My interest in communications was sparked in high school, mainly through extracurricular activities. I always enjoyed being behind the scenes, working with people and having a hand in making things happen. And when I had the opportunity to be a cast member of a teen talk show, I discovered that I got more fulfillment behind the camera than in front of it. I began to research and explore careers that would allow me to use my skills, and discovered a great communications program at Syracuse University.
During my time in college, all of the internships I held were communications based in some form. I came to realize that internal communications was a great professional starting point for me, because I could learn to use corporate communication to connect with people, drive engagement and shape corporate cultures – all while gaining exposure and expanding my reach in other areas of the business world.
My career kicked off with a media relations internship at General Electric (GE), where I advanced through their two-year Communications Leadership Development Program (CLDP). For the next nine years, I held several public relations, internal communications and marketing communications roles with GE and NBCUniversal. I then transitioned to Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), as their Director of Global Internal Communications and eventually moved over to the marketing team where I was a senior level experiential marketing leader.
As I continued to hone my craft and gain experience, I discovered how expansive the communications field is, touching every aspect of business. I found opportunities to lead initiatives that not only increased employee engagement, but also supported diversity and inclusion. This expanded my career focus, and I joined Buzzfeed as their Senior Director of Internal Communications. While in this role I also helped drive diversity, inclusion and belonging efforts for its entertainment business.
I was offered the opportunity to lead Internal Communications at UTA in early 2018. This role felt like a culmination of all of my experiences, and allowed me to join the internal leadership team that worked to advance diversity and inclusion – an initiative that I will now lead as Executive Director of Inclusion. UTA has made great progress over the past few years and I can’t wait to build on that foundation and see what comes next.
What has been an important, perhaps the most important, lesson you’ve learned in your career so far?
The greatest lesson that I have learned thus far is that not only should we be the biggest advocates for ourselves, but we must also be worthy of being advocated. You want to be good enough to earn your place at the table and feel confident that your seat belongs to you. I celebrate everything that I have achieved so far in my career. And while I am ambitious, my ambition is not aimed at gaining further recognition, but to learn, and further develop as a leader, so that accolades come as a result of work, dedication, and never being satisfied with “enough.” I can then serve as my own greatest advocate because I know that I have set my sights on what I want and in spite of my road not being an easy one, I pushed to propel myself to where I want to be.
What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?
My family has always been my biggest motivator and my top priority. My daughter is the greatest inspiration of my life – she is my North Star. I have always wanted to achieve as much as possible, and knowing that she is watching me and what I do, and that these things will inform her decisions and shape her path inspires me to do even better, and to help make the world a better place for her.
Samuel Beckett said it best, “Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again.” I love this because it speaks to being human, and not looking to yourself for perfection but rather for progress.
Photos: Don Lupo Photography
What excites you most about this industry?
Advertising is influential in its ability to determine who and what people buy - but I love how it also reflects what our world looks like at a given point in time – it’s an intersection between commerce and culture.
Through insight, collaboration and inclusion, this industry has the power to tell stories that resonate with people, compel action, shift cultures, and drive change. I am excited to be a part of something that reaches into communities and seeks ways to constantly make connections.
Where is advertising headed? What do the next five years look like?
What advice do you have for emerging professionals who are beginning their careers, particularly women?
The industry’s influence comes with a responsibility – I hope that advertisers will start paying attention to more diverse markets. I think people are quickly realizing there is a demand for representation and they can leverage diversity to appeal to a greater audience. Social media and digital content have changed the conversation about the approach to advertising, causing more companies to recognize that people want to connect with other people who look like them or reflect the global community.
I can only speak from my own experience, but for me what was important was finding my voice and being able to advocate for myself. I had a strong desire to be both a parent and high performing professional. I am doing both but with the understanding that I had to make some trade-offs and concessions, and those choices work for me and for my family. Women no longer have to assume that life is an either-or proposition; you can design the life you want, but you must stand in your truth - any sacrifices you make should be on your terms. Take ownership of your decisions go forward without fear.