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Women taking charge at advertising agency, Media Works

Women taking charge at advertising agency, Media Works
Women taking charge at advertising agency, Media Works 02:28

BALTIMORE - For a long time, advertising agencies were run almost entirely by men.

The hit show "Mad Men" gave us a glimpse of that, and the roles women typically held in the workplace.

Thanks to women who challenged those roles and fought for a seat at the table, the industry has changed a lot. 

At Media Works, the advertising agency has all-female leadership, something that would have been unheard of just a few decades ago. 

Michelle Selby is the President of Media Works, the largest female-owned ad agency in the Greater Baltimore area. 

"The radio ads you hear, the billboards you see, the digital ads that come up when you're scrolling on Facebook or google, we determine who those people are that would be most likely be impacted by those ads and we make sure that you see them," Selby said.

The company was founded by a woman named Jodi Berg in 1989.

To this day, the management team at Media Works is all women. 

"We're a really nice mix and everybody has a different talent and something that we're particularly strong in," Selby said. "We all work really well together as a team." 

Selby joined Media Works 17 years ago. 

"There has been a lot of dramatic transformation in women's growth in business," Selby said.  

Selby started working in advertising in the early 1980s, a time when most women in the workforce still held primarily administrative positions, such as secretaries and assistants. 

"Women just didn't run departments," Selby said. "They didn't get promoted at the same level as men. And today it's really different." 

It's also much more common now for women to continue climbing the corporate ladder after having children. 

"My oldest daughter is 36," Selby said. "When I had her, and I was working, I was the first person who had a child and went back to work at the company I worked for. I mean, it was unheard of." 

Selby said at Media Works, employees are allowed as much maternity leave as they need, typically 10-12 weeks," Selby said. "They have in-office accommodations for nursing mothers and take pride in being flexible and understanding when it comes to childcare needs." 

Selby said having that work-life balance is key to success. 

In the last 20 years, a number of trailblazing women have been able to work their way to the top of the local advertising industry and paved the way for others to follow suit. 

Selby offered advice for any woman trying to make it in a male-dominated industry. 

"It's hard to say don't get rattled and don't be anxious," Selby said. "But accept the situation for what it is and know that there's value in you and know that you're going to do a great job and there's nothing to really worry about just go in and be yourself and be prepared." 

Media Works now serves dozens of clients and has been in business for 34 years. 

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