In a career that has taken her to two of Richmond's big-name advertising agencies — the Martin Agency and now Mullen Lowe U.S. — Elizabeth Paul's biggest work-related victories, she says, came earlier this year as she was visiting clients in Boston to manage ads that would run during the Super Bowl and the Oscars. It wasn't just the heady creative work or the high-profile arenas, Paul notes, but the fact that she was shadowed by a girl from her Church Hill neighborhood who attended Armstrong High School.
"I often have my foot firmly planted in two different worlds," she says, referring to both her diverse neighborhood and the ultracompetitive, ultraexclusive advertising business. She notes that students trying to rise out underprivileged circumstances are often pushed to science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields for the security. Creative fields like hers are often not an option for students like her young friend. But the chance to give a bright student that exposure, she says, "gave me the most joy."
Paul's ascendency to the role of head of strategy for Mullen Lowe U.S. ranks her as a big-time ad executive, although she's proven to be not so ensconced as to lose her big-heartedness. She has given hours and pro-bono services to many weighty causes such as a state-promoted teen foster care project, Meals on Wheels, a Church Hill tutoring and mentoring program, the East End Fellowship and Arrabon, which works to achieve racial reconciliation in various organizations.
A guiding principle in her life, she says, comes from a memorable line. "John Wesley famously said something to the effect of 'Do all the good you can to everyone you can anytime that you can and by any means that you can.'"