From humble beginnings to mastering the ropes of the advertising world, CEO Susan Dimacali’s professional journey shows that with passion, determination, and a heart for service, the proverbial glass ceiling is a theory
In an exclusive interview with FemaleNetwork.com, the advertising genius reveals how perseverance, loving your work, and being open to
FemaleNetwork.com: How was your journey like in the advertising world?
Susan Dimacali: My advertising journey has been very colorful. I started as an economist in a NEDA UNDP project, and then I joined Brand in Procter & Gamble, and
FN: What was your stepping stone and how did you reach your position now?
SD: I guess you can call my marketing background my stepping stone as I built a career in advertising. I spent my first 14 years in advertising in McCann Erickson, starting
FN: What personal interests fuel your passion for this industry?
SD: Early in my advertising career, I knew that I wanted to use the power of our agency, my position, and the industry to make a difference not only in the industry but also to the larger community. So I was very active in the 4As and Adboard where I served as chairman, and I was passionate about projects that create awareness for national issues, raise funds to strengthen advertising organizations, or open the industry up to greater international exposure.
FN: What environment did the industry expose you to that
affected your need to pursue your dreams?
SD: A life of service to complement the commercial side of my chosen career. That’s what I learned to balance in my life. Today I’m CEO in Aspac Creative Communications, but I’m also a partner in Oracle Korean Aesthetic Clinic, and I continue the advocacies I feel passionately about, from my educational
FN: What were some of the roadblocks you faced as you rose the ranks, and how did you overcome them?
SD: Most of my serious challenges came after I moved out of my first ad agency and had to adjust to other agencies which had a different set of values, ethics and business practices. I generally sidestep politics. If it can’t be helped since I’m at the very top, I haven’t been afraid to quit to preserve my soul.
FN: What keeps you driven to succeed?
SD: I come from a strictly
FN: Who are the mentors and role models that helped push you to the path you chose to take?
SD: I’ve had wonderful role models all my life. My father, who lived and breathed integrity as a career military officer, and my mother, who exposed me early on to
FN: How do you balance your personal and work life?
SD: General rule of thumb...make time for each one. So my mornings generally go to my advocacies and the rest of the day to my advertising job, nights and weekends to my beauty clinic and my social life.
FN: How else do you find
fulfilment in your work?
SD: We have an active mentoring program in the agency and that’s very fulfilling because you get to impart what you know, teach what took you a lifetime to learn, in
FN: What other activities are you into that also offer you
SD: I also love to cook and feed people. From as far back as McCann, I’ve been cooking for my staff. Here in Aspac where we are all foodies, we have Free Lunch Mondays and Fridays where my CFO Con and I cook for 75 people in the office every week. I’ve always loved feeding people. Outside of work, I travel every chance I get. That’s when I recharge. Always to a new place where I can discover new things.
FN: What tips can you give to women who are driven to be the best in their careers?
SD: Find the work that you love and are naturally suited for. Preferably in a sunshine industry. And then give more of yourself than the next guy. If you have an entrepreneurial bent, set up a business. If you want the corporate life, start with a small company so you learn to be street smart and resourceful. Then join a big multinational for career advancement. And along the way, remember always to be grateful and give back.