Career Advice from Carisa Bianchi, President of TBWA\Chiat\Day

Carisa Bianchi became President of the Los Angeles branch of TBWA\Chiat\Day in 2005, after more than twenty years in the advertising industry.

1. If someone wanted to land a job at your company today, how would you recommend they do it?


Get my attention. Be inventive. Be passionate. Come prepared to discuss provocative ideas and thinking. Stand out. Be someone that leaves a lasting impression. Be “sticky.” Come prepared. Do your homework. Have a point of view on the company, the position, and what you will contribute. It’s all about having passion for ideas. Oh, yeah, did I mention passion.

2. What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given, and who gave it?

Our business is all about developing creative ideas on behalf of our clients. The best advice I ever got was from Lee Clow. Lee always says play offense, not defense. Play to win. Don’t play not to lose. Lee always says chase the idea, not the money. If you do, the money will follow.

My personal advice: Focus on the present. Put all your energy, passion, and enthusiasm into making sure that what you are doing right now is great, not just good. Now is what counts. The present. You can’t change the past, and if you do your job well now, the future will take care of itself. I see too many people focus on what is next. Unfortunately, this ends up being a distraction, and they take their eye off the ball and lose sight of what is important.

3. If you were job-hunting in this economy, where would you look?

I would look at the emerging sectors that will play a significant role in driving the future economy. One of these is “green technology.” I believe this sector could become one of the largest economic opportunities of the 21st century. It could be as lucrative as information technology. The world is in dire need of cleaner, more sustainable solutions if we want to provide a healthy and livable environment for future generations. Green technology includes fields related to water purification, air quality, alternative fuels, manufacturing, recycling, nanotechnology and renewable energy. And these fields cut across every business — agriculture, transportation, energy, packaged goods, etc. In the future there will no longer be a choice between whether you will be clean or profitable. You will need to be both.


With the new administration, we should also witness accelerated progress in biotechnology, especially in the area of stem cell research. With the threat of disease looming larger, this has much promise in finding cures or more reasonable treatments for life threatening diseases like cancer, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. Again, an area that could have broad applications to improving the quality of life.

Difficult economic times, often spur great periods of creativity and invention. Look at the companies and the people who are looking to the future and creating new solutions and new ideas to solve existing problems. Companies like A Better Place is a great example. They aren’t waiting for someone else to figure it out. They are leading.

Read more Top Jobs 2009


About the author

Danielle Sacks is an award-winning journalist and a former senior writer at Fast Company magazine. She's chronicled some of the most provocative people in business, with seven cover stories that included profiles on J.Crew's Jenna Lyons, Malcolm Gladwell, and Chelsea Clinton.