Diageo and Leos seek 'fearless future game-changers'

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 24 July 2014
Pete Bosilkovski, Elizabeth Maunsell and Adam Ballesty at InterContinental Hotel, Sydney.

Leo Burnett and Diageo are kicking off the second year of the joint venture internship program and they're looking for “fearless future game-changers”.

They want to hone the next generation of top marketers and agency talent by throwing them in at the deep end, giving them experience on both sides of the desk, learning on the job about both agency and client situations. Diageo and Leo Burnett hope that it will help them attract the best talent in the industry.

The Nest was set up to bridge a gap between the available opportunities for new entrants to the industry to get a taste of both client side and agency side life. The interns are thrust into real projects work and briefs from both sides over the 12 week program and receive mentoring from senior business leaders. After the first year, two of the four participants were offered full time roles at Leo Burnett.

These two “Nesters” have shaped the program for this year so that it reflects their experiences of the first year and is shaped around what they felt worked and didn't work –  Diageo Australia marketing and innovation director Adam Ballesty and Pete Bosilkovski, Leo Burnett's client services director, also believe this will help the program stay relevant.

Elizabeth Maunsell and Justin Hazelton, who now work full-time at Leo Burnett have shaped the structure of the programme as well as the promotional material for it and how the recruitment stage works.

The program is open to recent grads and final year students in related fields but Ballesty and Bosilkovski are interested in more than just business, advertising and marketing grads, because the industry is moving beyond that and needs different skills.

Ballesty told AdNews: “I think that programs like this are going to attract the best talent and someone who comes and approaches something like this is desperate to dig deep into this industry and that's why we love it so much. There are people that really want to be in it. Uni degrees are fantastic and a must, but we want to supercharge their journey. I actually don't care what type of disciplines they come from – I just want people who are super keen.”

The next intake will kick off in September and run to December. Twenty applicants will be short-listed and invited to a one-day workshop, from which the four interns will be selected. But the application process is about more than sending in CVs.

Bosilkovski says they are “ignoring” the traditional CV which has limited experience and relies on academic performance, in favour of a workshop program that will unearth stand out applicants who have the right cultural fit and attitude.

He added: “We're after individuals that are passionate and fearless - future game-changers. To get to that, you're not going to get someone that ticks the boxes straight out of a degree. When people usually apply they send through a CV – grads have limited experience so we're ignoring that. We're looking for how that individual actually comes across in terms of their character – their purpose in life – they have to bring the CV to life with full creative freedom. That's the best way to land a space in this programme.”

Ballesty said one change from the client side of the scheme this year, based on feedback from the successful Nesters, is making sure that the interns are involved in bigger projects that fully demonstrate the full marketing mix across its brands, not just work on smaller elements of projects.

Ballesty said: “[We want to make sure] we expose them to the bigger stage of marketing to really stress-test their understanding of the discipline.”

Although the Communications Council was interested in partnering with the scheme, it remains a joint venture between agency and client, but both sides have eyes on growing the program regionally and internationality.

Earlier this week Diageo shifted its media strategy and planning into Leo Burnett – following previous overhaul of its agency roster that put Leo Burnett in control of every aspect of strategy. The pair were tight-lipped on the shift and what it means for both sides for now.

The closing date for applications is 14 August 2014. More information on the program’s Facebook page.

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