Archive for the ‘mktg’ tag

MKTG Art Pairings

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From left to right: Kokoshen Li, Curator, ArtFuse Inc., Zhang Lanjun, Xu Jin, Peter Office; Artwork behind by Zhang Lanjun

In celebration of the Chinese New Year, The Year of the Rooster, we were pleased to welcome world-reknowned artists, Xu Jin and Zhang Lanjun, two leading Chinese artists, to unveil their exhibitions at our NYC Global HQ. Last night, 150 guests toured the exhibit and were treated to a Lion Dance bringing luck to everyone in attendance.

Organized by New York – based independent curator Kokoshen Li, the exhibition features a total of 22 recent paintings. Reflecting Xu Jin’s and Zhang Lanjun’s respective life experiences, these works manifest widely different styles, ranging from realistic to semi-abstract to abstract. The two bodies of work are formally distinct but have a common feature – saturated colors and many delicate layers. The brushstrokes are heavy yet elegant, the overall images captivating. Contemplating any of the paintings, one can sense the emotional upsurge in the artist at the moment of creation. Viewing the works one after the other, one travels through diverse artistic visions of the world.

Xu Jin has a place in Chinese art history as a leader of the’ 85 New Wave, a pioneering post – Mao avant – garde movement. Xu later immigrated to New York, where he has since lived and worked for 30 years. As he says, “Half of my life is in America and the other half is in China.” Xu Jin’s style is firmly rooted in Chinese tradition, yet marked by a free, romantic vigor reflecting his decades of immersion in the Western social and artistic environment.

Zhang Lanjun, born in the 1963 in Jiangsu Province, took his initial training in copper etching. His painting style is sometimes delicate and timeless, like that of ancient Chinese painters, and sometimes wild and restless, in the manner of the contemporary action painting school. In this show, he presents nine examples from his “Metamorphosis” series and “The Book of Revelation.” In these melodious, cheerful, playful, and occasionally peculiar works viewers experience over and over again the seemingly invisible but tangible struggle between the flesh and the soul.

Take a look below to see artwork from this world-renowned pair as well as photos from the Lion Dance:

 

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Written by Paige McConney
Paige McConney

