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She Runs It: Kathy Kayse Hosts In the Know VIP Fireside Chat with Donna Speciale

Earlier this month, She Runs It hosted a discussion between the Ad Council’s own Chief Media Partnerships Officer Kathy Kayse and TV ad exec Donna Speciale. In this illuminating talk, the two chatted about adapting to change, the impact of female leadership, and the lessons learned from two successful careers in media and advertising.

Over the course of this 30-minute discussion, Kathy interviewed Donna on her illustrious career.

A veteran of the broadcast industry for over 20 years, Donna is well-known for driving innovation in the advertising community and has received numerous industry recognitions including Multichannel News “Wonder Woman,” Advertising Age “Top Women in Advertising,” MediaWeek “All Star,” Advertising Age “Woman to Watch” and “Agency of the Year” by both AdWeek and Advertising Age. She has thrice honored by Advertising Women of New York (AWNY) for “Advertising Woman of the Year.”

Here’s a handful of learnings Donna shared throughout the evening:

1. Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forward. If there’s one thing that became clear early on in Kathy and Donna’s conversation, it’s that there’s no such thing as a traditional career path. Careers can come in all shapes and sizes and often your next step might not make sense to an outsider/observer. That’s OK. When deciding what to do next, make a decision based on what’s going to push you to learn and grow most.

2. Don’t be afraid to take the plunge. When Donna moved from Rhode Island to New York to start the next chapter of her personal and professional life, there were a lot of unknowns. The one thing of which she was certain? She was ready for change, to start the next chapter. Take a lesson from her book, and don’t be afraid to dive off into the deep end and do the thing that feels uncertain.

3. There’s politics everywhere. Deal with it. One of Donna’s career regrets? Not openly engaging in office politics. Sure, most people don’t enjoy it. It’s not fun! However, upon reflection, Donna acknowledged that engaging in that world was likely much more necessary than she originally thought. Specifically, she said she regrets not doing as much due diligence in getting in front of key senior executives internally, when perhaps it could have helped career growth a bit more.

4. Knowledge is power. Don’t be afraid to switch it up in your career if it means getting a fresh perspective. Donna admits that there have been times in her career when the learning curves were steep, but above all else don’t be afraid to admit your failings shortcomings and ask questions.

Thank you to Donna and Kathy for sharing their expertise with the She Runs It community — and for the continued leadership example they set for young women in the industry.

You can learn more about She Runs It and their upcoming programming by visiting their site here.


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