Nadja Bellan-White — CUP Member Spotlight

What is your occupation and how did you come to work in this field?
I am a Senior Partner/Managing Director of Ogilvy and Mather Worldwide.  My team and I develop integrated brand strategies for leading Fortune 1000 companies. I started out as a consultant at Price Waterhouse largely focused on Restructuring Troubled Companies and enjoyed the aspect of working with clients on turning around their businesses. After I left Price Waterhouse, I went to work at IBM as part of their Marketing Strategy team. During my tenure there, I focused my time on working with the Sales Force on how their can develop more effective (Customer Relationship Marketing Programs) for their customers--- largely focused on the B2B Space.  During a meeting at IBM, we met with the agency (Ogilvy) and I realized that they were using some of my presentations-- and decided I can have a lot more fun on that side than on mine...
What is the biggest challenge of your work?
The biggest challenge of my work is also the most rewarding. I enjoy the rapid/changing dynamics of my business. It is exciting to watch a brand platform unfold-- based on the consumer insights that you develop with your team and the clients. Its hard when the business environments are changing constantly... I am constantly thinking and re-thinking how to give my clients a competitive advantage.
What is your proudest achievement?
We worked on a pro-bono assignment for the Center for Discovery last year and we developed Video for them that would be used for Fundraising Efforts. This organization helps those who have medical frailties and significant learning challenges. Not only does the Center for Discovery provide the medical, educational, and loving support they need, but for those individuals who are more independent. They help them become active members of their community. (e.g. As Firefighters, Postal Workers, Farmers). When we played this video for a room of 1000+ people at a Gala last year-- everyone was crying-- including my team... What was most rewarding was that they raised over $2MM because of my team's efforts... That to me was Thanks enough, that something I do professionally can have such an impact on a community of people. Simply Awesome!
What brought you to serve on a Non-Profit board?
I think if you have the ability to lend thought leadership or service to a Non-profit Board, you should. None of us have gotten to where we are without someone giving back--- so I should keep the good going... and give back to an organization that will help others succeed- like CUP.
What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most?
Nelson Mandela is someone I admire the most, because he has taught me that the best leaders are not always the one's that are out front- some of the best leaders- lead from the back-- and inspire their teams to be better... His book "Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage" is one that all should read. Truly amazing.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Probably as a CMO of a Major Brand and continuing with my Board Service.  (After that, I am opening my wine shop).