A few months back I went to AWNY’s VIP Auction. It was an awesome event and I give myself a pat on the back for going all by myself, networking and meeting many other friendly Young Executives. I walked away with an awesome gift bag of goodies, my Barbara K! Tool Kit (raffle prize… still unopened), and most importantly: a lunch with Stephanie Kugelman, Vice Chairman, and Chief Strategic Officer of Young & Rubicam.
Yes, joining AWNY and subsequently attending the VIP Auction were all steps in my master plan to get on the Account Management track in an ad agency. Once the bids had closed and the dust had settled, I was very happy with my win. Y&R is a respectable agency… and coincidently handles the Campbell Soup account 😉 After several phone calls with her lovely assistant Phyllis, rescheduling twice and a change of venues, I was finally able to sit down with Stephanie Kugelman at the Bryant Park Grill.
And things couldn’t have gone better…
Of course, I Googled Stephanie Kugelman before the meeting… found out she was the former CEO of the Y&R New York Office before taking her current job, and that she was also on many boards etc etc.
I was sad we had to change locations, I was looking forward to a lunch at Eleven Madison Park but oh well, I was more than grateful that Stephanie was able to fit me into her schedule at all… Bryant Park Grill was alright, the food was not overwhelmingly notable, but it is right behind the Library and on a nice summer day it’s an excellent location. We ended up ordering the same things, iced tea and the salmon… I ordered 1st so I wasn’t trying to copy, though I did find it interesting… maybe that is just the standard “safe” meal to order… maybe I am over analyzing… at any rate the meal didn’t seem to be anything more than what I could have prepared at home… the upside was their kitchen had to smell like fish to make it, not mine :p
The conversation was flawless! I told her all about my interest in advertising, working so passionately in college for the FLA USA-Visit Florida campaign, how I’ve wanted to work in advertising since jr high… all in a very casual yet confident manner… as if talking to your Aunt, not a Top Ad Agency exec. She told me about her job and how she had started at Y&R right out of college, and never left. I think she said she’d been there 34 years! Oh my! She started in the Account Planning side, which usually doesn’t lead to CEO/top management levels… but she was on the right campaigns at the right time. She also asked me about the other aspects of my life… which when I say them out loud does sound like quite a tale… made the jump across the country to go to college, moved to a new city to find the post college career I know I want, re-founding APO on the GW campus (had to through that in ’cause I knew she was interested in corporate philanthropy )… in the end she was impressed that I was so independent (which growing up definitely wasn’t a word I would have used to describe myself). She could also see that I was genuinely interested in the Account Management side of the business. I didn’t even have to ask (not that I would have, it would have been too tacky)… she told me to send her my resume and she would be sure to arrange a meeting at Y&R. She also offered to look into which recruiters in NYC were best for finding account management jobs beyond just Y&R! Fabulous 😀
Literally, not even 2 hours after our lunch, Stephanie emailed me a thank you note and reminded me to send her my resume… I would have taken the first step, but I did not have her email address and she did not bring a business card to lunch (surprisingly). As of today, Stephanie has spoken with the Managing Partner for Account Management and Account Support and it is just a matter of coordinating a meeting.
It was such a wonderful lunch; I got exactly what I was looking for 😀 I left feeling so proud of myself… and it was nice to have a good experience in what up until then had been a very miserable week. And so my search for an awesome account management job continues….