‘Be true to yourself’: Beyond the Brief featuring Monica Bouldin, R&R Partners

Monica Bouldin, VP, R&R Partners

Los Angeles is known for having its share of stars, but in the advertising community, very few shine as brightly as R&R Partners’ VP Monica Bouldin.

Bouldin joined the team at R&R early in 2016, but not without almost 30 years of experience cooking up ideas all over the marketing communications spectrum. The Cal State-Fullerton communications alum got her toes wet on the broadcast side as a publicity assistant at Fox before making waves at Warner Bros in their consumer products division. She then made the switch over to agency side, working for PR firms Ruder Finn, Ogilvy PR, Edelman and Hill + Knowlton in VP roles that touched both the general market and multicultural audiences.

Now at independent R&R’s LA office, Bouldin is part of a leadership team that “creates, builds and protects” brands like AAA, Furnace Creek Resort and Terranea Resort. She’s still fairly new to the firm, but not without her immense share of experience of marketing top names — and the recognition from her peers to match.

In 2016, the Black Public Relations Society of Los Angeles honored her with the Pat Tobin Award for Excellence, an esteem named after an icon that’s given to the new icons in the LA PR world. The California Diversity Council also named her one of the state’s most powerful and influential women — more than fitting for a woman who has spent her career influencing some of the largest companies in the world.

This, paired with membership in the National Diversity Council, ColorComm, UNITE LA, and Dress for Success-West, shows how much of a lion Bouldin has been for the industry. One of the most respected professionals on the west coast, Bouldin’s career is excellence on any coast — excellence in living beyond the brief.

How do you explain to your parents or children what you do for a living?

When my mom asks what I do for a living, I tell her that when I change "wants" into "needs," or in a less capitalistic manner, try to shape or change consumer behaviors.

If you weren’t in advertising, what would you be doing?

If I wasn't in advertising, I would be a chef. I love cooking...the discipline, the constant learning, and ultimately EATING!

Craziest thing you’ve seen happen in a new business pitch?

The best moment I've experienced in a new business presentation was when the client stopped us 30 minutes into a 60-minute presentation and said, "You can stop now. You've won the business."

What’s a virtue that you live by?

The virtue that I live by is to always be true to yourself. At the end of the day, you have to live with yourself. It's also life advice.

What is an art that you cannot live without?

I cannot live without music - all kinds - from opera to country to R&B to jazz.

What book would you suggest to a stranger?

I would suggest "E" by Matt Beaumont. It is the story of working at an advertising agency told completely in emails. I can identify with most of the things in the book. The second book, "E2" is equally as funny and true.

To celebrate its 100th Anniversary, the 4A’s has partnered with us at The Drum to pull back the curtain and look at an industry full of problem solvers, creative types and analytical minds. But what keeps them going once the briefs are written, the campaigns executed, and the pitches won (or lost)? We’re interviewing 100 people at 4A’s member agencies — across all disciplines, levels, regions, and agency types — to get a glimpse into what drives them at work and what fuels them in life.

See the industry pros we're featuring here.

To pitch someone from a 4A's member agency for Beyond the Brief, please complete this linked form.

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Bennett D. Bennett

I am a NYC-based writer who calls BBDO NY home — putting copy together for major brands (and fiction for myself and others) and pushing for more inclusive, smarter work environments everywhere. I've previously sat on the ADCOLOR Advisory Board, and currently am a member of AAF's Mosaic Next-Generation Leadership Council and the 4As Steering Committee for High School Initiatives.

All by Bennett D.