A True Spirit of Family: Lourdes Washington, Acento

There are many women in Strategic and Account Service leadership roles but we need more female leaders in creative departments.

On behalf of AdForum, we hope you are staying safe during this unprecedented time and its challenges.

Although our world is dominated by virus, we have made a decision to publish interviews we conducted earlier this month. These interviews are virus-unrelated, so we hope they provide some inspiration, relief and rejuvenation! We are in this together and because of this, we are upholding our commitment to our clients, to publish news and insights. 
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Above all, be safe. 

Lourdes Gonzalez Washington
VP, Client Leadership Acento Advertising

How would you describe the overall culture at your agency / company?

The culture at Acento is open, authentic and embodies a true spirit of family. We enjoy each other’s company and try to have fun even during stressful days at work.  We act as a family in the way we interface, communicate, and even in the way we gather socialize in the office kitchen. 


In your opinion, what do you see as the biggest change in the advertising industry since women have begun to break the glass ceiling?

I continue to see a growth of females in executive and CMO roles.  They are demanding work with a different perspective, so the advertising is reflective of that. There seems to be more ads with women in leadership roles and men in non-traditional roles.


Do you think that women still face challenges in our industry, and if so, what are they?

Yes, I feel we still have a way to go.  I don’t see many female Creative Directors. There are many women in Strategic and Account Service leadership roles but we need more female leaders in creative departments.


How should we tackle an issue such as equal opportunity?

We need to foster a culture of development and training, so everyone has the opportunity to excel equally based on their work.  Women need to be allowed to have a family and a career without concern for backlash or replacement.  I also think women in high positions should serve as role models and mentors for other women to help pay it forward. 


How did you find your way into the marketing communications industry and what professional achievement are you most proud of?

I knew I wanted to be in advertising since 7th grade when we were assigned a campaign project.  I loved the creativity of it all.  I helped write the jingle and our presentation was the best in the class.  

The achievement I’m most proud of is never having to ask for a raise or promotion.  I’ve been lucky enough to be at my agency for 15 years and my growth has come organically from our leaders who reward people on their talent and the value they bring.  At my first agency I was the fastest AE to be promoted to Supervisor.  My daughter was one year old at the time, but with the help of my parents I was able to focus on my new career, and it paid off.   It was then that I knew this is what I was meant to do. 


Who inspires you the most, either inside the industry or outside? Why?

As cliché as it sounds, my parents are my inspiration.  They are immigrants who sacrificed everything so their children could have a better life than they did.  My mom took a risk and opened her own business in this new country without even knowing the language.  That hard work made a tremendous impact on me and set me up for success. I always aspire to make her proud and be the best person I can be.