We’re honored that our very own Geoff Edwards was chosen as a Campaign US 40 Over 40 recipient this year. With over two decades of experience, knowledge and the drive to leave a legacy for others to see themselves represented in the executive seat, we can’t think of anyone more deserving. Below, Geoff explains what this accomplishment means to him and the advice that has helped get him here.
What does it mean to be a Campaign US 40 Over 40 honoree?
I guess it means I’m old?
It’s an honor. I got into this business for three reasons: To do work like Dan Wieden. To sell work like Jerry Della Femina. And to leave a legacy like David Ogilvy. I challenge myself everyday to innovate. Being an honoree puts me in a rare fraternity of executives around the globe that have received this honor. If you think about it, it’s a small number for a large Industry so the class of 2022 is special to me. Importantly, this recognition allows young executives of color to see representation at work. This is an industry that accepts all people and that you can grow in, inspire others, and make a difference on a massive scale.
Why is it important to have the Campaign US 40 over 40 Awards?
It’s important for the industry to recognize the accomplishments of executives that paved the way. The trend is to focus on ‘what’s next’ and that’s prevalent in business, sports, and entertainment, but the best teams are made up of veteran leadership and experience coupled with new ideas and a challenger mentality. The Campaign US 40 over 40 is about inclusion and allowing everyone, regardless of age, gender, race, or ability, to be recognized for their contributions to the industry and, more importantly, where the industry is headed.
What is the best professional advice you've ever received? And what advice would you give future 40 Over 40 honorees?
"Be the leader you wish you had” - Simon Sinek
Simon is always good for a quote, but he didn’t create this quote. I heard it from Sam Reed, one of my first bosses. When I started in the industry there was no African American talent. I remember asking him why more people of color weren’t in the business, given that creativity is in our blood. I also questioned why none of the leadership at any agency was brown or Black, and he pulled me aside and said, “Geoff, if you feel that way then others like you will too. So be that person for someone else.” I’ve never forgotten that, and as an executive, I proudly accept that responsibility and have for my entire career.