Every March in the United States, Americans celebrate Women’s History Month and acknowledge the disadvantages women have faced over centuries. In modern-day America, women have the right to vote, own property, and join the workforce, all due to the valiant efforts of our foremothers who challenged the status quo.
According to a Statista figure measuring the distribution of the North American marketing workforce in 2021 by gender, 60% of marketing jobs were held by women. Our four female team members here at Smarter Searches, a proudly woman-owned digital marketing agency, are glad to be included in that statistic. And what better way to engage with Women’s History Month than by sharing some influential women in marketing, both past and present?
Madam C.J. Walker
Regarded as the first Black female millionaire, Madam C.J. Walker was born in 1867 to newly emancipated parents from Louisana. After enduring numerous hardships, Walker learned about marketing and advertising from her second husband. She grew her own haircare business and opened a beauty school while juggling multiple philanthropic ventures seeking to further educational opportunities for the Black community.
Mathilde C. Weil
Originally from Germany, Weil started the first female-owned advertising agency in New York in 1880 despite obstacles like discrimination, violence, and corruption. Not only was she fluent in four languages, but her entrepreneurial spirit made her known as an icon for diversity and inclusion in the workforce.
After studying English, psychology, and sociology in college, Gardner got her start in marketing by working as a columnist in the music industry. She eventually came to work for top marketing agencies in New York and then opened the second-largest agency in the United States, all while advocating for the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.
Maryam Banikarim – Head of Marketing, Nextdoor
Previously the Chief Marketing Officer for Hyatt Hotels, Banikarim has won numerous awards and accolades for her outstanding work in developing brands and businesses into success stories.
Bozoma Saint John – CMO, Netflix
Saint John has worked in agencies and as a marketing executive for most of her career for large brands like Apple Music, PepsiCo, and currently Netflix. She frequently appears for speaking engagements and has even taught a Harvard Business course titled “Anatomy of a Badass.”
Janine Pelosi – CMO, Zoom
With her bachelor’s degree in marketing, Pelosi has worked in marketing at many levels for Cisco, Cisco WebEx, Canva, and now Zoom, one of the most relied on and used platforms in current years.
Lorraine Twohill – Global CMO, Google
Originally from Ireland, Twohill has worked in marketing for companies like Williams Sonoma, Palo Alto, and now Google. Once managing European and Middle Eastern markets for Google, she has now been promoted to oversee Global Marketing for the world’s largest search engine.
Despite the incredible strides made towards gender socioeconomic equality, there is still much to do in order to ensure future generations of women feel empowered and confident to live the life they choose. However, the women mentioned above along with the women who make up 57.4% of the American workforce provide great inspiration for continuing progress. So the next time you stay in a Hyatt hotel, watch Netflix, hop on a Zoom call, or Google anything, think of the women in marketing who have played an irreplaceable role.