How did you become interested in advertising/PR/media/public affairs/marketing?
I’ve loved art for as long as I can remember. Used to come home after school as a kid and spend a couple of hours drawing before I began homework. Art and English were my subjects. I’m also really interested in what makes people tick. Love hearing personal histories. Those interests eventually molded together to lead me to the ad biz.
How did you break into the industry and land your first job?
I first worked at an art gallery, teaching painting, live drawing, color theory and even kids art classes. Did any promotional design they needed as well – newsletters, ads, posters and the like. Then I freelanced, doing illustration, design and eventually a bunch of work for an ad agency, which is how I got my first full-time job in the industry.
What would you consider the specializations/most important tools of the trade?
I would say tenacity, drive and a good eye. We go through lots and lots of revisions in the creative process, often throwing out everything we’ve done and starting over. You have to have the ability to look at problems from a fresh perspective each time and not throw in the towel.
What characteristics do you need to be successful in the industry?
Passion for the work. To the point of obsession. Curiosity. Willingness to climb out of your head and into the brain of whoever you’re trying to influence.
Do you have any interesting hobbies/second jobs/bits of information that make you pop as an individual?
I might be considered a bit of a bleeding heart. I want to save the world. Seriously, I do. I’m pretty interested in politics. Love to read. I’ve always liked biographies but have to intersperse them with fiction. Hard copies, so my small house fills up with them. ADORE my son. Love my friends. And my entertaining – some might say crazy – dog. I long for peace sometimes, just zen-like quiet solitude. I moved out of the home I grew up in when I was a senior in high school. Had my own apartment. Oh, the parties I had.
When and where do you have your best ideas?
Mostly when I know a deadline’s looming, and I have to push myself beyond frustration and exhaustion (obsessiveness comes in handy here). Sometimes ideas come quickly and naturally. Other times I have to push. I fare best with freedom and when I know people are counting on me.
Why is effective advertising/PR so important for the growth and success of organizations?
While it can’t ultimately overcome a bad product or poor service, it can help influence public perception in a positive and large-scale way and mitigate damaging scandals.
What’s one important tip you would share with anyone looking to go into the agency world?
Find a talented mentor. Soak up everything you can from him/her.
What is the most meaningful part of your job?
I prefer working for clients who are doing something to help the community. Good cause, good work. And I really enjoy helping young people grow their talent/confidence/careers. Both are very rewarding.