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Campaign graduates 2016: Rana Daoud

Campaign asked interns and recent graduates about how they see their role in the industry changing in the next five years. Here’s what Leo Burnett’s Rana Daoud had in mind

Rana Daoud

Journalism graduate, American University in Dubai

Associate Planner at Leo Burnett Dubai

On my first day at the Strategy Department at Leo Burnett, my mentor, Mark, told me that I shouldn’t worry about stepping into a field I thought I was clueless about. “As a journalist you research people and find stories, right? As planners we research people and find insights… In both scenarios, your job would be digging into human behaviors. You’re still the storyteller.” About six months have passed since Mark and I had that conversation, and I managed to uncover an underlying story: embracing risk.

Moving to Dubai to study journalism was a risk I took 4 years ago. I had little knowledge about operating a camera, and I didn’t know how films were made, let alone covering news and writing feature stories. Fast forward to 2016, I was the producer of a short documentary, Ta Marbouta, that was recognized at a local film festival and made it all the way to Harvard University in Boston, bringing home the MENA Grand Prize award.

But coming to the advertising industry was double the risk. I haven’t been equipped academically for this position, and I do not have a solid experience in the field, yet I chose to discover what it has, and the agency chose to discover what I have. It isn’t strange for an agency whose founder, Leo Burnett, holds a degree in journalism to invest in a journalism graduate, but it’s a risk nonetheless. It is noteworthy that the agency I belong to hunts for different types of talents, injecting diversity in the planning team. Organizations need to drop typical standards every now and then and experiment something new. Because, really, what is life without taking risk and taming it?

Today, I am confident that my career decision made me trace a passion in Strategy. Discovering people’s behaviors is what makes me get up every morning; I collect the ingredients of my stories from different channels, chasing trends and identifying insights to build arguments.

I’ve been covering advertising festivals for the past few years as a reporter, but who knows, I could be watching campaigns I contributed to in the upcoming festival editions. This year taught me that our lives would not happen without taking the risks we are offered, because we, humans and agencies alike, need to step out of our comfort zones more often to realize our utmost potential. In the process, we’ll find new stories in between that are worth telling.