75: The Female Advantage In Business

Pattern of Purpose podcast episode 75 cover art

While we’ve made huge strides, the reality is that many women still have to fight for a place at the table. The irony is that those who are making executive decisions about how to solve women’s biggest problems are not, in fact, women themselves.

Tracy Brosnan joins me to talk about the influence of strong female mentors in her career and her best advice for shining light on your strengths even when no one else is.

On this episode, Tracy and I discuss:

  • Her experience working her way up from NYC’s restaurant row to some of the biggest creative agencies in the world,
  • The importance of surrounding yourself with strong women,
  • Being forced into a choice to have a big life or a big career,
  • How to assemble diverse and effective teams, and
  • How to allow your values guide your career decisions.


Tracy Brosnan is the founder of Wonder + Zest, a NYC-based creative collective made up of the makers and the dreamers who have been heavyweights in some of the world’s largest agencies. She launched W+Z after several years as Creative Director/Head of Content at international PR firm, DeVries Global. It was here where she created a video series for Pantene Western Europe that celebrates the power of hair and has become the global platform for Pantene. She also has 20 years experience working on some of the world’s biggest brands like Walmart, Olay, L’Oreal and Unilever for agencies such as Young & Rubicam, Saatchi & Saatchi, Grey Worldwide and Publicis. With an extensive network of creatives built over the years, Tracy saw an opportunity for a new model in a creative agency that offers more to her clients for less: expert teams curated for each project without the overhead and hierarchy of large agencies.

Tracy’s proudest accomplishments include her first TV commercial running on the Super Bowl, running a global creative hot house in Prague, creating Olay’s first social media campaign, Mothers & Daughters, judging creative for the Clio Awards and launching Wonder + Zest.

She grew up in a small farm town in Upstate NY. She turned down a full ride to business school and instead accepted a scholarship to study abroad in Japan. Photographing local farmers in the rice fields set her creative path in motion. With very little knowledge of the Japanese language, her camera quickly became her international handshake. She continued on to the University of Florida to study advertising and shortly after graduation, landed her first job in NYC working for Young & Rubicam.

She hosts creative retreats in the mountains and loves running. She lives just outside NYC with her husband, her dog, her two children and her garden full of tomatoes.

In the words of a close colleague: “Tracy celebrates everything. There is a level of optimism and energy that is clear as soon as you meet her. And it’s contagious.”


You can’t grow without failing.

A mentor can guide you through tough career decisions in a way a boss or client may be unable to.

Be unapologetic about the life you want to live.

You must create for yourself to be full of creative ideas for others.


“As a creative you can’t grow until you’re really listening to what you’re trying to solve.”

“You don’t have to work for two weeks to come up with an insight about being a woman if you’re already a woman.”

“Don’t hold back anything. Everything you think matters. Everything you want to make, just make it. It’s only when you let yourself be creative that you can be creative.”

“Empathy is the road forward.”