Why do I think I’ll become a successful advertising professional?

I recently wrote a post about Diversity in Advertising for my AAF Most Promising Multicultural Student application. I realized, that entry contained some of my best writing and most honest reflection (at least for having only 300 words!). The second question was such a thought-provoking subject, I’ll never be able to articulate it as clearly and honestly as I did for my application. So if you’re a hiring manager here to spy on me, welcome! And if you ask me about why I think I’ll be successful in this industry, here’s what I’d say (in 300 words or less!)

How can your skills and experience enable you to become a successful advertising professional?

Six internships, countless leadership opportunities, and indispensable mentors have helped prepare me for a career in advertising.

I tried to be intentional and strategic when I was seeking out different opportunities. Instead of having six different internships within a single specialty, I pursued opportunities across the different fields. I wanted to graduate with a background and confidence within strategy and writing but I also wanted to be articulate in the other focuses in advertising. I wanted a more holistic education. When I’m settled into my agency position, I want to be able to contribute to the other departments from a knowledgeable position. Knowing our expectations and boundaries ahead of time, in my opinion, gives me more flexibility in the creative I can produce and the suggestions I propose.

I’ve also gravitated to opportunities of leadership. In the Univ. of Tennessee’s Ad Club, I serve as the Social Media Director, but beyond that, I’ve made a personal commitment to the new members that I would support them as much as I could. I’ve taken an active leadership role volunteering at the 2016 Knoxville ADDY’s, UT Social Media Week 2016, and just recently accepted an invitation to serve on the Dean’s Undergrad Student Advisory Council.

The leaders in my life take initiative, strive to be a positive influence, and create an impact in everything they do. That is the type of leader I’d like to be as I move forward into my advertising career. I think the advertising industry is run by leaders, and I hope to fit right in.


Dear Young Ad Student: 15 Strategy Terms You Can Never Be Too Familiar With

Dear Young Ad Student:

No matter what focus you choose to pursue, I urge you to develop skills across the different pathways. The best copywriters have to understand the basics of strategy. The best art directors and designers have to have a respect for the account management process. Media planners and buyers need to be familiar with the the brand’s PR efforts. Even a social media savant should be in tune with the research backing the campaign. Advertising is like a foreign language with many dialects. Anything you can do to be fluent will propel you forward in your career.

With that said, I wanted to share some Planning (also known as Strategy) terminology taught by the one and only Ron Taylor (Remember the 6 Segment Strategy Wheel?) These 15 terms  just might save your life in all the coursework to come. And of course, your careers as well!

  1. Creative strategy articulation – developing message strategy based on research
  2. Tactic – A tool used to achieve strategy, based on previously made objectives
  3. Tactic Evaluation – Reviewing to see if the tactics worked
  4. Context – Perimeters to help determine meaning of things and ideas in people’s lives. Context determines meaning.
  5. Ethnography – In depth study of culture and individuals within it
  6. Reality – There are two: Individual reality and Shared realities. Reality is socially constructed
  7. Bracketing Interview – Accounts for prejudices and biases
  8. Auto-driving – Interview extension, added at the end of an interview to drive discussion further.
  9. Interview guides – 3-5 main topics that keep you on track during the interview.
  10. Emic – Participant language (insider terms)
  11. Etic – Researcher language
  12. Grounded Theory – forming of theory AFTER reviewing data
  13. Insight – Patters/Ideas gleaned from observation and behavior
  14. Account Planning – Also known as strategy, began in England in the 1950’s to ensure the consumer perspective is considered in the qualitative data
  15. What activity matters most in planning? – LISTENING!

Total Greek to you? That’s ok! Just bookmark this and remember me when you take Dr. Ronald Taylor’s Account Planning class. If you don’t get the privilege to being his student, you can still hone in on the concepts he urges us to remember as we pursue our ad careers. If you have any questions, please reach out to me! I’ll help explain the best I can (or refer you to the professors who are way smarter than I am!)


Good Luck,

Senior Ad Student, Graduating in 7 months and 09 days.






