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Aaron Walton, Founding Partner, Walton Isaacson

Posted By Emily Hope, Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, July 10, 2018

How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?

The truth is, my interest in advertising traces back to my childhood, watching Bewitched as a kid. I was fascinated with the way Darrin found creative solutions for the agency’s clients.

I wound up attending Babson College, which is known for a focus on entrepreneurialism. Roger Enrico, President of PepsiCola North America, was a Babson alum. I was involved in student government at Babson and Enrico saw me speak at a Board of Trustees meeting. That connection led to landing my first job in marketing. I started my career at Pepsi in research and brand management. I really wanted to work for the legendary ad man, Alan Potash. He was known as the godfather of Pepsi’s most iconic campaigns (Pepsi Challenge, Pepsi Now, Choice of A New Generation). I had successfully lobbied to be moved to his department when a special assignment came up. My transfer to advertising was put on hold, and instead, I was asked to manage the company’s music marketing efforts. I represented Pepsi on tour with Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, David Bowie, and the Miami Sound Machine.

My role evolved beyond music, expanding to include celebrities and all things pop-culture—basically tying the brand in the social zeitgeist. In the end, I never did wind up working directly for Alan in the advertising department.

Eventually, I decided I wanted to go out on my own, so I started Aaron Walton Entertainment (AWE). Pepsi was my first client. My focus was on using music, celebrity and pop-culture to amplify brand messages and connect with consumers experientially. Clients also included AT&T, Taco Bell, Frito-Lay, Pizza Hut, Budweiser and others. Omnicom acquired AWE as part of their DAS division. Following my tenure at DAS, I decided I wanted to start a new agency, one that expanded beyond celebrity and played a role throughout the strategic and creative development of 360 campaigns. Which brings me to Walton Isaacson.

What has been an important, perhaps the most important, lesson you’ve learned in your career thus far?

Culture matters. Leaning into culture, and specifically leveraging diversity of experience, drives innovation. But buckle up, because drawing from many perspectives is messy—but it can also be magic. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is key.

What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?

I embrace the philosophy of civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, who said, “We need in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers.” That applies to work, home – to virtually all aspects of life. And, what I love to see, what keeps me motivated, is my ability to work with young talent and shift their thinking from accepting the status quo to embracing respectful rebellion. Igniting sparks and setting minds on fire. When I can free a person up to think like an angelic troublemaker, then everything else falls into place – the work for clients soars, the personal and professional satisfaction of the team reaches new heights. I love identifying the person in the team who is ready to challenge themselves. My impact on them ultimately impacts others and we all grow.

What excites you most about this industry?

Telling stories that have not been told in ways that they have not been told. We are no longer an industry that does monologues, talking about ourselves to ourselves. We are in dialogue with people, we are collaborators, and the creative possibilities are infinite. Where is advertising is headed? What do the next five years look like? From a societal standpoint – whether brands accept it or not —cultural commitment will drive a brand’s success. That means awakening to the power of authenticity, being vulnerable, having values, prioritizing purpose. The more brands face the world the way they want the world to face them, the more successful they will be.

 

 




Photos: Don Lupo

 

What advice do you have for black advertising professionals who are beginning their careers?

You deserve a seat at the table and don’t let anyone or anything suggest otherwise. It may not be given to you, you may have to demand it, but you have earned it – not just because you’re Black, but because you’re great. And don’t be afraid to bring your cultural perspectives and, frankly, powers to the conversation. You understand the world in a way that many others don’t. You understand the good, the bad, and the ugly of human behavior. You have your finger on the pulse of the future. Don’t settle for the scraps and don’t feel obligated to teach others what it has taken you a lifetime to learn. The industry needs you and it must respect you.

I would also say this for LGBTQ, Latinos, Asians, Women across cultural segments – I would say it to any group for whom a career in this industry was not always a viable option and who still remain marginalized in many contexts.

Why did you decide to join the ThinkLA board?

I wanted to join ThinkLA because of the organization’s commitment to celebrating the creative power that fuels this town. L.A. has a deep bench of creatives across multiple agency models and industries, but they often go unrecognized or undervalued. L.A. is not always taken seriously and that impacts the way the industry here is viewed. But the creative talent in L.A. helps determine trends and communicates compelling stories through television, film, radio, digital content, advertising and events. There is amazing storytelling generated in L.A. and it’s essential that L.A. talent get recognized and honored for that. I am proud to be part of an organization like ThinkLA because of its mission to help amplify the work that comes out of this community – creativity lives in L.A.

Any closing thoughts?

Welcome to LA, King James!