February 9th, 2017 at 10:56 am

A Day In The Life : Kati Kasch

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In this month’s installment of A Day in the Life, we are featuring Kati Kasch, a director in the Sports & Entertainment team (formerly Team Epic) who lives on the road, but calls Denver home. Kati is one of the minds behind the Women’s Leadership and Empowerment Group that started at Epic and is going to be gaining steam across the US this year. Get to know Kati, her experiences, and her love for adventure below and by following her on Instagram. We promise, you won’t be sorry.
What do you work on? 
I help lead the charge on the IBM business, our longest client for over 20 years, overseeing teams across our hospitality, consulting and digital departments. I’m one of the lucky few who get to attend the Super Bowl each year for my work on FedEx’s NFL sponsorship and have dabbled with their golf sponsorship, too. A sucker for meeting new people and making connections, I am involved with our new business efforts from prospecting to pitching, acting as a subject matter buff on anything events, action sports, golf, food or outdoor lifestyle related. My biggest personal accomplishment is starting the women’s leadership and empowerment group alongside Samantha Bond which now spans offices across the country.
What time do you wake up on a typical work day? 
 6:00am…Okay fine, 6:07 after a quick snooze – I stick to East Coast work hours so I need to up and at ’em early.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Do you have a routine? Come on, tell us! 
Step 1 – Disable first alarm. Step 2 – Sleep for seven more minutes until second alarm rings. Step 3 – Wipe drool from cheek. Step 4 – Five minutes of stretching – nothing wakes me up like a good stretch! Step 5 – Check TheSkimm, Google Alerts (for news on clients) and ClassPass to figure out how I’m going to get my butt kicked later that day.
Your day cannot be properly started without ______… 
A stretch, strong coffee and a couple minutes of sunshine – it’s Colorado, people, we love our sunshine!
How do you commute to work and do you enjoy your commute? Details please! 
I take a treacherous 67 steps down to Kaschbucks (my kitchen coffee shop) and then 43 back upstairs to my office. I can’t complain…no traffic, nice people and small carbon footprint – a big difference from my commute when I lived in NYC that was an hour and 45 minutes each way to and from Connecticut. A lot of my work is on the road so my commute often consists of Uber and Delta to places all across the country.
Does your day have a soundtrack? If so, what’s on your playlist that is a daily obsession or gives you that stroke of genius?
I can’t do anything without music – drive my car, work out, etc. However, when it comes to my work day the only thing I can work to is Explosions in the Sky. Who the heck are they you might ask? Well, they’re a quartet who plays only instrumental music and who you might know for curating the entire Friday Night Lights soundtrack. You’re welcome in advance.
Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which ones? 
How I Built This on NPR
Name your top five apps and why:
OnTheSnow – it gives me the snow report for every ski resort across the world so I can chase powder all winter long.
All Trails – it shows you all the hiking, biking or snowshoeing trails based on your location. It includes directions to the tail head, info on distance, elevation gain, etc. and people review and upload photos.
Hotel Tonight – seeing as I spend a lot of nights away from home, and often at a minute’s notice, I like to book my hotels through Hotel Tonight. You can’t book until the day of your stay but I can get into some of New York’s hottest hotels for a fraction of the price.
Snapseed – because photos never do real life any justice, this app helps me enhance them to look almoooosttt as good. Admittedly, I am an Instagram addict.
Nextdoor – it’s a private social media network for your neighborhood community. After verifying your address you’re connected to your neighbors who can alert you if they’re selling furniture, if a crime has been committed in your neighborhood or simply to ask for a handyman recommendation.
What are some restaurants or spots near your (home) office that make your day- from a lunch place that knows your ‘usual’ to a beautiful park- what locales do you live by?
I live in Five Points, a Historic Neighborhood in Denver which includes RiNo a section of town with breweries on every corner, innovative eateries and one of the largest collections of street art. Working from a coffee shop there or grabbing an Old Fashioned at night is the bees knees.
What after-work activity makes your week complete?
During the week I try to be as active as possible – from a surfing workout to hip hop to spinning, I like to try it all. Not to mention, my favorite is the wheelchair lacrosse team I play on – Go Rolling Mammoth! An every night MUST is to watch Jeopardy – complete with yelling answers at the TV. I’m working up the courage to apply one day. You can just call me the next Ken Jennings. On the weekend you can find me in the mountains or on a plane – I will do whatever it takes to be skiing, snowboarding, camping or traveling the world.
What’s your New Year’s Resolution? (If you have one) 
Speak with conviction and advocate wholeheartedly for things that are important to me like women’s rights and the future of our planet.
——–
Follow Kati on Instagram, Spotify, and Twitter!
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Written by Mary Kate Pleggenkuhle
Mary Kate Pleggenkuhle

January 30th, 2017 at 1:43 pm

New Year. New You. New Apps.

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The beginning of the year starts with the best intentions.  Maybe it’s your New Year’s resolutions to get in shape, start eating right or to run every day. Or it’s just a resolution to be better than you were last year. Whatever your resolution may be, as responsibilities pick up at work and at home, i.e. life happens, they become increasingly more difficult to keep.

The good news? There’s an app for everything! Even your New Year’s Resolution and especially self-care. And we have some tried-and-true recommendations to help with any goal you may have to make 2017 your BEST year yet.

Get In Shape

Nike+ Training

The Nike+ Training App has workouts from beginner to advanced levels.  You can set reminders to workout, start your own workout program, and even download workouts so you can complete them without using your data. The Nike+ Training App rarely requires equipment (though it offers modifications if you’d like to use equipment), which makes it a great tool for anyone who spends a lot of time on the road. Just download the app, pack your training shoes and get a sweat in no matter where you are.

Run Every Day

Nike+ Run Club

The Nike+ Run Club App is the all-in-one tool for beginners to advanced runners alike.  The app tracks your miles, your splits and your progress over time. You can also set up a Nike+ Coach plan to help keep you on track to your goals. Plus, there will always be an elite athlete congratulating you for getting out there…and they can be quite motivating!

Get Involved/Take Action

Countable

Countable is your one-stop-shop for everything US politics.  It notifies you of bills under consideration, explains them in a lay-person’s terms, and gives you the opportunity to vote yea or nay (which is then sent directly to your rep). Countable makes it easy to get involved, no matter your party affiliation.

Change Habits

Fabulous

Fabulous is an app made in partnership with the Duke School of Behavioral Economics to help you build healthy habits. It starts small, like “drink water as soon as you wake up for three days in a row.” And progresses to include tips on eating healthy breakfast and to exercise and even offers tips on mental habits and meditation. It can be a bit overwhelming at first, but at the end of the day, having a lot of small habits adds up to feeling happier, healthier, and more energized.