11 Secrets To A Better Live-Tweet Session.

Last Week, the University of Tennessee hosted dozens of the industry’s most innovative, successful, inspirational, and completely kick ass digital professionals. UT Social Media Week has been bringing state-of-the-art tech and digital knowledge to the students of UT for 5 years now. They seemed to touch on every  vital skill – except how to live-tweet an event like a champion.

1) Find and share the on-screen media.
If a speaker is presenting graphics during a presentation, it’s probably a key component of the message. If you can follow the source and locate that chart, graphic, image… whatever it is, get it in the hands of the audience.


2) Capture concepts, not just quotes
Quote after quote can get really boring, especially if the people around you are hearing the same quote. If you can turn that statement into a clear and concise message in 140 characters, you might result in a more memorable message.

3) Video Clips
Is a powerful statement coming up? A really strong answer to a good question? If you’re in a good position for audio and video, record it! Sharing video is a nice way to break up a digital wall of text.

4) Flip the View
You might have 18 people tweeting the same comments and images. Front row seat views of the speaker and the “one thing they recommend from their experience”… Try changing the perspective. What is the audience doing? Capture that engagement and the expressions. Document the really great questions that everyone was thinking.


5) Support Tech Difficulties
Our guest speaker ran into issues loading a video that was a huge aspect of his message. While our tech crew ran to the stage, I tracked down the video and shared it with the audience. The presentation was up and running quickly, before everyone could view the tweeted video. Had we not had our great crew, the presentation would have crashed and burned – unless we could all view it on our phones…

6) Handwritten key concepts
Want to break up the digital wall of text again? Write out a powerful statement and take a picture of it. It will stand out and bring more attention to your speaker’s message.


7) Gif/Emoji
Don’t be afraid to incorporate Gifs and Emojis! You can still create an intelligent dialog and convey the message while still putting a personal twist.


8) Assist the Storyteller
Remember that the purpose of the event is the Speaker and their message. Tweeters following the event aren’t there for you. They are there to hear the story that the presenter is telling. Your job is to assist the storyteller.

9)Track your Hashtag
You aren’t the only person discussing your event online. If you track the conversations happening, you can really elevate the message and develop connections along the way.


10) Tag the Speaker
Don’t forget to note the speaker’s Twitter handle! Be certain to tag them on comments that their followers will appreciate!

11) Network with the Speakers before.
Connect ahead of time if you can! I always steal a front row seat and let the speaker know that I’ll have my eyes on my phone and my camera snapping throughout their event. I want them to know that I’m promoting their message, not ignoring it.

Twitter Highlights from UTSMW16



Twitter Highlights from Univ. of Tennessee Social Media Week 2016.



I made it my unofficial job this week to live tweet the quotes and commentary from our fantastic guest speakers this week! This was our 5th annual Social Media Week at UT, and this year we really blew it out of the water!

Check out my favorite moments that happened in the Twittersphere this week!
1. Think about your content through its lifecycle. Which media platform can your message hit next? #utsmw16

2. Develop a strategy before you dive into a new platform. Do you have the tools to feed the beast? @malcolli #utsmw16
3. Take ownership of your presence online. Maintain your brand so it’s accessible and authentic #utsmw16

4. Event driven interactive, like on air Twitter scrolls and in show polling is on fire right now for Scripps Home Category #utsmw16
5. There’s a unique perspective that comes from self-made digital talent…it can cultivate some big ideas for your branding. #utsmw16

6. Content should engage, inspire, or bring practical solutions to your audience @Mariel_Clark #utsmw16

7. Whether a product of a brainstorm or inspired by audience action, new ideas for digital projects come from everywhere. @malcolli #utsmw16

8. “Aim to be shareworthy. Like, all the time” @wildpat_3000
9. “You’re allowed to tell the same story twice…just tell it from a different point of view” -@wildpat_3000 #utsmw16

10. What does social media, beer pouring, and music production have in common? Give your audience a real experience. #utsmw16
11. “Walk in the eminence of you.” – @warsteiner #utsmw16

12. Take social comments with a grain of salt. The people who love your “diy” are going to like. But commentators are another story. #utsmw16
13. “It’s crucial that your staff understand your brand so they can articulate your strengths values and personality to your customers.” @UTSMW

