La Tete dans les Etoiles et les Pieds sur Terre
Posted on February 18, 2014

After being appointed as MD for Leo Burnett Beirut, ArabAd talked to Nada Abi Saleh to learn more about her future plans, challenges, and vision for the agency.

On Vision:

My focus will be on three fronts:

To transform the agency in terms of behaviour, thinking and skills, to INNOVATE, nurture fresh and superior creative thinking to elevate QUALITY OF IDEAS and TALENTS and to ensure a sustainable PROFITABLE GROWTH.

If I want to sum it up in few words, my aim is to lead Leo Burnett Beirut to become a PERFORMING and EFFICIENT IDEA GENERATING agency.

For me, today, given all the challenges at hand, it is more about “keeping your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground”, slightly twisting our motto “Reaching for the stars” into a more tangible vision; that of combining the strive for excellence with solid basis grounded in reality and tangible achievements.

I know and am pretty confident I will be able to achieve this thanks to the great people we have at Leo. I will be counting on them, each and every one individually, as they are the soul and the fuel of this agency.

On Challenges:

The biggest challenge that we are all facing as an industry and as a country I guess is the scarcity of talents. Given the tough socio-economic situation, let alone the unstable and hectic political environment, we are witnessing a constant and increasing brain drain. This is particularly worrisome for us at Leo Burnett given the importance we give to people and subsequently to talents. We invest a lot in people’s skills, training and career development. The human element is not only at the center of our People and Culture vision, but an intrinsic part of our strategic vision -Humankind- in terms of understanding human needs to develop more insightful and innovative communication strategies.

On Plans-specifically focusing on Integration:

With communication being today a 360 degree solution encompassing different specialties and touch points, the role of the account manager has significantly changed. The account handler has evolved from being the “link” between the agency and the client, to becoming the brand expert. Today Account Management is more about Integration Management which encompasses both Integration and specialisation. We are looking today at Leo Burnett into hiring communication people who can have a strategic/business approach to communication with the ability to understand and tap into the agency’s different specialisations, tools and data and mobilise the appropriate resources and experts accordingly.

In conclusion, I look at this promotion as a natural move in my career path. Leo Burnett has been my first “home” and still is 26 years later. The team spirit, the values, the drive to always do better and come up with innovative strategies and superior creative work are an intrinsic part of what we do and who we are.

Across the past years, and as a Deputy MD, my collaboration with Kamil Kuran has been exemplary on all fronts. We worked closely together, shared the same vision towards the Agency and complemented each other on different aspects of the business. With my new assignment as the MD for LB Beirut, and Kamil’s growing responsibilities on a regional basis for the Levant area, I do not see us working together differently. This is the beauty of Leo Burnett: genuine and true collaborative spirit.