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Quad’s Gwen Maass on the Teamwork Behind Transformation

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Gwen Maass began her career in advertising as a copywriter before making the move into franchise marketing where she was introduced to newspaper advertising as an account manager. After spending more than 17 years in several high-level agency positions including chief marketing officer, she now serves as vice president of media services for Quad, a full-service agency that uses its unique integrated solutions platform to help marketers improve efficiencies and effectiveness. She is also a member of AAM’s board of directors.

Here Gwen shares insights from her career including Quad’s transformation to a marketing agency, advice for those new to the industry and what has surprised her most during her career.

Gwen Maass with her leadership team.What has your team achieved that you are most proud of?

Over the last 7+ years we have acquired several agencies and evolved into a marketing experience company that offers comprehensive end-to-end solutions to our clients. Last year, for the third year in a row, Quad was recognized as a top 25 agency by Ad Age. I’m proud of that and proud that we’re bringing a different type of agency to the market. I’m also proud of the efforts Quad has taken in the diversity, equity and inclusion space. We have robust education and support programs to help people manage and lead in an inclusive manner. I think it has helped employees feel valued, given us a sense of belonging and freed everyone to join in and become part of a greater purpose.


Anything in your career that’s surprised you?

People often say you either have agency in your blood or you don’t. What I love about being part of an agency is the constant rhythm and fast pace. There’s always something happening and so much to learn from the variety of clients and industries we work with every day. I stepped away for a couple of years and realized that I missed it. I’ve adapted to the rigor of the industry so much so that if I’m not part of it, I feel like I’m not being productive.


What word describes your company?

EVOLVING. Quad is traditionally known for print, but we are now a marketing experience company. Simply put, we use the full breadth of our products and services to solve client problems by leveraging our industry roots, culture, stability, scale, and knowledge of the consumer to drive demand for our clients’ businesses. Our new brand position is designed to increase awareness about everything we do.


Why do you value audited media?

When we choose newspapers for a plan, there is a hierarchy. Audited paid circulation is at the top and those that fall outside of this hierarchy frequently don’t get chosen. To us, the value of an audit is still as high as it always was, and maybe even more so because of all the changes and challenges currently taking place in the industry.


What piece of advice would you give someone starting out in your field?

Raise your hand! Generally speaking, good things happen when you do. For example, speaking up or volunteering for a special project can help others see you in a new light, and help you stretch beyond your job description. The payoff? It oftentimes leads to even greater opportunities to work on initiatives you might not otherwise have been considered for if you hadn’t put yourself out there.


What is one goal you would like to achieve?

I don’t feel like I’ve reached the height of my career. I still believe I have more to give and more to learn. I intend to stay curious and keep learning and growing.


Gwen Maass and familyWhat do you like to do in your free time?

I love to cook, entertain and spend time with my family. I have a son who will be heading to college in the fall, so “being present” for and with him is where I focus my time right now. I also think it’s important to find down time. I’ve reached a point in life where I don’t have to be busy all the time. Sometimes I simply value peace.

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