5 minutes with... in association withAdobe Firefly
5 Minutes with… Corrine Hendricks
London, UK
The newly elevated president of Wunderman Thompson California speaks to LBB’s Addison Capper about learning from her predecessor and why account management is the perfect stepping stone to leadership

Corrine Hendricks was elevated to president of Wunderman Thompson California back in March. It was a transformative time for the LA agency as it snapped up the Snap Inc. account to add to a roster that already included American Honda Motor Company, Qualcomm, and more. 

Corrine succeeded Andrew Solmssen, who moved on to a web3 incubator. In her previous role as SVP, client services, Corrine oversaw a 20+ person account management team and led key new business wins for California. She also helped create the role of VP, solution partner, which she held from August 2019 - January 2021, to drive organic growth opportunities for Wunderman Thompson’s largest West Coast clients by gaining and leveraging deep knowledge of capabilities across creative, data and technology. 

Corrine has spent 15 years at top ad agencies in Chicago and Los Angeles, including POSSIBLE, BBDO, and FCB. 

A few months into this next step in her career, Corrine chatted to LBB's Addison Capper. 

LBB> Congratulations on the recent promotion! What are your main aims as the head of Wunderman Thompson California?

Corrine> I want to create a culture where people are genuinely happy and do the best work of their careers. To do that, we’ve outlined a set of values for the way we behave and set a clear vision of the type of work we want to do. And then we built a plan and the team we need to get there. 

LBB> The agency has been in a bit of a transformative phase over the course of 2022. Can you tell us a bit about that and what's driving it?

Corrine> Our transformation in 2022 is being driven by a change in our client mix, the type of work we do and the structure of our team- in short, everything has changed. Some people would look at that as daunting, but I view change as an opportunity to define who we are and what we want. And that’s exactly what we’re doing - we’re building WT California 2.0 and it’s a pretty incredible group of people and clients. 

LBB> Your root to becoming an agency leader is via the accounts department. How do you feel that experience aids you in your new role? 

Corrine> At its core, account management is about understanding people and building relationships. And I think that’s a skill that is transferable to lots of things in life, but especially to leading an agency. Relationships are critical to understanding what our people want and need. And the relationships we’ve built with our broader WT network allow us to bring the best of WT from around the world to our California clients. 

LBB> Speaking of leadership, what was your first experience of it?

Corrine> My mom will tell you that even as a young child I was bossy and never missed an opportunity to be the leader in my play group or at school. I guess you could say my traits of being decisive, outspoken, and confident made me a natural born leader? 

LBB> What experience or moment gave you your biggest lesson in leadership?

Corrine> I think the greatest leaders shine during adversity so, for me, I learned a lot by watching how my predecessor, Andrew Solmssen, led the agency through the beginnings of a global pandemic, political turmoil, and gross racial injustice in the year 2020. Andrew addressed each of these delicate topics head-on with empathy and transparency. Even when he didn’t have all the answers, he bravely tackled topics that we had never had to face before and in doing so, he built a community of loyal followers who both respected and appreciated his vulnerability. 

LBB> Truthfully, Wunderman Thompson California is an outpost of the WT North America family that I don't know a ton about. So, please tell me! How do you see and define the agency? 

Corrine> At Wunderman Thompson California, our people exude California sunshine.  Happy people do the best work, great work makes our clients happy, and happy clients drive a healthy, growing business. I’m a firm believer that if you put people first, the rest will follow. We are doing something right because we have some of the highest employee and client satisfaction scores in our network. 

LBB> What does WT California do well and how does its location inform the culture and work?

Corrine> At WT California, we are experts in developing customer experience, CRM and cross-channel campaigns that deliver results for our clients. The beautifully diverse culture of Southern California provides endless creative inspiration for our work. The laid-back, West Coast vibe informs the type of culture we’ve built at WTCA - one where you can come as you are, work hard but laugh harder and be sure that we won’t tolerate jerks. 

LBB> Which piece of recent work from the agency are you most proud of and why?

Corrine> During the pandemic, the automotive industry was totally up-ended. The automotive microchip shortage caused massive supply issues and the percentage of car sales done online skyrocketed. For our Acura client, we created an experience on the website that allowed customers to reserve a vehicle before it launched by placing a deposit. Not only did it enable customers to secure cars when they were in short supply, but it paved the way for Acura to transact online and really set the stage for the future of their eCommerce experience. I’m really proud of how quickly we were able to help our clients adapt to a rapidly changing industry. 

LBB> Outside of work, what's inspiring you right now?

Corrine> Travel is finally back and we’re doing a lot of it! I’ve always had a bit of wanderlust because I think you can learn so much by observing how other cultures experience everyday life. Next on my wish list is Australia and New Zealand now that their borders have re-opened. 

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