For an Advertising Hall of Famer, Carol H. Williams had an inauspicious start.
Williams, who today runs her own eponymous agency with offices around the country, is best known as the first female and first African-American creative director and VP at Leo Burnett, which she joined in 1969.
In a visit to Ad Age’s offices in New York—two blocks and 50 years away from Madison Avenue at its prime—Williams recalled a formative 1970 experience that helped shape her history-making career. At just 19 or 20 years old, she says, she had written a commercial called “Uncle Henry” for Hungry Jack Biscuits, featuring a character based on her own beloved uncle.
The script would be rejected and she remembers feeling “devastated” … until one chance encounter changed her life.
To hear the story in her own voice, watch the video above, created in partnership with FCB.