Max Leader, Associate Media Planner, at Publicis Health Media, New York

GenNEXT Profile: Max Leader

Max interned at two different Publicis Health agencies before joining Publicis LifeBrands Medicus after graduation from Rutgers in 2014. He explored a few different roles—and learned a ton about agency life—before finding his purpose at Publicis Health Media.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a veterinarian. I was pursuing a veterinary career until my sophomore year in college and Chemistry 101 … and all of the other science classes that were required. Working in health advertising gives me the opportunity to continue with a science background and apply it in a creative context.

Tell us about your career path at Publicis Health.

I started at Publicis LifeBrands Medicus as a resource management coordinator as my first job out of college. I worked in that position for a year-and-a-half and I learned a lot. I became very familiar with the agency world—specifically how projects are staffed. However, I realized that I was doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work and I really wanted to be in front of clients.

I need a change, so I talked to my HR Director. I told him I wasn’t as happy as I could be in my role and asked for his advice. We talked about what I liked and didn’t like about my role, and where my skills could be a fit in different areas of the business. He helped me to identify a need and develop my own role at another Publicis Health agency, Publicis Health Media, to support their growing business.

I spent two years focused on employee engagement and agency experience and learned and contributed a lot. In this role, I met weekly with the PHM Executive Team to plan, budget, and execute various company branding initiatives. This included managing a robust culture budget, writing various award applications, and posting on PHM social accounts. After about two years in the position, I again expressed my desire to grow and become client-facing. With support from my agency leaders, I transitioned to a Media Planning role earlier this year. As an AMP, I am learning a lot about a new frontier of advertising. Media buying is extremely important because it focuses on being very deliberate for targeting the appropriate audiences.

How did you develop the courage to ask for these changes?

To be honest, I was terrified. I knew I needed a change, I didn’t know where or what. I also was worried about how changing departments and roles so early on in my career would look on paper. My HR partners put those concerns to rest and internal mobility opportunities made seamless transitions possible. I was able to try out a few different early career positions, learn a ton, and ultimately find the right fit for me.

I am not alone. I know a lot of people who have benefited from internal mobility and I keep my eyes and ears open all the time. You never know what opportunities will present themselves!

What advice would you give to yourself at the start of your career?

A career path isn’t always linear and it doesn’t always makes sense. Your path is a journey. It may not look anything like someone else’s path. Be okay with the uncertainty.

GenNEXT is Publicis Groupe’s business resource group (BRG) for young professionals and is dedicated to supporting our next generation of talent by providing guidance, empowerment, and specialized resources to young professionals within our network.

The week of October 16, 2017, is GenNEXT Week. We will be hosting a series of events covering a variety of topics relate to professional and personal development. We’re also profiling GenNEXTer’s on social media every day to share their stories about their experiences in new places at the start of their promising careers.

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