Account Management, 2011
What is your current job?
I work as a Brand Strategist at Brownstein Group. I am also an adjunct professor at Temple’s School of Media and Communication.
What do you enjoy most about working in advertising?
Getting to know a brand’s consumer really well. You begin to develop an empathetic understanding of their needs, dreams and desires. Translating those insights into a single powerful idea is what unlocks great creative work. I love it because the work involves a psychological component that I’ve always been drawn to, as well as a creative competent that appeals to me as an artist.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were looking for your first job?
That I didn’t need to act like I knew everything about advertising, because I didn’t. I knew a little, but in comparison to the people I was talking to I was in kindergarten. I would tell myself to just go in and bring two things with me: a genuine sense of enthusiasm and a positive attitude. People hire people they like.
How did your time at Temple prepare you for your career?
Temple helped connect me to lot of really smart people that were the key relationships that ultimately lead to the job that I have today. It’s cliché to say, but it really is all about who you know. At the same time, I learned more about advertising in one month of working at an agency than in 4 years of school. But I think that’s true of all careers and schools. Nothing beats the real thing.
Did you participate in Temple’s Ad Club (TAC), Diamond Edge Communications, National Student Advertising Competition, Study Abroad, or any other similar programs?
Not really. I was a non-traditional student that came back to school at 26. I was working full-time at a restaurant while going to school and taking multiple internships. I did get involved with Philly Ad Club and Philly Ad Club YP (Young Professionals), which helped immensely from a networking perspective. I also participated in their mentorship program, which was an invaluable experience.
What types of internships did you have while you were in school?
In addition to the mentorship program that I was involved in through Philly Ad Club, I did two internships, one in account management and one in digital media. My background prior to 2008 when I retuned to Temple was studying fine arts and graphic design at the Tyler School of Art. So I felt like I did just about everything you could do in advertising before I landed where I am now. Experimentation is a quick way to find out what works and what doesn’t.
What was the most important thing you learned during your time at Temple?
To own who I am. Self-branding was something that I was completely unaware of prior to studying at Temple. I have a bit of a tumultuous past that could honestly be the script for a pretty solid sitcom (or a drama depending on which parts you choose). I thought that I was going to have trouble explaining the gap in my education. What I realized is that my story is unique and really interesting! It sets me apart and defines not only my character but the way I think and act professionally. I had a leg up on my younger counterparts when I stopped looking at what was wrong with me and started building a story about who I am and what I stand for.
What advice would you give to current students?
Find that aspect of advertising that you really like, be it social, creative, account management, digital media, research, or whatever! That topic that you get fired up about in conversation and won’t shut up about. Figure out what that passion topic is for you and go get a job doing that!