Senior Account Manager
At times the Leo Burnett building can feel a bit like the United Nations. The corridors are filled with accents from every corner of the globe. In our own graduate intake we have two foreigners and it is perhaps pertinent to hear a bit from another ex pat who has made Leo Burnett London her home.
Gabi Eichler grew up in the idyllic surroundings of Cape Town, South Africa. After completing her high school education she decided to study for an arts degree at the internationally renowned Stellenbosch University. “I think I always wanted to live abroad eventually,” she explains. “But at that time, I think I just wanted to go to a good university and be with my friends from home.”
In her fourth year of university in South Africa, Gabi began to get itchy feet and decided to study film studies in America. She flew to the land of the brave knowing absolutely nobody. After completing courses in Washington State and California, Gabi began working for Millenium Pictures in Los Angeles. She worked in production, helping to make films such as “Lonely Hearts” with John Travolta and Salma Hayek.
However, the shine of Tinseltown began to wear thin after a while. “To be honest I felt my brain wasn’t really being used completely. I wanted to be more strategic and utilise different things from my degree, in the States it’s so broad, I got to study advertising and marketing alongside my film studies.” After deciding to take the plunge and move into advertising, Gabi pitched up in London with no contacts and little idea how to start her career.
An opportunity in a small integrated agency came up to work as an account executive and Gabi seized it. “It was a brilliant start for me, I got to do a bit of everything and work with brilliant clients like Barcardi.” Eventually, bigger agencies beckoned and Gabi joined the Leo Burnett group under the Arc brand three years ago. Currently Gabi works on Blackberry, one of the busiest accounts in the agency. “It’s so fast paced and it’s a brilliant brand to work for. It’s also good to get to work on something which is fully integrated, TV, digital and experiential, we get to do it all.”
Gabi’s road to advertising in London was not simple, but she is delighted she’s finally got to her destination. Her advice to aspiring graduate trainees is simple. “Hard work, perseverance and being nice to people goes a long way. Do your research and ask questions (in that order).”