Tell us a little bit about yourself, how’d you end up in the wild world of advertising and marketing?
My career, started out like so many others, somewhere else. For a long time, I wanted to be a lawyer, until I talked to a lawyer who told me the job was miserable. Then I wanted to be a lobbyist, but that soon seemed like a terribly messy path for me. By my college graduation, I had decided to go into public relations, but had no idea where to start. My college career counselor pointed me to the largest ad agency in Southern Minnesota and I joined their sprawling 15-person team as an intern. This turned into a full-time job where I wore three distinct hats: copywriter, public relations specialist and media buyer. By the time I decided it was time to move on to the “big city” as my parents still embarrassingly call it, I was hooked on writing for a living and that was that.
What do you love most about this industry?
The constant state of learning. Especially in the realm of copywriting. Every time I’m handed a new project, I get to dig in, research and uncover the unknowns of directional drilling—exciting!—nutrition, product creation, crawfish culture, finance, and literal brain surgery. Then I get to turn that knowledge into stories, and, while not all are equally exciting to the masses, they each give me a little thrill. I get to explore these little worlds, many of which I never knew existed, and report back. To this day one of the best compliments I ever received about my work was from a lineman who responded to a piece I’d written by telling me, “you really get what we do.”
How do you maintain passion and enthusiasm for the work you do throughout the different phases of your life?
The aforementioned learning helps, but I think it would be disingenuous to suggest my level of passion and enthusiasm has never or will never wane. We all have lives outside the office and there are going to be times where we have to pull back to focus on our home life and there will be phases where we push into our careers. For me, the method of maintaining passion shifts in each phase.
Early on I was just so terrified I couldn’t help but be engaged. Figuring out what the hell I was doing was enough to spark passion for my career. Then I found small ways to redefine my career focus that would continue to challenge me. Now, I’m finding opportunities to collaborate a variety of incredibly smart people who push my work in different ways.
What about the MPLS MadWomen mission resonates with you?
I love that we pull back multiple layers through open conversation. Not only conversations about gender equality, but also inclusivity, ageism and a myriad of other issues that will never get solved if we’re not talking about them.
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?
The way we treat women as a whole, but especially women of color, women with different abilities, sexual orientations, backgrounds and women in the later phases of their career. I’ve seen so many brilliant women with so much experience and perspective to offer get pushed out because they didn’t hit the executive level (which is an issue in and of itself) before their perceived time was up. On the flip side, women from more diverse backgrounds have to work even harder just to break into the industry. I think MPLS MadWomen can elevate these voices to ensure everyone feels like a part of a community while also helping us understand one another better.
What is one thing you think women in the industry can do to support each other on a daily basis?
Amplify the voices of other women in the room. So often we’re afraid to speak up because we think we don’t have anything valid to say. The more we encourage others and make sure they get heard in the room, the louder we’ll get as a community and the harder we’ll be to ignore.
If you could give your recent college-grad self just one piece of advice what would it be?
Your life isn’t going to turn out how you imagine it now, but you’ll like this one better.
If you had to choose any career path besides your current one, what would you want to be when you grow up?
I’m openly admitting to being the biggest cliché of our industry, but I would be an author. I love telling stories and if I had the chance to tell them in a freeform space, I would embrace it with all I had. Just like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Sayers and Dr. Seuss before me.