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2023 Women of Excellence, Mentorship

Profiles of Mentorship winners Christiana DiMattesa Houser, Angela DiLemme, Renee Martin, Jamie Olson, Rene Robers, Susan Sanderson and Cynthia Ward.

Christiana DiMattesa Houser

Senior Director Marketing, DTC Channels & Experiences
Under Armour

Christiana DiMattesa Houser is committed to fostering growth and development of women. As senior director of marketing, DTC channels and experiences at Under Armour, she has fostered an culture of empathy, growth and transparency. 

DiMattesa Houser is a catalyst for not just allowing women to leverage their individual leadership styles in the workplace, but celebrating them. These efforts are clearly measured in her top-performing annual teammate engagement scores year over year. She creates spaces within the organization to mentor and form genuine relationships, and she takes the time to understand others’ passions and expose them to new and undiscovered opportunities. Her openness to discuss challenges she has faced in her career builds a bridge among junior talent and senior leadership.

With a majority of Under Armour’s teams being a melting pot of personality types, work histories and experience levels, DiMattesa Houser builds opportunities for cross-functional learning across teams. She hosts a weekly Channels + Experiences meeting, where more than 15 teammates share their latest projects and areas where they need support — which presents opportunities for collaboration as well as a place to be seen, heard and have contributions acknowledged. 

She has also built quarterly and annual recognition programs across her team. As peer-nominated programs, the awards recognize the attributes of accountability, teamwork and humility in the workplace. She believes the best work comes from teammates who feel they have true equity in the workplace.


Angela DiLemme

Regional Vice President, Eastern Sales
Aki Technologies, the Media Division of Inmar Intelligence

Angela DiLemme sets a high bar for personal character and leads by example. As a regional vice president at Aki Technologies, she actively supports team members through both formal training and informal coaching. She created inspiration-focused, judgment-free weekly team meetings in addition to always having an open-door policy for daily one-on-one conversations. 

Along with achieving multimillion-dollar revenue growth, DiLemme has been committed to fostering the growth of women throughout her career by championing their learning and development. She leverages her business acumen and agile leadership abilities to recruit, build, motivate and retain high-performing sales teams while creating a culture of inclusion and continual development. Her 13-member team, with more than half being women, contributes the largest majority of annual revenue across the Aki sales team. 

For more than three years before joining the company in early 2021, DiLemme provided one-on-one coaching for young professionals, aimed at helping college students and new graduates identify goals, overcome barriers and develop leadership skills as they transition from campus to the business world. She currently sits on the board of numerous charities and growth organizations, including After-School All-Stars’ New York Chapter, where she provides support in strengthening the connection between home and school for 1,800 local middle school students.

DiLemme’s mentorship skills were nurtured during her 24 years at News America Marketing.


Renee Martin

Senior Vice President, Group Creative Director
Arc Worldwide

Renee Martin is a senior leader for the Arc Worldwide Molson Coors business, leading a creative team of 15 that is predominantly female and exceeds client and industry benchmarks for diversity. Not only does she consistently challenge the norm, but she pushes her business, her projects and her people forward, with valuable contributions to teach and grow the next generation of the industry.

One of the ways she does that is through The Pencil Project, a six-credit course at Chicago State University (CSU) that evolved from a two-week advertising bootcamp. Leo Burnett and Arc brought the program to CSU and in the past three years, it has grown from an informal program to a permanent part of the school curriculum. The Pencil Project provides educational and mentorship opportunities to college students.

Martin is an executive sponsor charged with mentoring diverse, non-traditional talent. She was instrumental in building a roadmap for the program and works to ensure it caters to the diverse needs of the student population. She teaches and provides 1:1 guidance to help the students build the skills they need to succeed in an agency environment.

In her current role since November 2021, when she joined Arc after more than 16 years at Aisle Rocket, Martin prioritizes her team’s professional growth and actively seeks to expand members’ perspective and grow their skill sets.


Jamie Olson

Blue Chip

Jamie Olson has served as Blue Chip’s president since August 2021, but the 17-year veteran is also known as the “president of the people,” with her open-door policy and deep belief in the power of shared experiences and open communication. Her mentor mindset focuses on cultivating the curiosity and interests of her mentees at Blue Chip and throughout the industry.

Olson has been instrumental in fostering an inclusive environment where women are not only valued, but also empowered to express their perspectives — which has positively shaped and elevated the agency’s DE&I efforts, nurturing and empowering a multitude of strong voices within the organization.

