VSA's CEO Anne-Marie Rosser leads with empathy, humor and accountability

Fostering a workplace where women can thrive across all spectrums

кем India Fizer , AdForum

VSA Partners
Полный комплекс услуг
Chicago, United States
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Prior to her current role as CEO, Anne-Marie Rosser has served in several positions at VSA over the past 20 years, including Associate Partner of Strategy, Head of Client Engagement and President. This depth of experience across different disciplines at VSA makes her especially adept at both steering the high-level strategic vision and ensuring its day-to-day implementation. 

Anne-Marie’s passion for leading relationships from a strategic, consultative perspective builds true partnerships that advance both business and brand, resulting in many enduring client relationships. Her strong critical-thinking and communications skills help motivate teams toward solutions that combine business relevance with superlative creative execution. 


In what ways can women in advertising pave the way for or support younger women hoping to break into advertising? 

There are so many simple but meaningful things that we can do. For starters, I try to always say yes to young women who reach out to me asking to learn more about the industry. It’s easy to do and I always want to encourage young women who put themselves out there. I also tell women early on to build their network and to nurture it. It’s something I didn’t know starting out, and it’s imperative. Calling women into group conversations is really important, particularly in a hybrid workforce. Fostering a safe space where they can be heard and have room to contribute builds confidence. And finally, from what I’ve seen, women in general tend to have more imposter syndrome. So celebrating successes, calling out women’s achievements and encouraging women to advocate for their place are all key leadership contributions to helping younger women succeed.


How can we close the gap created by ageism, especially among women, in the industry? 

This is a broader societal issue, but I think one simple way is to demystify the topic of age with women. I don’t try to hide my age, and I comfortably tell people my age — even if I understand that this may cause discomfort. But we have a long way to go in this regard. There is still a heavy bias that women of a certain age have nothing to contribute and the best way to prove this wrong is to be active and to stay in the workforce in leadership positions as long as men do.


How does your experience as a woman in marketing inform your work? 

One of the best aspects of being involved in marketing is that it allows you to peek behind the scenes of multiple industries and companies without having to work in them. I’ve been able to see first-hand the company cultures in multiple finance firms, the tech sector, CPG and retail. Within those, you sometimes see microcosms of cultures that appear to more consistently support women and those that don’t. I was lucky enough to get to have a seat at the table with Fortune 100 CEOs from when I was relatively young. This exposure gave me the confidence to demand a seat at the table in my own company throughout my career. It’s also allowed me to accept that I don’t need to model my leadership style based on my male colleagues — I can put forth my own leadership style, driven by empathy, humor and accountability.


Gen Z is a generation of digital pioneers and has shifted the framework of many industries. How has this new generation of young women impacted the advertising industry, and where do you anticipate they will improve the workplace going forward? 

The question positions women as “digital pioneers,” and I just think this is inherently powerful in and of itself. Having young women who are fluent in technology from the jump feels like an important change because it’s so integral to our world now. I see young women already changing the workforce by better understanding their value, more clearly competing for work or mindshare within an agency, and advocating for their own growth and compensation. It's exciting!