Leo Q & A

Career Lab spotlight: Mulu Habtemariam – Associate Producer

Mulu is a new Burnetter who joined the agency four months ago. Since joining the team, he’s become a regular fixture in the Career Lab.

What does it take to start a career in advertising at an agency like Leo Burnett? Find out how a newcomer is furthering his purpose and discovering even greater potential through Career Lab courses, and what he thinks makes a great mentor.

How did you initially get involved with Career Lab? What has your experience been so far?

I’ve only been with Leo Burnett for about four months. Coming over here, I really wanted to prioritize growth and development, finding opportunities for mentorship that could push me to challenge myself and grow as a communicator and creator. When I heard about Career Lab, I jumped at the opportunity.

Career Lab was something I was missing earlier in my career and was an important part of the trajectory I wanted for myself. I’ve leapt at opportunities to meet people across the greater Publicis Creative network and have been able to meet a diverse group of people across the group and learn how their work ties into mine.

I signed up for Coaching Office hours and met with an advisor who learned about my passions, ambitions and career goals. She directed me to the Greater Together mentorship program, where I was paired with a senior strategist at Arc Worldwide specially tailored to my career goals and experience. As someone who started in a strategic role but am now working in production, I wanted to learn from someone with experience in cross-discipline transitions, someone who could help me unlock immediate and long-term value for my team as I learn the ropes of a new suite of client work. Our bimonthly check-ins build my self-confidence, guide my growth and help me feel like I truly belong here.

Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years? How can Career Lab help drive you there?

I’ve always been interested in the profound impact of technology in shaping and bettering society. So much of my purpose is tied to making an impact, and the way that tech innovation drives change and improves lives really excites me.

I’d love to be in a role where I’m producing tech deliverables and leveraging the innovative impact to make a positive difference. Career Lab tools like mentorship and career pathing make it easy to set goals on my path.

What are the three most important qualities in a mentor?

Most important is a consistent presence. Early in your career, it can be hard to have to reach out every time you need something. Mentors can make you feel valued and empowered by checking in regularly. I’ve had a great relationship with a mentor at Arc, in Leo Burnett Group, who I speak with every couple months. This individual reached out to me before taking paid leave to remind me of how long it had been and schedule time for a check in. That nurturing presence helps you feel secure and reminds you that you’re an asset to the team and company.

Another important skill for mentors is connecting the dots and putting the right people together. Smart mentors know who to turn to for the best guidance on a topic outside their own wheelhouse. Leveraging their networks also helps their mentees grow their agency profile and learn from a diverse group of leaders.

Last but not least, vulnerability is huge. Mentorship should feel like a judgement-free zone – the best way to do that is by normalizing and expressing (healthy) emotions and showing real life traits. Creating a two-way culture of honesty strengthens a mentor relationship ten-fold.