Dr. Valerie Williams-Sanchez was hired in January 2022 to lead the agency’s DE&I efforts, marking her first agency post. Through her mentorship, Olson supported Williams-Sanchez’s transition and worked with her to ensure the development of robust DE&I efforts, spanning strategic planning, creative development and execution, employee recruitment and education, vendor relationships and more.

BCAT, the Blue Chip Advisory Team, was born of a discussion between Olson and one of her mentees, Katey Rybski. As an agency that prides itself on a culture of empathy that drives positive change, Rybski recognized that employees needed more of a voice regarding the future of Blue Chip. A conversation about Rybski’s goals and areas of opportunity transformed into this group, whose ultimate function is that of a “mentor engine,” providing a system that encourages listening and collaboration with leadership, effectively arming its members with the qualities of a good mentor.


Rene Robers

Senior Manager, E-Commerce
Heineken USA

Rene Robers embraces the mantra of “be who you needed when you were younger,” and practices a servant leadership approach. She is the senior manager of e-commerce at Heineken, the role she stepped into in early 2021 after four years in customer marketing at the company.

Robers has made it her mission to engage and support women who are rising in their careers and seeking opportunities for growth. She helped build a summer intern program, developed a cross-functional curriculum, and facilitated mentorships for new team members to expand their networks and enrich their experiences while at the company.

As Board Chair of Heineken’s Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF), she serves as both a mentor and mentee, leading continuous improvement for the mentor experience and leveraging feedback and survey results. Across the partner employee resource groups in 2023, she helped expand the WLF mentor program to include a mentoring opportunity that comprised members of the Black Employee Resource Group (BERG) and the Hispanic Resource Group (HOLA). 

Outside of work, she is a co-founder of the University of Cincinnati’s Friends of Communication. She led the team that created its foundation, focused on building its mentoring program and aligning alumni with students, and was its first president from 2015-2018. She remains involved in mentoring and fundraising activities. 

Robers also served on the board of NextUp (formerly Network of Executive Women) in Cincinnati, serves on the board of Portaluca Boutique within Dress for Success, and is the current president of the Junior League of Cincinnati.


Susan Sanderson

Senior Vice President, PCHI Enterprise Brand Marketing
Party City Holdings Inc.

Being a mentor to others is something Susan Sanderson takes very seriously. She acknowledges the women in her career who provided guidance and opportunities, and she wants to pay it forward to other women as they navigate their careers. She joined Party City Holdings Inc. (PCHI) in June 2020 as vice president of brand management and was named to her current post of senior vice president, PCHI enterprise brand marketing, just one year later.

Sanderson shares her knowledge of career and life lessons through formal one-on-ones with her direct reports and skip-level meetings with her entire team. She never puts a limit on the number of women she coaches, and her reach is broad across the organization, helping women from different departments and divisions. 

Her passion for mentorship and professional development are seen through her open-office meetings and her introduction of Personal Branding workshops to the PCHI organization. The open-office meetings occur three to four times per week and allow the team to share projects they’re working on, get real-time feedback and ask questions in a supportive, safe space where everyone can share their thoughts and perspectives. 

The Personal Branding workshop idea is a passion project of Sanderson’s. She has honed her own personal brand and understands the value that has for one’s career. She is now introducing the concept of personal branding to other women.


Cynthia Ward

Former Chief of Staff, Channel Activation
Tag Worldwide, Americas

Cynthia Ward joined Tag Americas nearly seven years ago and most recently served as chief of staff, channel activation. As an advisor to the Americas COO for Sourcing and Channel Activation, she worked on strategic campaigns for global CPG and retail brands. She was a positive influencer and teacher for Tag Americas and its Shopper Center of Excellence, Channel Activation team of 180 employees, which is composed of more than 50% women.

Ward understands the unique challenges faced by women in their personal and professional lives, and she consistently leads by example, demonstrating the importance of integrity, resilience and continuous learning. In the past few years at Tag, she developed and launched a Peer Mentoring program with the intent to improve peer-to-peer relationships and lend support across accounts.

She has also spearheaded an Aspiring Leaders program, which includes an internal training program curriculum to equip participants with the knowledge and skill sets to grow in their careers. A series of “Wellness Wednesday” monthly events focus on creating an environment of wellness, and her Shopper Academy training program (with training sessions conducted by industry leaders) helps further shopper marketing expertise in the Channel Activation division. Ward also instituted a Sustainability Group, giving women opportunities to learn about sustainable practices at Tag and sustainable packaging and net-zero carbon emission goals within the shopper industry.

Ward recently left the company to start her own marketing execution consulting business, Tier 1 Solutions. She will serve as its founder and CEO.

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