Nancy Hill ‘79
Job Title: President and CEO
Original Hometown: Warren, Pennsylvania
Employer: American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s)
After 26 years working in agencies all over the country, I was offered an opportunity to run the largest trade association representing 80% of all advertising agencies in the United States. We provide leadership, guidance and advocacy to the advertising agency community to help them build their business.
MY EXCEPTIONAL STORY
A Place to Grow Up
I was from a small town in western Pennsylvania and wanted to be close enough to go home, but far away enough to “grow up” away from my parents. I looked at many small, private colleges and universities, but Mount Union fit me perfectly.
Dr. Steve Kramer, faculty emeritus of psychology. At the time, he was one of the youngest professors, so I think there was a better understanding of how to motivate students—especially during the “directionless” 70s. He also started the Wilderness Experience in which I participated my junior year. It changed me forever; it taught me how to find strength I didn’t know I had and to truly understand how group dynamics work. This has helped me tremendously in my growth as a leader throughout my career.
Starting a Career
I was a marketing coordinator for Loran, a small blank tape company that, at the time, was trying to compete with TDK and Maxell. When Lorain was hiring, the only requirement was a liberal arts education. When the product ultimately failed in the marketplace, my boss suggested looking at advertising agencies for my next position. I did and have enjoyed this career for more than 30 years.
During my time at Mount Union, I interned with the Ohio Youth Commission as a halfway house for “incorrigible” young girls. These young girls had either run away from home, had drug problems or were otherwise deemed “at risk.” It was eye-opening, to say the least.
I was on the swim team all four years. Many people don’t know this, but Larry Kehres was the men’s swimming coach when there wasn’t a coach in the 70s. Since the men’s and women’s seasons were different, he hired a member of the women’s team as assistant coach to help him. My senior year, I was his assistant coach. I was also in Alpha Chi Omega and served on the Judicial Board.
Preparing for Life After College
A Mount Union education forces you to learn to feed your curiosity. Curiosity and a hunger for learning have kept me on the cutting edge of technology, media and entertainment. In the advertising business, this knowledge is essential in helping businesses solve their communication needs through creative messages and understanding the channels that will be most successful in delivering those messages.
Living on Campus
I lived in Ketcham my freshman year, McMaster my sophomore year and Elliot my junior and senior years. Elliot had not been remodeled yet and my roommate and I enjoyed what was known as the “triple” room. One very strong memory is the day I came back to the room to find my roommate holding a vigil for the band Lynyrd Skynyrd as they had just been killed in a plane crash.
Thanks to Facebook and other social media channels, I have recently reconnected with many of my friends from Mount Union. Last summer I married Mark Schaefer, who graduated with me from Mount Union. We reconnected five years ago, struck up a friendship and now we live together in New York City.
I volunteer with an organization called People Helping People that is focused on providing education to the residents of Andean villages in northern Ecuador. In 10 years, we have built six schools and provided scholarships for more than 800 high school and university students. I would like to see that number double.
My roommate and I enjoyed what was known as the “triple” room. One very strong memory is the day I came back to the room to find her holding a vigil for the band Lynyrd Skynyrd as they had just been killed in a plane crash.
- Who is your hero?
- Gloria Steinem. Not because she is such a feminist icon, but because she has worked tirelessly over her entire career to make sure that gender bias is exposed and talked about. I had the great privilege of introducing her at an event two years ago and was so overwhelmed by what she has accomplished that I actually cried during my introduction.
- What is your biggest pet peeve?
- Living in NYC, it has to be the people who walk down the street, texting or reading things on smartphones, oblivious to anyone else. They will walk right into you! On many occasions, I will stop and let them run into me rather than always being the one to veer out of the way. It works.
- In a meeting with your peers is your phone on the table, in your pocket or purse, left at your desk or in your car?
- Usually on the table, face down. I take pride in being a good listener, and you really need to be able to see someone’s facial expressions to understand fully what they are saying.
- What is your favorite kind of sandwich?
- Open-faced toasted peanut butter and banana and always with a cold glass of milk!
- What is your usual bedtime?
- I’m still on my swim team schedule, I guess, because I go to bed at 9:30 and get up at 5:30. Old habits die hard!
- Do you dance in the car?
- No, but I definitely have been known to sing at the top of my lungs!