Justin Adu talks leadership, teamwork and new book

Photo Credit: Justin Abu
Photo Credit: Justin Adu

Justin Adu is the associate creative director of digital and social media at Carol H. Williams Advertising (CHWA). Prior to leading the digital and social media executions for clients like General Motors at CHWA, Adu’s diverse career has impacted notable brands, organizations, and public figures. In an effort to continuously expand his creative concepts, he recently self-published his first book, The Guide Toward Creative Freedom & Success. The book combines creative advice, motivational quotes (“Aduisms”) and career tips from Adu’s experience in the creative industry. The book explores all of the internal and external roadblocks creatives may face or run into along their creative journey and how one can maintain their creative freedom while achieving their personal and professional goals.

Please describe your leadership style.
My leadership style is to lead by example. Even in a senior leadership role, I still work as hard if not harder then the next person. In order to be a creative leader, you must put in the work and also constantly concentrate on perfecting your craft. However, the most important thing about being a leader is understanding the foundation that you must sustain when it comes to being consistent and no matter what I may be up against or face in my life I realize that being consistent with creative projects is important.

What three skill set are critical for future leaders:
Ambition, humbleness, awareness

Finish the sentence: teamwork is important because …
…it provides you a different perspective on a particular situation. It allows you to embrace more than one view on something.

What social media platforms do you engage in the most?
All of them. Each platform is used for a particular purpose and I think that depending upon what you are trying to do or say for that matter each one provides you a different audience and execution.

What professional organizations do you support?
Two organizations that I am extremely passionate about would be The Marcus Graham Project and The ADCOLOR Conference & Award Show. Two organizations making continues efforts to increase the lack of diversity within the advertising and marketing industry.

Describe your networking style.
I would say friending vs. networking. It is important to form bonds with each other. Whenever I am in a room or in a situation in which I feel that someone only cares about where I work, my title and what I do then it’s less sincere. I encourage people when in a situation in which networking is taking place you take a step back to truly get to know the person you are talking to and not be so surface level with your conversation.

If you were giving a graduation speech to college students, what would the title of your speech be? Give three reasons.
The Guide Toward Creative Freedom & Success: This will encourage college students to have an open mind when it comes to their career. This speech will also allow the college student to think outside the box. And, lastly, the speech will be formatted to help prepare the college student for life after college–the real world. This also happens to be the name of my book (Laughs) which is ultimately a guide that will be VERY beneficial for recent college graduates.

What are you reading? Name two of your favorite books.
Currently, I’m reading I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi but two of my favorite books would also have to be Steve Stoute The Tanning of America and Brainwashed by Tom Burrell

Name three business leaders and political leaders who inspire you.
Barack Obama, President of The United States
John H. Johnson,founder of Ebony Magazine
Carol H. Williams, president and CEO of Carol H. Williams Advertising

Two favorite quotes that motivate you:
Two of my favorite quotes which also happen to be #Aduisms are…
“Live & Learn… Don’t ever be mad at yourself or the happenings of life. Just be happy you have an opportunity to grow and that’s one life lesson box you don’t have to worry about checking off”- Adu
“Once you find your own lane, the ride is so much smoother” – Adu

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