 

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Aaron Walton is a Founding Partner of Walton Isaacson, a full-service advertising agency founded in 2006 along with Cory Isaacson and Earvin "Magic" Johnson. Aaron currently serves on ThinkLA's Board of Directors

Tags:  #ThinkMembers  Career Advice  Member Spotlight  Philosophy  Walton Isaacson 

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Sunny Behniwal, Senior Account Executive, Adelphic

Posted By Emily Hope, Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Updated: Thursday, July 5, 2018

How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?

After earning a degree in Economics and Accounting from UCSB, I spent the first two years of my career in Accounting at Conversant. My career in Accounting was progressing well, but I felt I was underutilizing other skill sets I possessed. So I looked to make a change. Luckily, I was working for an AdTech company at the time and was able to move into and Account Manager role on the media team.

After a little over a year, I was promoted to Account Executive (AE). I spent a little over two years in an AE role with my prior company before joining Adelphic-Viant as a Senior Account Executive about a year ago.

What has been a surprising lesson you've learned so far in your career?

I’ve learned that emotional intelligence is one of the most important traits to possess and consistently work on. When I was younger, my thought process was very linear: Work Hard > Get Promoted > Make More Money > Success. However, there will be so many highs and lows during your career that learning how to treat people and react to situations during the lows becomes more important than your behavior during the highs in regard to your long-term success.

What keeps you motivated? Do you have a motto?

I’ve found the happiest people I have come across in my life are those who continue to strive for progress. So, my motivation every day is to make progress whether that be professionally, mentally, spiritually or physically.

Two of my favorite quotes which I often reference are:

  • "I do not believe in taking the right decision; I take a decision and make it right."
  • "You know the comfort zone is never static. It’s always in a state of expansion or retraction."

 




Photos: Don Lupo

 

What excites you most about this industry?

I love how the industry is constantly changing, forcing me to adapt, and continue learning. But more important than that, I love the diversity and inclusion of our industry. I have been able to interact and forge meaningful relationships with individuals from so many different walks of life.

Where is advertising heading? What do the next five years look like?

The industry is going to continue to consolidate with only truly differentiated companies remaining. With the consolidation, I feel the need for great customer service will be at an all-time high.

Transparency will continue to be a hot button, and I see advertisers moving more and more away from traditional digital KPIs while focusing more on meaningful measurement such as actual online/offline sales.

What advice do you have for those just starting in advertising?

I would advise anyone that is new to advertising to be as open-minded as possible and to try different roles/responsibilities until they find a truly great fit. Luckily for them, our industry has a plethora of job types within our industry ranging from Sales to Engineering to Creative to Analytics, etc. 

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Sunny Behniwal currently serves on ThinkLA's Emerging Leaders Council, and is a Senior Account Executive at Adelphic (a Viant, Inc. company). Prior to joining Adelphic, Sunny worked at Conversant

Tags:  #MemberSpotlight  #ThinkMembers  Career Advice  Member Spotlight  Members  Sales Career  Sales Executive  ThinkLA  ThinkMembers 

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Kristin Glushon, EVP Client Development, Branded Entertainment Network

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, June 27, 2018

How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?

Although I had a passion for communication, I don’t have a typical advertising career road map. Instead, I started in the research and technology sector, working for Thomson Reuters first as an editor before transitioning into Client Services and B2B Sales.

Interestingly, I think my background gave me a bit of a business consulting approach to the ad world, which I entered after earning my MBA at Pepperdine and taking a role at Interpublic Co. to lead the west coast expansion of one of their specialized media agencies, Orion. This agency experience allowed me to serve clients in every industry, globally and also afforded me the opportunity to support IPG’s Women’s Leadership Network, where I chaired their LA chapter and supported their national board. From there I joined Branded Entertainment Network (BEN) where I currently lead their global client development team, partnering with CEO’s and CMO’s to deliver custom brand integration campaigns into premium content across TV, streaming, film, and influencer programming.

What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?

I have a lot of respect for those with a strong work ethic, and following that approach keeps me motivated to never give up and to stay focused on delivering what I promise.

In today’s ad world, delivering results often requires us to wear many hats, and although being a mom of two little boys has schooled me in the art of prioritization, I’ve also learned to map out what I can confidently bring to the table and where I need to ask for help.

What excites you most about this industry?

It’s a really exciting time to be working within branded entertainment in particular because of the dramatic shifts we’ve seen in consumer behaviors and the value that integrations offers to reach a more engaged audience. Inside the content, brands have the opportunity to enhance, rather than disrupt, and reach consumers in an authentic and meaningful way. BEN is at the forefront of this evolving marketplace, so every day presents a new opportunity to introduce brands and creators to the power of integration.

