Emma Griffiths is a wonderful example of life at Leo Burnett – her personality, humour and enthusiasm are reflective of exactly the type of people Leo Burnett look to hire, and her many varied roles (past and present) within the building reflect the culture of the company and the opportunity that Leo Burnett offers their staff.
Emma started at Leo Burnett two years ago as a team secretary on McDonald’s, and has been working in her current position as Account Executive within Atelier for 3 months now. Through her roles as Joint CEO of A&E pop up bar, head of the Core Drinks Committee, and member of the Leo Burnett softball team (a team of which Emma says are more focused on drinking ‘Pimms in the park, with only minimum levels of exercise!’), Emma is one of Burnett’s best socialites!
But aside from the social side of things, Emma is serious about her work, saying it was her fascination with brands and a passion for creativity that led her to ad land’s doors, “I’ve always been fascinated by brands and the way that advertising can influence the modern world and the way that we consume and think. After my degree, which was randomly in archaeology, I started working for a PR agency. After becoming increasingly frustrated with not being part of the creative work and key marketing strategies, I started temping within advertising agencies to get some experience and found out that I loved it!”
Having worked as part of Leo Burnett and now as part of Atelier, Emma has a good understanding of how the different elements of the Leo Burnett Group run and interact. So who are Atelier and what do they do? “Atelier work within the Leo Burnett group as a smaller division, dealing only in fashion, beauty and luxury brands. The work that we do is very similar to that of the main agency but we are able to tailor our work and deliver higher client expectations due to our expert knowledge of the industry. We are extremely up to date with trends and our markets and constantly are monitoring the latest competitive and influences. We also have lots of pretty things. Think baroque chairs, mannequins and walls filled with back catalogue copies of Vogue… Elle… Tatler… GQ… Swoon.”
When asked of the best thing about being part of the Leo Burnett group, Emma’s response is simple, “Paul Lawson. The man is a comedy genius.” Paul Lawson is Leo Burnett’s Managing Director and Emma suggests that with Paul at the helm, the social side of Leo Burnett is a big draw card. “It’s great to feel part of the bigger agency. Everyone is so friendly and I’ve made lots of my best friends here. This also makes the legendary Summer, Christmas and other social events amazing.”
Once again putting the social side of things aside, Emma says that she also loves the opportunity that being part of a big agency and a global network offers, “It’s a great opportunity to have the vast knowledge of a large global agency to tap into. Within Atelier, we often work with employees of the main agency on pitches and day to day work and vice versa. It’s definitely a huge benefit to be part of this type of flexible structure.”
Emma’s description of what she loves best about her job is one of the best descriptions I have heard of Leo Burnett and the role of an Account Executive – I will let her speak for herself.
“My favourite thing about my job is…The bar. Really… it has to be the amazing people that I get to work with every day. The team are inspirational and are so passionate about what we do. Being in Atelier I also get to look at lots of fashion blogs, which never really feels like work. I love having the client contact whilst being able to overlook the whole creative process. It is always interesting and often surprises. I love seeing the mundane turning into something extraordinary, which is something that I believe that we achieve here on a regular basis.”
So what advice does Emma have for all your potential grad Applicants out there? “Be yourself! Let your humour and personality come across. Include everything that you think would be relevant in your application (probably leave out your 10m swimming badge though…). Look around at the market over the last year or so to see what you like/don’t like and why. Have fun. And good luck!”