Nadine McHugh feels lucky. "I'm where I should be," she asserts. "I'm really into it."
|Nadine McHugh, managing director on Unilever at MindShare
As MindShare's managing director on Unilever in the U.S., Ms. McHugh keeps tabs on media placement and programs for more than 40 brands in categories ranging from skin care, laundry and hair-and-face products to food and beverages. She oversees nearly 50 people on teams in MindShare's New York and Chicago offices, and ensures that the best ideas are executed.
Ms. McHugh started on Unilever in 1995 as an assistant planning director at Ogilvy & Mather, like MindShare a unit of WPP Group. When MindShare was launched in 2001, Ms. McHugh was a key player in securing the consolidated Unilever business, and has steadily risen up the agency's ranks, culminating with a January promotion to her current title.
Staying ahead of innovations in media is crucial; her charge is to "do things that haven't existed before," says Ms. McHugh, 40. "I try to inspire my people to go into uncharted territory."
Noreen Simmons, director-media planning on Unilever's media team, has worked with Ms. McHugh for more than a decade. "Nadine brings intelligence, a deep understanding of our brands and a passionate drive to win to everything she does," Ms. Simmons says. "I'd miss not working with her."
In fact, a few years ago, Ms. McHugh decided she would leave MindShare to spend more time with her kids. At Ms. Simmons' urging, client and agency worked out a part-time arrangement instead, and after a while Ms. McHugh came back full time.
In addition to other duties, Ms. McHugh is in charge of the curriculum of MAcademy, MindShare's training program. What's exciting about the future is what media offers: "The challenge is that you have to be smart and understand what the brand stands for" to know whether a particular media opportunity works.