EPISODE #28 || Julie Matheny, Associate Creative Director at Droga5


Julie worked with Natalie at the same agency when they were both really junior, and is now an Associate Creative Director at Droga5, pumping out award-winning work with her team (such as the, "Did You Mean...MailChimp?" campaign and the amazing New York Times work). Hear about adjusting your voice as a copywriter, learning from every agency you work at (even the ones where you have a bad experience), and why you shouldn’t feel pressure when you see where people you graduate with get a job.

Heads up: We recorded at my Airbnb in NYC, so you'll hear some traffic noise here and there. 

Interested in being a guest on the We Are Next Podcast? Just fill out our new Guest Interest Form.

Topics Discussed

  • Pulling an all-nighter to apply for the VCU Brandcenter, and what you can and cannot get without going to portfolio school.
  • The fun projects you work on at school versus the reality of solving real problems for clients.
  • Explaining the process of adjusting your natural voice to the brand’s voice as a copywriter.
  • The pros/cons of working at small vs. large agencies, and the value of learning from every agency you work at—even the ones where you have a bad experience.
  • Why you shouldn’t feel pressure when you see where people you graduate with land, and the importance of fit over agency name.
  • The key to building a great client relationship (like her team’s relationship with Mailchimp), and learning to socialize with your client team.
  • The new challenges that come with stepping into an ACD role, including taking time to talk through feedback with your junior talent.

Mic Drops

“Your voice is really important—being who you are as an individual, and writing in the way that feels natural to you. It seems counterintuitive in advertising, because you’re meant to be empathetic and take on a lot of different tones, but there’s a way to do that where you can infuse a little bit of yourself into what you do.”

“It’s not so much about size, but about the type of people you’re around. You can learn something from every agency, even the bad ones—or I should say, the ones where you have bad experiences. […] One of the things I’ve learned is just taking what you can [from every agency].”

“There are so many different paths to get to where you want to go, and I wish I had known that going in. It’s very funny too, especially when you graduate with a class. There are people who are ahead in the class, there are people who are going to do well, but it all evens out. It’s definitely a marathon and not a sprint. There are people that you’ll see shooting up around you very quickly, and there are people who hold back a little bit. But it all shakes out in the end. And some of the more valuable lessons were [at agencies where] I wasn’t creatively fulfilled at all.”

Resources Mentioned

Keep in Touch