Employee Highlight: Gabe Lindman

Gabriel Lindman is a digital media coordinator at Hirons and has been on the team for one and a half years. Around the office, Gabe loves to hang out in the Morton Think Tank because of how comfortable and flexible the space is. If he had to describe Hirons as a food, he would choose an everything pizza because Hirons is complex and the many different parts are what make it so fulfilling as a company. When looking for something to eat, you can find him heading over to City Market, where his options are endless.

How did you become interested in advertising/PR? How did you break into the industry and land your first job?

I always had an interest in advertising but when I was in college, I took some classes to confirm it. It was a good fit and I actually ended up interning at Hirons. I am lucky because I have been here ever since!

What would you consider the specializations/most important tools of the trade?

The willingness to work hard. For my specific job, you need to have a graphic design background and know code and Creative Suite well.

What characteristics do you need to be successful in the industry?

Drive, grit and flexibility. This industry is super competitive so having an extra edge will be useful. Agency life is not a 9-to-5 job, so you need to be able to have late nights and be committed to your work. Also, network as much as you can. Having a lot of connections is always helpful and can help you land a job.

Do you have any interesting hobbies/second jobs/bits of information that make you pop as an individual?

Recently, I started rock climbing, which I really enjoy. I also play the guitar, piano and mandolin. I enjoy design so do a bit on the side for my personal brand and enjoyment.

When and where do you have your best ideas?

Honestly, I get them anywhere. I could be lying in bed at 2 a.m. and have this great idea, so I grab my laptop and work on it. It is really important to be ready for ideas anywhere you may be.

What has been the most exciting project/campaign that you’ve worked on at Hirons?

The zoo. It has been the highest profile client that I have been able to take a lead on, which has been really cool to see. It has definitely been a learning experience, but in the best way.

Why is effective advertising/PR so important for the growth and success of organizations?

It is so important because it tells people who the organization is. It’s a first impression, which is key because that’s when consumers decide if there is a personal connection or not. When organizations are successful and can create these personal connections, consumers feel like they can see themselves in the brand or company, which generally leads to a loyal base.

What’s one important tip you would share with anyone looking to go into the agency world?

Network, network, network. It is really important to have connections in this industry, so try to use those to your advantage.

What is the most meaningful part of your job?

The most meaningful part would have to be that I get to be really creative, more creative than others in their jobs. I also enjoy when a client is happy with the work. It feels good to know the client likes what you’re doing for them.

Employee Highlight: Laura Crafton

Laura Crafton is an account manager at Hirons and has been on the team for nine months. Around the Hirons office, her favorite space is her desk, which houses her marketing swag, notepads, pens and other knickknacks. If she had to describe Hirons as a drink, she would choose a Moscow Mule because Hirons is bold, constantly living up to internal and external expectations and has a zing to all of its work. When Laura is looking for something to eat, you can find her at Livery reminiscing about her time abroad and sipping on a Caipirinha.

How did you become interested in advertising/PR? How did you break into the industry and land your first job?

So I went to Purdue and I had no clue what I wanted to do. My academic adviser suggested communications and (luckily) I fell in love with it. I then tried to become as involved as I could. I knew from other peers and mentors that just getting a college degree wasn’t enough, especially in this industry. I was involved with PRSSA, on the board of our student-run PR firm, Boiler Communications, and I did a couple of internships. I was an intern in New York City at a travel and tourism PR firm. That was my only agency experience but I knew that I liked it. I came home and was living with my parents when a communications job presented itself. I took it but quickly found out it was not exactly what I wanted to do. The organization and role weren’t right for me but it got me in the communications/agency mindset.

What would you consider the specializations/most important tools of the trade?

I think a lot of my job, in account management, is being personable and able to interact with people well. There are always clever tricks and tools that can be utilized in technology, which can certainly help someone excel in their role and benefit what they are doing day to day. But overall, I think being able to connect with people is most important. The ability to listen and understand what clients are saying/asking, even if they don’t have the best way of explaining what they need, is what’s really important.

What characteristics do you need to be successful in the industry?

Having great verbal and written communications skills is necessary to be successful. I know it seems like a line item on a job description, but it is so important. I think having those skills, especially at an agency, when working with many different client personalities, will help anyone succeed and really figure out what needs to be done for each client.

Do you have any interesting hobbies/second jobs/bits of information that make you pop as an individual?

Sports-wise, I play volleyball year-round, which is the only sport I played growing up. I also read quite often and am a part of a book club that meets monthly.

I’m on a marketing committee for the Dove Recovery House for women, which is a great opportunity to fulfill my passion for helping others by using my skills in marketing and advertising. It’s such an important local organization. It’s a substance abuse recovery center for women.

When and where do you have your best ideas?

First thing in the morning. I do my best thinking before I get to work or when I’m drinking my coffee and don’t feel the pressure of having to get email back to everyone quickly as things fly in.

What has been the most exciting project/campaign that you’ve worked on at Hirons?

The first day I started at Hirons, I was asked to attend a new business meeting, which honestly scared me a bit because I had never been on the agency side of the RFP process. It was for a potential client named Virtusa, a technology consulting firm. Starting work on a client’s account from Day One has been exciting, but also expanding my reach on a B2B account is something new that I’m really enjoying.

Why is effective advertising/PR so important for the growth and success of organizations?

Years ago, before our worlds became so cluttered and we were inundated with messages all day every day, advertising had a clear space to voice your message. Now that we are constantly being bombarded with advertising and marketing messages, it is important for organizations to break out of the norm. Sometimes this can be done with a very smart and beautiful advertising campaign, and sometimes it is just having your company name or message in the right place at the right time. I think for companies who aren’t doing any of that, it can be scary how quickly they can be taken over by someone who rises above them.

