“You can always tell who the strong women are. They are the ones you see building each other up, instead of tearing each other down.”
Women are powerful, but we are even more powerful when we stand together and work to empower each other; and that is exactly what German account director Amelie Harich is doing through her participation in the organization SheSays.
Harich, 28, began her career in advertising at Serviceplan, Europe’s largest owner-managed advertising agency group, and has since climbed the ranks and become a leading female figure in the industry.
“As we are not many women in leading positions in the advertising industry, we have to stick together and support each other… I felt very honored when I was asked to join SheSays,” says Harich.
With an estimated 40,000 members and a presence in 40 cities around the world, SheSays is an award-winning global network focused on the engagement, education and advancement of women in the creative industries.
“We at SheSays Berlin organize and hosts events, seminars and conferences to talk about topics that are interesting to all of us. The last event took place in September. The team and I thought of what topics would be interesting, who would be the best speakers, what questions should be asked, etc.,” explains Harich. “We decided on the topic of ‘Negotiation.’ It was very interesting to hear female CEOs, CCOs and founders speak about negotiating, especially when it comes to negotiating with men.”
As a successful millennial woman in the field of advertising, an industry that has been dominated by men since the beginning, Amelie Harich has used her position to empower other women in creative industries. Upon entering the world of advertising at the age of 23, Harich was quickly promoted to junior account manager at Serviceplan where she contributed to a number of award-winning campaigns such as Lego’s ‘Blind Art Project,’ which earned a Silver and Bronze Lion Award at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and many other prestigious awards.
When asked if she felt that as a woman she had to work harder than her male contemporaries to get to where she is, Harich remarked, “I don’t think it’s a thing of being male or female, what I think is more important is to know your own market value and be confident about your skillset. I always had a good sense for that, which has made me a strong negotiator in the past couple of years. Women tend to work hard and not ask for more money or a higher position, something I’ve done several times. If you work hard and know your value to a company, there is no reason to not make demands. Good people are hard to find!”
After creating a strong reputation for herself as a diplomatic leader capable of managing entire creative teams, as well as the logistics that went into campaigns for global clients such as BMW, Harich was tapped by advertising icon André Kemper and creative director Marcell Francke, who’s won over 200 international awards including the rare Black Lion from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, to move to Hamburg and help open Kemper’s new agency ANDRÉ where she served as account manager. Harich, A founding member of ANDRÉ, was ushered into a pivotal role within the agency, which served as a major stepping stone in her career and tasked her with managing the campaigns for major national and international clients, such as the commercial campaign for the Opel Corsa featuring supermodel Claudia Schiffer.
Harich says, “Account management is the interface between the client and creatives. It requires a lot of diplomacy and sensitivity to understand the different perspectives. I am good at taking all of the differing perspectives serious and not losing common sense and a sense of humor over it.”
In 2015, shortly after assisting in the development of top ad agency ANDRÉ, Amelie Harich, along with creative director Marcell Francke, was asked to help André Kemper and Dr. Tonio Kröger found their new ad agency Antoni, an exclusive one client agency that focused solely on Mercedes-Benz. As the account manager at Antoni Mercedes-Benz Harich oversaw a number of impressive campaigns for the company in the European market, including the award-winning 2017 “Grow-Up” campaign, which earned a Bronze Entertainment Lion in the Online Fiction Series category at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
After the international acclaim Harich and the team at Antoni earned for the innovative campaigns they developed for Mercedes, the agency was approached by Katjes, a well-known German company founded in 1950, to create Antoni Katjes. Another exclusive one-client agency, which is a rarity in the advertising industry, Antoni Katjes is focused on shaping the Katjes brand and their future campaigns. The exclusive new agency, which Harich has played a critical role in founding, has also meant a major promotion for Harich, who now serves as the agency’s account director.
Harich’s lead role as account manager for Antoni Mercedes-Benz, and now as account director for Antoni Katjes entails long hours, managing multi-million euro campaign budgets, and interfacing with high-profile clients while keeping every member of the team, especially the creatives, focused on the overall goal. With celebrities such as A$AP Rocky, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Natasha Poly and the German National Soccer team and others being involved in the campaigns Antoni has created for their clients, Harich’s role in the agency often requires her to be present on these high-profile film and photo shoots, something she says is “the more glamorous side of my career.”
Harich’s personal success and the valuable skills she’s developed over the course of her career have not only served as a powerful benefit to her clients in the ad industry, but they’ve also been key in helping the evolution of the organization SheSays.
Award-winning creative director Alice Bottaro, who founded the SheSays Berlin chapter, says “Amelie has been an invaluable member… [She’s] constantly helping to raise our standards and be more successful and effective on our mission. Amelie’s positive energy, her exceptional networking and organizational skills, together with a can-do attitude and a keen eye for the most brilliant speakers and the most interesting topics has definitely made a mark in our organization.”
As an account director for a leading ad agency, Amelie Harich has progressed further and faster than most males and females her age in the industry, but it hasn’t been without extensive effort and dedication, and it’s not something that she takes lightly.
She says, “I am proud of what I have achieved so far, but I also know that I had some great chances and great people who believed in me. I would not be in that position otherwise.”
Aside from the mentors that helped her climb the ranks of the advertising industry early on in her career, Harich credits her aunt, Dr. Katrin Harich, who’s a professor of marketing at Cal State Fullerton, as having a huge impact in her growth.
“She is my greatest inspiration, supporter and role model. Katrin has achieved so much in life – she has emigrated to the U.S. 30 years ago, has established such a successful career and has gained double citizenship by now. She is the smartest, most inspiring and most loyal person I know and I have learned a lot from her,” says Harich.
Knowing first-hand how important it is for young women to have strong female mentors as they develop their professional careers, Amelie Harich is using her place in the industry to give back by being a mentor to other ambitious young women, both through her role at SheSays, as well as through her position at Antoni Katjes.
“I’m just trying to lead by example and hopefully inspire the female account managers we hire. That’s what I can do right now… I am trying to empower them, trust them, give them a lot of responsibility and be the best I can be,” she says with a smile. As for what’s next on the agenda for SheSays Berlin, Harich adds, “We are already planning the next event which will be taking place in February 2018.”