Chair emerita and former CEO of ID Media, an Interpublic Group media agency, New York

Smith majors
Latin and Greek

Career path
Fantom, the first in her blue-collar Massachusetts family to attend college, began at Little, Brown Publishers and progressed to a variety of marketing firms, always working her way up and keeping an eye out for how to make companies more welcoming to women. She spent the past 14 years as founding CEO of ID Media, which she helped build into a leading digitally driven media services agency. Women make up two-thirds of her staff; 40 percent are people of color. ID has been named a “best place to work” eight times by various publishers, including Crain’s New York Business.

Why women are a good fit for the changing model of a CEO
“I keep thinking of Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, of the maternal archetype who is sitting at the end of the table leading the conversation, making sure that everyone at the table is included, that everyone feels good and has the opportunity to contribute. How the family and guests are interacting is something she is quietly and effectively managing. That’s what women bring to the table and what is truly the archetype of leadership today. Women are collaborative, cooperative and communicative. A lot of women are more willing to be vulnerable and humble; they are aware of how dependent performance truly is on the efforts of the whole team. My successor, whom we have just appointed, is a woman, a mom of twin boys, and her leadership style, like mine, is characterized by collaboration and acknowledgment of how dependent we are as leaders on the people who work for us.”

SAQ, Fall 2015