14. “You can’t coach passion. Let your passion drive where you want to go.” -@pauljankowski1 #UTSMW16
15. Most authentic [social] content is full of imperfections. That’s what makes brands more human. #utsmw16 #andrewvollmer

16. [Social] is less about perfection and more about experimentation. Testing and learning is the name of the game. #utsmw16 #andrewvollmer
17. If you can’t explain it in a sentence, it better be worth saying. #keepitsimplestupid #andrewvollmer #utsmw16

18. “The simpler the better – be clear, don’t over complicate the creative. You only have a few seconds to capture user’a attention” @UTSMW
19. “Project briefs are the bible of the agency world.” #AndrewVollmer #utsmw16

20. “Create topical content – contectual, cultural, seasonal relevance always prevails.” #andrewvollmer #utsmw16
21. As Millenials, we are inherently excellent social media managers. #not #putinwork #learnyourtrade @UTSMW

22. Three vital skills Mark says you need: 1. Empathy 2. Great writing skills 3. Confidence to speak up #utsmw16
23. You guys are rocking #UTSMW16 — Can’t believe it’s been 5 years. See you guys on the news tonight! #WATE

24. That’s an 80 inch, 200lb, touch screen monitor being installed in the @adamcb Social Media Command Center. #utsmw16

25. Democracy only works if people are able to think about an issue in a 360 degree manner, instead of focusing on self-interest. #UTSMW16

26. “This will be one of the most studied elections in history. 2016 is the Storytelling election.” #utsmw16 @LBinTheDistrict @UTSMW

Colgate/Marriott #EveryDropCounts (Brazil)

Today on Linkedin, Young and Rubicam shared an awesome guerrilla campaign – a team effort by Marriott and Colgate in Brazil.

As a Marriott front desk host for almost two years, it’s become a brand that is close to my heart. Colgate’s pursuit to bring attention to water conservation was brilliantly executed. Teaming with Marriott is just another big name raising their hands and saying, shouldn’t we be aware of this concern?

Colgate’s #EveryDropCounts was introduced at the 2016 Super Bowl in a PSA style commercial. It was an adaption to an spot by Y&R Peruin 2014 for Colgate in Latin America.

It is really amazing to watch a campaign come full circle, crossing media, international borders, and entire industries. I’m glad to watch my company Marriott participating in the global effort to conserve water.


Chasing Internships and Chasing God.


I’m going to have a lot of praises to sing when I finally get that phone call.

Many of you may know that I’ve invested months of time and tears into pursuing internships this upcoming summer. I’ve learned things about myself that I never realized- how ambitious, persistent, doubtful, and impatient I can be. I’ve found support in places I never expected and watched some cracks form in relationships I never expected. Every day, something new is revealed to me.

All I need now is an opportunity revealed to me, then maybe I can calm down.

I have to admit, I’ve been eating, sleeping, and breathing Advertising. Every night I pray for God to grant me peace and patience, then every morning I get up and hustle to make it happen. I’m watching the pieces fall into place, but I really need to step back and let God do His thing. In the meantime, I just plan on thanking Him every chance I get, for my drive, for my support system, for my opportunities so far. Maybe, He’ll stand a little closer to me if the news isn’t what I’d expected.

This is Easter weekend, and instead of spending the whole weekend on LinkedIn, updating my portfolio, and sweating over an empty inbox, I’m going to try to relax. My Dad reminded me that no matter what happens, it happened the way God had planned. I need to fuel my faith first, and let Him do what He does best. He will take care of me, even when it’s dark and bleak. Even when it seems hopeless – God is full of surprises. Like resurrecting Jesus and such.

Everyone have a wonderful Easter! I love you all!


Why I Should Be in Ad Club Executive Boardmember?



So, I applied for the University of Tennessee Advertising Club Executive Board. We had to tell in 1-2 sentences why we would be suitable for the positions  (up to 3) we were pursuing. We will be holding speeches and elections, but I wanted my future club members to know where I stand for each position. So there you have it… 2 sentences or less, why do I think I have what it takes?

