2015 40Under40 Winner: Rachel Carpenter

Rachel Carpenter, Global Marketing and Sales Leader, Mercer

Carpenter’s terse summation of success—to always accept new challenges—may seem prosaic. In the case of this young marketing nomad, though, it’s a five-word summation of her career. Majoring in art history in college, she took the recommendation of a professor to look into advertising as a career. (“Most professors were opposed to that,” Carpenter says.) Upon graduation, she completed two internships in her native Columbus: one at the Wexner Center art museum, the other at ad agency Young Isaac. The agency life won out. She was selected for Ogilvy’s associate program and ended up staying for five years as a strategist. She left to get an MBA at Wharton, then spent three years at eBay as a strategic advisor to retail clients before moving on to Mercer, a global human resources consulting company. “It sounds like I’ve done a lot of very different things, but really, it’s all been about strategy and consulting.” Now the mother of 10-month-old Stella, Carpenter focuses her non-work hours on her family and staying fit. But she still gets the easel out and paints when she gets the chance.

Defining moment:  Early in my career I had a wonderful manager who gave me an enormous amount of autonomy. He staffed me with a team, made me the lead on several high-profile client assignments, and let me figure things out as I went, which allowed me to grow very quickly and learn by trial and error.

Words to live by: “Be a leader, not a follower.” My father repeated this constantly to me as a child and, while simple, the statement continues to be relevant today.

Up next:  I’m excited about the use of data visualization to improve marketing intelligence and enable managers to make changes more quickly.

 Advice to young marketers:  Always accept new challenges.

–Al Urbanski 

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