How Industry Leaders got their Start in Advertising
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How Industry Leaders got their Start in Advertising


One of the things that I’m so interested
in is getting of a wide perspective of people who have different backgrounds
and entered into the industry to communications and advertising actually
we’re talking to some publishing people too and what I’m curious about is what
really inspired you to get into this industry so you know I think at our time
I’m not sure that I had a clear vision that I was going to go into advertising
what was the spark that made you think that this was the kind of industry that
you wanted to work I am feel like I’m gonna disappoint people by saying I had
absolutely no intention or understanding of the advertising space before I
actually ended up in it did you study advertising to be to get
the job or marketing to get the kind of job that you have today the way I would
answer that question is yes and no so let me start with this I know so I’ll
start with the know I have a degree in International Studies focusing on
sociology anthropology and Spanish and so that’s the clear answer for no and
I’d like to be able to tell a story that that was all by design the study of
behavior and human behavior and people in groups and and history and in many
ways storytelling that that was a path that led me to this place that would not
be true but I have found that having a liberal arts degree and a level learning
and intellectual curiosity and also an understanding of sociology and some of
that impact has has definitely made me a better marketer over time but that it
wasn’t necessarily a plan to end or design connection in college when
everybody else was doing lifeguarding or construction and whatnot
those were things I wasn’t able to do and that wasn’t at the time when
internships when that was the thing you had to do right my father knew somebody
in the ad world and it said well you’re very ADD and we need to get your energy
out somehow but you’re also incredibly creative so why don’t you go try and do
this art direction thing for me it was something that I was able to do right
without physicality but rather I was able to to use a laptop obviously and
use a computer and so that was kind of a perfect fit for me until we realized
that I’m partially colorblind and so being an art director as a
partially colorblind person doesn’t doesn’t work out too well
so I learned that after two internships I was a psych major and I
studied a little bit of art history I thought the combination of kind of an
appreciation for the Arts and trying to understand how people’s brains work to
change their minds about things or generate opinions about things would be
an interesting mix and that’s what got me interested in advertising being a
history major I fell in love with storytelling and I loved history as a
reference for the future I think about the coursework that I had in college in
the liberal arts field and I think that really set me up well for a career in
content that I happen to stumble into have you found that that study has kind
of carried through now years and years later you know I think that the art
history always keeps me interested in in kind of what’s current and new and I
like to do that but to me the biggest thing that I learned in college and and
in my life was how to problem-solve that got into advertising sort of happenstance I called up somebody who was an alum at the school I
went to hey what are you doing I moved to New York we had lunch and he said you
should give this a shot but the reason I stayed and what I love about this
industry is the fact that you use your left brain and your right brain right
and that is absolutely fascinating to me I love problem-solving and I always tell
my kids in some ways they say what do you do and I’m like I mean the crisis
management business advertising is like a daily crisis and there’s something
really invigorating about being able to come in have a crisis use creativity and
sort of your business sense to be able to solve it and there’s very few
industries that allow you to do both some of the people that I talk to have
no previous experience with advertising or marketing before they go in they go
to school they study geology and then they land in advertising right but you
actually do have experience right you went you did journalism right did you do
that purposely because you knew you wanted to be in advertising or did you
think you wanted to be a journalist my dad was a pretty prominent creative
director in the advertising world in the 70s and 80s and I think through osmosis
I learned a lot about advertising that was really a
active and I knew that I wanted to end up in advertising but I went to a school
that didn’t offer an advertising program and so I fell into journalism and what I
loved about journalism was that it’s all about finding the story it’s all about
finding something interesting and compelling that a reader or viewer would
want to pay attention to and I think there’s a lot of that experience that
helped me get off to a fast start in advertising when I made the switch
because I had not a cynical eye but I didn’t take everything at face value as
a journalist you’re charged with looking under the hood and around the corner and
I think that the best ideas and the best advertising is just like that it’s not
presenting a product or a service at face value it’s an interesting angle and
a compelling way of telling that story so it was a pretty natural switch and
I’m so glad I did it so you can’t really study advertising right and like take
courses that interest you because the most important thing in advertising is
to be an interesting person things could be architecture and you go what does
that have to do with advertising actually there’s creativity mixed with
sort of analytical you know engineering and functionality has a lot to do with
advertising I don’t think that you just because you studied one particular thing
means that’s what you are that’s what has defined you when I first
started my career people were there any kind of majors you know art history
majors and they were running you know multiple brands and so it didn’t seem to
have affected them in their career so it’s great it’s a great place to start
but you don’t have to have a marketing undergrad or grad degree to be a
marketeer where’s that place where you lose time where you know you sit down to
do something and you look up in five hours have gone by and you’re like oh my
gosh I I felt like five minutes and if you find that try to figure out how to
get paid to do that I got pretty close with advertising because it is creative
it’s if you if you had to do drama as a business I think the only creative side
I work with actors I work with musicians you you have to write plays in your mind
so I can find those moments of joy where I lose time I really had no idea what I
was going to do at all when I graduated from college
I took the first job I could find in New York City which was an administrative
assistant at a new magazine called Elle Decor right out of school and I
absolutely fell in love with the publishing business through that first
opportunity you know I started off as like the bathroom break girl for
receptionist I was like right how can I stand out just answering the phones it
was funny because I was like all right I can’t believe I have a degree in
journalism and I’m answering phones you know part-time basically but I was
like if that’s my job I’m gonna do it the best way I can and so I learned each
department floor like what the personality was and I would change up
how I’d answer the phone depending on which place you were calling in so if
you was the global executive floor I was very much like bbdo how could I direct
your call and then if it was the creative force like EOB video what’s
going on who you want to talk to you try to look like you care the more open you
are to understanding them all instead of like I need to work for this company or
I need to be on this side I think like letting a little bit of experience just
get as much exposure to a variety of problem-solving and let that guide some
of the experience that you decide then to maybe go to a college for advertising
or not and that helps with networking fortunately I didn’t know enough about
advertising so I went in through the creative side mm-hmm I actually then
wanted to see what the other side was about so my next adventure was into the
account side I went into the account side and I got fired because it wasn’t
how I thought and somebody handed me the book truth lies in advertising about
John Steele mm-hmm and at page 43 I put it down and I applied to Miami Ad school
and that’s when I became a plan I love team sport I’ve always played
competitive competitive sport in my life and if there’s one industry that’s a
team sport its advertising it sure is you

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