‘Do something that means something’: Exceptional Women of the World featuring Margaret Keene, ECD, MullenLowe LA

Margaret Keene, MullenLowe LA executive creative director

Any great conversation about advertising in Southern California, on some level, has to include Lee Clow. This six-degrees thing seems to permeate the area - though for Margaret Keene, executive creative director at MullenLowe in Los Angeles, it squarely landed at one-degree of separation.

The ad legend popped up on Keene’s TV screen when she was a teenager. Presenting storyboards to Porsche executives on a cable access channel (this was the mid-80s), Keene really liked the work, thought Clow was cool, and was hooked, realizing that advertising and creativity was what she wanted to do.

Fast-forward from groovy cable access TV — Keene kicked off her career working for Clow as an assistant and then spent her early creative days at TBWA\Chiat\Day (the TBWA part of the equation arrived in the 1995 merger) as art director, ACD, CD and then, ultimately, group creative director. After a close-to-four-year stop at Saatchi & Saatchi LA as executive creative director, Keene made her way from Santa Monica south to El Segundo, where she became the first-ever female ECD at MullenLowe LA.

Keene has worked on the likes of Apple, Toyota, Nissan, Acura and Patrón (the latter two are MullenLowe clients) and, as one would expect from a brilliant creative mind, has won just about every award out there. She occupies the rare air of an elite creative leader — deservedly so.

But here’s a peek into Keene and her beliefs — she once won a $100,000 Grand Kelly prize and donated it to the Pedigree Adoption Drive, supporting client work that she cared deeply for.

Caring is an ever-present theme for Keene. She cares about the work. She cares about fun. She cares about the people she works with and has the opportunity to bring along and grow. She cares deeply about family.

In our wide-ranging, honest, entertaining and sometimes (delightfully) random conversation, we are treated to the mind and perspective of a generous leader who is consistently looking for what’s great in the work and the world of creativity.

Exceptional Women of the World is a podcast that highlights and celebrates the great achievement, lives and POV of amazing women in throughout the world of advertising, marketing and creativity. Started as Exceptional Women Out West, you can listen to previous episodes here. If you would like to nominate exceptional women to be part of the show, please complete this form: http://bit.ly/EWOWPitch.

Doug Zanger

Doug Zanger is the Americas editor for The Drum. He leads the Americas editorial team’s content activity in the growing region. Based in Portland, Oregon, he is committed to sharing the most meaningful stories that benefit the global industry and its people. A Minnesota native, Zanger has covered a wide range of brands, issues and personalities, including Aloe Blacc, Seu Jorge, Wendy Clark, Susan Credle, Dan Wieden, Jeff Goodby and more. Fiercely dedicated to diversity, equality and talent, he has interviewed several women in leadership roles through his Exceptional Women of the World podcast.

All by Doug