How did you become interested in design/advertising/PR/media/public affairs/marketing? How did you break into the industry and land your first job?
Sophomore year of college I transferred to Ball State University and decided to change my major. Communications and PR quickly rose to the top of the list after discussing my interests and strengths with my college counselor.
Hirons was my first job out of college. One of my professors recommended me to our now-COO, Deana Haworth, and I’ve been enjoying the fast-paced agency life ever since!
What would you consider the specializations/most important tools of the trade?
Creativity and flexibility. As consultants, we provide strategic, creative solutions for our clients’ communications goals and challenges. Since their challenges are often moving targets, you need to anticipate and be prepared for all scenarios.
What characteristics do you need to be successful in the industry?
The ability to switch between tasks at the drop of a hat – or email – is critical. In communications management, we often work on four to five clients a day. For me, that means switching gears from a bank to a hospital system and even a specialty tax firm. Learning our clients’ businesses inside and out helps us provide research-based solutions to our clients.
Do you have any interesting hobbies/second jobs/bits of information that make you pop as an individual?
While I work in the communications management department, I’ve always had an affinity for design. I spent most of my childhood with a brush/pen/chalk/pencil in my hand and was voted most artistic in high school.
When and where do you have your best ideas?
When I’m driving and listening to podcasts. I’m a nerd for NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast. Exploring the unconscious reasons why people do what they do prompts me see challenges in new ways.
What has been the most exciting project/campaign that you’ve worked on at Hirons?
My passion is in branding and event planning so I was ecstatic when I was asked to organize and execute Hirons’ 40th Anniversary Party. In addition to coordinating the logistics of the event and establishing the program for the evening, I supported our internal team with promotional efforts leading up to the event – including the launch of a new website, PR strategy and paid social media plan. The program included the announcement of our leadership transition, establishment of the Tom Hirons IU Media School internship program and the presentation of Tom’s Sagamore of the Wabash award, as well as proclamations from the City-County Council and the City of Indianapolis.
Why is effective advertising/PR so important for the growth and success of organizations?
There’s a lot of clutter to cut through for the average U.S. consumer. Advertising and PR gives businesses the tools they need to elevate their brand and truly tell their story.
What’s one important tip you would share with anyone looking to go into the agency world?
Be willing to roll up your sleeves. This might mean staying a few hours late to get the job done or not being above certain tasks – especially when you first break into the industry.
What is the most meaningful part of your job?
My team. We consistently challenge and support each other. They are mentors and friends first and colleagues second.