I am on the plane returning from New York City and the thing that is most on my mind are the wonderful people we meet as we reach out and share the NCWIT mission with others. On this trip, Avis Yates Rivers (NCWIT Board member), Kay Cioffi (über NCWIT volunteer) and I met with Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval of The Kaplan Thaler Group.
I’d like to share a bit about Linda and Robin, two extraordinary women who are extraordinarily successful. Linda is the CEO and chief creative officer, and Robin is the president of The Kaplan Thaler Group. The company is ranked as one of the fastest-growing advertising agencies in the United States, with over a billion dollars in billings. They are the coauthors of the national bestseller “Bang!”, and they recently released their next big hit, “The Power of Nice.” Did I mention they were responsible for those AFLAC commercials? Or that Linda was a guest judge on The Apprentice? These women know everybody, and they are everywhere.
Manhattan traffic was a bear and we arrived late. Linda had arranged the chairs in a circle, her office assembled and ready for our meeting. We were joined by Florence Hudson, a delightful executive from IBM who discussed with us the role we hope women will play in the invention of new technology, the image of computing, and what we can do about it. I had just fastened my seat belt as Linda and Robin started brainstorming ideas about image – possibilities that fried my computer science brain.
“Make it normal.”
“Smart is beautiful.”
“Get the product placement people to the table.”
“It’s all about fashion.”
“24, 24, 24 – let’s get something on that show.”
“We need periodic technology columns in Vogue.”
We talked about so many things, we laughed about a number of ideas, and we went well past our allotted time; and importantly, we made some new friends – friends we can go back to for help and honest, creative advice.
What fun, and what wonderful people. It is a true joy to find folks who make time for the world, despite their busy schedules and tremendous success. It would have been easy for Linda, Robin, or Florence to be too busy to talk to us. It would have been easy for them to end the meeting the first time their assistant knocked on the door (or the second time – remember, we were the ones that were late). And yet, they spent their time with us, lived in the moment, and even took time to give us a signed copy of their book before heading down the hall to yet another meeting that started not just late, but very late.
Thank you, Linda and Robin. You’re the real thing. It’s not hard to understand why your company is doing so well.