and Motorola to the Milk Processors Education Program and Paccar
One of Sauder’s
key responsibilities is agency integration. It’s important
that the legacy agencies—direct marketer Draft and advertising
agency Foote, Cone & Belding, which became one company in
2006—align seamlessly and provide integrated solutions to
father gave her the best advice for breaking out of the pack.
“ ‘It doesn't matter where you start. Get in there
and show them what you can do. Go as far as you can.’ That
was his advice,” Sauder says. It’s been the true north
guiding her career.
college, they pump you up and make you think everyone is going
to be knocking on your door,” says the University of Missouri
journalism graduate who struggled to find her first job, a $10-an-hour
part-time position for Busch Services, the marketing services
arm of brewer Anheuser-Busch Cos.
in there and started working. Somebody noticed my working weekends.
They pulled me into another area. The opportunity came up. Everything
just happened from there,” Sauder recalls.
her current role as managing director of Draftfcb Chicago in March
always interested in leadership. I went to my first leadership
conference when I was 14. I studied it. I want to be a good leader.
I want to lead people,” says Sauder, who believes that interest
in leadership helped her rise to the top.
goal-oriented but advises others not to focus solely on career
goals. “Often you're so focused you don't take the opportunity
to learn what's happening around you while you're on that journey,”
path has been a diverse one. She didn’t work six years on
P&G business or 12 years on General Mills business. Rather,
at Anheuser-Busch, she quickly moved to outside marketing services,
where she spent five years in field operations managing distributors
and wholesalers, helping them with local marketing plans. She
next moved to Pepsi-owned Frito-Lay, spending three years in sales
and distribution and leading an organization of 160 sales people.
“I learned a lot from an operational, facility [and] manufacturing
standpoint,” Sauder says.
When her husband
took a position with the PGA Tour, Sauder moved to Florida and
joined Zipatoni, a marketing agency. She learned about the Zipatoni
opportunity through a former Anheuser-Busch colleague who recruited
were a boutique creative shop doing promotional work and interactive
advertising. They were privately held at the time. They were small.
They sold to IPG not long after I arrived,” Sauder says.
In her eight and a half years at Zipatoni, Sauder rose from account
director to president because of her drive and flexibility. “There
were days they wanted to throw me out. I came from a PepsiCo company
to this very raucous, wild group,” Sauder says. “I
had to learn to change my management style 180 degrees from where
it was when I was managing teamsters at Frito.”
her rise at Zipatoni to understanding how the agency works from
top to bottom, in every department. She is interested in it all.
She cares about the clients.
really got to understand your clients. You have to understand
what makes them tick and why they hire an agency,” she says.
The most critical
factor in Sauder’s breaking through, she believes, was her
ability to work with people.
Bottom line, in order to run an agency you’ve got to be
able to work with people. That’s what we are. That’s
what we do,” she says. “There are a lot of good agency
principals out there that understand the business side. The really
great ones are the ones that are inspirational.”
that breaks through to the C-level faces challenges; Sauder is
no exception. Yet Sauder seems ready to handle the problems as
well as the opportunities of leadership.
a leader means understanding the role and the value of individual
versus group contribution. Influence is the currency of leadership.
It’s not a title. It’s not a job description. It’s
walking into a room and having an impact on the people around
you. You could be feeding the poor or [be] a political activist.
It’s about having an impact and getting people to act or
think differently as a result.”
stuck and are having trouble breaking out of the pack, Sauder
has solid advice. “Figure out what’s holding you back.
Is it something you are doing or something management is doing?
Is it a business culture issue? Is it a boss or supervisor? My
advice: Tackle it head on.”
a great opportunity with Anheuser-Busch. They were good to me.
I felt I was stymied by the culture. So I chose to go. Going to
Frito-Lay and working seven days a week and driving a truck I
learned a lot of different things,” Sauder says.
Did she always
want to be in communications?
wanted to be an attorney,” she says.
would have broken out of the pack there, too.
Krauss is president of Market Strategy Group, based in Chicago,
and can be reached at Michael.Krauss@Mkt-strat.com