Helga goes to work at Leo Burnett

Helga goes to work at Leo Burnett

When the Ruby family relocated to Glen Ellyn in 1964, the three children were old enough that Helga was able to take a job working for a Chicago advertising agency in its local office, fulfilling an ambition she had to return to the work force and contribute to the family finances. 

Her friend, Nancy Bittinger, later Roberts, a tall outgoing blonde, was the manager of the office, an all-female operation that conducted market research for the agency. The research questionnaires were written at headquarters. The ladies in the Glen Ellyn office put the questions to the public, using both telephone and in-person survey methods.  

I think Helga started at Leo Burnett during our first year in town, because I have a distinct memory of Helga bringing home several boxes of a new cereal that was under development, Apple Jacks. This happened while we were in our first Glen Ellyn home, on Grandview, before we moved to Hill Avenue. That's how I can place it in 1964 or early '65.

Helga was so good at the work that she quickly became the assistant manager, and then took over as the office manager when Nancy stepped down. Later, when the operation expanded and moved to Schaumberg, Helga ran the show and employed dozens of full- and part-time staff. 

She was well respected as a no-nonsense business manager, but one who was also a friend and mentor to her employees. 

These photos show Helga working the phones in the Glen Ellyn office, with officemates working in the background. In the first image of the office front door, that's Nancy Bittinger sitting at the front desk.