Lisa Sepulveda likes to quote Frank Sinatra: “The best revenge is massive success.” Herself a cancer survivor, Sepulveda would seem to be avenging the cosmic injustice that ended her mother’s life far too early. “My biggest motivation,” she says, “Has always been to do what my mother never had the chance to do, but wanted so much for both me and my two brothers.”
Sepulveda is getting revenge; she is a massive success. It’s hard to imagine that she could have over-achieved her mother’s aspirations for her more than she has. As Chief Client Officer at Edelman, she oversees their top 17 global clients and has responsibility for over 30 percent of the firm’s global revenue. Along her 25+ year path in consumer marketing, she has established strong relationships with influential healthcare players such as the CDC, The American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen, and has been the driving force behind numerous product campaigns, particularly in the healthcare sector, that influence virtually all of us—household-name products such as Dove, Advil, and Claritin.
In addition to her mother, Sepulveda is compelled by the stories of other women—her two adult daughters, for instance—but also others, who are coming of age in the professional world, and particularly in her industry. Mentoring is integral to her vision of her own career success. She advises these ambitious young women to believe in their possibilities and pursue them. “ This is our time. We have the ability to sit at the table with an impressive share of voice . Be bold. Be brave. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Build a community of smart minds, confidants and advisors. No one is expected to go it alone. Be available and always give back.” She is also blazing trails, helping Edelman reach their goal of a 50/50 gender ratio at the executive levels of the company.
In addition to her consistently strong support of breast cancer awareness and events, and a personal mission to provide a listening ear and encouragement to the recently diagnosed, Sepulveda is a committed contributor to She’s the First, a non-profit focused on girls’ education in the developing world.
She attributes not only motivation, but wisdom as well, to a piece of advice delivered by her mother, who always told her, “Expect nothing and you will never be disappointed.” The ability to manage expectations while still striving at a very high level has helped her celebrate the small achievements and milestones, as well as the larger ones, in both work and life. The sentiment encompasses the important values of hard work, earning one’s own way, resilience, and gratitude for the rewards, and never taking for granted life’s occasional gifts.