Charbel Khalil's Life in Advertising
Posted on 2016 Dec,14

Charbel Khalil, is the strategic planner and senior account manager at Asda’a – Burson-Marsteller, a position, which though leaves him with little time, it nonetheless fuels his drive to push himself and the people he works with harder every day. What follows, is a stripped-down version of his professional life.


The quote I live by, which gives me the ability to work with a fierce and composed mentality under any circumstance is, “When you walk into a room, be civil to everyone but have a plan to kill them all.” – General James Mattis.

7:00AM: Up and away…

Waking up is the first obstacle I need to overcome to get myself in the shower. Yes, it’s always a journey to get to the office. However, looking at it from a different perspective, one can find great fruit and use this time in planning and strategising tasks prior to implementation. I tend to build templates in my head for different scenarios and keep them on standby until I reach work. 

8:30AM: The office.

No day is a typical day. Each day is tailour-made to get me from start to finish. However, I try my best to arrive earlier so as to enjoy a cup of coffee and a glass of water while reading anything, which jolts my mind into action.

9:05AM: Lighting the fuse.

I’m inside my office skimming over my emails, answering anything urgent and check-listing my plan for the day. Once everyone arrives and gets their groove on, we get the ball rolling to execute all tasks on the day’s docket.

10:30AM: In the zone! Let’s eat the work!

Managing daily tasks and keeping my creativity alive in formulating distinct strategies for each account proves to be somewhat impossible, but that’s what I like to ignore; the impossible. I get on supervising my team whilst working on my strategies to enable them to cater to their accounts as optimally possible. I tend to push my team to the max, so they can reciprocate the same action towards me. Maintaining this philosophy, keeps my team motivated while I get to hammer the nails down with the Managing Director until it gets to a point that I should leave her be and get back to my team and answer all urgent emails.

1:00PM: Let’s eat some more work!

Lunch break, no. This is the best time to double check on all emails and get some research on new business into my system. I then grind throughout the tasks that need to be completed and check on the rest of the team for a general overview of where their heads are at.  

2:00PM: First phase, over.

Lunch break? Hell no. We’re finalising what’s left in the pipeline so as to prioritise tasks according to the rest of the market to avoid any unnecessary delays.

3:00PM: Second wind.

Lunch break? Sure. At this point, I’d usually exhausted a good portion of my mental powers, which makes me a better listener considering that by then, my imagination is less constrained. So, I tend to work on pitch presentations for prospective clients to really expand my mind into the unknown.

4:30PM: Double, Triple check…

I hear plenty of ruckus around as people prepare to leave the office. This gives me time to analyse how people feel about the end of their day and what they’re planning on doing tomorrow. I double-check press-releases, briefs, pitches, proposals, supplier quotes, and any document that is vital to keep the ball rolling.

5:00PM: The real deal…

I tend to meet again with the MD and talk about all the tasks that were completed today and what adjustments we had to make to achieve the right flow. I also get bombarded with what the MD wants to do in the coming days. I’m a planner, so it’s my thing to find the calmness in the middle of this chaos; assigning each task to each account handler or media relation executive. 

7:00PM: Seal the day.

I check on the team to see if they’re on track. I also try my best to keep them motivated, reminding them of the things they need to do while assuming the role of Big Brother. I appreciate motivation. I give them the tools, the questions, the energy to reach higher than they anticipate they would ever get. I expect a lot from each member of the team and the team expects a lot from me.