Your career is a collective effort

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Arnold Worldwide's new U.S. CCO gives credit where credit is due.

We don't say "thank you" enough.

As much as sometimes we would like to believe that our own merit got us that new job, award or pay raise, our own career is a collective effort

I just got a new job. And it wasn't by my own doing. So I'd like to take the time to give credit where credit is due.

When I was 24 years old, in Brazil, I wrote an email to Tony Granger, then chief creative officer at Saatchi NY. The email read: "Mr. Granger, I read an article you wrote where you mentioned a campaign I did. It would be my dream to work for you."

Mr. Granger wrote me back. Mr. Granger hired me. Mr. Granger changed my life. 

Since then, there hasn't been a pay raise, a job interview or offer that I've received that I don't credit Tony for. He took a massive chance on me. Back then my English was broken at best, and he had the patience to let me learn. He gave me guidance and confidence. He gave me many opportunities and—best of all—he gave me a clear model as to the kind of boss I want to aspire to be.

Tony also gave me something even more valuable: an environment full of amazing talent.

At Saatchi I worked for Jan Jacobs, Leo Premutico and Kerry Keenan and worked with Menno Kluin. All of them are my friends to this day and the four people I ask for guidance from constantly. I have not taken a new job or committed to any big decision in life before consulting the four of them. 

I trust their judgment way more than I trust my own. And having a creative partner (Menno) and three executive creative directors (Jan, Leo, Kerry) to whom I'd entrust my life, made my transition to the US and my time at Saatchi incredibly productive. Thanks to them I grew as a person and as a writer. 

Because of Tony, Jan, Leo, Kerry and Menno, I was invited to lunch with Dan Wieden. And for coffee with Dave Luhr.

Dan offered me the opportunity of a lifetime: to open a Wieden+Kennedy office.

Dan and Dave saw in me something that I didn't. And the level of trust that they handed me is something I had never experienced or seen before. "Go do your thing!" they cheered on. They were never harsh on my mistakes and offered me honesty and the biggest and most addictive gift of all: independence.

It was during the first few days of Wieden São Paulo that I met Anne Heuer. Anne is American and had worked at Wieden in Portland. We invited her to move to São Paulo and work with us. Originally from Indiana, she moved to São Paulo and embraced the culture in an incredible way. I learned so many things about my hometown through Anne I never thought possible. She very quickly became the soul of the office. Thanks in large part to Anne’s fresh point of view and open mind, we were able to succeed in the very competitive Brazilian ad scene.

If it weren’t for Anne and the effect she had on the office and on me as a leader, I probably wouldn't have gotten an offer to run DDB in New York. 

I'm very thankful I did and that I had Anne's embracing of a foreign culture top of my mind, so I could take what I learned and do the same when I arrived back in New York.

Now, as I pack my things to leave New York and move to Boston, I look forward to meeting new people, both at Arnold and around the city, and learning new ways. I also look back at my 20 years of agency life across three continents and realize how lucky I've been to encounter the great people that have made my career. Yes, I put in the effort and the dedication, but honestly, if it weren’t for Tony, Jan, Leo, Kerry, Menno, Dan, Dave, Anne and about two dozen other names, I wouldn't have had the opportunities that I did. 

My advice for those starting out in this business: If you want to achieve success, look at it as a team sport. And be grateful for those connections and opportunities when they come along. 

Those who don't won't get very far.

If you've been doing this for a long time, I'd love to know who your Tony, Jan, Leo, Kerry, Menno, Dan, Dave and Anne are.

Icaro Doria is U.S. CCO of Arnold Worldwide.