What’s one important tip you would share with anyone looking to go into the agency world?

If you are not yet good at multi-tasking, maybe join some sort of boot camp for multi-tasking. Being able to have a million things running through your head but also being able to prioritize them and get work done is very important. I also think that personality comes back into play. I adored being on the client side at the start of my career, but I had enough of the personality traits that if thrown into an agency situation, I could succeed.

What is the most meaningful part of your job?

Being able to step up and help a client when something is on “fire” for them but they feel they cannot tackle it that day. I’ve felt this most in random moments when a client has reached out and said they need to bounce an idea off of me, and I am able to respond with a thoughtful suggestion or even a full-blown PowerPoint deck to help them. Those moments are great because I know that I have given the client a sense of “it’s taken care of.”

Employee Highlight: Clare Leonard

Clare is an account coordinator and has been at Hirons for about two months. She enjoys her time in the Morton Think Tank, where she can sit on the comfy couch and brainstorm ideas. If she had to describe Hirons as a food, she would choose a Snickers bar because while Hirons appears on the outside as a cohesive company, it has many layers and works with a diverse client base. Clare loves to spend time exploring all neighborhoods of downtown Indy. When looking for a bite to eat, she likes to head over to one of her favorite restaurants, Livery.

How did you become interested in advertising/PR? How did you break into the industry and land your first job?

The reason I became interested in PR was because of Ball State University’s student-run firm, Cardinal Communications. Through Cardinal Communications, I worked with a diverse client base and learned various public relations tactics. This ultimately led to an expanded network and a lot of different opportunities throughout college. One opportunity in particular allowed me to work with Hirons and their client, The ARA Project. After graduation, I was lucky enough to land my first full-time job with Hirons. The job opening was presented to me as a result of my pre-existing network with current employees and Tom Hirons.

What would you consider the specializations/most important tools of the trade?

As a PR professional, you must be knowledgeable and adaptable. The industry is constantly evolving, and being aware of current events and trends is crucial.

What characteristics do you need to be successful in the industry?

You must be a clear communicator. Deadlines, project scopes and meetings are constantly being rearranged to best accommodate the client. In an industry that is constantly changing, we must continue to be clear communicators.

Do you have any interesting hobbies/second jobs/bits of information that make you pop as an individual?

Many of my friends refer to me as the “ultimate planner.” You will rarely find me without a to-do list or a detailed calendar.

When and where do you have your best ideas?

I get my best ideas while traveling to and from work. I enjoy thinking “out of the box” before the workday starts. I challenge myself to bring something new and innovative to the table every day.

What has been the most exciting project/campaign that you’ve worked on at Hirons?

My most exciting project at Hirons thus far is the logo redesign project for Festival Country in Johnson County, Indiana. I have a passion for the tourism industry and working with this client has been a treat. I started working at Hirons right when this project rolled out, so I had the chance to brainstorm new branding ideas with the rest of the team. I collaborated with the creative department and made sure they were creating what the client ultimately wanted. It was great to see this project from start to finish.

Why is effective advertising/PR so important for the growth and success of organizations?

In order for a business to continue to be successful, it must have positive brand awareness. Positive brand awareness stems from successful advertising and public relations. As an account coordinator, my main goal is to provide clients with effective public relations tools to help expand their company brand awareness.

What’s one important tip you would share with anyone looking to go into the agency world?

If you are looking to join the PR or advertising industry, you must utilize your network. I encourage you to sit down and think about your connections in the industry. Challenge yourself to attend networking events around the city. These little tips can lead you to your first job or internship.

What is the most meaningful part of your job?

The most meaningful part of my job is providing positive change for all clients. From creating social media content to planning a press conference, every project provides an opportunity to better brand a client.

Intern Spotlight: Spring 2018

Read our Q&A with Hirons’ latest round of interns to hear about their previous experiences, and why they chose Hirons.

Name: Hanna Jones
Internship: Communications Management Assistant

What college do you attend and what is your major?

I am a junior at Indiana University-Bloomington. I am majoring in public relations with a minor in political science.

Why did you choose to intern at Hirons?

The reputation of Hirons is admirable. The prestige and fast-paced nature of this organization reflects my personality, and I know I will learn from some of the best practitioners in the industry. All my life I have wanted to “play with the big kids.” Absorbing everything I learn at Hirons will help me prepare for the real world and set me up for success in my future career.

What do you hope to accomplish during your internship?

I hope to leave with a good grasp of public relations and all of its facets. I also want to become a more effective communicator overall. Hirons will afford me the opportunity to exercise and improve upon my communication skills.

What kind of work-related experience do you bring to us?

Hirons is my first internship. While I don’t have a ton of experience in the public relations field, I am a quick learner and hard worker. Along with the classes I am currently enrolled in, I am maximizing my efforts to provide Hirons with a knowledgeable intern.

What kind of life experience do you bring to us?

I am naturally a hard worker and a semi-perfectionist. I say that because I know nothing can ever be perfect, but it can get pretty close! I take pride in the work that I do and it’s evident. I am intuitive, goal-oriented and easy to get along with.

What are your first impressions of Hirons?

My first impression of Hirons was how modern it is. The design is clean-looking but not plain. This is a productive work environment and the staff is welcoming and friendly.

Fun facts about yourself:

  • I am a photographer on the side; I do get paid for it.
  • I was born in San Diego, California.
  • I watched all nine seasons of “The Office” in two weeks.

Name: Hattie Saylor
Internship title: Communications Management Assistant

What college do you attend, and what is your major?

