Meet Ebony Francis, an Assistant Account Executive at Wieden + Kennedy!
How did you realize Account Management was the right fit for you?
Once I had a better understanding of agency roles and how they worked together, I knew I wanted to focus on account management. I’m very personable and love meeting new people and maintaining relationships which is a large part of the job. I’m also interested in strategy and how it combines creative executions with business objectives, as an account person you need to have a firm grasp on your client’s business and your agency’s areas of expertise. Although most of my time is spent on the phone, shooting out emails, rushing to meetings and presenting work, the underlying goal is fostering relationships. I work hard to gain trust from my internal team and my clients so I can lead the team to culture shifting work.
What does it take to work at Wieden + Kennedy?
Well, even though I’ve been here for over a year, I’m pretty new to the business and to this agency so the best thing I could offer is my educated guess. Like a lot of things in life, it takes preparation and opportunity. Someone offered me an opportunity and thankfully, I was prepared. WK headquarters is an extraordinary place full of super talented people. You have to be on top of your game and ready to put your ego aside to make the best work of your life. Or at least that’s what they told me on my first day ☺ One of our mantras here is “Fail Harder”. Honestly you can’t understand what it means until you start working here. Simply put, it means don’t let the fear of failure keep you from going above and beyond.
If you could go back in time to tell your college freshman self one piece of advice, what would it be?
In one week I got a 13/100 on a paper in my J2100 News Writing course, 3 parking tickets, and an alert that I’d lose my course load if I didn’t make a $3,000 payment on MyZou by the end of the week. This was a terrible week, but being the dramatic 21-year-old I was, I had a “terrible week” once a month. I’d tell myself what I tend to tell myself these days. “You are fine, it is fine and everything will be okay.” Some of these people won’t matter in a month and most of them won’t in the “real world”. Don’t make yourself small and don’t be afraid to live up to your potential. You only get to do undergrad once!
Any J-school classes, on/off-campus opportunities or internships you recommend to future NABJ-MU account executives?
The Missouri Method is real! I’ve learned so much by just going out there and experiencing it. Do NOT leave Mizzou without having a non-MU related internship experience. It doesn’t have to be a top ranked station or a well-known agency, just get that real experience before you graduate it’s so valuable and definitely a mandatory these days. I also loved mentorship back at MU. Get involved in a service organization that allows you to pay forward your experience and perspective. Someone is really in need and it will impact you more than you think!
What is your favorite NABJ-MU memory?
My very first media tour to Chicago. I had a chance to visit a well-known ad agency, and I was blown away. It was my first exposure to the advertising industry and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I appreciate this question! It’s so easy to become obsessed with the now and next month, but it’s important to think ahead and work towards something. In the next 5 years I see myself in a more senior account role, in a new city, and hopefully a homeowner. I also hope to be a content creator in some capacity i.e. podcast, vlogs, or the next medium of content!
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Interested in Account Management or want to get in contact with Ebony? Email her at Ebfrancis24@gmail.com !