Special/Signature Issues » 2012 Top 40 Under 40

Leslie Griles, 39

Director of Outreach and Partnerships, The Martin Agency


Sometimes it helps knowing people in high places.

When the Martin Agency began work on the More Birthdays campaign for the American Cancer Society, Leslie Griles knew who to call. Not Ghostbusters, but a similar supernatural force: Justin Bieber.

"Justin said 'yes' right away," Griles says. "And with him on board, Rihanna signed on shortly thereafter — then Keith Urban, Ricky Martin, Faith Hill."

Based on the idea that less cancer means more birthdays, the campaign features celebrities singing "Happy Birthday." It's run successfully for two years, and it's just another way that Griles, director of outreach and partnerships, uses her networking skills for a good cause.

She says her proudest career moment came while working with one of the agency's biggest fish, Wal-Mart. Griles had the opportunity to help a family in need by using her product placement contacts at "The Oprah Show." A financially struggling family was attempting to get pregnant and wound up having six children.

"We gave the family $250,000 worth of Wal-Mart store credit to be used over a number of years," Griles says. "There was not a dry eye in the house."

Griles also donates time to help local nonprofits with public relations strategy, helping at the Daily Planet and Fight SMA/Andrew's Buddies.

She's also working to make moms' lives easier with the Mom Complex, a global think tank that researches mothers' behavior and needs. "We pull real insights from the lives of moms and turn them into business-building ideas that will create better products, services and communications for the way moms really live," she says.

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