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Robin Koval

Episode 20: You Don’t Retire — You Rewire, with Robin Koval

Robin Koval is the CEO and President of Truth Initiative, the national public health organization dedicated to achieving a culture where all youth and young adults reject tobacco.

A leader in the world of advertising and marketing, and a New York Times best-selling author, Koval joined the organization in 2013. She re-launched its award-winning and life-saving truth® youth tobacco prevention campaign and refocused its world-class research and activism programs to speak, seek and spread the truth about tobacco. The truth campaign has been voted one of the most influential campaigns of the 21st century and has been named a 2015 most effective brand of the year, best PR campaign of the year, along with numerous other awards. More importantly, with the help of the truth campaign youth cigarette smoking rates have declined from 23% in 2000 to an all-time low in 2015 of 7%!

Koval has deep roots in advertising and marketing. A co-founder and CEO of the Kaplan Thaler Group, she grew that company from a fledgling start-up in 1997 to a billion-dollar agency working with Procter & Gamble, Pfizer, Aflac and other cherished brands. She led the agency’s integration with Publicis and was named CEO of the 700-person agency, Publicis Kaplan Thaler, which she led prior to joining Truth Initiative.

She and Linda Kaplan Thaler are co-authors of several best-selling books. Their most recent book is Grit to Great: How Perseverance, Passion and Pluck Take You from Ordinary to Extraordinary.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Robin’s work getting young people to realize the dangers of smoking
  • How Robin met Linda Kaplan Thaler and why they started their own agency
  • How their agency grew from 6 people to over 700 employees and retained what was important about it
  • Why Robin and Linda wrote “Grit to Great”
  • The lessons about money Robin learned as a kid — including using her school savings account
  • What Robin learned from her working mom (who she believes would have been a CFO if she was born in a different era)
  • How Robin financed her own college education
  • The best and worst financial decisions she ever made
  • Why Robin believes “You don’t retire — you rewire”
  • What makes her very proud looking back
  • Why multitasking is a lie
  • Influential women in Robin’s life

Ways to contact Robin:


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