The career path of a Senior Account Director

Emma Forsyth

How did you get to where you are today? 

Well, it’s not been traditional, but it has been one hell of ride. I’d say through two things; trying to make room for as many opportunities as possible – even if they’re going to take you wildly off course, say yes! And by backing yourself – if you can do it, do! You never know, the next adventure could all come down to big balls and blind luck.

 

 




What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced over the course of your career?

Running my business solo. You grow up in agencies working in teams and then suddenly it’s just you. Building up a brand is fantastic, but having no one to throw ideas at, learn together, or to celebrate / commiserate with was my biggest challenge. Happily, I now live a wonderful half-life of solo and team projects which I love, but I’ve always appreciated how the people around me can push me in the best way possible.

Have you had a mentor and if so how did they help you grow in your career?

I’ve been spoilt rotten by many mentors. From fresh faces starting out who show us all something new, to wise titans with their own advice having ‘been there, done that’ and got safely out the other side. However, there are three people I’d have say have truly taken the time to guide and mentor me. Rob Smith - who has always helped me to see clear paths in complicated situations. Daryl Fielding - who has given me a true north to the type of work I enjoy most and my Dad, Nigel Forsyth – for being my cornerman in every fight. 

Have there been any crucial moments that changed the course of your career?

Going freelance changed my career even more than I was expecting. It allowed me to go and work in completely different industries but still regularly return to advertising. It’s shown me that a ‘good career’ doesn’t necessarily have to be about years spent in one industry, working it up the ranks. It can be about constant learning, gaining new perspectives and sharpening your skill set against different kinds of stones. I’m aware that my CV is now such a mix that I can be seen as a bit of a wild card for certain types of agencies but my career is all the better for it. 

What Campaign / Account are you most proud of and why?

The account I’ve been proudest of was the Coca-Cola Global Christmas Charter. Purely because it was such a beast.

  • One campaign that took nearly two years to complete.
  • Creative, Production, Planning, Account Management and Client all spread across four different cities in three different countries.
  • And the result needed to be one 360 creative idea that worked for the world.  

We had only two of us in Account Management to get the full team working smoothly, and there were times when I felt like I lived in an airport. However, the effort was worth it; we broke the record number of countries to run the campaign and the clients loved the work.