Let’s be clear about this from the jump: Maggie Kruger hates this idea. “Hates.” Her word.
“I swear to God, I was reading Julia’s, and I got so nervous that I had to stop,” she says.
David: Come on.
Maggie: You can make me funny, though, right?
David: Oh, yeah, that’s in my wheelhouse. Okay. Here we go. When did you become a Maggie?
Maggie: See, I don’t even know how to answer that question — this is the problem with me. When did I become an account person?
David: No. (laughs) Were you always a Maggie, or were you once a Margaret?
Maggie: (laughs) Oh. Always Maggie. I’m anticipating the questions about being an account person.
David: I’m not asking when you became Jarvis, the All-Knowing Account Being. (looks for recognition in Maggie’s eyes) You don’t know who Jarvis is, do you!?!?
David: That’s funny.
Maggie: I was named Margaret after my mother’s stepmother, but my father said they’d never call me that. I’d always be a Maggie. I am not a Margaret — stuffy, uptight, and proper. I feel like I am a casual person and not a stuffy person.
David: You’re a San Francisco kid, yeah?
Maggie: When I was a child, we lived in the Richmond. I lived in Nob Hill during my 20s, back when one could afford a one-room apartment in the City.
David: Okay, hold on. You played rugby in college? How did you find the sport?
Maggie: I did. I went to Lewis & Clark. A very liberal, liberal arts college. My college boyfriend played rugby, and so every Saturday, I’d be out at those matches and loving it. It was so fun, so fun, so fun. I was like, ‘Why can’t I play this game?’ I had a bunch of girlfriends, and we said, ‘Let’s play rugby.’ So, I started the team and found a coach. Then we got into a league with ten other schools. It was fun. We were in a Nike commercial! I loved every second of it.
David: Were the songs as ribald as our men’s songs?
Maggie: Exactly the same songs. (laughs)
David: How does your ballet dancing daughter feel about this?
Maggie: I don’t think she knows much about it! It’s not a pretty time of your existence, so it’s not like I’m busting out pictures from those days. I had black tape around my head. We were always dirty … Yeah, she’s very girly. She’d be horrified by that whole thing.
David: But rugby got you ready for advertising?
Maggie: Ha. I was a psych major, and I hoped to help teenagers. My Dad thought it was a bad idea to get me a job as a receptionist at his friend’s architecture firm. After three months, I moved into the marketing department. My boss told me to work at an advertising agency, but I found every agency in San Francisco to print and deliver my resume.
My first job was at a smallish agency, and I worked on some accounts, but I was young and thought I needed to hop around. I went to JWT, and three weeks into my time there, they lost Sprint, so they went from 600 to 60 people.
Maggie: Yeah. I moved to the Chevron Public Affairs account, which was pretty interesting. I lasted there 18 months or so and then went to Zuckerman Fernandes and worked on Clos du Bois. That was a great agency. I kept growing in the business, learning and loving the variety and excitement of the business. Michael and I got married and moved to the country (Penngrove) where life work balance shifted a bit, but I’ve been so lucky to find a way to have both.
David: Okay, let’s talk a bit about work. What the hell does an account person do?
Maggie: (long pause) The answer I give people who know nothing about advertising is that the account person is the hub of the agency who keeps everything rotating properly. I’m the liaison between the clients and the agency, managing all sorts of personalities so that the end product comes out successfully. You have to relate to the creative process so the agency can push out the best work but you also must understand the business side and be the voice for the client. I feel like I’m the person that can infiltrate the entire process and help move it along.
David: Enough of that. How did you end up in New Orleans?
Maggie: It was always a place we loved, and we just decided to do it. We had given notice and packed our boxes, then Katrina hit. So, we put that off for some years until our daughter turned four. We knew that if we didn’t move, then we never would. So, Michael applied for jobs and got one. They wanted him to start in three weeks, so we packed up an RV with all our stuff, the baby, the dog, and the cat.
David: So, what are the first things you do when you move to New Orleans? Do you do touristy things?
Maggie: What’s funny about us — we’ve been here ten years, and it still feels like we’re tourists. Sometimes we’ll go to the Quarter, and it feels like we’re on vacation. What’s weird about moving here, though, is how quickly you learned that there’s a whole different city. It’s not at all what I expected it to be — it’s very family forward, filled with amazingly interesting people, who make a big city feel like a very small town. It’s so awesome.
David: Okay, that’s it.
Maggie: All right. It wasn’t as painful as I thought.