Live Lessons: Women of Wavemaker

Mar 27, 2023

Welcome to Pass the Mic and the Live Lessons series. Life happens in the moment—and so do opportunities to pass the mic. We’re having live conversations with powerful female leaders, giving them the opportunity to share their wisdom and mentor the masses.

It’s Women’s History Month, and we’re going big with Pass the Mic. Not only have we launched a new podcast, but we also collaborated with the wave-making women of Wavemaker. On March 9th, we held a live panel event at their headquarters in New York. As you’ll soon hear for yourself, the panel featured some amazing female leaders.

Wavemaker believes there is a better way to grow, which aligns well with our mission to inspire the next generation. This is the first of a five-part series based on this awe-inspiring event. Let’s kick things off by meeting some of the women of Wavemaker and listening in to the defining moments of their careers and the philosophies that drive them.

Davida Arnold, The Storyteller

Meet Davida Arnold, Group Director, Marketing & Communications Wavemaker US. She’s a storyteller; a writer who builds bold, effective narratives. For over two decades, her distinctive work has increased ROA, ROI, and KPI for agencies, social justice, tech, and corporations.

Invite people places.

We asked Davida to share one of the defining moments in her career. And she told us about a woman who gave her an opportunity to prepare for success and inspired her leadership style.

Defining Moment, Davida Arnold – Pass the Mic

Highlight: “I always look for opportunities to invite people into places where they may not be supposed to be because, allegedly, they're not ready for it. It's like running a race. If you don't jog, you're never going to learn how to go fast. She was really, really, really pivotal for me.” – Davida Arnold

Make yourself the protagonist.

When you have a storyteller like Davida on your panel, you simply have to ask how we can apply the power of storytelling to our lives and careers, so we did. And, true to her talent, she delivered quite a tale.

Storytelling, Davida Arnold – Pass the Mic

Highlight: “I think that people can use storytelling to add value to their careers in a really simple way. If you think about a story, there's a setting, and there's characters. So, you want to think about the setting that you're in and who are the main characters in it. You want to think about ways that you might be able to shift the setting so that you are able to shine and become the protagonist. And you might want to think about what characters you want to add to the setting so that you're able to accomplish your goal and get to the end.” – Davida Arnold

Madison Bedard, The Advocate

Meet Madison Bedard, Director, DEI and Marketing Operations Wavemaker US. She’s a part of the change we want to see, bringing diversity, equity, and inclusion to the forefront. Her blend of brand marketing and social responsibility allow her to have a positive impact and deliver measurable value.

Find your fans.

When we asked Madison about a defining moment in her career, she shared a recent story—the tale of how she got to where she is now at Wavemaker.

Defining Moment, Madison Bedard – Pass the Mic

Highlight: “I started off in brand management and marketing, and my role was moving to another state. And so, I either had to find another role in the organization or move to another company. And this was an opportunity for me to understand what it truly meant to have sponsors, fans, and supporters in your organization and how important they are in helping to move your career forward.” – Madison Bedard

Invest, communicate, and engage.

The rise of DEI is great to see, but we all need to do our part. That’s why we asked Madison how everyone can have a positive influence on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

DEI, Madison Bedard – Pass the Mic

Highlight: “For those people who don't have DEI specifically in their roles, I believe they can still make a difference, and they can still encourage DEI in the workplace. And here are three ways, and I call it ICE. You can invest, you can communicate, and you can engage.” – Madison Bedard

Jenna Fidellow, The Content Expert

Meet Jenna Fidellow, Head of Content Wavemaker US. She has a deep passion for content and believes it’s a critical factor in every media plan. Over the course of her 20+ year career, she's honed her skills in the branded content space, bringing resonant media experiences to audiences.

Leave room for growth.

Jenna’s defining moment comes from a boss who gave her the room to make mistakes, learn from them, and find her way. Not only did these experiences help her grow professionally, but they also made her who she is as a leader.

Defining Moment, Jenna Fidellow – Pass the Mic

Highlight: “I think that it's important that as leaders, we're there to support, but we're also giving enough room for growth and that self-discovery, especially in the business we work in. It's not a black and white job. There's a lot of nuances to it. So, having the ability to ultimately have that authority, to feel confident in what you're doing, I think is important. And as a leader, you need to make sure that your team has that.” – Jenna Fidellow

The entrepreneurial spirit is critical.

