When Malena Lott and Cynthia Dutton lost their jobs with the
merger of Teleflora and American Floral Service, they instantly put
together a plan that had been two years in the works.
They formed BrainWorks Advertising, a two-person agency designed
to take advantage of their experience, skills and education.
"We've had the name and the plan for a long time, but it has been
on hold for the past couple of years," Lott said. "This (having
their jobs eliminated in the corporate merger) was just the kick we
needed to get started on this."
Now they have a full-service agency dealing in advertising,
public relations and marketing. They are going for two niche
markets, two in which they both have substantial skills -- small
telecommunications companies and small retail florists.
Lott and Dutton are fairly typical of a growing segment of the
advertising, marketing and public relations industry -- people who
have either lost their corporate jobs, didn't like the corporate
structure or were more comfortable with a small agency atmosphere.
While in many industries, women still have a glass ceiling, this
image-enhancement industry has been a wide-open field since World
In some of the bigger agencies, men still hold top jobs, but
that, too, is changing. Most of the small agencies in Oklahoma are
owned by women.
Mindy McClellan, president of Holderby Associates, is not a part
of the typical move into this industry. She grew up in it.
She now heads the agency that was founded by two partners before
World War II. Her father, the late Bob Holderby, joined the agency
from KWTV Channel 9, became a partner, then bought out the other
McClellan has never held a corporate job, even though she did
work for other agencies "just to see what it was like and not be
saddled with the family firm."
"Mine is a totally different case," she said. "My profession just
sort of evolved."
When Bob headed the agency, he was assisted by wife Betty who
provided the role model for McClellan.
Now, the oldest American Association of Advertising Agencies-
certified agency in Oklahoma, still operates as a full-service
agency and gives the diversity that McClellan is seeking.
"I love this agency," she said. "We have a diverse clientele and
this is a multifaceted business. I love the new challenges that I
face every day."
Jeaneen Pointer, owner of Waddell Pointer Advertising, came into
the field through the corporate side, working for hospitals until
she joined founder Karen Waddell.
Two years after joining the firm, she bought out Waddell, but has
kept the name.
"When I came into the agency business, I had worked on the other
side, being the client who hired advertising agencies," she said. "I
feel that brings a different perspective to the business, lets me
understand what it is that a client wants."
While all the women interviewed for this article stressed how
much they love the business, none would offer a blanket
recommendation for this field as a career. …