 




Photos: Don Lupo

 

Where do you think advertising is headed?

In addition to the shifts in content consumption, I think we’ll continue to see growth in more sophisticated use of data and technology to make advertising more relevant to consumers and more successful for brands.

 What advice do you have for those just starting in advertising?

Regardless if you are just starting your career or sitting at the executive level, I think today’s marketplace requires us to be adaptable, informed and always learning.

I still believe face-to-face networking is the best way to get a head start and to grow your career. Take advantage of mentorship and also pay it forward by being a mentor – and seek out opportunities to learn from others who offer a unique perspective. Having these experiences will enrich your career journey and help support the growth of our industry to reach and engage with today’s diverse and inclusive audiences.

We are in the middle of a cultural shift with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. What has/does BEN do to support women and inclusion in the industry?

BEN’s values of teamwork, accountability, passion, and inclusion are a part of our DNA and reflect an entrepreneurial spirit that supports everyone having a voice and an opportunity to make an impact. Today’s cultural shifts further reinforce our commitment to diversity and inclusion, ensuring that our workforce is representative of the multicultural communities where we work and of the brands we represent.

I am also proud to be the executive sponsor of BEN Includes, which is our committee that provides access to programs, services and events to support a workplace and community outreach that is welcoming, equitable and empowering to achieve success for BEN and our clients.

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Kristin Glushon currently serves on ThinkLA's Diversity, Inclusion, and Gender (DIG) Committee, and is Executive Vice President of Client Development at Branded Entertainment Network (BEN). Prior to joining BEN, Kristin worked at Orion Worldwide.

 

Tags:  #MemberSpotlight  #ThinkMembers  Member Spotlight  Members  ThinkLA  ThinkMembers 

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Member Spotlight: Frank Scherma, President, RadicalMedia

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, June 13, 2018

How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?

I started off as an assistant producer at Chiat Day N.Y. when they first opened their doors. Soon after, I was producing for the agency. Three years went by, and I left to freelance (there weren’t that many freelance producers in the market at that time) and worked for Ammirati Puris on BMW. Three years after that, I moved to Los Angeles and began producing for production companies and their directors. Eighteen months later, I opened up the West Coast office of my partner’s production company. We built that company into what it is today: RadicalMedia, LLC.

And how has the industry changed since you’ve been involved?

When I started in advertising, television, print and radio were the main ways to reach the consumer. My parents were grateful to advertisers as they brought entertainment into our living room. Since then, we’ve had to adjust from strictly doing commercials, print, and radio. While those three still exist, we’ve all had to learn and embrace additional ways to reach the consumer. Branded content and digital storytelling, live events, memes, etc. We also work with brands who’ve begun to incorporate VR, AR, and experiential media into their storytelling as well, and I think we’ll start seeing more of that as time goes on. It’s still about the storytelling, just using different methods.

What’s an important lesson you’ve learned so far?

Be nice to everyone. Today’s assistant could be tomorrow’s creative director. Secondly, don’t be afraid of change. Embrace it and dive in head first.

What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?

My goal in life is to wake up everyday and still want to go to work. I’ve succeeded so far. I also try to live by Radical’s motto, which is "Never Established." Things are always changing, and it’s important to adapt to the times. If you want longevity, you have to be able to do it all: feature films, episodic scripted and unscripted television, advertising, experiential, public events, smartphone applications... the list goes on.

What excites you most about this industry?

The people, creativity, and the fact that it’s ever-changing. Everyday I learn something new.

 


Photos: Don Lupo

 

 Where is the entertainment industry headed? What do the next 5 years look like?

As I mentioned, it will always be about storytelling and finding an audience for those stories. Five years from now, streaming services will be even more prevalent than they are today. Network TV will still be there, albeit they will be looking for additional revenue streams from advertisers and cable/satellite companies.

What advice do you have for those just starting out in entertainment?

I have a few pieces of advice for those just starting out in the business.

One: Be the first one to show up and the last one to leave. It’s a bit cliché, but you have to make it known that you want to be there and you want to learn. Two: Ask lots and lots of questions, and don’t be afraid to not know the answer. The worst is pretending to know, when you really don’t. Third: Watch, listen, and get your hands dirty. Be open to trying new things and taking a different path. You never know where something can lead you. And lastly, step out of your comfort zone.

We are in the middle of a cultural shift with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. What has/does Radical do to support women and inclusion in the industry?

