The Most Powerful Moments from our Pass the Mic Brunch

We pulled together a group of powerful women for a Pass the Mic brunch. This amazing panel of professional rockstars shared inspiring anecdotes and actionable advice.

What’s better than the sandy beaches of the South of France? Okay, not much. But when you add brunch and empowering female leaders, it’s a win-win-win. We hit the 2022 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity last week. And we took the opportunity to pull together a group of powerful women for a Pass the Mic brunch.

Our panel included

Bess Spaeth, Senior Vice President, Global Media and Experiences, American Express; Kimberly Wilson, Senior Vice President, Brand and Consumer Marketing, SXM Media; and
Jill Kelly
, Global CMO, GroupM with Carryl Pierre-Drews, Chief Marketing Officer, IAB as both a contributor and moderator. This amazing panel of professional rockstars shared inspiring anecdotes and actionable advice for up-and-coming women.

It was hard to choose, but here are some of the most powerful moments and takeaways.

Representation Matters

Tell us about a defining moment in your career that brought you to where you are now?

Representation Matters, Kimberly Wilson - Pass The Mic Brunch
00:00
00:00
Highlight

“So for me, it was about a) it’s never too late; b) you gotta take these risks; and probably the most important, that representation matters. I saw myself, so that meant that was something I could attain. And before that, there was no way I thought I could have a career in entertainment because I was living in Chicago, and there wasn’t a lot of that there. So that one film [The Best Man], that one character, defined my whole life.” – Kimberly Wilson, Senior Vice President, Brand and Consumer Marketing, SXM Media

Make Pride and Joy

Are there people in your career who led by example? When did you know you wanted to be like them or not be like them?

Make Pride and Joy, Jill Kelly - Pass The Mic Brunch
00:00
00:00
Highlight

“Can I share a story of a boss that taught me what not to do? . . She went after people when she smelled a lack of confidence, when she smelled fear. And she made people feel so small, and I saw how that impacted individuals in terms of their confidence, their level of productivity, their voice in the room. And that is something that has always stayed with me because I remember when I’m feeling shame or embarrassment, we all do, and you remember moments of extraordinary pride and joy. Be the person who makes pride and joy, don’t be the person who makes people feel small.” – Jill Kelly, Global CMO, GroupM

Performance + Relationships = Success

What are some unwritten rules that you’ve learned in your experience so far?

Performance + Relationships = Success, Kimberly Wilson - Pass The Mic Brunch
00:00
00:00
Highlight

“So, I came up thinking performance got you there. It’s not. It’s performance and relationships, that’s the equation to advancement. But then you layer on the barriers of being a woman, being a woman of color, being a single woman with no children; there are all these things that come into play that aren’t written. So, I had to learn to tap in where it made sense for me. So, no, I don’t have children, but I’ve been a child, I have a mother, so I have experience. I wasn’t always a sports fan, but I played sports, so I can have that conversation. . . And once I realized the relationship piece plus the performance was the equation, things changed.” – Kimberly Wilson, Senior Vice President, Brand and Consumer Marketing, SXM Media

Between Successes

What were some ups and downs in your career?

Between Successes, Carryl Pierre-Drews - Pass The Mic Brunch
00:00
00:00
Highlight

“I had my dream job; it was in music at MTV. . . And the ad economy just sort of fell out. There were no jobs. During that time, I kind of crumbled. . . So, what I did was I kind of turned the lens away from myself and turned it toward other things. And I got involved . . . I rolled up my sleeves and I joined some committees and worked on some groups to help get their events off the ground. While I was there, I learned the term ‘in between successes.’ So, if anybody doesn’t have a job, you don’t want to say, ‘Um, I’m looking for my next job.’ You want to say, “I’m in between successes,” because that’s truly what you are.” – Carryl Pierre-Drews, Chief Marketing Officer, IAB

It's Going to Come

What advice do you have for young professionals to help them see and seize opportunities in their lives and help further their careers?

Its Going to Come, Bess Spaeth - Pass The Mic Brunch
00:00
00:00
Highlight

“My biggest piece of advice is always relax; it’s going to come. Focus on getting the next great, new experience, building your toolkit. It’s not about obsessing about the next rung of the ladder. . . I really promise you; it is not worth the agita to be focused on that next promotion or thing. Just get the right skills, do right by other people, and it will happen. . . less about that move up the ladder, and more about doing it the right way. Just enjoy it more.” – Bess Spaeth, Senior Vice President, Global Media and Experiences, American Express

Want more inspiration? Check out more of our

Pass the Mic content.