EPISODE #31 || Sharon Panelo & Kim Mackenzie, Partners & Principal Strategists at Ripley Strategy


Sharon Panelo and Kim Mackenzie, Partners & Principal Strategists at Ripley Strategy, bring their boss selves and years of experience to the podcast. Hear about creating your own opportunities, building good habits to avoid burnout (while still working your ass of as junior talent), new ways of working, and the importance of communities in your career. Bonus: why their agency is named after Ellen Ripley from Alien (how awesome is that??).

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Topics Discussed

  • How to break into strategy when there may not be an internship or job opening available to you.
  • Creating your own opportunities and not taking no for an answer when it comes to getting your start.
  • Building in good habits early to avoid professional burnout—while still working your butt off as junior talent.
  • How Ripley Strategy is disrupting the traditional agency model (fun fact: the agency is named after Ellen Ripley from the movie Alien!) and championing new ways of working.
  • The importance of communities in your career (including Ladies Who Strategize and the Remote Strategist Club).
  • How women just starting out can lift each other up by just showing up. 

Mic Drops

“You have to show up and volunteer to do the worst jobs. What [agencies] really want to see is people who can take photos, people who can do vox pops, people who can do that primary research and just get out on the street and ask people questions. Because that’s the sort of stuff that wins pitches. And senior level people, they are too expensive to be able to leave the building, so they’re really depending on junior folks who have those skills and they’ve got that moxie.”

“You absolutely have to work your ass off. But make sure that you’re working your ass off for the right people.”

"At any stage you're at, it's so empowering to be able to throw your own events and have your own community, and own that power frame of, 'I'm the person who's doing this.' And people are really drawn to that."

Resources Mentioned

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About Sharon & Kim

Sharon Panelo and Kim Mackenzie are Principal Strategists at Ripley, a woman-owned, Brooklyn-based independent brand strategy shop working with world-class tech, fashion, culture, & social impact brands. They also lead the Ladies Who Strategize slack group and Remote Strategist Club and have spoken at the Miami Ad School Industry Heroes series.