Downtown News and Blog

Lessons in Leadership - Three Women Changing the Face of Marketing in SLC

April 3, 2019 Written by Bethany Lopez

Published in Downtown News and Blog

“Things radically shifted from the moment our CEO, Matt Anderson, attended the 3% Conference, which promotes female leadership in advertising. Not only did he learn more about the true value of female perspective in great work, but he felt the discomfort of being the gender minority in the room. It sent him on a more profound journey: not only did we need more women at Struck, but to draw them, we’d need to foster a diverse environment where they’d want to stick around,” recounts Pauline Ploquin, president and partner at Struck, a Salt Lake-based integrated agency.

The advertising and marketing spheres can indeed be painfully sparse when it comes to female leadership and representation. Compound that with the fact that Utah’s still working to close its corporate leadership gender gap, and it feels like marketers must have a very long way to go.

Not content to sit solo at the conference room table, here we introduce you to three women using savvy and leadership to solve the problem proactively while taking their companies to the next level and changing the face of their industry, for good.

Jocelyn Kearl
Co-Owner & Chief Strategist, Third Sun Productions, 422 W. 900 South, thirdsun.com

Jocelyn Kearl found her footing in marketing through years of nonprofit work, grant-writing, and fundraising. “It was a self-taught proving ground,” she says. “And now, Third Sun Productions has forged its own path outside the traditional ad agency landscape. We work with great people—most often nonprofits and small businesses. While we’re a small organization of just four employees, we’re much bigger than that thanks to the partners we work with in town. There’s an incredible creative pool of talent in Salt Lake to draw from.”

Now 13 years in, Third Sun Productions primarily offers branding and websites, with more than 200 clients, half of whom are nonprofits and community organizations. “We’ve been lucky to attract partners and clients who play a major role in making Salt Lake so interesting,” Kearl says. “That includes the Salt Lake Farmer’s Market, the Utah Arts Festival, the State Room, Utahns Against Hunger and Meditrina. There’s so much going on here, and we love helping clients cut through the noise.”

Every business has a vision and a mission—or at least it should. But conveying that strategically is a fun problem-solving job for experts. “Why don’t we have more women flowing into creative jobs?” asks Kearl. “The skill set isn’t hard for us to access—rather, bias holds us back from entering and moving up. But the women in our industry and business network have an innate desire to support each other and lift each other up.”

And, if one can’t create diversity externally, one can still foster it internally. Her advice to up-and-comers: “Know your stuff, pay your dues, master the technology that’s critical to your craft, and don’t let anyone tell you to pipe down.”
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Pauline Ploquin
President, Partner, Struck, 159 Broadway, struck.com

After years overseeing operations and client relationships at Struck and working with every type of brand and medium under the sun, Pauline Ploquin says that she’s proudest of the agency’s consistently high-quality output amid a wildly swinging agency landscape. The agency has cranked out award-winning work for clients like Nickelodeon, Jack in the Box, Snowbird, Kodiak Cakes and the Utah Office of Tourism.

Agility and adaptability are key, explains Ploquin. “Our entire industry needs to evolve and, often, rethink its model. How do we maintain our creative spark while delivering what clients need? We can lean on data and technology, but have to be human-centric first.”

In driving that evolution, Ploquin firmly believes that change comes from the top of an organization. Once Struck’s leadership took notice of the importance of building a more diverse team, the agency went all-in. “I’m proud of our diversity achievements—we’re now at over 50 percent female leadership. To me, this feels congruent on a soul level. You see the difference this makes in our work and in the faces around the office,” Ploquin says.

While she’s learned to systematize progress through internal policy, Ploquin has turned an eye to mentoring and promoting women in the larger agency landscape. Now serving as Chair of the Board for SoDA, a global network of digital agency leaders, Ploquin is making this passion a priority. “It’s on leaders to raise the level of empathy, humility, and sensitivity in our industry and in our culture. We can use our roles to coach, listen, and provide people with the resources for them to shape their paths,” Ploquin explains. “I want to take Struck’s progressive policies beyond our own microcosm.”  

At the end of the day, she says, it’s quite simple: “Be a good human. It’s good for business.”
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Molly Mazzolini
Partner, Director of Brand Integration, Infinite Scale, 16 Exchange Place, infinitescale.com

Long a sports industry devotee, Molly Mazzolini moved to Salt Lake to work as a Brand Manager for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games—and then loved it here too much to leave.

A triple-threat minority—a woman in marketing leadership and also in the sports industry—Mazzolini brushes off anyone who’s surprised by her passion for sports. She co-founded Infinite Scale in 2002 to offer environmental graphic design for athletic venues and events. “It’s amazing to go from the initial stages of drawing up plans to eventually seeing an actual structure or venue come to life,” Mazzolini says. “We get to think about any kind of branded messaging and experience. And, no matter how many stakeholders, it’s ultimately for the sports fan.”

Mazzolini relishes leading the charge for clients who may undertake this kind of project once in their careers. It’s Infinite Scale’s job every day, which means they know to think through every detail and collaborate equally well with sports team owners, architects, venue owners, and others. They boast a client roster including the NHL, PAC-12, Petzl, the UFC and numerous professional sports teams.

An active member of WISE (Women in Sports and Events), Mazzolini helped launch a Utah chapter of WISE last year. She also loves engaging with the Salt Lake community through the Downtown Alliance, which she’s chaired in the past. Mazzolini also co-founded Salt Lake Design Week with Kevin Perry of the local American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and has watched it grow exponentially into an annual highlight of Salt Lake’s agency scene.

As she mentors and networks with other women in the sports industry and creative field, Mazzolini centers on her professional mantra. “I tell those I mentor, ‘Make things easy on the other person in every professional exchange. Detail matters. Polish matters. Branding matters. Be assertive about following up. Help people help you.’ This informs how we work with our own clients every day. Because, when we do it well, we’re helping each other excel.”
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