Leo Burnett bolsters planning department hiring Jen Leung and Nic Willison

  • December 1, 2022

Nic Willison joins Leo Burnett as Strategy Director, and Jen Leung joins as Director of Social and Comms Planning. Both starting at the agency this month, Willison will work on McDonald’s, and Leung across the agency’s client roster and new business opportunities.

These two strategy hires come after a string of effectiveness awards for Leo Burnett. In October this year, the agency received a gold win at the Effies and two awards at IPAs: a gold win, and the Simon Broadbent Prize for Best Dedication to Effectiveness. The hires follow Leo Burnett’s recent growth, during which the agency has won both Google and Victorian Plumbing accounts.

Willison joins Leo Burnett from AMV BBDO, where she held the role of Strategy Director. During her time at AMV she led strategy across clients including Macmillan Cancer Support, MARS and Twinings UK. Specifically, Nicola was the strategic mind behind Macmillan’s ‘Whatever It Takes’ campaign, which won eight D&AD awards, a Cannes Lion and was named Campaign Magazine’s Top Film Ad of 2021. She also worked on future-proofing the global brand campaign: Snickers’ ‘You’re Not You When You’re Hungry’.

Prior to her time at AMV, Willison spent four years at FCB Inferno where she held the role of Senior Strategist. Her work on Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ resulted in her becoming the youngest ever recipient of the APG Grand Prix. The campaign went on to win 25 other industry awards, including the Cannes Lions Grand Prix for Good, alongside seven other Lions.

I couldn’t be more excited to be joining Leo Burnett – an agency renowned for the killer combination of consistently brilliant creative work, and a collaborative and friendly culture. I can’t wait to get stuck in and build on the momentum they’ve cultivated over the last few years.
Nic Willison
Strategy Director

With a hybrid background in media, creative and comms planning, Jen Leung moves to the UK from New York to join Leo Burnett. Leung was previously at New York based creative media agency, Noble People, where she held the role of Group Strategy Director. In this role she helped co-lead the strategy and comms department, and oversaw brand and comms strategic thinking and creative ideation for clients such as Klarna and WeTransfer

Prior to this, Leung worked as VP, Communications and Brand Strategy Director at BBDO New York for four years with clients including General Electric (GE) and BACARDÍ Limited. During her time at the agency, Leung worked on the BACARDÍ ‘Live Moves’ campaign, which won a Cannes Lion. Leung worked on a pro-bono social justice campaign in collaboration with non-profit organisation Color of Change. She helped spark the campaign with the insight that in 2020, during the Black Lives Matter movement, the removal of offensive confederate statues had left a gap in the public landscape for more positive works of art. Through the use of augmented reality, the Pedestal Project gave people the power to decide what these statues should be replaced with. The campaign went on to win Cannes Lions Gold and a D&AD Graphite Pencil.

Leung has also worked at Anomaly, R/GA, and Wieden + Kennedy. She started her career in media planning and strategy, working at OMD and Mediacom New York.

I am beyond thrilled to be starting a new chapter across the pond and joining the beautiful minds at Leo Burnett UK who are all doing brilliant work that is much admired. I felt the energy and mutual respect for each other from three thousand miles away and knew immediately that this is a new place I’m delighted to call home. I’m looking forward to bringing new fresh perspectives and thinking that can help flex our department’s strategic comms muscles as well as pushing great work for our clients.
Jen Leung
Director of Social and Comms Planning
Jen and Nic are fantastic additions to our already growing planning department. We can’t wait to plug our brands and populist creativity into their brilliantly diverse expertise and perspectives. They are both clearly stars and, just as importantly, properly lovely people who will only make our agency an even more inspiring place to work.
Tom Sussman
Head of Planning at Leo Burnett

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