My Journey So Far

 

When I told my high school guidance counselor I had my sights set on the Diplomatic Corp because I wanted to see the world and she advised I get a job as a secretary, I decided I needed a career where women had a fighting chance. I chose advertising.

After earning my degree, I applied to migrate from the US to Australia. Here’s how it worked: The government would pay for your travel as long as you stayed and worked for two years (sort of an indentured servant arrangement). The highlight of my time in Sydney was working for Y&R. I started as a Junior Copywriter, rose to have sole copy responsibilities on several accounts and shed the “junior” from my title. I was on my way.

But wanderlust and a Maori boyfriend offered a hiatus. I flew to New Zealand where I found said boyfriend’s promise of a yacht ready to sail the Pacific premature. So I signed on as crew on another yacht and set sail for New Caledonia. I also visited the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and the New Hebrides. The islands were full of quirky, colorful characters. Some day I’m going to find the time to write about them.

My JourneyFunds were running low so I jumped over to Brisbane, Queensland where D’Arcy McManus & Masius hired me. I worked hard and saved because London was calling. I bought a cheap ticket to London with a stopover in Singapore where I had an introduction to an Australian journalist living in Singapore (semi-famous for having been evacuated via a US Marine helicopter from a rooftop the day Saigon fell). We met for a drink at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club where he was very much in his element. He asked about my plans. “I’m going to London to get a job at Saatchi & Saatchi,” came my determined reply. He set me straight. Apparently the UK was in deep recession. Brits couldn’t find jobs. Who was going to hire an American! I stayed put and was hired on as Associate Creative Director at Leo Burnett Singapore. This was my introduction to Asia, a region I came to love. I never did get to work in London.

Next I settled on Hawaii where I worked for DDB. There I met my husband, an art director, and we transferred to DDB Hong Kong. Later we moved over to BBDO where we were both Creative Directors. We spent almost ten years in the former British colony, visiting many countries across Asia. But our best legacy from Hong Kong was our Chinese daughter, adopted from a Hong Kong orphanage.

My return to the US mainland was interrupted by a few years back with BBDO in New Delhi, India. That is a story for another time!

You see, the thing is to just keep moving forward. Not every place or every job will be perfect (in fact, most are not) but you will learn a lot about people along the way. And an understanding what makes people tick is the most important advertising skill of all!