360i CEO Sarah Hoffstetter with Fortune's Leigh Gallagher at the 2017 Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit in Laguna Niguel, Calif.
Stuart Isett/Fortune
By Jonathan Vanian
November 14, 2017

Sarah Hofstetter knows she may stand out from her peers in the advertising industry, but she’s using her differences as an advantage.

Speaking Monday during Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit in Laguna Niguel, Calif., the CEO of digital advertising agency 360i described how her life as an observant Orthodox Jew often puts her at odds with colleagues in her field.

While most advertising executives may be wining and dining clients or hammering out a big deal on a Friday night, Hofstetter hunkers down at home, where she lights candle, drinks wine, and observes the Sabbath.

“You’re never gonna catch me working on a Saturday morning,” she said. “And just because I email you on a Saturday night, you don’t need to email me back. But those are assets.”

Hofstetter’s commitment to her faith means she often has to sit out business meetings. Still, that hasn’t damaged her ability to form relationships with clients. Standing firm to one’s beliefs can in fact lead to more respect from colleagues and customers, she said—and reveal clients that aren’t worth the time.

“Those are my vulnerabilities,” Hofstetter said, “but those are my assets.”

What’s more, by openly expressing these kinds of restrictions to others, it often prompts them to candidly share their own vulnerabilities. Said Hofstetter: “It allows you to establish meaningful relationships with people.”


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