Tell us a little bit about yourself, how’d you end up in the wild world of advertising and marketing?
I sort of fell into it on accident. I have a BA in English Literature and a minor in Journalism and most of my life dreamed of being a writer for Rolling Stone magazine. After a crazy year as the editor in chief of my college newspaper, though, I was a little burned out and followed a friend into an agency job. I hadn’t even dreamed a world like this could exist! I started as a writer, realized I was much more interested in the “why” we make things than the “what” we make, transitioned into account management, moonlighted as an account planner for a bit, and—after almost a decade—got out of the business altogether. My second career, if you will, was in community, product and editorial management. I’ve only been back in this world since moving to Minneapolis and starting to work at Zeus Jones almost five years ago.
What do you love most about this industry?
I don’t know that “love” is the right word, if I’m being honest. If we define “industry” as the world of advertising and marketing agencies, I think there are a lot of things that are broken, from our business models to KPIs we use to measure our work to our cultures that still struggle to value women and people of color. What I do love is that, at Zeus Jones, I get to bring the entirety of my 20+ year career to the table. I’m a strategist, but sometimes I do a lot of writing, often I’m part of developing creative ideas, sometimes I skirt the edge of being a producer. I like that I’m not put in a box.
How do you maintain passion and enthusiasm for the work you do throughout the different phases of your life?
I believe in both following your passions and bringing those passions to whatever work you’re doing. I’m not the kind of person who can ever just do one thing. In addition to my job at Zeus Jones, I’m the vice president of MPLS MadWomen. I’m also the executive producer of Mortified Twin Cities, which is a live stage show tied to a popular podcast and Netflix series. And this year I co-founded a benefit corporation, Wallflour Foods, with one of my Zeus Jones colleagues. Our mission is to support female entrepreneurs. Each of these side hustles allows me to express different parts of myself; they all scratch a different itch. And they all inform each other in some way; things I learn on one project help me with the other. I’ve been like this since high school and don’t know how to function if I’m not juggling lots of things!
What about the MPLS MadWomen mission resonates with you?
I am most driven by the community aspect of our organization. I truly believe that if anything is going to change, it’s going to take all of us lifting each other up and pushing in the same direction. I’ve been lucky enough throughout my career to have amazing mentors, and I know what that can mean for the next job or the next promotion—so I’m also super passionate about making sure we at MPLS MadWomen do whatever we can to foster those relationships for the women in our community.
What is one thing you would change about the current state of our industry? And how do you think your work with MPLS MadWomen can help create this change?
I think women in our industry often still suffer from imposter syndrome, and I think there is still a fear that only one of us can get to the top at a time. As we seek to strengthen the ties in our community, I hope we can help make sure we’re pulling each other up as we ascend in our careers. Just feeling connected and responsible for each other will help, but creating those mentorship relationships is also key. And we’re trying to tell more honest stories in our blog and our programming because, you know what? This shit is super hard. We need to be more open about the things that aren’t perfect, to dispel the myth that we all need to be.
What is one thing you think women in the industry can do to support each other on a daily basis?
Be honest with each other. Tell it like it is. Show your guts sometimes.
If you could give your recent college-grad self just one piece of advice what would it be?
It’s okay if your path is not linear. Following your gut works out more times than not, and people will respect your passion and curiosity. Don’t do things just because it seems like you should, or other people want you to.
If you had to choose any career path besides your current one, what would you want to be when you grow up?
When we started Wallflour, I got to start living my dream just a bit. I love to bake and I love to feed people, but I like sleep too much to actually be a pastry chef!