Some Reflections

This is a picture of me with Stan Richards. For people who haven’t met Stan, he’s just one of those people with a presence that commands the attention of a room. He’s done so much with his life that so many industry professionals aspire too… he’s an icon. But he’s so down to earth and humble. Someone I have truly come to respect.

I’ve come to respect a lot of people, and I’m not just saying that. I’ve been going to lunch with so many people at The Richards Group. I’ve been talking to them more, asking them about what they do and why they’re doing what they’re doing, and I really see myself working as an account planner the more people I talk to. I owe much of this to Jason Donahue for taking a chance on hiring me for this internship. I don’t come from the Miami Ad School or the VCU Ad Center, which are almost becoming prerequisites to go into planning these days. The times when Jason says to me “this is what planners do!” in reference to the things I’m working on… these are the times when I think, God… I could be really good at this! It’s exciting.

I’ve learned about account planning and advertising a lot, but I’ve learned about myself too. If you ever need to re-evaluate who you are, spend three months 1500 miles away from home. Everyone you meet will be meeting you for the first time. You’ll learn your strengths and weaknesses in terms of how you make connections and convey to others who you are. I guess most of all I learned the value of trusting my own instincts in terms of going out on a limb. I’ve always done what I felt and believed regardless of how popular it was, and here, I learned that that’s such a key part of who I am, because the less I do that here, the less people understand me. I’ve had great things happen by just going for things- from walking up to strangers in bars to asking Stan Richards for a photo with him to speaking my true thoughts in a meeting, I’ve only become more confident and understood by going for the things I think or want. It’s a great principle to follow. You’re not really contributing anything to your own life or anyone elses when you’re just repeating things you’ve done before within the limits of your comfort zone- challenging your mind to think differently or even just doing something new can be so valuable.

Finally, I’m going to end this post with my answers to some questions that will be included when the 2006 Stickell brochure comes out. I think it sums up some of what I’ve learned here:

How has this internship been beneficial?

From working on new business pitches to Spherical Branding presentations to creative briefings, the internship gave me so many opportunities. I not only learned some of the finer points of account planning, but also gained a better understanding of all parts of the agency structure.

 

What was the most exciting/interesting project or event you worked on?

Leading a team of interns on a pro-bono Spherical Branding project to benefit poverty-stricken children in India was a really fulfilling experience. Working with students from across the country incorporated diverse perspectives into the project, and the freedom we had in approaching it gave us a chance to combine our knowledge and creativity. I made new friends and saw first-hand how advertising can play such an active role in improving our world.

 

What advice can you give to future Stickell interns who might work at your agency?

Never hesitate to make connections. So many people have great stories to tell. The Richards Group is a great place to intern because everybody is respected, regardless of titles. There are no secrets, since all that matters is the work. You can go up to anybody, even Stan Richards himself, and ask them what they’re working on, and you’ll learn something.

 

When and what made you first interested in Advertising/Marketing?

I was a broadcast journalism major for almost two years before I decided I wanted to do something where I could be more creative and idea-driven. But all along, being on a diversity committee, I was pitching ideas and offering insight to university administrators to help them better understand how students’ needs could be met. My personality and passions better suited me for a career in advertising. Also, I realized that I’ve always had an affinity for advertising- maybe all those things I ordered off of TV infomercials were signs all along!

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