Credentials: Leo Burnett
Position title: Senior Account Executive
Major: Communication Arts (Communication Science & Rhetoric track)
Certificate: Digital Studies & Business
Graduation Date: May 2016
How did you end up at Leo Burnett?
I had my first internship the summer following my freshman year. I took the time to explore different marketing opportunities and began to fine-tune what I enjoyed doing. After graduating, I set my sights on an advertising career in account management because it blended my communications background with a business focus. The Chicago advertising world is competitive and it is all about getting your foot in the door. I started with an internship at a smaller agency, Walton Isaacson, and eventually was offered a full-time job. After a few years, I moved on to Leo Burnett to get the big agency experience and continue applying my skills to a larger piece of business.
What does a typical day in the office look like for you?
I oversee the advertising of a brand within the Kellogg’s portfolio and ensure our work solves the client’s business problem. As an account leader, every day is different. Common tasks I take on include evolving our brand strategy with the Strategy and Creative Directors, reviewing creative ideas with our Creative Team, organizing the next production with our Producer, or discussing current business challenges with the Client.
How has Digital Studies influenced your career path?
The Digital Studies certificate was my first experience working in production. My experience crafting a story from concept to completion in college gave me the solid foundation to kickstart my career. Today, I’ve worked on countless productions and will most likely work on 3-5 more this year.
Did you have a favorite Digital Studies class?
My favorite class that I took for the certificate was English 571: Remix, Mashup, and Digital Design. We explored less traditional or emerging mediums and discussed how each influenced processes and perceptions. That class reshaped my thought process and still influences my creative thinking today.
Do you have any advice for current students?
Make sure you have a well-rounded experience in college. While courses and grades are important, my time on a club’s Executive Board ended up being one of the things that got me my first advertising job. Also, never be afraid to go after what you want. As Leo Burnett always said, “When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get them, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.”
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career thus far?
I’m very proud of the work my team did for the Kellogg’s All Together Cereal, our pro bono partnership with GLAAD to support the LGBTQ+ community. What began as a symbol of acceptance has evolved into a growing partnership with GLAAD. Our mission is to tell the world that “no matter how you look, where you’re from or who you love, we believe everyone deserves an environment where they can be their best selves.”