With a glass of Thinking Juice in hand, we’re welcoming Gemma Richardson to take a seat in the throne, and give you an insight into her role as an account director at TJ.

Gemma, how did you get into advertising?

I was lucky enough to know what I wanted to do. So, I went to Bournemouth University to do my degree in advertising and marketing. While I was there I fell in love with the town and the beach, and here I am now.

What was your first job?

I did an internship at Tequila in London, and then my first ‘real’ job was an account exec at RLA.

What does your job involve?

Building relationships with clients, managing a team, ensuring the profitability on jobs, making sure everything is thought through, and learning about my client’s markets. It’s a lot of hard work, but I love it.

How do you say no to clients?

If you think something’s wrong, then you need to have a good rationale as to why it’s wrong. I often use my experience, even if it’s in a different sector, to support my point – as an agency it’s our job to advise our clients and do the best work we can, so if you think something isn’t quite right, you have to speak up.

What are the three most important things you have to do as an account director?

1. Develop great relationships.

2. Manage profitability.

3. Ensure the work is brilliant.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

Seeing the end product. When you watch your ad on TV or see it on a billboard or whichever medium, it’s very rewarding. You reflect on the journey it took you to get there and it makes it worthwhile. Also, the team are a lot of fun and it’s a great environment.

What keeps you at the top of your game?

Keeping up-to-date with trade websites, publications and talking to people internally. I like to know exactly what’s going on in my client’s sectors – which companies are doing well, why they’re doing well and such like.

What’s your career highlight?

Becoming an account director before I’m 30, and having a very talented team to manage.

Do you have a work motto?

Love your spreadsheets.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

When you’re confident, clients believe in you and respect you.

What do you look for in an account exec?

Organisation, good time management and someone who will brighten my day. Also, a ‘can do’ attitude is important – it will get you far.

Have you got advice to give to aspiring account execs?

Try to get experience. It’s so important to understand if the job is right for you, what type of agency you want to work for, and ultimately where you want to end up.

What do you do when you’re not working?

You’ll find me at the beach hut (with my boyfriend, yes, I know), attempting to wakeboard, watching films, drinking wine, visiting cities, exploring the world…the usual really.

How do you deal with stress?

Running/drinking wine.

What’s your Thinking Juice?

Tea, or on a good day, Prosecco.

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