I go to Butler University (go Dawgs!) and my major is in strategic communications with minors in French and Critical Communications and Media Studies.

Why did you choose to intern at Hirons?

I had previously heard about Hirons from multiple people and professors who spoke about how amazing it is. I was not

sure if agency life was right for me but, after attending a PRSSA panel where different agencies talked about what they did and how much they loved their job, I knew that I had to give it a shot. After that, I spoke with a mentor at Butler University and then put Hirons on the top of my list. I was ecstatic when I received an invitation to interview and was beaming when I got the internship offer. I really love how creative and collaborative the company is and how they weave “Be Bold” throughout everything they do!

What do you hope to accomplish during your internship?

I really want to be a sponge and soak up all of the knowledge I can. Whether that is learning the ins and outs of a client meeting or how to run a successful campaign. I would love to talk to anyone and everyone to see their professional journey and what they contribute to the continuing success of Hirons. I would also like to enhance my writing skills and ensure they are up to industry standards.

What kind of work-related experience do you bring to us?

This summer I was fortunate enough to intern for Patachou Foundation. There, I did many different things from social media work to planning events and making videos. This fall I worked at Encore Sotheby’s, a realty company, and my focus was on social media. So what I bring to Hirons is not just one thing but a lot of different skills and knowledge about a variety of topics.

What kind of life experience do you bring to us?

Only being 22 years old, I don’t have a ton of life experience, but going abroad has definitely made the biggest impact on my life. I traveled to 10 countries and a several cities in England over the course of four months. Being abroad, I learned lots of important lessons about life and myself, which I love talking about so if you want to hear, come find me!

What are your first impressions of Hirons?

I have really enjoyed my time here so far. Everyone is so knowledgeable about agency life and really seems to be on top of their game. I also love that everyone, no matter their title, is willing to sit down and talk with me. Since I am about to enter the “real world,” hearing stories about different people’s journeys to Hirons is beneficial. The amount of work I am doing is really great as well. I like being treated as more than just another intern.

Fun facts about yourself:

  • My little sister is my best friend. Her name is Betsy, she’s 20 years old and is a sophomore at the University of Michigan!
  • I love podcasts and books. I am super into real or fictional crime/mysteries so any and all suggestions are appreciated.
  • My high school was mentioned in the iconic movie “8 Mile.”
  • I am an ENFP (woo Myers Briggs!)
  • I am a barista.
  • I love dogs and I have a 3-year-old golden doodle named Tucket, whom I love (and miss) so much.

Name: Carrie Latimer
Internship title: New Business Assistant

What college do/did you attend and what is your major?

I’m a senior in The Media School at Indiana University, majoring in media advertising.

Why did you choose Hirons for an internship?

I wanted to get agency experience and make connections in Indy. Hirons had been on my radar for a couple of years after hearing about the agency through fellow PRSSA members, so I always sort of knew I would end up here eventually.

What do you hope to accomplish during your internship?

I hope to get a thorough understanding of how the business model of an agency works. Prior to coming here, I only had experience in corporate PR. The agency-client relationship is totally new to me, so I’m looking forward to figuring out how it all works.

What kind of work-related experience do you bring to us?

I’ve worked as a digital marketing intern at Indiana University Press and social media and PR intern at Cook Medical. I’ve worked for student-run Agency 7 at IU and even created my own job managing Instagram for David’s Bridal Bloomington. Currently I also work as a communications assistant at The Media School at IU when I’m in Bloomington. I love social media (especially the ‘gram) and usually find some way to incorporate hashtags into whatever job I’m doing. I’m also heavily involved with PRSSA at IU and spend most of my free time helping students network and connect with employers.

I am very ambitious and driven. No goal is too big for me, and I’m committed to overachieving and exceeding expectations in every aspect of my life (I usually blame it on the fact that I’m a Virgo). Whether it’s agreeing to plan a symposium on journalism and religion when I already have a million jobs or making it to the final round of Colts cheerleader auditions, I’m always ready to put in work and wear as many hats as possible.

What are your first impressions of Hirons?

It’s a casual and fun environment (so many snacks!), but everyone takes their work very seriously. After a week and a half, I already felt so connected to the Indy community. It seems like this is a place where big things are always happening, and I’m excited to be a part of the team. Also everyone is so trusting of me! I drove Chad’s BMW in a snowstorm on my third day.

Fun facts about yourself:

  • I can beat anyone at Super Smash Brothers on GameCube, but only if I’m Yoshi. I don’t actually know how to do anything other than kick and jump, but it seems to work pretty well for me.
  • I will drink iced coffee no matter how cold it is outside. Tall cold brew in a Venti cup with a splash of nonfat milk, extra ice and two pumps of toffee nut syrup, please.
  • I have business cards that are neon pink and say “HIRE ME” and I’m pretty sure that’s how I got here.
  • One time I met Hulk Hogan at Disney World.
  • I’ve been really into weightlifting for the last two years. I can now deadlift 150 pounds and, more importantly, open a jar of salsa by myself.

Name: Yoonji Jung
Internship title: Digital Media Assistant

What college did you attend and what was your major?

My first school was at York University (Canada) majoring in graphic design, but after a year I moved back to Turkey (where I grew up) and worked at a consumer product company to support my family, who was going through a rough financial time. So, after learning graphic design for two years, I decided to change my major to business administration at Middle East Technical University (Turkey).

Why did you choose Hirons for an internship?

I have a special heart for nonprofit organizations. As I was researching about Hirons, I found out that they work with a lot

of nonprofit organizations, which aligns with my personal interests because I have been freelancing for nonprofits previously. I was sure Hirons would be a great fit for me to learn about how the agency works with nonprofit organizations.

