Rebels, misfits and innovators: 50Over50 – Kerry Glazer, Executive Chair, AAR,

50over50 is a series of interviews with our most influential and inspiring industry leaders aged 50 and over.  

Kerry Glazer has been with AAR for over 20 years and became executive chair in April 2019. A tireless supporter of the ad industry, she is President of NABS and was previously President of WACL. She is also Chair of timeTo, the initiative launched in 2018 to end sexual harassment in the ad industry.

What is the biggest mistake that companies are making in their attitude to age today?

That they sacrifice experience at the altar of youth.

Companies in the industry invest money and time in developing and training their talent and expanding their experience.  

Just when they are at the height of their powers in terms of experience and perspective, an arbitrary number seems to make them less valuable or appealing unless they are in a high-profile leadership role. 

What’s the one thing you are proudest of in your career?

I think it has to be becoming President of WACL in 2017 and helping the Club navigate to its new purpose – accelerating gender equality in marketing and communications. (If I am allowed a second, it’s my involvement with the timeTo initiative).

What creative heights are you now capable of that you wouldn’t have been able to achieve at the early or mid-point of your career?

No longer having those niggling doubts about whether my opinion is a valid one; it’s based on decades of experience and I don’t have to justify it to anyone. 

What gives you most satisfaction in your role today?

Being able to effect change for the better.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your career?

That you can be at your most effective and successful if you bury your ego and let other great people around you shine. 

What advice would you give to your 25-year-old self?

That your career is a marathon not a sprint, and that reputation is everything. 

What are you most excited about in your industry over the next 10 years?

That there is every chance we will be heading towards a more equitable representation of diverse talent in the industry across all levels of seniority by 2030.

It still won’t be perfect but there are enough of us in the business right now that care enough about this to make change happen. 

What is your biggest regret about the industry today?

The fracture of trust in agencies – often undeserved.  

And the Ipsos MORI Veracity Index 2018 which put advertising executives at the bottom of the list of professions people would trust to tell them the truth.

Thoroughly depressing. 

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