RadicalMedia not only has a diverse staff, but a diverse roster of directors. As I like to say, we have directors that happen to be female, not female directors. We want everyone to feel like they’re working in a safe environment, always. That’s not up for debate.

Why are you involved with ThinkLA?

I enjoy working with the varied and interesting people on the board. It combines media, creativity, public relations, etc., in one place, kind of how ad agencies used to operate. And not to be cliché, but it’s rewarding to give back to an industry that has treated me very well over the years.

At the end of the day, I love what I do, and I think that’s the most important thing of all. 

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Frank Sherma is a ThinkLA Board Member and President of RadicalMedia, a multi-disciplinary studio that creates some of the world’s most innovative content across all forms of media. RadicalMedia has been honored with an Academy Award®, Emmys®, a Golden Globe®, Grammys®, Webbys, NASA Awards, The Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Communication Design, two Palme d’Ors at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, and just about every other accolade and trophy associated with the advertising, marketing, and programming businesses.

 

 

Tags:  #MemberSpotlight  #MeToo  #ThinkMembers  Entertainment  Entertainment Marketing  Member Spotlight  Members  ThinkLA  ThinkMembers 

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Global Wednesday: June

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, June 13, 2018
It's big (ad) world, but we aim to make it feel even smaller by highlighting inventive, global ads, monthly, that break the mold from the mundane. To capture that global spirit, we will feature inspiration from outside of the U.S. and sometimes from brands that we've never even heard of!
 
ThinkLA couldn't be more grateful for Luis Camano, ThinkLA Board Member, award winning creative, and an expert in the field of Brand Activation, for being our Global Warrior and bringing these to our attention. We hope that Global Wednesdays inspires our members as much as it does us.

 

 

1. Absolut. Playing along its tagline "The vodka with nothing to hide” here’s an awkward, yet totally natural, employer’s introduction video. This is for real.

 

2. From Sweden, VW's contribution to safer roads. A very powerful reminder without the usual shocking images.

 

3. Boston Pizza has created the perfect Father’s day gift. My vote for year-long availability.

Tags:  Global Ads  Global Wednesday  Global Wednesdays  Luis Camano 

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Member Spotlight: Joe Camacho: Chief Marketing Officer, Sabio Mobile

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, June 6, 2018

How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?

While still in film school at SDSU, I was also working in television production at the NBC O&O in San Diego. Besides running a studio camera, chyron and other production duties, I also had to manually record and load television commercials for Master Control to play. I was able to watch the best commercials… and forced to watch all the rest, but always reminded of the revenue generated through advertising sales.

My time at the station allowed me to work my way through grad school and eventually transition from production into NBC sales and marketing. And as I experienced the transition of television operations and media sales to become more and more digitized, so too has been my digitized career path into mobile as Sabio Mobile’s CMO. I’ve been fortunate throughout my career to work with extremely talented creative and technical teams.

Today, I’m privileged to work with a team at Sabio Mobile that’s so impressive not just from their technical mobile expertise, but also in who they are as individuals. Watching the careers of my colleagues flourish is the ultimate privilege of my own.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?

Patience and persistence pays off.

By pressing on through adversity with a smile on my face, believing better days are just around the corner, and that all things work together for good, is my definition of persistence. Patiently, I’ve watched this optimistic perseverance work things out in the end.

What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?

The possibilities motivate me. We live in the heart of the most amazing time to be alive, as witness to the possibilities. Watching the technical advances all around us and taking part in them at our company is highly motivating. It’s why I love Mondays.

My personal motto is to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It is over this foundation that the law is laid.

What excites you most about this industry?

Two things: One is the collective talent of creative teams who have learned to master mobile’s unique sensory capabilities to create exciting new ads that you can feel and touch. And the other is the capacity, as an industry and as individuals, to do good.

 



Photos: Don Lupo

 

Where is advertising heading? What do the next five years look like?

As economies continue to grow, ad budgets will also grow but more and more of that growth will be invested in mobile. Not only because it’s where the eyes are but also because the return in data about their customers is crucial to their new marketing strategies. As our smartphones continue improving their function as remote controls for our lives through IoT and their accompanying apps, the volume and quality of data available to marketers will continue to increasingly expand, providing rich insights about their current and future customers.

What advice do you have for those just starting in advertising?

You’ve heard it before but I’ll say it again. Learn to code. But also, learn from the vendors. Knowing what key services and products are required for a successful campaign and what differentiates the best vendors from the rest is important.

Any closing thoughts for the ThinkLA community?

I talk about you all the time. I’m fortunate to attend and sponsor ad club events around the country and all of you keep coming up in conversations. You’re known for doing amazing work for your clients and our ThinkLA community. Thank you.

