Today’s interview is with Brett Chaloupka, an account supervisor with Saatchi & Saatchi, a global advertising agency headquartered in New York City.
Hey Brett! Thank you for taking the time to chat today. To start off, can you tell me a bit about your professional background?
Hi, Sean. Yes! I work for Saatchi & Saatchi. We are a full-scale global advertising agency that handles above- and below-the-line communication for a range of large and small companies around the world. Proctor & Gamble and General Mills are examples of two of our larger clients.
Tell me about your job. What is your role in the company, and what do you do on a day-to-day basis?
I currently manage two accounts: Tide (globally) and Duracell in North America. On a day-to-day basis, I provide strategic guidance for these brands and manage the process from the inception of a brief through the creative development process, ultimately resulting in the campaign that the consumer sees. I also communicate regularly with senior-level executives from Saatchi & Saatchi and our clients.
That sounds interesting! Tell me about working with a global brand like Tide. Do you spend a lot of time overseas and/or work with colleagues in other countries?
Yes, I do! In fact, my first international experience was working with Proctor & Gamble clients based in Cincinnati and Geneva, Switzerland. Since Saatchi & Saatchi has offices around the world, I was able to spend two years working out of our London office.
Did you choose to move to London or was that a requirement of the job?
I would say it was a combination. It certainly helped to be overseas, but I was also extremely interested in working internationally for my own professional development and made that known to my managers. Once I did, the agency was very quick to help me find an opportunity.
Wow, that’s great! Can you tell me what originally motivated you to pursue a project overseas?
Sure! I grew up on the East Coast, went to school on the East Coast, and then ended up working in New York. Even though New York is the premiere city for advertising globally, I wanted to broaden my horizons. So I ended up going to the extreme and moving “across the pond.” It was the first time that I had ever been to Europe, but Saatchi & Saatchi made it extremely easy and attractive to do so.
Tell me about your experience over there. What really sticks out from your time abroad?
The most interesting and exciting experience from a professional perspective was having the opportunity to work with new people from different cultures. My clients were based in Geneva, Switzerland, which is actually a large melting pot that attracts people from all around Europe – Spain, UK, Italy, France, Germany, and Austria to name a few. Despite our differences, we were all on the same team, and we had to learn to adapt to everyone else’s norms and expectations.
That sounds very exciting! Now that you’re back in the States, how would you say the experience has impacted your career development?
It provides amazing perspective. My viewpoint on the work that I’m doing right now does not come just from the perspective of someone from the East Coast with a college education. I have developed better evaluation criteria and the ability to consider problems from other, more complex points of view. At the end of the day I think it helped me increase the value that I offer to my company and to my clients.
That makes a lot of sense, especially considering the brands that you work with are truly international.
Exactly. Since I’ve returned to the States, I have continued to work with global brands, and I still work with people from all over the world. Having the experience of working abroad with people from different cultures and with different norms has definitely helped me be a better communicator and manager.
Let me transition to a new topic. How has this experience impacted your relationship with Saatchi & Saatchi?
Saatchi & Saatchi has a great reputation for employee retention. When they value an employee, they’re willing to go to any length to make them happy, which is especially important in an industry that is not known for high pay. For me personally, it has solidified a belief that this is a company that is truly interested in investing in my professional and personal development – because it’s not just professional development. I think I’ve come back a stronger employee, but also a stronger person. I have also become a very strong advocate of our global network. I would say I am greater advocate for it than I was before.
I think we’re just about finished here. Were there any other parting thoughts you wanted to share?
It was extremely important for me to be vocal about the opportunities that I was interested in. It’s not often known what employees want. So my advice to anybody who is looking for international experience or a different experience than the norm is to be vocal about it because there are ways in which companies can provide those opportunities for valuable employees.
That’s very good closing advice. Thank you again for speaking with us. Best of luck!
You’re welcome. Thank you for having me!