What do you hope to accomplish during your internship?

I am a self-taught designer, so I have been learning things off the internet from design to how to communicate with clients. So, I am hoping to:

  • Get design critiques/feedbacks from more experienced colleagues
  • Learn how a design project works from start to finish (initial meeting, kickoff meeting, client research, pricing, closure, etc.)
  • Learn about design/digital strategy
  • Observe how to effectively communicate with clients
  • Improve communication skills to clients and colleagues
  • Get more accustomed to digital marketing

What kind of work-related experience do you bring to us?

I have been a freelance graphic designer, mainly specializing in designing marketing materials for nonprofit organizations for about two years. So I can understand the general process/operations of how an outcome is created.

Also, I’ve done internships at LG Electronics and Accenture in market research departments, so I hope to apply my research and planning skills at this internship.

What kind of life experience do you bring to us?

I hope my diverse background will contribute to Hirons by bringing a wide variety of ideas to the table (even some travel tips to Turkey or South Korea.

What are your first impressions of Hirons?

My first encounter with Hirons was at the American Advertising Federation (AAF) networking event. The purpose of the event was to meet different people in the industry and get connected to the community. It took place on a beautiful September late afternoon on the rooftop of Hirons’ building, overlooking the streets of Downtown. And something magical happened. I got to meet some awesome, inspiring people from Hirons and we clicked. So I showed my interest in the spring internship at Hirons, and they asked for an interview the next day! A totally unexpected move = BOLD!

Fun facts about yourself:

I was born in South Korea (my grandparents immigrated from North Korea during the Korean War), lived in Turkey for 18 years, have a husband from Turkey, worked as a Korean/English/Turkish translator for more than 30 international fairs and moved cities every four weeks to teach English to employees at Samsung Electronics for about year (that’s how I got to travel a lot in South Korea).

Employee Highlight: Robert Hickson

How did you become interested in advertising/PR? How did you break into the industry and land your first job?

As a marketing major at Butler University, I found advertising to be interesting. Advertising allows you to reach out and connect with people while creating a buzz about a product or service they might not know exists. Landing my first job involved a lot of networking. I knew a couple Hirons employees when I applied to Hirons, but I still sat down with a dozen or more prospective employers before I interviewed for my current position as digital media coordinator.

What would you consider the specializations/most important tools of the trade?

The Google AdWords certification and Facebook Business Manager platform are two tools I would consider important because they help measure the success of a campaign. Since you don’t learn about these particular tools in school, they become on-the-job learning opportunities. It has taken time and experience to get to the point where I now feel confident as a campaign manager.

What characteristics do you need to be successful in the industry?

In order to be successful in the industry, you have to be able to prioritize your work. Our work moves quickly, and turnaround time is short compared to other industries. You are doing something new every day, and you might not necessarily know what it is or what to expect. The job is multi-faceted, so you have to be able to adapt to wearing different hats. A solid work ethic and the ability to follow through are also important.

Do you have any interesting hobbies/second jobs/bits of information that make you pop as an individual?

I enjoy snowboarding and hiking, along with going to coffee shops. Open Society (located on College Avenue) is my favorite because it’s not your standard coffee shop. They aren’t afraid to experiment with drinks, and they have a cool atmosphere.

When and where do you have your best ideas?

While mornings are most productive for me, late at night is when I am most open to new, creative ideas. My mornings tend to fly by because I am focused on what’s in front of me, but late night is when I have time to explore innovative ideas.

What has been the most exciting project/campaign that you’ve worked on at Hirons?

I would consider my most exciting project to be the government-related campaign I worked on because I was here for the duration of it, from beginning to end. My favorite, however, would be The Villages’ “Power of One” campaign, which was an initiative to recruit foster parents. We helped the client convey its message well and in a simple manner. Plus, it felt good doing something geared toward helping kids in need.

Why is effective advertising/PR so important for the growth and success of organizations?

Advertising and public relations are important because they, ultimately, are how you acquire new clients, drive new business and get your name out there. The growth of an organization is extremely measurable, especially where digital is concerned. Growth is also a way to show experience, which is something I try to present to clients.

What’s one important tip you would share with anyone looking to go into the agency world?

Be adaptable: Things are constantly changing – especially regarding clients’ initiatives or their overall objectives – and you have to be able to adjust with those changes. Don’t be afraid to learn: You won’t know about everything in your field going into it, especially in the digital world. Just try to absorb as much information as you can and actively seek out learning opportunities.

What is the most meaningful part of your job?

The most meaningful part of my job is the end result. The final product speaks volumes about the quality and purpose of what we do as an agency to current and prospective clients, whether our work consists of finding foster parents for kids or enabling someone to have access to health care.

Intern Spotlight: Fall 2017

Mikaela Malott and Laura Ellsworth recently joined the Hirons team as fall interns. Learn more about their previous experiences in this intern spotlight.

Name: Mikaela Malott
Internship title: Communications Management Assistant

What college do you attend and what is your major?

I am currently wrapping up my senior year at Indiana University, where I study public relations and advertising. I’m also working toward a minor in psychology.

Why did you choose to intern at Hirons?

I took a PR writing course with Hirons’ COO, Jim Parham, last semester, and he encouraged me to look into the internship program. I spent a day shadowing at the office in May and was immediately impressed with the office culture and welcoming employees. Hirons’ mission to “be bold” is synonymous with my goals and how I envision my career in PR.

What do you hope to accomplish during your internship?

This is my first time working at an agency, so I am hoping to gain experience with all types of client accounts that will broaden my perception of the PR and advertising industry. I’m looking forward to getting to know the Indianapolis area better and getting involved with the community.

