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Moving Up at MindShare

Mar 7, 2007  •  Post A Comment

As Lisa Weinstein shifts from running MindShare’s BP oil account to being managing director of its Chicago office, she expects that while some things will be different, others won’t change.
“I’ve learned, and I don’t think it will be any different in my new role, it’s all about the people you surround yourself with,” Ms. Weinstein said. “I’ve had some great people working with me on BP,” she said.
And since she’s been based out of Chicago-with frequent trips to BP’s offices in London-she knows the office also has a strong team in place.
A few days after her appointment, she didn’t have any major changes in mind.
“I have big shoes to fill,” she said, referring to her predecessor, Scott Neslund, who moved up the ladder to become president and CEO of MindShare North America. The office has been growing and Ms. Weinstein was part of the pitch that landed the consolidated $150 million Wrigley buying and planning account last year.
“Business ebbs and flows,” she said. “I’m sure I’ll have some real challenges coming my way, too, with existing clients and opportunities to address those. So I expect there will be ups and downs, and I want to be able to ride those out.”
On BP, there were mostly ups. The client was open to doing bigger, bolder things for the brand and was receptive to new ideas. That meant that even though in the U.S. BP’s retail operations weren’t really national (it sells under other brand names on the West Coast), the company was willing to consider doing a deal with a high-rated network television program, CBS’s “The Amazing Race.”
BP sponsored the eighth edition of the show, the family edition. The contestants were driving around the country, buying gas, naturally. And it turned out the timing coincided with the debut of a new look at BP stations. “It was an almost perfect fit,” Ms. Weinstein said. The campaign was successful based on various metrics, but it also worked internally with staffers.
“In the retail business, if you’re not getting your troops motivated, they’re not going to display to the external world the face of the brand that you want them to, and to me that’s critical,” she said. “I think that’s as much our job as externally positioning brands.”
Ms. Weinstein is a Hoosier through and through. She’s originally from Indianapolis, attended the University of Indiana in Bloomington and even married a Hoosier, IT consultant Andy Weinstein. That put her in the uncomfortable position of living in Chicago and rooting for the Colts in the Super Bowl against the Bears (and being one of the few smiling faces in the office the following day).
While in college, Ms. Weinstein double-majored in journalism and political science and minored in theater. She entertained ideas about being a TV anchor. “I wanted to do something creative, and I thought TV news sounded creative, too,” she said.
Ad agency Leo Burnett came recruiting and she ended up in Burnett’s media department. “A girl I knew from theater had been hired by Burnett, and when they came down recruiting I saw her, so I knew I could do that,” she said. “You know what I find so funny is that I didn’t know that was even a career.” These days students study media and know more about the industry.
Ms. Weinstein rose at Burnett (now Starcom), then became one of its few supervisors to leave to work for a competing agency by joining Ogilvy, now MindShare, in 2001. She left briefly in 2003 to join GMR Marketing, but returned to MindShare in 2004.
Away from the office, Ms. Weinstein indulges a love for real estate. She and her husband own a few buildings in Chicago and recently gutted and rehabbed a flat in the Lakeview neighborhood and put it on the market. The pastime “gets you out in the city to enjoy the ar
Who knew:chitecture,” she said.
They travel frequently to Asia, sometimes visiting a friend from Starcom in China.
She said she’s also “a bit obsessive” about eBay. “I try to sell more than I buy,” she said. “The ROI on that is a little better, and I don’t get in trouble with my husband.”
Ms. Weinstein appeared in a production of the musical “Hair” while in college. “I think I may be a little bit of a hippie at heart,” she said. Unlike on Broadway, actors in that production did not take off their clothes during the show. “Come on,” she said. “Those conservative Indiana folks? Please.”

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