I would be a great president because I’m ready to go the distance to take our content, activities, and speakers to the next level. Instead of reiterating what “tools to have in your tool belt to be successful in advertising”, we should try to make sure every member has those “tools” before they graduate.

As vice president, I would strive to make the ad club a welcoming place where members and visitors are expanding their skills and network. Our job should be to elevate our members as much as possible, in confidence and professionalism.

I would be a good social media director because 90% of my personal tweets are to the @UTADPR or @utkadclub accounts promoting industry news, internship opportunities, and ad comedy. 100% of my professional tweets have brought my clients success in their categories.


Now I’m moving into presentation mode, 2 minutes for each position. Wish me luck over the next week! I have big ideas for the ’16-’17 Club

I Give You… The Portfolio


Ladies and Gentleman,

After 3 months of dormancy in my blog world, I’m happy to announce that I’ve finally developed a digital portfolio – and it’s LIVE!

I wasn’t quite ready to mix my professional life with my girly travel lifestyle writing, although it’s mixing more every day. I just didn’t want polished research reports published beside polished mani/pedi updates. It’s been a whirlwind, but I’m glad to have two creative spaces to grow and get my work out in the world.

With no further ado….



Moving Forward in Advertising

Articulating exactly what you want your future to look like – that can be incredibly difficult sometimes. In a recent seminar course, I was tasked with the challenge of laying out my path but I was surprised with how confident I became with what I pictured after graduation.

We were asked to identify three different career possibilities that blend our life passions with our advertising degree. We were to explain why each path appeals to us and how the companies chosen would help us achieve our goals. We had to think about what type of work we are drawn to, the company’s growth and reputation, culture, and also how the company fits into our long-range career goals.



It was originally the copywriting in a Purina pet food that sold me on advertising. I have always enjoyed creative writing exercises as well as creating art from all media, so a career in advertising seemed like a perfect fit. Now that I’m learning more about the industry, I’ve come upon a new challenge. It seems the likelihood of getting a job in copywriting is poor unless I go to portfolio school. My contacts within the larger agencies have all warned me that without going to Miami Ad School, Creative Circus, or VCU my portfolio will be a step below other applicants. Although I was disappointed, I realized the big ideas that spark the creative brainstorming come from the account planning department. I’m eager to learn more about this potential avenue for my future. I’ve also been encouraged to pursue content management after a yearlong internship with a digital marketing consulting firm. I’ve loved strategizing and analyzing social media efforts of big and little companies.

I’m hoping to learn as much as possible about each of the three avenues, Social Media Management, Copywriting, and Strategy. Fortunately, there are four advertising agencies that not only offer positions in these departments; they all have a reputation of positive cultures, progressive strategies, and loyal accounts. Their client rosters each have a strong presence of the industries I’m drawn to. Travel, Media and Technology, as well as Food and Beverage accounts peak my interest the most. They are all located in New York City, the advertising capitol of the world, and the place I’d like to call home.


Grey is a full-service agency known most recently for their extensive collection of Cannes Lions. Since 1917, they have been building some of the world’s most recognized brands. Their focus is to accelerate the potential of their client’s brands with powerful creative ideas across all touch points.1

Right now, they are actively expanding their strategy department, seeking a strong, quick thinker who is self-motivated, and proactively pushing ideas forward.2

They must be inquisitive, and driven to use data as a tool for creative inspiration. In order to excel in this position, I must have the confidence to juggle multiple assignments while naturally providing leadership with clients and internal teams. I’ll have to be a strong communicator and a great storyteller. I think, upon graduation, I would be a perfect candidate for this position, and I would hope to work with travel clients such as Finnair, Emirates Air, the British Council, or perhaps technology companies like Motorola, Pandora, and Cannon.3

Grey, and the guidance of my alumnus contacts within the agency, have been a huge part of my goal development. Sarah and Joey have been my trailblazers, not only for finding success in the industry, but also for fighting for opportunities while still in college. They’ve helped me set higher goals for myself and push myself harder to stand out. They encourage their brands to think similarly. If I had the opportunity to work at Grey, I would be able to push my accounts and myself forward towards insights and innovation that will ignite their brand.


