Leo Q & A

GenLeo: Maggie Decker

You may have seen the account director’s most recent work during the 2021 Super Bowl, but working on the Cadillac account is only one of her many successful endeavors.

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1. Congratulations on being named as one of Leo Burnett’s Star Reachers! What does this honor mean to you?

I am floored. I’m so thankful to my team—for both nominating me and believing in me. Cadillac has been a wonderful account; it really pushes you and takes you to the next level, so being recognized as part of a great team and bringing exciting work to life is very meaningful.

2. Tell us more about your career journey so far. When did you join Leo Burnett and what lessons do you wish you could tell your earlier career self?

Cadillac actually transitioned out of New York about two years ago, so I was lucky number three on the team here in Detroit. I started in July of 2019—it’s been wonderful, being one of the first on the team and helping to build up our full operations.

I started my career eight years ago at another agency in Detroit, on the Ford business, so I’ve actually been working on auto for my entire career. I am born and raised in the metro-Detroit area, so it was great to have many early career opportunities in my hometown and near my family. Auto in particular really allows you to grow. It encourages you to take risks and push boundaries.

I would tell my younger career self that it’s a journey, and the right things will happen at the right time. Never force anything, just keep learning, and take every opportunity. Be a sponge and soak up everything that comes your way.

3. Can you tell us about your involvement with “She Runs It.”? What is the goal of the organization, and how is the advertising and media landscape evolving to be more inclusive and supportive of women in leadership positions?

“She Runs It.” is an organization that supports women in business, and I joined it as a way to connect with like-minded women who want to keep progressing in their careers. I consider it as continuing education, and whenever there are webinars with industry leaders, I tune in. It’s nice to hear from other women going through similar experiences in the field. To have Leo Burnett offer a program like “She Runs It” is wonderful—it shows a commitment to women in business and diversity.

4. In the past year of working from home, how did your approach to work change? Did you have any unexpected, positive things come out of last year’s upheaval?

Absolutely, and this speaks to the resiliency of the team. I don’t think anyone could have anticipated the year that was ahead of us.

I am lucky to be able to work from my guest room at home. I work alongside my husband, who is also in the industry. We each have our little space and make the best of it. We also have an adorable puppy, Wilson, who is a great co-worker.

Ultimately, I think it’s important to keep a positive outlook. I stress to my team the importance of finding what works for you and your family and setting boundaries. We need to be respectful of this—we all need space to decompress. We need to be in the right headspace to make sure we are thriving.

5. It’s clear that you’ve excelled in your role as Account Director for Leo Burnett. What skills or traits are important in anticipating unforeseen challenges and navigating the complexities of client relations? What might you tell college or high school students interested in pursuing this path?

Advertising, as a whole, is an industry that is born out of cultural change and movement. We try to position ourselves in ever-changing spaces, and we should be prepared to ride those waves. That’s what keeps it fun, too—you’ll never find yourself in a state of monotony. There are always learning opportunities and fun ways to challenge yourself; advertising will keep you on your toes.

6. You’ve had the opportunity to work on several really incredible campaigns: the Oscars brand launch, We Have Your Back Campaign, Escalade launch, Evergreen and CT5 launch. What is your favorite campaign so far?

These have all been great and different experiences. The ‘We have your back’ campaign was particularly meaningful because it was taking the emotional tone of the country and connecting back to our customers. That was awesome, and I’m really proud of the team for putting forward so much great work. We were constantly revising to make sure we stayed on tone and on message, and we were very fast and agile as we discussed how to best match national sentiment. In terms of pure fun, and from a creative point of view, the Cadillac Super Bowl spot was my favorite. It was incredible to collaborate with celebrities like Timothée Chalamet and Winona Ryder.

7. According to Vogue, the Cadillac Super Bowl ad was the Coolest Super Bowl Ad of the Year. What was this experience like working on this concept? Did you expect such an incredible reaction across the board?

It was such a special privilege to see our work come to life on the biggest advertising stage in the country. Everyone was all in, from the client to the celebrity talent to the costume and set designers and special effects. It was a labor of love, and it was wonderful to see the spot come to life and be so well-received. We all knew it was a great piece of work and I’m so glad that everyone else felt the same.

8. Three things people may not know about you:

  1. I have a yellow Labrador, Wilson.
  2. I love to do acrylic painting in my free time.
  3. I’ve run a few ½ marathons, and enjoy any chance to be outside!