Photos: Don Lupo Photography
How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?
A dear friend at Leo Burnett encouraged me to get started in advertising. She was aware of my skillset and knew that my personality and expertise were a good fit for the advertising world. She was absolutely correct. It wasn’t until I began in advertising that I truly felt at home.
Prior to advertising, my background was in entertainment and technology. Therefore, I was able to make an immediate impact in my first agency role on the Universal Pictures account. This account brought all of my passions together under one roof. I was afforded the opportunity to combine my affinity for entertainment, multicultural marketing, media and content creation. Ever since, I’ve built my career with accounts that tap into my passion points and allow me to show up, each and every day, genuinely excited about the challenges and opportunities ahead.
I’ve recently joined the Omnicom family. I work on the AT&T account through the commerce agency, The Collective. In this role, I reside at the intersection of branding, selling, entertainment and technology. I felt that bringing the advertising experience full circle, and closing the loop at retail, was an important skill to add to my portfolio.
What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?
I stay motivated knowing that I’m assisting a brand in finding their authentic voice, and shaping that brand story in a way that connects to the target audience in a meaningful way.
My personal motto is derived from something Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I apply that in everything I do, and I aim to move in a way that encourages others, and empowers them to become their best selves.
What excites you most about this industry?
This industry is full of unapologetic passion and energy, and that’s contagious. We have the power to shape the way people see themselves and their place in the world. When used for good, that power is magical.
Where is advertising heading? What do the next five years look like?
The future belongs to the companies that stand for something, and that's exciting. There’s increasingly a price to be paid for neutrality, and this is forcing brands to find their voice, have a POV and move with intention.
In the next five years, agencies will be called upon for their strategic and cultural expertise, in equal proportion to their creative services.
What advice do you have for black advertising professionals that are beginning their career?
Embrace your empirical knowledge. The industry needs many different voices and experiences in order to offer clients well-rounded solutions. The industry is in desperate need of unique points of view. I would give that advise to any person starting out in advertising. Don’t allow your age or level of experience to shape your perception of your value. We’re in a business of culture, and an agency’s cultural currency is only as valuable as the sum experiences of its members. Your unique life experience is an asset. Treat it as such.
What should our industry be talking about in 2018?
In 2018, it’s time to officially acknowledge our new blended world as a reality, and not a niche market. While targeted marketing efforts are still very much needed, in order to ensure that we’re speaking with an audience, and not just at them; our definition of “general market” must quickly expand.
Any closing thoughts?
Be present. It’s all moving so fast.