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Ellyn Davidson

July 12, 2018

Growing with Purpose Podcast: "How Leaders Survive Personal Tragedy" with Ellyn Davidson

When a leader is struck by personal tragedy, how do you persevere? Ellyn Davidson was diagnosed with breast cancer as a rising leader at her agency and with three kids at home. Today, she is President of Brogan & Partners and a mentor to women facing their own diagnoses.

Today on the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Ellyn Davidson, President of Brogan & Partners, a full-service marketing and advertising agency in Birmingham, Michigan. Ellyn's business card hasn't changed for 24 years — she was hired as an intern at the company and worked her way up the ladder through a commitment to relationships and values. In fact, when Ellyn was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, she still found a way to forge connections and make a difference. An 11-year survivor, Ellyn not only overcame her diagnosis, she used it as a force to do good in the world.

In this episode, hear how Ellyn balanced her family, her career, and her cancer diagnosis — and managed to become company president just three years later. Tune into Ellyn's story here.



Show Notes 

[5:12] From Company Intern to Company President

[7:40] Sending Invoices at Seven Years OldEllyn Davidson is President of Brogan Partners.

[10:10] The Importance of Presence in Business

[12:25] A Shocking Cancer Diagnosis in 2007

[21:37] Redefining the Business through Values & Relationships

[31:13] Walking Away from a Substantial Client for the Greater Good

[34:48] The Challenges of Giving Tough Feedback


Books that Influenced Ellyn's Leadership

Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman  


Looking for more episodes of the Growing with Purpose podcast? Tune in!


About Ellyn Davidson

Ellyn Davidson was 36, the mother of a toddler, a Kindergartner and second-grader, and Account Director at Brogan & Partners when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Now a ten-year survivor, Ellyn is an active breast cancer fundraiser, Board President of FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered, a member of the Michigan Region BBYO Commission, on the governing board of Winning Futures and on the board of Conpoto. While fighting for her own life, she's inspired hundreds of women to fight for theirs—personally and professionally. Ellyn has helped create and market multi-million dollar brands, while still finding the patience and energy to be a mom and actively mentor young professionals. Whether the hospital room, board room or dining room, Ellyn is acutely aware of how important it is to help support other women. Since joining Brogan & Partners in 1994, Ellyn has left big fingerprints all over the 34-year-old agency. She started in our media department where she quickly rose to media director. Then, Ellyn moved into account management, where her abilities and energy were rewarded with responsibilities for managing several of our most important clients. Ellyn has a dazzling ability to oversee and coordinate teams on complex projects. Today, Ellyn brings her talents, experience and expertise together to focus on strategy, business development, morale, technology and what's next for Brogan & Partners and our clients. Ellyn received a BBA in marketing and operations management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an international business specialization from the London School of Economics. Ellyn is a breast cancer speaker and has multiple honors for her dedication to the community. Most recently, she was honored with a Career Mastered leadership in action award. She was recognized as an Esteemed Woman of Michigan by the Dr. Gary Burnstein Health Clinic in 2015 and in 2013, she was recognized as a RARE Everyday Hero by Winning Futures. Under her leadership, the Karmanos Cancer Institute recognized the agency as a Hero of Breast Cancer in 2014. She's also a member of the marketing committee for Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and the Michigan Women's Foundation annual event committee. An avid runner, she lives in Huntington Woods with her husband, Jon and their children.