Another agency with a long-standing reputation is McCann Erikson. This agency was founded in 1902 and focuses on digital communication, customer relationship management, and experimental marketing.4 I had the privilege of meeting with this agency and experiencing their culture first hand. I felt welcomed and instantly felt a genuine connection with the account managers. They were engaged and curious about my life and my plans moving forward. I can only assume their accounts are treated as well.

McCann is actively seeking a copywriter to create a central advertising direction for global campaigns. The new copywriter will uphold McCann’s believes that work must be collaborative, passionate, and creative and support diversity in order to exceed client expectations.5

My first job would be to develop and produce creative concepts through execution on assigned brands. I would be helping to determine a written expression for the advertising. I must contribute to layout and storyboard development with the creative teams and maintain quality control in every step of the process. Again, this position demands excellent storytelling skills as well as the ability to present and speak confidently. A creative portfolio will be expected, showcasing my own brand concepts and campaigns. If McCann saw this potential in me, I would like to work with food clients like General Mills, Jose Cuervo, or Nespresso. This company also has a great list of technology accounts like Microsoft, Verizon and Nikon.6


From local to global, Mcgarrybowen’s team of 800 have passionately grown brands from all categories through all channels of communication.7 Having only been founded in 2002, they have been quite successful, while still remaining a sense of humility. This quality could be felt when hearing any of the employees talk about Mcgarrybowen as a brand. They promote passionate ideas, believing in the talent and ambition within the agency, collaboration from all corners, and personal growth through mentorship and leadership. For these reasons, I would love the opportunity to be a Jr. Copywriter at Mcgarrybowen.8

The expectation for this new copywriter would be high. I would be responsible for ideas and writing for simple layouts for one or more general advertising accounts. I must be quick to adapt to different strategies and formats while being able to think across all types of media. I would have to be independent but still confident in my team building skills. It takes an extremely self-motivated, well organizes person to be a copywriter for the Mcgarrybowen accounts. I believe I have what it takes to elevate brands like Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Kraft Heinz, Marriott International, Disney and United Airlines.9

While I think the other agencies would help me grow as an advertiser, I think Mcgarrybowen would also help me grow in character. You can tell this modest agency won’t soon lose sight of its goals. The very first prop used in their very first campaign is still sitting right in the lobby to serve as a reminder. They’ve got a lot more growing to do, and they wouldn’t have come this far without the enthusiasm and courage of their original three owners. I think being surrounded by such brilliant and successful people, who value humility would be a great example for me.


J. Walter Thompson is another globally recognized marketing communications brand that has been igniting brands since 1864. They produced the first ever TV commercial in 1939 and have only maintained that reputation for leading edge content.10

They creative pioneering solutions that build enduring brands and business by adopting a unique set of principles. The 4 C’s: curiosity, collaboration, capability and courage best embody the traits of the agency, the work they produce, and the aspects they seek in new hires. They are looking to grow their Social Media Managers, particularly in San Francisco, but I could potentially relocate to New York after proving to be an asset to the agency.11 My job would be to produce content for publication to the company website and social media platforms. Between content creation, maintenance, and editing, I would be helping elevate their brands across the digital plane. I would be distributing information for email blasts, newsletters, and databases as well.

Whether in New York or San Francisco, I would feel right at home within the culture of the agency. They encourage teamwork, inquisitiveness, the pursuit of new knowledge, and the realization that the difficult solution could be the best. I was personally very concerned with the collaboration aspect across departments. I was afraid if I committed to strategy, I would never be able to contribute a creative idea again. They reassured me that great ideas come from all corners of the agency.12

These agencies aren’t just global leaders or industry icons; they are groups of people who love what I love. They all show a genuine appreciation for their employees as well as their clients. You can tell because some of these accounts have been loyal for decades, and some of these executives have tried to leave but keep coming back. It takes passion, extraordinary work, sincere relationships, and enthusiasm for improvement to have such retention. I’d be lucky to work with any of these agencies, and I hope to contribute to the next Lion winning campaign.