Portrayal of Women in Marketing & Advertising Hot Seat

With the uprise in demand for gender equality, does our advertising and marketing content reflect the level of equality we seek?  Or does today’s advertising further exploit gender roles?  What is our industry’s role in the accurate representation of gender?

Hot Seat panelists will take a look at how the leading advertisers approach the role of women in their work and discuss who’s getting it right and what opportunities exist to improve.


36 E. Grand Ave.


Wednesday, September 19
8:00 - 9:30 a.m.


Members: $50
Non-members: $75



CCO, Havas

As president and chief client officer of Havas Chicago, Tatia Torrey is responsible for driving client growth and delivering best-in-class service by developing teams of business partners focused on breakthrough, culturally relevant work across the agency’s portfolio. With over 20 years of ad land experience, Tatia brings an unmatched talent in account leadership, business development and operational management. An advocate for true integration, she leads multiple cross-functional teams made up of creative and media specialists, to deliver innovative, results-oriented solutions to drive clients’ business. Tatia’s brand and digital experience includes Home Depot, Carhartt, Coca-Cola, Lowe’s, Motorola, FTD, Dish, ConAgra and Sears. Prior to joining Havas Chicago, Tatia was the Midwest VP and Managing Director for independent digital agency, Wirestone.

Managing Director, OMD




Sr. Director, Brand Communication and Creative Content, U.S. Cellular, Chicago

A seasoned Brand and Communications Strategist with over 25 years of experience combined across client and agency sides. Cristel is well known as an "unconventional creative thinker", with a strong muscle for leading and collaborating on brand turnarounds, new product positioning, launchin­­g new campaigns and artfully operationalizing integrated marketing communication plans & content creation. 

Cristel joined U.S. Cellular in 2012 to spearhead a marketing renaissance for U.S. Cellular to position them as a challenger brand in a highly deal-centric category.  U.S. Cellular is a production intensive business; Cristel’s responsibilities span content creation for the total Consumer and B2B portfolio.   She has galvanized the organization behind a new brand positioning launching the “Middle of Anywhere” campaign and elevating the role of promotional TV to drive traffic and equity.  The campaign has significantly increased brand awareness and consideration while driving YOY revenue growth for U.S. Cellular.  Under Cristel’s leadership the brand has moved into creating original content programming – “Big Country” which aired on Food Network and Travel Channel and established a successful partnership with Shark Tank to enable small business sales. 

Related to B2B, Cristel has led the company expansion targeting midmarket businesses with an enhanced portfolio of IOT and M2M offerings. Key to success has been the integration of Marketo to optimize lead generation and targeted nurture streams. The brand now leverages a digital-led, multi-channel demand generation campaign to meet MQL /SQL goals including rich media, digital video, SEO/SEM and content syndication.

Prior to U.S. Cellular, Cristel has a rich 13 year history with Kraft Foods, established as an inside “thought leader” on high profile brand campaigns for America’s beloved brands (e.g. Miracle Whip, Jell-O, Kraft Mac & Cheese) and she lead design/editorial creation to launch Kraft’s acclaimed Food & Family CRM program both magazine and digital content.  After leaving Kraft Foods, Cristel led global beverage innovation for Pepsi’s newly established Growth Nutrition Group. 

Cristel is a board member of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and served on the board of Build Chicago, which is focused on at risk youth in priority communities. Cristel served on the Senior Advisory Panel for Marketing Sparks (in association with 1871 Tech Incubator) and has delivered presentations for American Marketing Association and Beet.TV events. Cristel earned an MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing from Western Illinois University.


Northwestern University

Rachel Davis Mersey, PhD, is an associate professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. There she also serves as Executive Director of the Media Leadership Center (MLC). Her first book, Can Journalism Be Saved? Rediscovering America’s Appetite for News, was released in 2010 and stands as a formative argument in the recasting of local news efforts as community-driven initiatives. In May, her second book will be published by Routledge. Mobile Disruptions examines the state of and opportunity for mobile media innovations in the Gulf states. Rachel is currently working on a number of different industry-relevant studies, including the role of 360-degree video, augmented reality and virtual reality in audience engagement. She is also researching a book on the media consumption habits of elites, specifically America’s one percent, with particular attention to the implications for community-building and democracy. She holds a Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


The Chicago Advertising Federation exists to foster momentum in Chicago’s advertising industry. The four pillars of the Chicago Advertising Federation are:

  • Professional Enrichment
  • Chicago Market & Industry Recognition
  • Networking
  • Community Involvement

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