In the Spotlight

May 18th, 2011

Eric Schlakman, Associate Creative Director at Tribal DDB New York, on ending childhood poverty, mastering interpretive dance routines, and fabricating one-sentence bios.

If you had to switch roles with someone in the agency, what position would you take and why?

Summer intern. When I was an intern, I loved soaking up everything I could from everybody I encountered. And I was determined to win an award and change the world with every brief, no matter how big or small the assignment was. In my opinion, if you don’t maintain that naïveté and optimism, then you can’t possibly produce good work. Plus, summer interns get the rest of the year off to go party at college. Not too shabby.

What qualities do you look for in a prospective employee?

Somebody who’s interested and interesting. You have to be willing to learn and explore, but also try to bring value to every discussion. That combo is key. Milton Glaser once said, “The real issue is not talent as an independent element, but talent in relationship to will, desire, and persistence. Talent without these things vanishes, and even modest talent with those characteristics grows.” You also need to love the New York Mets enough to talk about them constantly, but not so much that you feel bad when giving me your season tickets for free.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a new employee?

Never order burritos when working late. Bad situation all around.

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