What kind of work-related experience do you bring to us?

Prior to joining the team at Hirons, I interned for Learfield Sports, a sports advertising company that oversees athletic multimedia rights for collegiate partners across the country. I worked directly with sponsorship sales for IU Sports Properties, which includes advertisements for Assembly Hall and Memorial Stadium. The summer before that, I was a communications intern for Indiana Soccer Association, a nonprofit organization for youth sports and community outreach. These opportunities have provided me with substantial experience that I hope can be put into practice during my time at Hirons.

What kind of life experience do you bring to us?

My favorite quote is by Maya Angelou, “People may not remember what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” I try use these words for guidance as a professional and as a human being in general. I have always felt that the best results come from true, honest hard work.

What are your first impressions of Hirons?

I won’t lie, our office dogs Hank and Maya were one of the biggest selling points in accepting the position. They aren’t very good at paperwork, but they make up for their lack of opposable thumbs with a lot of heart and ambition. Overall, 10/10 as co-workers.

Fun facts about yourself:

  • I starred in a series of local TV commercials for my family’s nursing home when I was younger. In retrospect, I think it was foreshadowing my career in advertising!
  • I’ve self-proclaimed myself as the biggest Fleetwood Mac fan in the tristate area. My cat is named Stevie after Stevie Nicks.
  • I have two younger sisters named McKenna and Macauley and, yes, if my parents had a boy, his name definitely would have been McDonald.
  • I played soccer for 10 years.

Name: Laura Ellsworth
Internship title:
Business Development Assistant

What college do you attend and what is your major?

I’m a senior at IU Bloomington, majoring in media advertising and receiving a certificate in liberal arts and management.

Why did you choose to intern at Hirons?

Coming up on graduation, I was looking for experience working in an agency before I make the jump to a full-time career. I looked at every agency within driving distance and Hirons’ commitment to client excellence resonated with me. “Be bold” just happens to be one of my goals as I enter the workforce, so how could any place be better?

What do you hope to accomplish during your internship?

In addition to learning the basics of how an agency works, I want to learn more about the beginning stages of client strategy and campaign development. I’m hoping to get the chance to learn more about building relationships with clients and to build my technical skills in business writing and project management.

What kind of work-related experience do you bring to us?

Previously, I’ve worked on internal communications at Indiana University. As an intern for IU Communications, I wrote news features and assisted with press releases. Additionally, I managed the university’s arts Twitter account and helped on other university social media projects, including live coverage of the School of Global and International Studies “America’s Role in the World” conference and Little 500.

What kind of life experience do you bring to us?

As a member of IU’s Liberal Arts and Management Program (LAMP), I’ve learned a lot about where business and humanities cross and the communications skills necessary to be successful in business. Though I’ll graduate from IU, I’ve taken classes at a few different places, and the opportunity to interact with students and professors from different backgrounds has taught me that diversity of experience is the most valuable asset to team problem-solving.

What are your first impressions of Hirons?

Walking into the lobby, I was impressed with the amount of pride that Hirons takes in the work done here – enough to display pieces on the walls. That told me that Hirons is an agency built on expertise, but the feel of the office and the energy of the people I got to interact with showed me that they’re forward-thinking and don’t just rely on past success. Also, I got to pet a dog during my job interview, so of course I was immediately excited to work here.

Fun facts about yourself:

My favorite food is tacos, I crochet small animals and if there’s a historical drama on Netflix, I’ve watched it.

Executive Leadership: Tom Hirons

CEO Tom Hirons sat down with us to discuss his unique experience in the advertising world after 39 years in the business. A creative at heart, Tom recounts the path he took from starting the company to where he is today and the challenges he has overcome to achieve success in a fast-paced industry.

Where did you go to school, and what first drew you into the world of advertising and marketing?

I went to Indiana University in Bloomington. I long had interest in advertising and actually paid for part of my college as a freelance designer, concert promoter and political campaign manager. Luckily an extraordinary mentor, Phillip Ward Burton, convinced me I should get better clients than rock stars and politicians. He opened my eyes to the opportunities in communications and what I could learn.

What is something that makes your day-to-day work life unique from others at Hirons?

Ideally, my day is not unique from others. I strive to do the same jobs everyone else is doing. I want staff to perform at the highest level and think strategically, which is why we do our best to work together and keep it uniform. I do, however, have responsibility for more unique tasks such as serving as the senior branding consultant in the agency, gathering talent and assembling high-performing teams. I also have the ultimate responsibility for accountability to our clients for our quality of work.

In the beginning of your career, whom did you look to as a mentor? How has that changed as your career has grown?

In college, Phil Burton was my most important mentor. He helped me realize my potential in communications. Another influencer was my entrepreneurial mentor, Steve Huse, founder of Noble Roman’s and current proprietor of St. Elmo’s. Jerry Neely and Lee Marchant were also extraordinary mentors, grooming me to be chairman of the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce at a really young age. As my background was not in business, they taught me how to use boards of directors and gave me in-depth training on budgeting and financial analysis.

The biggest challenge to starting as CEO is you don’t have co-workers or a boss who is constantly thinking about your professional growth and development. It is essential to find a way to identify the experiences you need, correct the shortcomings you have, and build a set of professional experiences to help you grow in your profession.

As my career has grown, it became clear I needed a challenge, motivating me to open an office in China. This allowed me to work with three Fortune 500 companies as well as work in another culture, opening up a mid-career professional growth opportunity that I could not have found anywhere else. I continue to do that with clients and peers. Today, I look to our COO, Jim Parham, and David Geis, state director of the Indiana Bankers Association, for guidance.

