Anne Devereux-Mills is a seasoned connector, speaker, and advocate.
Following a strenuous career as a serial CEO at male-dominated healthcare advertising companies, Anne realized something was missing in her life: connection.
As a single mom and 4-time cancer survivor, Anne saw how quickly relationships dissipated once she left the corporate world. She sought to shift this paradigm of relationships, from give-and-take networking to meaningful connection. Anne hosted women in her house to talk about real issues that affected them. These salon-style gatherings became a monthly occurrence, and began attracting women from all over the Bay Area. Soon, Anne realized it was becoming something bigger than herself...and thus, Parlay House was born. It is now a national organization with thousands of members and monthly gatherings in San Francisco and New York City with pop-ups launching in Los Angeles and London.
In addition to Parlay House, Anne serves as the Chairman of the Board for Marchex (MCHX), a mobile call analytics company, and as an advisor for Braven, an emerging company in the female health arena.
A passionate social activist, Anne was a key sponsor of California’s Proposition 36, which restored sentencing fairness to the State’s excessive Three Strikes Law. She also was the Executive Producer of the Emmy-nominated documentary, The Return, which explores the aftermath of Three Strikes – what happens to people when they re-enter their communities following their time in prison.
Prior to entrepreneurship, Anne served in key leadership roles at various healthcare advertising agencies. As CEO, she led LLNS, TBWA/ WorldHealth, and Consumer Healthworks, a division of Merkley and Partners. She also served as BBDO’s Chief Integration Officer and Managing Director of their global healthcare unit, as well as President of Harrison & Star.
Anne is an ardent supporter of women-focused nonprofits. She is a mentor and leader with the She-CAN Foundation (Supporting Her Education Changes a Nation). She was also an early supporter and funder for the iHUG Foundation, a nonprofit school in Uganda that supports the country’s most impoverished children.
Anne has been active in the Stanford University community, serving as the Executive Director of the Healthy Body Image Programs which then evolved into a role at Lantern. Lantern provided mobile access to mental health support and coaching. She’s also served in an advisory capacity as a Board Member of National Home Health Care Corporation and the educational nonprofit Braven, founded by former head of HR from Teach for America.
Anne is a 2003 Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, and a proud graduate of Wellesley College and The Lakeside School.
Anne spent the first 25 years of her career building and leading advertising agencies in New York City, and has been widely recognized as one of the most powerful women in advertising. She was Chairman and CEO of LLNS and TBWA/ WorldHealth after her successful roles as Chief Integration Officer at BBDO and Managing Director of their highly successful healthcare unit. She also served as CEO of Consumer Healthworks, a division of Merkley and Partner as well as President of Harrison & Star.
It is said the role of a CEO is a lonely one, and Anne found this to be true and in no small part because the relationships were transactional in nature—people connecting with an expectation of help or reciprocity, a form of forced reciprocity, which she found generally unfulfilling.
And through this all, Anne was a single mother to two daughters while battling cancer. It was through this experience that Anne was reminded of the importance and power of women-to-women connections.
From here, she transitioned from the corporate world to work that has greater social impact. She founded Parlay House, a salon-style gathering of over 1,000 Bay-area women who meet to pull each other forward through a combination of shared experiences, meaningful content, and peer-to-peer connections.
She was the Executive Director of The Return, an Emmy-nominated documentary about the experience of people returning to society post-prison. She and her husband were also the lead sponsors of California’s Proposition 36, which restored fairness in sentencing to the State’s excessive Three Strikes Law.
Anne serves as Chairman of the Board of Marchex, a public company, and is proud to be one of very few women serving in that capacity. She is also a Board Member and mentor to the Founders of Lantern, a San Francisco-based start-up that brings mental wellness programs to people through mobile technology. She is a mentor and leader with the She-CAN Foundation (Supporting Her Education Changes a Nation). In her early years, she helped found the iHUG Foundation, a not-for-profit school in Uganda supporting some of that nation’s most needy children.
Additionally, Anne has been part of the Stanford University community, serving as the executive director of the Healthy Body Image Programs. She is a prior Board Member of National Home Health Care Corporation, Braven (a non-profit start-up in the education space) and a consultant to Renew Medical. She is a 2003 Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and a Wellesley College graduate.
What is unusual and unique about Anne is that she has had a tremendous impact not just in one arena, but across topics of women’s empowerment, business, philanthropy, healthcare, and social justice—and across various industries, sectors, and groups.