But please, if you are in the carpool lane and everyone else is going faster than you… you’re probably in my way.

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Joe Camacho is Chief Marketing Officer at Sabio Mobile. Prior to joining the advertising industry, Joe served as a Marine Air Traffic Control Radar Technician for the U.S. Marine Corp. from 1984-1990. Thank you for your service to our country, Corporal Joe Camacho!


Tags:  #ThinkMembers  Career Advice  Joe Camacho  Member Spotlight  Sabio Mobile 

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Member Spotlight: Kristina Jenkins, Chief Strategy Officer, Zambezi

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, May 30, 2018

How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?

Believe it or not, I have E.T. and the Reese’s Pieces candy he loved eating to thank for my start in advertising. My mom took me to see the movie to celebrate my eighth birthday and when the final credits started rolling, I turned to her and asked if she could please take me to the store to buy some Reese’s Pieces. When I took my first bite I didn’t like them at all (yuck; M&Ms tasted so much better, I thought), but I kept eating them because E.T. did.

I knew the influence the movie had on me and I was fascinated. I wanted to be part of creating that type of influence one day, by inspiring people to make choices that they enjoyed. Advertising seemed like a way (at least to my 8-year-old self) to do that, and so here I am.

E.T. inspired my start and me in countless other ways. He showed me that even if you don’t see yourself in the place you dream of being a part of, that doesn’t mean that you won’t get there. I never saw a Kristina Jenkins in any of the cultural expressions of who worked in advertising growing up (I’m not Darren from Bewitched or Amanda from Melrose Place). I still rarely see her today. But I’m here in the place of my dreams.

He also helped me discover that inspiration resides in the most unexpected places like aliens and in candy. It doesn’t matter where or who your dream comes from; it’s where you take it.

Throughout my career, I’ve followed an inner compass more than a road map. My career started with a calling that gave me a vision for what I wanted to be and why. I wasn’t always exactly sure where I wanted to go. There were many times when I got distracted, disappointed or lost during my career. And when I did, I closed my eyes and thought back to that moment when I watching E.T. with my mom in a Long Island movie theater. It’s the moment when I decided that I would do extraordinary things in advertising. I remember how I wanted to help influence people in positive ways. Then I opened my eyes, promised myself I would settle for nothing less, took some time to get clear on where I was going and figured out a way to get there.

What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?

What keeps me motivated is thinking about all the people who are made to feel that it’s not okay to be different, who encounter “no” and “can’t“ and “never“ again and again while they’re pursuing their dreams and goals. I think about a generation of talent that is growing up right now dreaming about being a Chief Strategy Officer one day, and I keep doing what I’m doing so that they can see themselves in what I do and what I am, and so that they have someone who inspires them to do great things in this industry, to remind them not to let anyone talk them out of their dream or make them doubt the difference they can make.

 



Photos: Don Lupo

 

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?

When I found the courage to be myself and do things my way and take on roles that allowed me to think and collaborate with supportive talent, that’s when I realized there was nothing I couldn’t achieve. I’m totally comfortable working with companies that aren’t always the “it” award-winning agencies with the top clients in the hottest cities. I’ve learned to look past all that and focus on my own vision and larger purpose, and on my career. I look for the right opportunities with the right companies at the right time. That’s what I’ve learned to do.

What excites you most about this industry?

Complex business problems and heightened consumer expectations are creating all sorts of opportunities for agencies and their leaders to let go and re-imagine existing strategic staffing models, fundamentals, frameworks, and playbooks. This excites me the most. In too many instances, we’re relying on 20th century ways of working to solve 21st century challenges. This industry can be more of catalyst for what’s new and what’s never been done before.

Where is advertising heading? What do the next five years look like?

I think it’s going to be challenged in unprecedented ways. Those that hang on and resist change will become irrelevant. Those who create opportunity out of these challenges will thrive.

What advice do you have for those just starting in advertising?

Discover that you’re different. Surround yourself with people who believe in your “different.” Master your “different.” Push boundaries with your “different.” Help others unlock and confidently charge forward with their “different.”

This industry may try to make you feel that you are lucky to work in it. That’s how the industry made me feel when I first started. Remember that this industry needs you. We need your optimism, courage, energy, and “different" to help us re-imagine the way things have always been done.

Be the strongest version of yourself, mentally, spiritually and physically. This industry requires a level of strength like you can’t imagine. Unapologetically create space and time to take care of yourself and recharge.