What would you describe as your “time capsule” accomplishment? If you could only take one project or victory with you from your career, what would it be and why?

My most meaningful accomplishment is building a successful agency and operating offices in Beijing. I am very proud to say that we were the first international company to register a woman as our CEO. It was incredible to see her break that barrier and create opportunities that would lead to an extraordinary career.

How has the industry changed over the course of your career, and how have you adapted?

The most visible change is technology. Our initial technology purchase was an IBM Selectric II, a typewriter with a small memory card. Before technology we would buy marker pens by the case to do hand-drawn design renderings and camera-ready art. Technology has driven change. Early on it changed how we did our work, and now it is changing the work and services we provide. Not being a digital native, I have had a learning curve, but surrounding myself with talented digital workers has helped me learn tremendously.

Of all of the agencies in the industry, what makes Hirons different?

Our brand. In reality, there are a number of great firms and talented people in communications. We are different by our integration and digital leadership, and by being research-based, results-focused and employee-owned. Philip Kotler, among the senior faculty at the Northwestern School of Management, is quoted saying, “If you are not a brand, you are a commodity.” This rings true, which is why we have built our brand on a set of values that distinguishes us from other shops. Our values are to outthink, outwork and outperform with a core essence of being bold. Our reputation has continued to be our greatest strength for 39 years.

Intern Spotlight: Summer 2017

Our summer interns have arrived! Hirons is excited to welcome Daniel Morgan, Elaine Evans, Preston Radtke,  Katrina Ent, Christy Herzog and Andrew Gretencord. Get to know them in this intern spotlight.

Name: Daniel Morgan
Internship title: Digital Assistant

What college did you attend and what was your major?

I attended Indiana University in Bloomington and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.

Why did you choose to intern at Hirons?

I was interested in gaining agency experience and expanding my skill set beyond writing and editing.

What do you hope to accomplish during your internship?

I’m hoping to expand my understanding of digital marketing, specifically using analytics platforms and audience targeting.

What kind of work-related experience do you bring to us?

I have extensive experience working as a newspaper reporter and writing content for the communications office at IU. I also played a central role in a student-led effort to bring a TEDx conference to Indiana University for the first time.

What kind of life experience do you bring to us?

I’ve lived in Indianapolis almost my entire life, so I have a thorough understanding of what the city has to offer.

What are your first impressions of Hirons?

It’s a dynamic environment. There’s something different to work on each day, and I’m enjoying the variety of projects as well as the lively collaborative atmosphere.

Fun facts about yourself:

I once bowled a perfect game in Wii bowling, and I love hiking. I hope to one day hike the Pacific Crest Trail.

Name: Elaine Evans
Internship title:
Design Intern

What college do you attend and what is your major?

I currently attend Herron School of Art & Design at IUPUI. I am majoring in visual communication design and will graduate May 2018.

Why did you choose to intern at Hirons?

I reached out to John Molloy for a job shadowing experience and to get his expertise on my portfolio. He met with me for several hours and offered me an internship.

What do you hope to accomplish during your internship?

I want to gain practical experience and knowledge in my field. I also want to meet professional designers and directors, see what their lives are like and what their experiences are in the industry. Networking and a future position at Hirons are also what I’m striving to achieve.

What kind of work-related experience do you bring to us?

I have worked as an in-house designer for a local non-profit called Good News Ministries, where I learned how important personal brands are to a company. I was able to help them transition from their previous brand to an updated one by creating their new brand manual. I also interviewed clients and wrote stories for their newsletters and social media.

Additionally, I worked at the Basile Center at IUPUI, where I was able to design work for Herron, IUPUI and other offices within the university. I worked beneath strict brand guidelines and learned to be creative in executions of design so that they were unique. This position allowed me to explore techniques that are not normally accessible to designers. For example, I learned to operate the laser cutter, an 18th century letterpress and silk screen. Each of these techniques were used for different projects and taught me to think outside of the typical realms of print design.

What kind of life experience do you bring to us?

I grew up in a biracial family; my mother was born and raised in Taiwan, and my father is from Danville, Indiana. I have been fortunate to visit my family in Taiwan and study abroad in Japan. I am inspired and pull from different cultures whenever I am designing. I’ve learned that there are always two sides (or more) to a story, an opinion or a statement. I enjoy studying how people think and how that influences their decisions.

What are your first impressions of Hirons?

Everybody is so cool! There’s so much personality at Hirons, and I love it. I love that there are dogs here and that there aren’t social walls built up based on position. I was impressed that the people who work here are very dedicated to their work. This is exactly the atmosphere that I want to be in because everyone is working toward the same goal of doing great work. I am inspired by the positivity, the optimism, the transparency and the energy. It really does feel like a team when working on projects and it’s a team I want to be on.

Fun facts about yourself:

  • I spent my first year of college pursuing a piano performance degree at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and I still teach piano in Avon.
  • I like to rock climb, ride motorcycles and travel.
  • I never wanted a dog so much until I started working at Hirons.

Name: Preston Radtke
Internship title: Communications Management Assistant

What college do you attend and what is your major?

I attend Ball State University for emerging media design and development. I’m in graduate school.

Why did you choose to intern at Hirons?

I wanted to gain more invaluable industry experience. I have never worked for an agency before, and Hirons seemed like it met all of my needs.

What do you hope to accomplish during your internship?

I hope to grow my overall portfolio of accomplishments and experiences while making impactful connections along the way.

What kind of work-related experience do you bring to us?

I have experience in journalism, health care PR, adaptive technology, podcasting and creative writing.

What kind of life experience do you bring to us?