Content has changed a lot in the past 20 years: the formats, the tech, the tone. It takes something special to twist, move, and succeed. And according to Jenna, the entrepreneurial spirit is the secret sauce.

Entrepreneurial Spirit, Jenna Fidellow – Pass the Mic

Highlight: “I think just having a having a network, being resourceful, having that entrepreneurial spirit is important to always remember and have that mindset as you're approaching things. Because I think it helps with greater success in the end.” – Jenna Fidellow

Briana Finelli, The Problem Solver

Meet Briana Finelli, Head of Commerce Wavemaker US. Retail media is booming, especially with the firepower she brings to the space. Her ability to innovate and break new ground is helping the agency grow—and its clients succeed.

Ask questions.

Don’t tell Briana what she can’t do unless you’re ready to be proven wrong. Her defining moment comes in the form of the right to be curious and informed.

Defining Moment, Briana Finelli – Pass the Mic

Highlight: “If you have questions about the organization, or where you are, or what you're doing, you have a right to have those questions. And I feel like I had a right in that room to ask that question. And if it was an answer that I shouldn't be privy to, that's okay; you can just tell me that. So, I try to be really transparent now because I'm like, F that, I'll never have a leader that's that transparent. I'll be the leader is that transparent.” – Briana Finelli

Take a day.

Briana brings solutions to her coworkers and clients every day, but she knows you can’t control everything. When we asked her how she deals with the greatest variable of all, people, she responded with empathy.

Empathy, Briana Finelli – Pass the Mic

Highlight: “If you can't be here, you don't have to be here, and you shouldn't. And you shouldn't feel like you don't have people that you can fall back on who can do this for you… The issue is that it's not about whether you can today. It's not about whether you can show up, and you can put your fingers on a keyboard and do something. It's about whether you have the mental capacity to come do this. And if you don't, just tell me.” – Briana Finelli

Caroline Tran, The Big Time

Meet Caroline Tran, Group Director, DoorDash Wavemaker US & Global Markets. She’s been working with big-name clients for years (names like AT&T, Macy’s, IKEA, and, as her title suggests, DoorDash). Her strong reputation comes with 20 years of challenging herself and others to think “what if” to deliver innovative solutions.

Understand the process.

Caroline is the picture of grace under fire, and the defining moment she shares comes from the lessons she learned from a time when she was feeling the heat. It’s about understanding the ask to avoid unnecessary stress.

Defining Moment, Caroline Tran – Pass the Mic

Highlight: “I've learned a couple of things. One: understand the process, because I think that's probably very in-tune for what I do. There's complicated things, and we can probably always find a better way. Two: ask what the client needs, because I've always gotten to a ‘Do you need an estimate? Like, I'm just going to give you a ballpark number or actual numbers?’ And he was not communicative of that, so it just wasted a lot of time. So, there's a lot of things that he had done changed where I am as a leader today.” – Caroline Tran

Even high-ranking execs are human.

Having a high-profile role like Caroline’s can be intimating. And, as she points out, it can wrack some nerves when you first start out. But there’s a secret (psst: it’s that we’re all just people).

High-Profile Roles, Caroline Tran – Pass the Mic

Highlight: “It doesn't matter if they're high-ranking like CEOs, CMOs, they're all human, and the one goal they're trying to push is to drive better their business. As long as you can connect to that level, they're not going to say, ‘Oh, you don't deserve to be in this room.’ There are a lot of times where I forget about titles, to be honest, even with my team. I talk to us all the associates to above. It's all about just is that collective goal and working together as a team.” – Caroline Tran

Keep the Inspiration Going

Are you feeling as inspired by this powerful panel as we are? But wait, there’s more! There was just too much good audio to be contained here. Check out the rest of the series now. And in the near future, we’ll include more in the Pass the Mic podcast.

More from the Wavemaker Pass the Mic Panel

A special thanks to JulieAnne Evanina, VP Brand and Consumer Marketing, SiriusXM + Pandora for moderating the Pass the Mic panel at Wavemaker.

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