I’ve made all my career decisions by listening to my heart. For example, saying "Yes" early in my career to what many saw was a huge mistake (leaving a big NYC TV agency to live in the sunshine in L.A., while also working at a digital agency). There also was a time when I said "Thank you, but no thank you" to working 24/7 at some of the most prestigious agencies on the most iconic brands, so I could say "Yes" to working with a company that designed a role around me and the life I wanted.

Start by asking yourself what life you want. Then think about the job you want and where.

You’ve worked in advertising in both coasts. Which does it better?

They are very different and offer very different opportunities. There is nothing like working in advertising in N.Y. It’s a city that celebrates sophistication and polish. It’s a city of random collisions that lead to collaborations and ideas that otherwise wouldn’t exist. Agencies own their point of view. There is an electricity that fills their walls, along with a relentless pursuit of greatness. It forces you to assert yourself in unprecedented ways. It humbles you and challenges you with setbacks where you have to decide if you are going to get back up and try again daily.

Los Angeles is bright, optimistic and full of possibility. It doesn’t take itself so seriously. I once read that California is the place that New Yorkers go when they want to be a better version of themselves. I’ve found that to be true. It’s a great place to be as a talent if you want to experiment with new ways of approaching things. It gives you space and permission to recharge, and encourages you to use the inspiration that emerges when you do in your work.

What should our industry be talking about in 2018?

I’d love to hear more conversation about what senior leaders can learn from talent that is brand new to the advertising industry. They have much to teach us. I’ve always wanted to create a program where someone who is a year into their career mentored someone who has been in the business for 20 years.

Any closing thoughts?

We never do great things alone. There are so many people who have been part of helping me get to a place where I can inspire others. To each and every one of them I say, "Thank you".

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Kristina Jenkins is Chief Strategy Officer at Zambezi. Prior to joining Zambezi, Kristina was Culture Intelligence Officer at mcgarrybowen. 

Tags:  #MemberSpotlight  #ThinkMembers  Member Spotlight  Members  ThinkLA  ThinkMembers 

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Key Takeaways from the 3% Minicon

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Written by Brook Hauge, Associate Director, Strategy at Canvas Worldwide and Jana Wentz, VP, Account Director at RPA

Edited by Don Lupo, Director of Content and Marketing at ThinkLA

Diversity is about representation, while inclusion is having an equal seat and a voice at the table. At the end of the day, I notice and you notice. We have the ability to make this world more open and inclusive for everyone.

If we keep pushing at the same ideas and ideals, we are simply pattern matching, which runs the risk of “mirror-tocracy” (funding and working with those who look, feel, and seem just like yourself) vs. meritocracy (influenced by those in power).

From a technology perspective, people are inherently looking for, craving, and designing more connections, but are we really creating meaningful ones? We teach ourselves bad habits, and now through AI, we are teaching our devices bad habits. We are starting to see the effect which AI devices have on emotional intelligence when we remove “Please” and “Thank you” from our digital connections.

This also questions how we are able to infuse empathy into technology processes. We wonder how we will teach the next generation to be utilitarian with their various connected lives and how we will teach them to use the power of human connection and empathy to connect through these same devices. It will become necessary to connect with others through experiences that remove us from our own bias and put us in simulated environments that shape a more inclusive self.

We also learned that change is difficult, and everyone recognizes the need for uprising. However, few know where to start to implement real change. There are so many cultural conversations that need to be dimensionalized. Humans know what is right, but we need forums like 3% to rally around and to lean into ideas other than your own or your small circle.

The CMOs have taught us that inclusivity builds business. Being vulnerable, authentic, and drawing knowledge/inspiration from others is how great culture is formed; dictatorial and didactic leadership is not accepted in today’s workforce. We learned there is no better place to start than forming allies: share success, not just failures. We can build up each other with positive stories.

 

 

Representation is at the root of it all. Who are the people making the decisions? Who is writing the script? How are decisions being made? You cannot just convince people; they change their point of view when they experience something that challenges their beliefs. The world is one social conversational moment at a time: those moments become movements, but they remain moments if we call them that. By dismissing things as moments and not embracing them as movements, we remove the power of all the steps that got us from then to now.

When there is 30% or more of any group in a room, psychologically, we stop seeing anyone as a minority.

In addition, Radical empathetic listening is about putting ourselves in others’ shoes to truly understand what they are experiencing. This helps us all understand how others might be marginalized or not included at all. Empathic listening is really about exercising how we listen and learn about someone’s story and using “I” language. Using “I” when you tell another person’ story as if it was your own, you begin to feel what they feel. Understanding someone else is the societal start to truly connecting. Everything has become very data-driven, and we are missing the emotion in it. Radical empathy can inject that back into the experience.

