My current career outside of Columbia?
I am a freelance Associate Creative, working on global brands for Chicago advertising agencies. This involves strategic planning, concept development, integrated ideas, client presentations and final production. I also do independent projects for non-profit organizations which includes promotions, collateral pieces and event planning.
My first "real world" job?
My beginning to where I am today was in a small desktop publishing company in Richmond, Virginia. I started that job during my last semester of undergrad and became full-time after graduation. I love that family and will never forget those days of listening to NPR and hearing old stories while trying to do breakthrough designs. Back then the pre-production and printing processes involved more than it does today.
What are 1-3 professional accomplishments?
My first advertising campaign was an extension of the (already award-winning) Altoids work by my creative directors at the time. It was for the Altoids Big Tin during the Christmas season. We used toys that you'd expect to see as gifts that year to dramatize the size of the Altoids Big Tin. That work was fun and won some awards.
The first Venus and Serena Williams commercial ever done (circa 2000) for McDonald's was a concept my partner and I created. The challenge was to make them heroic, glamorous and relative to the promotion, which was the McDonald's Dollar Menu. We had this idea of making them like Charlie's Angels having a covert meeting at a parking deck because the Dollar Menu is a deal that's so good "it can't be legal."
I'm proud of a campaign I did for Zimmer Joint Replacement around 2008. It celebrated the reward of having freedom of movement independent of canes and walkers. That is what we learned from research, and we advertised to patients without showing the expected smiling old couples walking through the park.
What drives my career?
I love communicating ideas to an audience. I love solving problems. The process is what it's all about. The end result is a reward, but in the midst of the project process is where I feel alive. I'm very driven by opportunities where I can change opinions for the better. When others run from an assignment, I dare to try to do something good or even great with that assignment.
Three pieces of advice?
#1 Be professional. Show up ready to contribute, lead, follow, shift gears, let go, fight, and always learn something. When you fail, still win.
#2 Keep your word and be nice to people. If you say "I'll have it tomorrow morning," don't sleep that night until it's done. If you say "I can come to the meeting," be at the meeting. On the other note, it's not just what you say, but how you say it. Find a way to be nice.
#3 Don't make the industry, the business, the agency your whole world. I remember being in New York and seeing how some native New Yorkers vow to never leave New York. Some think it is the center of the world, and God bless them. What I'm saying is have a life outside of the industry, and do not lose the common touch.