Charlotte Beers

NEW YORK, September 7, 2004 - The Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) has announced that advertising industry luminary Charlotte Beers will keynote The DMA Annual Conference in New Orleans on Monday, October 18.

Beers, who during the height of her career was known as the "most powerful woman in advertising," is the only executive in the advertising industry to have served as chair of two of the top ten worldwide advertising agencies: J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather. From 1999-2001, Beers was Chair of J. Walter Thompson Worldwide, having returned to the very agency in which she started her advertising career. She was chair and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather from 1992-1997.

"The achievements of Charlotte Beers are well recognized in the business community," said DMA President & CEO John Greco, Jr. "Throughout her career, she has distinguished herself as a pioneer whose dedication has led to outstanding accomplishments, not only within the advertising community, but on behalf of the United States."

Beers' career in advertising began in Houston, Texas, at Uncle Ben's Rice, where she was the company's first female product manager. She then became the first female senior vice president for J. Walter Thompson when she moved to the advertising business in Chicago in the 1970s. In 1988, she was the first woman in the 99 years of the American Association of Advertising Agencies to be named chair.

Beers is the recipient of several awards in the business arena. In 1992, Glamour magazine recognized her as one of its "Women of the Year" for "cracking the glass ceiling in advertising." In 1995, she received one of the Sara Lee Frontrunner Awards for being the only woman to head one of the nation's top ten advertising agencies. She received the prestigious Matrix Award from New York Women in Communications for her outstanding accomplishments in advertising. In 1997, Fortune magazine put her on the cover of its first issue to featuring the most powerful women in America.

From 2001-2003, Beers served as the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs for the U.S. State Department. During this time she guided a newly formed division of the State Department through a troubled diplomatic environment, engaging the world on behalf of the U.S. She was the driving force behind "Shared Values," a public relations campaign organized by the U.S. State Department to combat anti-American sentiment in Arab countries.

The campaign used television advertising, speaking tours, town-hall meetings, print publications, radio broadcasts, and Arab outreach programs. Beers had begun an interactive dialogue, launched an Arabic youth magazine, and helped start new television programming for the Middle East.

Upon her departure in the spring of 2003, Secretary Colin Powell awarded Charlotte Beers the Distinguished Service Medal; the State Department's highest honor.

Beers attended Baylor University and graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana with a Bachelor of Science in liberal arts. She is a resident of Charleston, South Carolina.

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