I have been out of the country at least five times in my life, so I have a greater perspective on things. My disability has also allowed me to look at things from different perspectives.

What are your first impressions of Hirons?

Hirons’ staff is very relaxed and approachable while being productive.

Fun facts about yourself:

I’m apparently a Freemason (non-practicing), I’m working on a book, I collect hats and my favorite band is Sleater-Kinney (Carrie Brownstein of “Portlandia”).

Name: Katrina Ent
Internship title: Amos Brown Intern

What college did you attend and what was your major?

I attended Ball State University. My major was public relations and my minor was entrepreneurial management.

Why did you choose to intern at Hirons?

I chose Hirons for an internship because I wanted to gain experience with a well-established public relations/marketing agency. During my junior year at Ball State, the PRSSA chapter scheduled a “Half Day with a Pro” at Hirons. I fell in love with the office culture, and I will never forget the piece of advice Tom gave me and my peers, “If you couldn’t run your own agency, I won’t hire you.” That is the day I decided to minor in entrepreneurial management.

What do you hope to accomplish during your internship?

I hope to accomplish many things during my time with Hirons, but my biggest goals are as follows:

  • Successfully pitch to the media
  • Receive media training and (hopefully) conduct media training for other professionals
  • Learn how to handle crisis communications
  • Improve my writing skills (press releases, media advisories, blogs, newsletters, pitches, social media, etc.)
  • Learn more about media buying and how the process works

What kind of work-related experience do you bring to us?

After graduating from Ball State, I think I have many skills to bring to the table. I am social media-savvy and can get really creative when posting through social media. I have organized a social media campaign through a student-run creative agency as well as through my past internship with Hendricks County Community Foundation. I also have experience with media relations. Being the public relations intern for the 500 Festival taught me how to prepare 500 Festival princesses for interviews as well as develop working relationships with news reporters. During my time with the 500 Festival, I also had the opportunity to write the script for the parade, which is the fourth largest parade in the world. My strongest skills include media relations, creative writing and social media.

What kind of life experience do you bring to us?

My philosophy is to always be positive (even during the worst times) and to always be kind to one another. I have grown up watching Ellen DeGeneres, and the tag line “be kind to one another” was a line Ellen would always say at the end of her shows. Since watching her show, I have lived by that quote every day. I have also learned to joke every now and then. It’s important to know when you need to be professional or serious, but laughter is the best kind of medicine for everyone. This is an anonymous quote I found on Pinterest: “Laughing is, and will always be, the best form of therapy.” I have learned to live life by being kind to everyone, by being positive, and by not taking life so seriously all the time.

What are your first impressions of Hirons?

My first impression of Hirons was that the staff is incredibly talented at what they do. The environment at Hirons is very fast-paced, which was why I decided to apply to Hirons in the first place. I knew that Hirons was a very well-established public relations/marketing agency. I also knew that I wanted to be part of a team that knows they are the best and that could provide me with opportunities I couldn’t find anywhere else.

Fun facts about yourself:

  • I am the oldest sibling and the oldest cousin on my dad’s side of the family.
  • I am a huge foodie! I love eating at new restaurants, especially local.
  • I was featured in a nationwide TV commercial during my undergrad at Ball State University.

Name: Christy Herzog
Internship title: Communications Management Assistant

What college did you attend and what was your major?

I recently graduated from Bradley University. While I was there, I studied advertising and social media marketing.

Why did you choose to intern at Hirons?

I chose Hirons for an internship because I love the mission behind Hirons. I love the idea of being bold and not being afraid to be different and unique. What sets you apart from others is what makes you succeed. Not to mention, I also loved the fact that Hirons is in my hometown!

What do you hope to accomplish during your internship?

I hope to gain knowledge about the account management field. I want to be able to be an active member in all aspects of a client’s account and help to better their business. It’s a part of advertising that I have wanted to have a role in since I chose advertising as my major.

What kind of work-related experience do you bring to us?

I was previously an intern at Kelly and Company Advertising Agency in Peoria, Ill. as the social media specialist. During my time there, I was in charge of posting to multiple clients’ various social media pages and tracking the results. During my collegiate career, I was also a media intern for the Chicago Auto Show. I was in charge of posting to the auto show’s multiple social media accounts including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, as well as creating press releases.

What kind of life experience do you bring to us?

I am extremely personable and pay great attention to detail. I am goal-driven and set my sights on the big picture with small milestones along the way. I am also very flexible and don’t mind getting things thrown at me.

What are your first impressions of Hirons?

I love the atmosphere at Hirons. Everyone works together as a team to create something that the client and Hirons will be proud of. I also love the trust that everyone has in each other. The community here is so tight-knit, and I think that is something that is important in this industry. My overall first impression of Hirons, “I’m going to like this place!”

Fun facts about yourself:

I went to a university that was smaller than my high school, I could binge watch an entire season of The Office in one sitting, and I love to cook more than anything.

Name: Andrew Gretencord
Internship title: Business Development Intern

What college do you attend and what is your major?

I am an incoming senior at Indiana University, majoring in advertising through The Media School.

Why did you choose to intern at Hirons?

I chose Hirons because of its outstanding reputation, testaments from previous interns, and after meeting some of the staff working here. Last year I attended a presentation led by Tom Hirons through my fraternity, and I quickly realized how it could be beneficial to work with Tom and learn from his immense knowledge of the advertising agency.

What do you hope to accomplish during your internship?

I hope to understand both the internal and external sides of advertising. It is essential for me to understand the work that goes behind each project as well as the implementation strategies used to ensure the project is successful.

What kind of work-related experience do you bring to us?

