Media All-Star: Ellie Marble

Mindshare N.A.'s youngest business development director ever to lead a successful NBCU pitch

Ellie Marble arrived in New York in 2007 to attend graduate school at New York University where she planned to study economic development in Latin America. But when she arrived, she realized the first thing she needed to do was get a job. So she postponed her studies and joined Mindshare as an entry-level associate.

Four-and-a-half years later, Marble, 27, is the youngest new business director in the 14-year history of Mindshare, where she helps rake in millions of dollars in new billings.

“I originally told myself I’d only be here for a year,” she says. “I ended up falling in love with the industry.”

Marble now manages all of the agency’s pitches across its four full-service U.S. offices. Her work ethic “puts everybody else to shame,” says Mindshare chief marketing officer, and Marble mentor, David Adelman. Her social skills help too. “Ellie brings charm and engagingness that inspires and encourages people to want to participate in new business,” adds Mindshare chairman Phil Cowdell, “and she manages it to make it as painless as possible.”

Marble describes her biggest challenge as “herding cats”—wrangling over-extended talent and complex logistics into a cohesive, compelling presentation. Earlier this year, for example, parent company GroupM called on Marble to lead its pitch for NBCUniversal’s media business. It was a feat of coordination, she says, with teams at various WPP media holdings—Maxus, MEC, Mediacom, and Mindshare—collaborating from GroupM offices in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles on discrete bids for NBCU’s TV networks, studios, and theme parks.

Marble’s job? Ensuring that the moving pieces on all three pitches came together correctly and in time for the meetings—and overseeing the assembly of the various elements into final PowerPoint presentations and videos.

But it wasn’t just about keeping the trains running. The studio pitch had one of the smaller teams at the agency, she says, so “I stepped in and helped pull together the deck, flesh out the strategy, and craft the communications plan.” GroupM took home NBCU’s studios and TV networks—accounts approaching a cool $1 billion or so in billings.

And while she may not have spent the early-morning hours of her mid-20s poring over books at the school library, she still got to pull plenty of all-nighters.

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