Overheard At ADMERICA 2017

Overheard at ADMERICA

I spent last week in beautiful New Orleans at ADMERICA 2017, the national advertising conference that brings together agencies, clients, media companies and college students to examine the industry today, and where it's heading tomorrow. I brought back a handful of overheard quotes and takeaways picked specially for you from various keynote speakers, workshops and recruiter sessions. (It's like you're a fly on the wall that gets to hear only the really good stuff.)

"Build relationships. You're all in this together. We're all in this together." - Steph Anolik, Associate Talent Director at Droga5

When you look around at your classmates and colleagues—a bunch of uber-talented and driven people vying for the same jobs and opportunities—it can feel super competitive. But Steph Anolik from Droga5 told a room full of students that a key ingredient for getting a job in advertising is building relationships. But this isn't just about networking to land a job.

Let's break it down: you're all in this together. As you navigate your career, you'll realize that the industry is smaller than you think. Meaning the relationships you build today with those around you will only open doors to new opportunities in the future. We're all in this together. Remember that no matter how senior someone is, someone helped them get to where they are. So take a deep breath and approach people—even those really intimidating people who are way more senior than you—to help you along your way. 

We're in this together

"Feel the fear. Then take action anyway." - Dima Ghawi, Leadership Coach

This quote came out of a semi-cheesy presentation by a self-described motivational speaker and leadership coach, but I can't help but love its sentiment. As humans, we evolved to be highly attuned to fear, because the emotion used to save us from being eaten by predators. These days, with no predators around, we feel fear over much less threatening things—like speaking up in a meeting or quitting your job without another lined up. Fear is a natural survival response.

It's not wrong to feel fear at work. And we shouldn't beat ourselves up when we do. Next time fear rears its head, acknowledge it as a survival response, and then respond with action. Because chances are, the emotion you feel is overestimating the thing that triggered the fear.

Acknowledge fear

"We fight for one thing: opening people's minds to what's possible in this world. To do that you have to tackle topics that are taboo. If you're going to innovate, you're going to be uncomfortable. You have to be willing to push the envelope, to tackle topics that are outside what the immediate need is—while still being able to deliver value in the here and now." - Terry Young, Founder & CEO at sparks & honey

The founder of cultural relevance agency sparks & honey gave this answer when asked how the agency tackles taboo topics that look 18-24 months ahead, when clients may be more interested in what's happening in the present. I like thinking about his response in the context of our individual ability to come up with innovative ideas and approaches to briefs. Can we think beyond the immediate ask/task at hand and let our minds delve into topics that make us uncomfortable? Will it get us to more creative and innovative ideas? 

Along with the takeaways, I brought home a notebook full of ideas for exciting potential partnerships with agencies and organizations I met at the conference—all in the hopes of bringing you even more helpful guidance and advice. Still early days, but can't wait to share more!

We're all in this together,
Natalie