Ogilvy & Mather’s Shelly Lazarus found her path to the ad industry by accident.

She had accepted a ride from someone she knew from college to New York City, and that woman mentioned she was going to an advertising conference and asked Lazarus if she wanted to come. She went on a lark, though she had never thought about advertising as a potential career.

The conference lasted for five hours, but “I could have sat there for another three days,” says Lazarus, now Ogilvy & Mather’s chairman emeritus, in an interview with Beet.TV. “I was completely mesmerized by it.”

Lazarus went on to lead a storied career. She was Ogilvy’s CEO and chairman from 1996 to 2008.

Asked about her greatest setback, she observes that losing a piece of business always felt personal. However, nothing was more satisfying “than when the phone rings and it’s your old client saying, ‘Can we come back now?'”

Then asked how the ad business is likely to change in the next five or 10 years, Lazarus observes marketers will continue to grapple with how to reach consumers in new content environments.

“Just taking a small space print ad and putting it on a screen is not necessarily the most compelling way to get a message across,” she says, observing that there’s still much to learn about how to seize opportunities afforded by new platforms to communicate with consumers on a one-to-one basis.

This segment is part of Beet.TV’s “Media Revolutionaries,” a 50-part series of interviews with key innovators and leaders in the media, technology and advertising industries, sponsored by Xaxis and AOL. Xaxis is a unit of WPP.

Lazarus was interviewed for Beet.TV by David J. Moore, Chairman of Xaxis and President of WPP Digital.

The Media Revolutionaries, presented by Xaxis and AOLTagged ,