When I hear the name Mary Wells, my mind jumps to the famed 1960’s Motown superstar who sang her way to the top of the charts with “My Guy.” So how could I, after a 20-year career in marketing, not know that the other Mary Wells was also a rising star in the 60s.
Like Peggy Olson of “Mad Men” celebrity, Mary Wells Lawrence, now 83, left her influential position at one top ad agency to found Wells Rich Green in New York, now Wells Rich Green BDDP and the world’s eighth-largest advertising agency. Under her leadership the firm created compelling ad campaigns for Alka-Seltzer and TWA. And it was responsible for developing the ubiquitous “I ♥ New York” slogan. In my years with advertising agency Laughlin/Constable, I knew the Wells Rich Green name well, but I shamefully admit I didn’t know that the first name on its door belonged to a woman.
I learned of Wells’ remarkable talent and imprint on the world of advertising in a New York Times article Sunday by Ginia Bellafante. I wasn’t surprised to read that Wells believes “success comes only from the extreme and urgent desire to be successful.” She encourages reading, learning, personal development and growth. Her advice is to strive to become more. I’m inspired by her focused energy and drive, her legacy and her outlook. As I pursue the freedom, happiness and growth of success, I’ll think of both Mary Wellses with this ditty: Nothing you can do can take me away from my-self.
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