Birthplace: New York City
Shelly Braff graduated from Smith College in 1968 and earned an MBA from Columbia University in 1970, where she was one of four women in her class. She started working at Clairol, but within a year switched Ogilvy & Mather. In 1974, she moved to Dayton, Ohio, for two years while her husband was in the Air Force, and worked as a department store buyer. In 1976, Lazarus returned to New York and to Ogilvy & Mather as an account supervisor for Avon, Ralston Purina, and Campbell Soup. After a series of promotions, Lazarus was named president of North American operations in 1994. In the early 1990s, Lazarus scored two major coups: she won the American Express account, and made Ogilvy the exclusive agency for IBM, whose advertising had been split between 40 agencies. She took over from Charlotte Beers as CEO in 1996. Lazarus has been CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, one of the world's largest advertising agencies since 1997. She is married to George Lazarus, a pediatrician.