Zenith’s Helen Lin named an Adweek Media All-Star!

by Katie Richards


As a leader in the digital media space, Helen Lin moves at 100 miles a minute—and texts even faster—so be prepared to move quickly if you want to keep up with her.

“There are very few people that can match me in terms of speed and pace and volume of work—and she’s definitely able to do that, in all capacities,” says John Nitti, chief media officer at Verizon.

The two first worked together when Nitti was Lin’s superior at Publicis’ ZenithOptimedia, before moving to the client side six months ago when he joined Verizon. Lin, he says, demonstrates an unmatched passion and energy for a job that has her managing some 180 employees as evp of digital and magazine activation at what’s now known as Zenith (in the wake of parent Publicis’ major reorganization in March).

Lin’s co-workers and superiors alike agree that she possesses not only a zeal for and understanding of the digital business but also a work ethic that is rare even in a business known for its energetic leaders.

Lin earned her MBA from New York University while managing a full workload at Zenith, Nitti recalls. And yet somehow she also found the time to be instrumental in landing the agency global media responsibilities for the beauty giant Coty, an account worth an estimated $600 million. Under Lin’s leadership, Zenith has already churned out more than 20 brand campaigns since winning Coty last June.

“It’s amazing how she can keep taking on more responsibility,” says Dave Penski, U.S. chief investment officer for Publicis Media. “She’s just got that youthful exuberance of someone who wants to keep learning.”

Lin’s ability to bring people together goes far beyond taking younger employees under her wing or building a solid workplace culture. Since joining the agency in 2009, she has also helped integrate its programmatic insights engine, Programmatic Competency, into the broader business. Now, the programmatic teams work closely with the strategy side.

“If we’re all talking about business results, it’s absolutely critical that the people that are closest to data are the teams that are responsible for those results,” she explains.

Over the past year, Lin has also integrated magazine and digital operations, ensuring that the Zenith employee who is “negotiating with Condé Nast is also negotiating with CondéNast.com,” she adds. That thinking has spread through other disciplines within the media agency—most notably, television—creating a more seamless experience for the client and the shop.

Lin was selected this year for a Cynopsis Top Women in Digital Award in the mentors category, recognizing “those who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in providing support, encouragement and essential strategies for success in the digital media industry.”

Recalling her earlier work experience on the West Coast, Lin says, “I was more successful in New York than in L.A. because I had exposure to so many more mentors. To be recognized for being somebody that does the same … I feel like I’ve arrived. I feel very complete.”


This article was originally published on AdWeek. Read more.

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