Bill Murphy started as an intern at MACLYN and worked his way to the top.
He tells us what separates the good from the great and who motivates him to be better.
Q: How long have you been with MACLYN?
Bill Murphy: There are a few funny stories to that. If you have 60 minutes, Hausmann will happily entertain you. The cliff notes are that I started with MACLYN as an intern in 1997. Came aboard in 2002.
Q: How did you go from intern to becoming a partner?
Murphy: When I was in college, I interned for a Partner at a 60-person agency in Des Moines, IA. I loved everything about it. The partner told me stories of how he used to empty the trash for the then agency owner just to get recognized. And how he persevered to climb the ladder to make partner. It was listening to his story that I knew what I wanted to do in life. I wanted to be him. And I wasn’t going to stop until I was.
I wanted to start as the guy emptying the trash and work my way up to make partner. I wanted to persevere.
And I did. And I still empty the trash.
Q: What’s the most challenging thing about being the partner of a company?
Murphy: At the end of day the day, through the good and the not so good, the buck stops with me or Marc. The biggest challenge that I have daily is finding the right balance of keeping our team and our clients happy.
I love it. I wouldn’t change it. But occasionally I need to wear a helmet.
Q: What’s the most rewarding accomplishment you’ve experienced at MACLYN?
Murphy: Honestly, it has ALL been rewarding. It’s fun to look back on our history. We are nowhere near reaching our ultimate goals, but wow, we have come so far. Our people are so talented. We are so fortunate to be able to have them with us. To see how they attack a project now, compared to how we did it 10 years ago, there is no comparison. It’s been rewarding to see the growth.
Q: Did you always see yourself in advertising? If not, what did you picture as your “dream job?”
Murphy: I always dreamed of being an entrepreneur. Advertising just happened to be the area I was most comfortable.
My dad was an entrepreneur. Like many entrepreneurs, you could write a book about him. He started a business from nothing. At one point, he was so broke; he would invite friends over and go through the couch after they left to see if any loose change had fallen from their pockets. He persevered and retired at 51 years old.
He was one of four major male role models in my life.
Q: Expand. Who are these role models and why?
Murphy: My dad. Growing up, we were best friends. He was always there for me. He taught me how to be a man. He still does.
My grandfather. I come from a good pedigree. He was CEO of the largest privately owned frozen food company in the world. We were also very close. He was a badass. He controlled a room the moment he walked in. It was amazing to watch. And he NEVER settled for less than perfect. Tough expectations, yes. But I admired that.
My father-in law – also a current major CEO. There is no man that I have more respect for. The way he respects everyone one of his 1400 employees, knows their name and genuinely cares about their success. The way he devotes his life to his daughters, and the way unconditionally helps others daily, is something I dream of.
Marc Hausmann. No man has changed my personality more. I would have tanked this agency years ago without Marc! We are yin and yang. Peanut butter and jelly. I am aggressive. He is strategic. He challenges me daily to think about my actions before I act. Those life lessons have changed me.
Q: What do you envision in MACLYN’s future?
Murphy: Greatness. We are on the cusp of it. I see it inside here everyday. Our people are amazingly talented. We just need more opportunities to shine. We will get there.
Q: What advice can you give to young people in the advertising industry?
Murphy: Work hard. Today you see all these young millionaires glamorized in magazines, TV and social media because of the tech and social media boom. It’s a neat story, but for a majority of the world, it isn’t us. In our world, to be successful you have to work your ass off. Don’t be too good for a job. And don’t ask others to do something you wouldn’t do yourself. If you asked a subordinate to empty the trash, make sure you have done it yourself more than a few times. Those are character builders.
And learn how to handle yourself in a tough room. That’s a skill that separates the good from the great.
Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Murphy: I have two daughters who are my life. When I am not working, I am with them. My favorite activity is fishing with them. When there isn’t water, I love to dance with them. We literally have a dance party every night before bed. It’s pure entertainment.
Q: Are you more likely to give someone a high five or a fist bump, and why?
Murphy: Depends on the situation. When it calls for quiet cool, I’m all about the fist bump. When I am so friggin’ excited about something, the high five just comes out.
Q: If you were stranded on a desert island with one object, what would it be and why?
Murphy: A fishing pole. Fishing is my passion. I don’t care if I ever catch a fish. The silence and beauty are what keep me going.
If you could ask Bill Murphy a question, what would it be?