At the intersection of all things possible is tech and human content. Choose your words: Communication is the tool we use to create change. Language is a creator or bias and is fundamentally crowdsourced. We need to break the system. Unconscious bias leaves people with a desire not to speak; language can be an excluder, but there are ways to participate (rewrite the dictionary, educate to empathize, believe in change). By using new language, we can actually change.

Final thoughts:

Fight. Flight. Freeze. (Change through the Freeze). We are a collective; heroism is gone. We are in search of the connections, and women and leaders who are redefining the rules by which we live, work, play. Speak and include everyone at the very beginning.


Tags:  #ThinkDIG  3%  DIG  diversity  Diversity in Advertising 

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Member Spotlight: Mike Chu, VP, Media Sales at GlobalWide Media

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, May 16, 2018

How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?

My career path hasn’t been that of a typical sales professional. I completed university ready to start a career as an electrical engineer but, like my father and mother, sales kept calling my name.

I grew up in Silicon Valley watching my father sell his way through the semiconductor industry with companies like AMD, LSI Logic, and iWatt. And on top of that, I received very early training from my mother, as early as while I was in the womb, as she mastered sales in the technology space at IBM and Digital Equipment Corp. while growing our family.

I gave database and tech work a solid try at Quinstreet, an advertising agency in the Bay Area, but quickly learned that I was more interested in advertising than tech. I quickly developed my knowledge of online advertising, lead generation, and email marketing, enabling me to transition into a business development role. From there, I went on to develop my career in sales working with the best-of-the-best in digital to continuously build lasting relationships. The one thing I learned early on and carried with me is that our industry operates like a small town and every knows everyone, so put good out in the world and it will come back to you.

Do you have a personal motto?

My motivation comes from the fast pace of the digital advertising and working alongside some of the brightest minds in the industry. The second you slow down, you get left behind, so I make sure I keep things moving, stay on top of the latest innovations and technology, and do my part to help advance the industry landscape.

Ask anyone on my team and they’ll all give you the same answer when asked what my motto is -- “You don’t get what you don’t ask for.” I always ask for the sale, help, perks, discounts, etc. I’ve got nothing to lose, only gain.

What excites you most about this industry?

The limitless possibilities for the future. From a product perspective, I can’t wait to see where virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality takes us. Not only the technology behind new innovations, but also the people. Not a day goes by that I don’t eagerly research new ways our industry can build emotional connections between brands and consumers. I myself am fortunate to be heavily involved in ThinkLA, where I get the opportunity to experience first-hand the great work of our community’s talent.

What's the most important lesson you've learned?

Learning never stops; you have to have an open mind. Our industry is constantly evolving and if you close yourself off from new ideas, thought, and technologies, you’ll get left behind.

It’s also good to remember that there is absolutely more than one way to accomplish a task. I run into too many people who feel that they know everything there is to know about sales, the industry, or a product. In my mind, life is a giant math problem and there’s an infinite number of ways to solve a single problem.

Where is advertising heading? What do the next five years look like?

Exciting things await the advertising industry. Take blockchain technology for instance. Not only is it an interesting investment, but it’s a vehicle for placing power back in the hands of consumers. We have seen social media networks in the news for the misuse of consumer data. With blockchain, there are decentralized solutions that would allow consumers to monetize the data shared with advertisers, giving them a choice in how and when their data is used.

As far as the next five years -- well, as we’ve seen, a lot can happen in five years! Mass adoption of blockchain technology by consumers and advertisers/agencies similar to what we’ve seen with programmatic advertising could change the face of the advertising landscape as we know it.

 



Photos: Don Lupo

 

What advice do you have for those just starting their careers in advertising?

The best advice I can give to up-and-comers is to work with a mentor that will not only share their successes, but also their failures. Make it a point to get together as often as possible and absorb the information like a sponge. A trusted mentor is also a great person to bounce ideas off of or find ways to overcome challenging situations.

Second, attend as many networking events as possible. You never know who you’re going to meet and when they’ll be able to help you as you grow your career.

You are the father to two adorable children. How do you balance your family and personal life with work obligations?

I constantly remind myself that I can do it all, I just can’t do it all alone. When it comes to family, my wife and I are a team: very similar to the team I rely on at GlobalWide Media. We develop a strategy, settle on a plan, then execute. As I mentioned before, there is more one way to accomplish a task, so I do my best to stay agile and work with my team to divide and conquer the task at hand, whether it’s at home or work.

I also do my best to be home for as many nighttime snuggles as possible.

