“What I learned this year” by Carolina Cruz-Letelier Director of Client Services, Associate Partner, M/H VCCP

By thesanfranciscoegotist / /

Our first “What I learned this year” piece was excellent. Our second one by Carolina Cruz-Letelier Director of Client Services, Associate Partner, M/H VCCP is just as awesome. Give it a read. Learn some stuff. We’ll be back on Monday with another one.


2019 actually marks my 10th year working in the agency world. So, this is actually a fitting retrospective to bookend my decade working with the most incredibly talented humans in the game, at some of the best agencies in the land.

What follows are lessons learned and reinforced during what I would consider one of the wildest, most unpredictable year of my career: 

1. Working for and with good people matters. It’s usually more fun and rewarding. Most importantly, when in the ad trenches with a company of genuinely good people, it breeds a safe, welcoming place for ideas to flourish. I get that the industry is a dynamic place with all types of personalities – I just find that our teams work better when there’s an understanding that we all care not only about the work, but also one another.

2. No, you don’t know everything. Neither do I. And that’s a good thing. There’s a reason why agencies exist. When you or I don’t know what to do next, there’s an abundance of smart folks with an expertise we don’t have. Let’s work harder, together, to not devalue our individual contributions to the process – especially as the way people consume marketing becomes more fragmented. Having those experts in the room will only increase the value of the effort. 

3. To that point –It only works if it all works. At M/H, we have this mantra of sorts painted on several walls. It’s a good reminder that there’s a whole brand ecosystem with communications opportunities galore. If as a brand or agency you aren’t worried about having your digital/social comms work as hard as your big broadcast buy, you are doing it wrong. If you don’t have an agency who isn’t already thinking holistically and pushing for that understanding, give us a call!

4. Storytelling still wins. No one is sitting around talking about that kick ass 300×250 banner they got served last week or sharing photos of that hilarious headline on one bus shelter down the street. SNL isn’t creating a parody about your geo-targeted instagram post. Sorry. Great stories are sticky. Great stories breakthrough the clutter, hold your attention, engage audiences of all types, and truly become a part of everyday culture. Storytelling brings us closer to brands and one another. 

5. Be someone’s champion. I’ve been lucky in my career to have super talented and smart AF bosses to look up to and have my back. (Shout out to all the recruiters at GSP and M/H for killing it on the leadership hires.)  And now that I have a team of talented people working with me, I take every opportunity I can to lift someone up and make sure leadership is aware of the value they bring the room. It doesn’t take a lot of effort, and can make a big impact for those who might not know how to be their own advocate.

6. One on one time is mandatory. I realize everyone is crazy busy and there’s never enough time in the day to do what we need to push the ball forward without sacrificing something. But I contend it’s always possible to find a quality 5-10 minutes to spend some time connecting with your teammates, clients, partners etc. 

7. Kindness above all else. It doesn’t take a lot. You never know what else is going on in someone’s life. I think the entire world could use more of this. 

8. Don’t forget to also be kind to yourself. Ad land can sometimes require a ton of emotional and mental fortitude. This year – I worked hard to figure out what self-care meant to me, so I could be a better me. So I challenge everyone to do the same so you can be a better you not only for yourself, but for all those around you. 


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