When and where were you happiest?
Until now, I was the happiest when I lived in Southern California (btw, the vitamin D effect is real!). I left Columbus in 1999 for an incredible family opportunity to move to Newport Beach, CA.
During my 5 years in So Cal, I worked at 2 global agencies and focused primarily on digital solutions for automotive clients (Mazda, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercury, and Jaguar.)
I started out at USWeb/CKS,
which became marchFIRST,
which became Whittman Hart,
which became Divine Whittman Hart,
which became Divine.
5 business cards in 1.5 years sitting at the same desk, Folks.
marchFIRST’s brand launch (
) met the ad world with rave reviews. Perhaps we should have seen the writing on the wall as the spending was a bit extreme: the LA office had a Porsche Boxster in rotation for the Employee of the Month as the fall from grace was pretty swift.
For me, it was the epitome of,
‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’
My employment at marchFIRST was during the height of the dot com boom. Despite the insanity of the pace, the daily rule-changing and creating was invigorating. We all felt part of something BIG and a majority of the digital delivery innovation was happening right in my Cali backyard. It was a time when minds (agency + client alike) were wide open to the most obtuse solution and loved figuring out how the technology could support the idea. Change was the new normal and I loved that mindset. I couldn’t believe my good fortune in timing to be a part of this community. That was, until the whole enterprise collapsed. [Sound effect: sad trombone]
So, in the spirit of
when one door closes another opens
, the rest of my So Cal tenure was with Wunderman. I became the Associate Creative Director on Land Rover direct + digital. The term “direct marketing” initially carried a stigma: boring BRC cards, post-it note magazine blow-ins, and the everyday junk mail. Soon after starting at Wunderman, I quickly learned I was surrounded by specialists in a much more sophisticated brand experience that luxury automotive brands and their consumers demanded. The creative, the strategy, and business case/analytics were the foundation of some of my strongest and most measurable work. What I loved most about Wunderman is we were in the fold of the Y&R Companies, an operational prototype WPP launched to bring several agencies under one roof with shared clients. Within our building was Y&R (advertising), Landor (branding), Wunderman (direct + digital), Mediaedge:cia (media), and Burson·Marsteller (PR). The office was a fairly open and collaborative space so teams were able to meet and discuss the client’s business holistically, and then move our respective projects forward with that deeper understanding.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
An obvious answer, but hands down: being a successful working Mother. I love what I do and I love that I get to share it with my son effortlessly. Advertising/design/marketing is universal and knows no age boundaries (within reason). Kids understand branding and marketing at sophisticated levels these days. To be blunt, my son’s bullshit meter is pretty accurate. So to share my passion, my creations and my failures has provided an added bond I hadn’t anticipated. The creative process is ripe with victory and defeat. I love the fact my son sees that failure isn’t the worst thing that can happen as he witnesses what happens when a favorite concept didn’t get selected, when the launch didn’t go flawlessly, or when the client changed their mind AGAIN… I brush myself off, I ask questions, I try to learn, and I aim to do better next time. Teaching him that flexibility and self-deprecating humor can be invaluable tools in the most daunting of times has been additional life lessons. :)
What is your current state of mind?
This is the easiest of them all to answer: GRATEFUL. I am so grateful for all of my experiences, good and the less stellar. I am grateful for this vocation and industry as it still fuels me - learning never gets tiresome.
In work, as in life, I strive for the following:
- Lead by example
- Remember the devil is in the details
- Applaud others' pursuit of happiness
- Surround myself with those who will challenge me, not pacify me
- Embrace chaos
(all the while listening to great music)
When these things align, I feel like the luckiest gal around. And I’m happy to say, it happens more often than not.