Any closing thoughts?

Always strive for perfection, but be sure that your idea of perfection is attainable. There’s no perfect product on the market, and people aren’t perfect either. But if you’re always striving for perfection, then you’ll undoubtedly perform better and better each time. You’ll also learn what your strengths and weaknesses are. A good friend helped me discover my strengths and weaknesses early in my career. From that moment on, I worked on improving my weaknesses and focused on using my strengths to overshadow my weaknesses. I once read a quote by Carlos Castaneda that said, “We either make ourselves miserable or make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” Focus on the things you can control and stay positive.

Lastly, do the right thing: the right thing for yourself, your team (at home and at work), and your clients. There is a lot of pressure to push business in a specific direction, to raise your family a certain way, so it is easier said than done. But if we all try to look at things more objectively and choose to see the good, then only good will come from it.

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Mike Chu is VP, of Media Sales at GlobalWide Media, and has been an active member of ThinkLA since the organization began in 2007. 

Tags:  #MemberSpotlight  #ThinkMembers  GlobalWide Media  Mike Chu 

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Member Spotlight: Carlene Rowe, Director of Brand Partnerships and Experiential, Conill Advertising

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, May 9, 2018

How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?

I’ve always been fascinated with storytelling, as I’m a big fan of film, television and music. One of my favorite movies as a kid was ET. My favorite part in the film was when ET was lured by one of the characters with Reese’s Pieces candy. This was my first encounter with advertising and product placement, which led me to study marketing and advertising at California State University, Northridge.

My first job out of college was working as a Contemporary Marketing Representative at Anheuser-Busch. During my tenure, I had the privilege to partner with top talent, travel the world and learn from the best minds in the advertising industry, as we launched memorable beer campaigns, which made Budweiser the iconic brand it is today. After years of moving up the ladder, I landed the best job in the company, as Sr. Manager of Sports and Entertainment, working with agencies on several campaigns.

This led me to my role as Director of Sports and Entertainment at Conill Advertising, what a great ride!

To this day, Reese’s Pieces is still my favorite candy… advertising works!

Do you have a personal motto?

I'm passionate about Sports and Entertainment, so doing something I love is always fun, rewarding and thrilling. In addition, my team at Conill keeps me motivated, as they are creative, hard working and inspiring leaders ready to make their mark in advertising.

My personal motto is, “Leadership is earned, not given”, so I encourage everyone on my team to be a leader. It doesn’t matter what title you hold, we all have the responsibility to share new ideas, think outside the box and make a difference as it relates to their project or field of work.

What excites you most about this industry?

Constant change. Data and innovation are KEY, as we are learning new ways to communicate with audiences globally. Data and innovation will continue to provide brands with the ability to hyper-target consumers and measure results more precisely and insightfully than ever before. In an era where we can tune in to watch an electric car being launched to Mars via social media for everyone around the world to see, not even the 'sky's the limit' anymore. With change comes growth, which is exhilarating!

Where is advertising heading? What do the next five years look like?

Innovation, Innovation, Innovation!

VR, AI, voice-control systems and new apps, provide brands with a way to link with hyper-connected consumers, as a means to provide more authentic and personalized engagement. Look out for new ways of distributing branded content and new avenues of communication through advancements in technology that will impact the way we communicate with consumers globally.

What advice do you have for people in advertising that are beginning their career?

Find your niche. I manage the Sports and Entertainment department, which is a new area of focus at our agency; it gives us the ability to reach new audiences through influencer marketing and events, as it paves the road for our brands to get in front of consumers and engage in a way that is appealing and authentic.

 



Photos: Don Lupo

 

What should our industry be talking about in 2018?

There are so many things happening across the marketing landscape, that it’s impossible to call them all out. From my vantage point, innovation, experiential, and influencer marketing will continue to be pivotal in creating unforgettable experiences for consumers, particularly given changes in social media platforms, such as Facebook. Technological advancements in these areas over the next few years will continue to transform the engagement model and expand the relationship envelope.

Any closing thoughts?

As John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” We need more leaders who aren’t afraid to take risks and disrupt old ways of thinking. We must foster and cultivate the emerging visionaries in our business, so they can take us to new heights.

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Carlene Rowe is the Director of Brand Partnerships and Experiential at Conill Advertising. Carlene recently spoke at ThinkLA's Auto Breakfast, and was featured on ThinkLA's Women of Color in Advertising to Highlight list.

Tags:  #MemberSpotlight  #ThinkDIG  #ThinkMembers  Career Advice  DIG  Diversity in Advertising  ThinkMembers  Women 

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