MM&M conducted Q&As with three agency staffers — from left, Stephanie Robinson, senior account manager, The Bloc; Jessica Hill, account supervisor, Ogilvy CommonHealth; and Austin Bald, account executive, TBWAWorldHealth — who attended the MAHF’s Young Executives Night Out in October. Here’s what they have to say about their careers so far. 

MM&M: What has been the biggest challenge of your career so far?

AB ⎯ It has not been a single moment, but more of a general perspective. In a junior role it is easy to sit on the sidelines and to go with the flow. But I knew I had to change my perspective. So to be as valuable as possible, I knew I had to start speaking up more and be sure that I was voicing my opinion on client-critical issues.

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SR ⎯ Finding that balance between following precedents and speaking up for what I believe. I’ve worked for some great agencies that encourage freedom of expression, but when I came out of college, it was hard for me to understand when it was and when it wasn’t an appropriate time to speak up, especially among higher-ups.  

JH ⎯ Deciding whether to continue in research and digital analytics or move into account services. I was comfortable and enjoyed what I was doing, but I wanted to broaden my skill set.

MM&MHow did you address it?

AB ⎯ My company recently underwent a merger and rebranding, so a lot of our processes changed. This presented a unique opportunity, because those of us in junior positions were learning new procedures alongside our supervisors. This was when I decided to make that change to be more vocal and make a stand on issues I felt were critical to our team’s success.

SR ⎯ Honestly, it’s something that continues to develop as I grow in my career. As I’ve taken on more responsibility, I force myself to step out of my comfort zone and make the decisions I feel are best for my clients, team, and company.  

JH ⎯ I thought about what areas I could see myself working in long term, and where I could apply my current knowledge while continuing to
learn and grow.

MM&MHave you considered opening your own agency?

AB ⎯ Of course. I think most everyone who works in advertising has thought about opening their own agency at one point, but I know I still have a lot to learn before that day arrives.

SR ⎯ No, I haven’t. But I have considered pursuing a consulting role later in my career.

Read the MM&M eBook: Takeaways from the Young Executives Night Out

JH ⎯ No, because I love working for a large agency where we have specialized teams that allow us to provide a variety of offerings for our clients.

MM&MWhat is one thing you wish you knew when you started your career?

AB ⎯ I knew it was going to be very challenging. Every day you are faced with a constantly evolving regulatory space against competitors that have launched some of the world’s most influential drugs. It was a challenge I was more than ready to take on, and I am happy that I did.

SR ⎯ I knew that I should expect the unexpected at all times.

JH ⎯ I recognized the unique relationship between patients and their healthcare providers — and the value understanding that relationship can have on decision-making and pro-
duct positioning.

MM&MWhat has been the best moment of your career so far?

AB ⎯ It’s been such an incredible experience because the managing executives are invested in the success of every client. They work closely with each team and individual regardless of position to be sure each job is executed as well as it can be. The team-focused mindset is evident the moment you walk into our agency.

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SR ⎯ Hearing how happy my team is with having me on board. Sometimes we forget to show appreciation to one another considering how fast everything moves in an industry like ours. It was good to hear I am appreciated, and that I’ve made such an impact in a short amount of time.

JH ⎯ Seeing the outcome of my team’s work through a successful product launch.

MM&MIf you could change one thing about your career, what would it be?

AB ⎯ I constantly look back on not taking any heavy science classes in college. I have never felt limited by my lack of background in biology, but there are moments when I know having a stronger scientific background would be useful.

SR ⎯ Like any career, there are highs and lows. Even with the lows, I wouldn’t change a thing.

JH ⎯ I love working on global brands, so if I could go back and request to work on global more specifically, I think I would, though it’s helpful to be well rounded in your experience.