During my time at IU, I have served as the marketing specialist and marketing director for two separate student government elections. I learned valuable time management skills, ran several social media accounts, and delegated tasks to team members. I also have served as a brand ambassador for companies such as Mattel and Delta Airlines, representing their brands through grassroots marketing.

What kind of life experience do you bring to us?

Throughout my life, I have always been comfortable working with new people and have developed several exceptional business relationships along the way. I consider myself a very personable and cooperative person, traits that translate well in the advertising business.

What are your first impressions of Hirons?

My first impression of Hirons was how welcoming and dedicated staff members are at training younger people within the agency. They have a focused intent to pass on their experience and knowledge and to ensure I am prepared for bigger roles in the future. In the short month I have been here, they have allowed me to work in the business development, crisis communications, social media and public relations departments, which has opened my eyes to the possible fields I may want to focus on in the future.

Fun facts about yourself:

I am an avid movie-goer and, one day, I want to work in the movie industry.

 

Employee Highlight: Mike Murtaugh

How did you get interested in advertising/PR and how did you break into the industry and land your first job?

The path I took to wind up in advertising and public relations was unplanned. All through college, I was confident I would follow my passion for sports writing into the job market. Surprisingly, I switched potential career paths at the last possible second towards the agency side. My degree from Butler University was in marketing, and I pivoted toward the business development and PR side once I started working in an agency.

After graduation, I landed my first job with another agency in Indianapolis. A friend of mine from college had started working there and had done well for himself, so when an in-house position became available, I applied as a way to get my foot in the door. Long story short, I sort of fell into the industry, but have been in it ever since.

What are the specializations/most important tools of the trade?

To be successful in an agency, you need to pay attention to detail and possess a willingness to do what you’re asked, when you’re asked to do it. It shows others that you are passionate about the work you do, that you care about it and also that you care about the final product. Working long hours or working on a challenging project will help you prove, to yourself and others, what you’re capable of accomplishing.

What characteristics do you need to be successful in the advertising industry?

In the advertising (and public relations) industry, you need to be confident and flexible. It is important to be self-assured and know you are in the industry for a reason. Know you can handle whatever you encounter and be able to go with the flow when people present you with challenging assignments.

Do you have any interesting hobbies/second jobs/bits of information that make you pop as an individual?

My passion is sports – playing them, watching them. It’s a big part of my life. Aside from sports, I enjoy spending my time with friends, watching movies and listening to music.

When and where do you have your best ideas?

There is not one consistent place where I come up with my best ideas. I will sometimes stew over something for a little while and formulate a strategy before I dive into it. Sometimes an idea will come to me in the middle of the night, and I will get up to jot it down. You never really know when an idea is going to hit you.

What has been the most exciting project/campaign that you’ve worked on at Hirons?

On the account side, I’m most proud of being able to take the first stab at writing copy for the Eskenazi Health website. It was cool to see our team launch the website, in full, during fall of 2016. In terms of business development, I’m most proud of reaching our goal of continuing to grow our federal initiative. Although it took almost a full year in my current position, we finally landed an exciting new federal client, which is a U.S. military initiative.

Why is effective advertising/PR so important for growth and success of organizations?

Advertising is a growing, competitive field. Since companies can now promote their products on various social media platforms, the push to be smart, creative and strategic has never been greater. If you’re not all of the above, you will fall by the wayside.

On the public relations front, a company’s reputation is built entirely on a narrative – what people are saying about you and the context of the conversation. PR complements paid advertising, in that it’s a way for companies to utilize a separate promotional vehicle to spread the word about their company – what it does and why you should be doing business with them.

What’s one important tip you would share with anyone looking to go into the agency world?

My tip to others would be to soak in as much knowledge as possible from the people around you, especially those new to the agency world. In most agencies, especially one our size, you will find a lot of people who have a lot of experience. Make yourself a sponge and soak in as much as you can, as quickly as you can.

What is the most meaningful part of your job?

The most meaningful part of my job is getting the win. Although the process may sometimes be grueling, and there may be a lot of hoops to jump through, checkpoints to achieve and challenges to bypass, none of it matters in the end when you get the win.

Learning by Doing

By Andrew Gretencord, Business Development Intern 

It’s easy to worry about your first internship. As I walked through the door on my first day at Hirons, thoughts cycled through my mind in ever-accelerating circles. Will I add value to the agency? Am I suited for this position? Will I enjoy my work and maybe even exceed expectations?

As I walked to my desk, I could tell from my surroundings that the work environment was right. It was clear that I was going to have to work extremely hard to match the intensity and drive of the individuals at Hirons. This aspect was exciting and challenging because this would be my first job in a professional setting.

Since I was hired as a business development intern, I assumed all of my energy would focus on that area. To my pleasant surprise, Hirons gives me the freedom to gain valuable experience in all departments of the company. A month ago I never would have expected to be working on press releases, crisis situations, social media and business development. But getting hands-on experience in a range of agency services shows me how complex and diverse an integrated communications agency is.

I have always been a hands-on learner, a testament that likely rings true for most people. Last week, I assisted in the development of podcasts on diverse topics such as crisis communication, media buying and public affairs. Not only was I able to assist in preparations for the podcasts, but I was also invited to watch the recordings. Listening to business professionals who have worked in their fields longer than I have been alive was a humbling experience. But rather than being intimidating, it was motivating.

I have come to realize that Hirons is successful because it encourages its staff to become well-rounded, to work on both internal and external affairs. It is an amazing experience being able to work with talented individuals who all have unique skill sets.

Albert Einstein once said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” By filling me with experiences, Hirons has provided me with real-world knowledge and skills. I’ve worked on the front end and back end of many different projects, with many points in between. And I’ve only been here a month.