Duncan considers herself a “salesperson”—a mentality she immediately brought to her role.
“I’ll cold call anyone,” Duncan said. “When I came to BBH I had north of 10 new business meetings already set up and I remember the shock and amazement I was hearing from people in the industry, like ‘How did you do it?’ I just would see a brand that I liked and find their information on LinkedIn and I just emailed them. I wish it was fancier. I believe in being not just ambitious but believing you have nothing to lose. If someone doesn't respond to you then that just simply means that maybe it's not the right time or maybe they're busy. But don't take it personally, just go to the next person.”
After her first six months, Duncan led a transition phase for the agency in the U.S. as it consolidated its two offices. Assisting her were Chief Creative Officer Rafael Rizuto and Chief Strategy Officer Tom Callard; the latter recently left the agency to join Blackstone. The key to the transition, Duncan said, was to lead with empathy and immediately cross-pollinate teams with existing projects.
Moving forward, Duncan says this year will be about “sustaining greatness” for the agency.
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“It was all about greatness awaits last year, that was our north star," Duncan said. “It's all about continuing on that greatness track. There's a lot of naysayers out there, I'm sure. This year is critically important to us from a financial standpoint and an internal growth perspective. We're still navigating through uncertain times that bring a lot of anxiety for people. We're trying to figure it all out together. This year is about achieving all of our goals, which are lofty. We're not phoning it in—we're still playing to win, and we want to win big.”