Unplug

BreakFree

BreakFree is the app we all know we need and only sort-of want. The app works to analyze how addicted you truly are to your smartphone and assist you in cutting down phone-usage. You can set new guard rails for yourself, and the app will notify you in real-time if you aren’t meeting those expectations (i.e. if you’ve been on the phone too long without a break). Users say it’s a hugely humbling experience, and helps get you to think twice before picking up that small block. Maybe the Instagram feed can wait a bit.

Try Meditating

Headspace

Meditation can be an intimidating practice, especially if you’re always on the move, both physically and mentally. Headspace is an app to help reduce stress and anxiety through a series of guided meditation, for beginners to gurus. The free version comes with one level of meditation and you can download the app with a free 10-day trial before committing to a subscription for a large collection of guided meditations. OHMMMMMMMMM……

 

 

 

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Written by Mary Kate Pleggenkuhle
Mary Kate Pleggenkuhle

January 30th, 2017 at 11:38 am

DENTSU AEGIS US WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP SERIES FEATURING ELISE MITCHELL

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Elise Mitchell and Rob Horler, CEO Dentsu Aegis Network US Q&A at the first Women’s Leadership Series of the Year at DAN US HQ in Tribeca, New York

As part of Dentsu Aegis Network’s global commitment to fostering gender diversity and supporting female leaders across its businesses, the network hosts a quarterly speaker series dedicated to discussing the opportunities and challenges of female talent. The first edition was hosted at the new US headquarters of the Dentsu Aegis Network in New York’s trendy TriBeCa neighborhood and featured Elise Mitchell, founder and CEO of global communications agency Mitchell Communications. Approximately 75 people from across the company (including at least 15 MKTGers) spent the evening networking, celebrating women in leadership, and hearing Elise’s amazing story of entrepreneurship and growth.

Elise shared key lessons from her recently released book, Leading Through The Turn, and was later joined by Rob Horler, CEO DAN US, for a Q&A with the audience. Was an awesome night and is an even more awesome read. Grab your copy today!

For more photos from the event, check out Mitchell’s Facebook page.

 

 

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Tropicana Activation Featured on BizBash

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Post Originally Featured on BizBash:

Tropicana recently brought a bit of sunshine to New York, encouraging people to bring out their best selves. The juice brand hosted its #YourBestYou activation in Times Square from January 14 to 17, bringing to life the brand’s new platform—which is focused on positivity and optimism—as part of its relaunch for its 70th year. The activation offered consumers a variety of interactive experiences inspired by the brand relaunch.

The pop-up event, which was produced by MKTG, invited passersby to go inside of a domed tent that resembled an orange. Inside the tent, interactive experiences included video stations that allowed guests to create custom messages, picking out inspiring messages from an orange tree replica, and a green screen photo station that projected images with animated backgrounds on a Times Square billboard.

Here’s a look at the different ways Tropicana engaged consumers during the four-day event.

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Written by Mary Kate Pleggenkuhle
Mary Kate Pleggenkuhle

January 20th, 2017 at 4:23 pm

2017 NHL Centennial Fan Arena

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The NHL Centennial Fan Arena opened over the New Year in Toronto, Canada to celebrate a century of hockey thrills. The Fan Arena features several interactive activities, open to all ages, and will be traveling throughout Canada and the US throughout the duration of 2017 so all fans can get in on the fun.

 The Museum Truck

The 53-foot Museum Truck features interactive digital displays, original video content, historical memorabilia, and several photo moments throughout including a customizable Locker Room photo op. Wayne Gretzky stopped by the Museum Truck in Toronto to experience the interactives and sign the Centennial Anniversary logo.

There’s also a second truck which hosts a giant video screen for team trivia and highlights, as well as a pop-up stage for special appearances. Living legend, Wayne Gretzky, stopped by in Toronto.

The Rink

A pop-up ball hockey rink with programmed clinics and games will be open for youth players.

Stanley Cup

Need we say more? The coveted Stanley Cup, the oldest trophy in professional sports, will be present in each market.

Clear The Ice Zamboni® VR Experience

Fans take a seat in a Mini-Zamboni® complete with cool air on their face and a rumbling seat, to compete to resurface the ice. The goal is to create the perfect sheet in the fastest time. All rides will be timed and featured on a leaderboard.

