What are your job responsibilities/duties?
I lead integrated teams through assignment definition, research, creative strategy, communications planning, and measurement. As a director, I'm responsible for managing teams of other strategists and being responsible for pieces of business.
What does a typical day look like?
No day is ever the same, but common activities include meetings to align on what we're doing, hiding somewhere quiet to sift through tons of information about our clients' businesses, and playing with the many office dogs.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
Getting paid to dive deep and "nerd out" on very nuanced, complicated categories of culture and commerce.
What is the most difficult aspect of the job?
The hours -- creative thinking is a hard product to map to a typical 9-to-5 day.
What on-campus activities were you involved with? Where did you gain relevant experience?
I knew early on at U of I I wanted to be in account planning / strategy, so I chased any extracurricular activity that would let me do something like that: planning for student-run Midnight Oil Advertising, leading research/strategy for NASC, group projects in advertising classes, and more.
How did your experience at ILLINOIS and in the College of Media prepare you for your professional life? For this specific position?
Most generally, the advertising program at Illinois exposes you to the many different facets of industry (though it's on you to figure out how to build the skills you want). Most specifically, the connections U of I makes are career-changing. I wouldn't be where I am without them.
What advice do you have for students interested in this field?
Know what part of the process excites you most, spend time learning what skills go into that position, and do everything you can to exercise those skills in everything you do.
What is one thing that you know now that you wish you had known when you started in the field? When you graduated from the College?
When graduating, I wish I had known that securing an internship/job out of school does not guarantee success, that you have to keep up the pressure on yourself to keep learning and growing. When I started in the field full-time, I wish I had known that no one really "knows" anything about the right way to do this kind of work, so it pays to have a point of view and the confidence to pursue it.