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M2M: Celina Guimaraes on Account Management
January 12, 2018
M2M: Celina Guimaraes on Account Management
Zhana Veleska

This week’s Marketer to Marketer (M2M) blog features CBD’s Account Director Celina Guimaraes. Having successfully handled client work for the likes of Audi and countless other big-name brands, it’s safe to say that she has a keen sense for account management.


You wouldn’t guess it from looking at her impressive track record as an account director, but Celina Guimaraes’ decision to go into advertising was a surprising move, given her passion and talent for science and math.

While studying at the University of Brasília, one of Celina’s professors recruited her to join an advertising startup, which kicked off a prolific career in account management. She’s worked at agencies all over the world, spanning from Indonesia to South Africa — ultimately landing her right here at CBD Marketing.

Q&A with Celina Guimaraes

What do you think is the most important aspect of your position at CBD?

I’d say it’s setting up our account team to succeed. That involves providing guidance when necessary, and offering constructive and honest feedback that can inspire them to constantly improve. Of course, client satisfaction is a huge part of my role as well. It’s my responsibility to ensure my team is always delivering the best results.


How would you describe your leadership style as an account director?

From the feedback I’ve gathered over the years, I like to think that I lead with humility. Even though I may have all of this industry experience, I don’t try to assume that I know every aspect of what I do. No one has the answer to everything. That’s why I’m such a strong believer in collaboration. We all have a lot to learn from each other and the outcome is always better when different perspectives are considered.


What’s the most challenging client situation you’ve dealt with? What did you do to resolve it?

There was one situation that comes to mind which involved a prominent client at a former agency where I used to work. We had embedded an account executive at the client’s office as part of a CRM project — which I initially thought was a great idea. Unfortunately, he just wasn’t a good fit for their company. I had to make the difficult decision to not only remove him from their office, but from that account altogether. It wasn’t an easy thing to do from a personal standpoint because I initially supported the idea. We managed to keep the client satisfied, but from that point on, I now pay much closer attention to compatibility.


In your opinion, what does it take to be a successful account director?

In many ways, the position is similar to a conductor of an orchestra. I have a team of multi-talented people to manage, and it’s my job to ensure that we’re all on the same page. To be successful, I must see to it that all team members, our combined expertise, and tools are working together in harmony to deliver exceptional work to our clients. A successful account director, like a conductor, also leads from behind and lets the team have the spotlight.


What is one of the most common mistakes that account executives make in the industry?

I’ve found that many account executives, especially the younger ones, have a tendency to misunderstand their role in the grand scheme of things. They often narrow their focus to the brands they handle or increasing sales for a particular product. At the end of the day, their ultimate goal should be to make our CLIENTS famous, helping them to meet their KPIs and deliver work that they are proud of (and their bosses too, of course!). Looking at it from that perspective can help them go above and beyond brand metrics, enabling them to form stronger agency-client partnerships.


As an account director with over 15 years of experience, what’s an important takeaway you’ve learned from being in the field?

Simplicity is key. Emails, scopes, briefs and just about anything else that we develop can benefit from it. With the busy lives that both our team members and clients lead, there just isn’t time to overcomplicate things. Write less. You’ll be surprised how much it forces you to dig deep to uncover the substance of what you’re working on.


What advice would you offer to professionals in client-facing roles that are struggling to meet their expectations?

In order to be successful at managing clients, you have to be able to anticipate things before they happen and stay ahead of the curve. Be proactive, not reactive. Not only will that help you prepare for potential issues that may arise along the way, it’ll also prevent delays that lead to fire-drill situations, and ensure that you aren’t missing out any major opportunities. The other piece of advice is to truly put yourself in your client’s shoes, being sensitive and empathetic to the challenges they face and understanding the ‘why’ behind everything they say and do.


Last but not least, what is meaningful to you outside of your role as an account director at CBD?

I strive to maintain a sense of purpose outside of the office, whether that comes from spending time with my family, practicing yoga or anything else that brings me inner peace and happiness. It’s important to manage yourself with the same energy and tools you use to manage your work projects.  A solid work-life balance is the foundation of success.


Want to know more about Celina? Connect with her on LinkedIn for more tips on successful account management. Next up in the M2M series, we’ll be featuring CBD’s Executive Vice President, Jean Ban.