Recycle the Game

Fans have the opportunity to bring their used hockey gear, including shin pads, helmets, shoulder pads, elbow pads, hockey pants, gloves, skates, sticks, goalie pads and goalie blockers/gloves to be donated to under-served community hockey programs. Not only that, but the first 200 donors will receive a shop.nhl.com discount card!

 

Calendar

Check out the upcoming events, and check back to the NHL website for additional markets in the coming weeks!

Jan 7-8: Arizona (Tempe Marketplace)

Jan 12-14: Dallas

Jan 18-19: San Jose

Jan 21-23: Anaheim

Jan 26-29: Los Angeles (2017 NHL Fan Fair, Tickets Required)

Feb 3-5: St. Louis

Feb 11-12: Nashville

Feb 24-25: Pittsburgh

Also, check out a few photo selects below!

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Kylie Cosmetics Pop-Up Shop Powered By Shopify

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MKTG is so thrilled to have partnered with Shopify on such a successful endeavor.

Originally posted on Fashionista:

One of the hottest topics of 2015 was Kylie Jenner’s lips, but 2016 was the year she capitalized on all that discussion with her own rapidly expanding cosmetics line. The first Lip Kit dropped on Cyber Monday 2015 at 12 p.m. EST. At 12:01 p.m. EST, everything was completely sold out. Within minutes, the site crashed entirely and still wasn’t functioning properly hours later; the kits, which retailed for $29 a piece, were already listed on eBay for upwards of $200. It was a buzzy product launch (something the Kardashian/Jenner/Wests are experts at) to say the least, but Kylie stans who weren’t able to purchase the item Jenner had been teasing on social media for months were not exactly pleased. Angry tweets and comments — as well as negative reports to the Better Business Bureau — would plague Jenner for months to come. So in January, Kylie Cosmetics relaunched in partnership with popular e-commerce platform Shopify, which still powers all of the 19-year-old’s retail endeavors.

Shopify already had a connection to the family (it powered Dash‘s website) and Jenner switched over when her team realized demand would be too high for their existing online platform. As Shopify powers over 325,000 merchants, it’s built enough back-end infrastructure and servers to prevent a crash like the aforementioned Lip Kit fiasco, explained Loren Padelford, VP & GM of Shopify Plus, over the phone last week. “We had to write special software that allows us to manage servers in a unique way,” he said, using the analogy of standing in line at a physical store before you can check out. Essentially, shoppers must wait in a digital line before they can check out, and that prevents the site from crashing when millions of people flood it simultaneously once Jenner sends that all-important tweet….

Finish reading on Fashionista

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Written by Mary Kate Pleggenkuhle
Mary Kate Pleggenkuhle

January 2nd, 2017 at 1:58 pm

MKTG4GOOD: MKTG San Francisco | Adopt a Family

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For the past month, the San Francisco office has been working with Adopt a Family as part of our annual winter corporate social responsibility event. Adopt a Family is a non-profit organization that pairs families in need with donors (like us!) and the donors  follow a wishlist and shop for holiday gifts for the families. 

We received two families to support so we split the West Coast team (this included everyone in LA and our gals currently working in NY) up. We arranged as a little friendly competition and the teams signed up for items and shopped. Earlier this week, we gathered all of the gifts in San Fran and spent much of the day gift wrapping and getting everything ready to hand over to these amazing families. Take a look! 

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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

December 7th, 2016 at 1:44 pm

Canon Celebrates New Camera with Surprise Gallery Event at The Whitney

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Reposted (and a bit revised) from our partner agency 360i’s blog. We were honored to help them fully produce this powerful experience. 

To launch the highly-anticipated EOS 5D Mark IV, Canon and 360i gave four photographers an impossible challenge: only 24 hours after receiving the camera, they would have to display the images they captured at a full-fledged pop-up exhibit, produced by MKTG, at the white hot Whitney Museum in New York City’s Meatpacking district.

Just hours before the event, neither Canon nor 360i nor MKTG knew what images provided by Roberto Valenzuela, Jendra Jarnagin, Alex Strohl and Sue Bryce would look like. But confident in the camera’s abilities, they welcomed 130 prominent members of the media, influencers and New York’s photography community to watch as they were unveiled for the first time around the gallery. As guests arrived, every frame in the gallery was still empty. Then, while the audience watched, the photos were printed with Canon printers and mounted on the walls of the gallery over the course of the evening.

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With over 8.2 million impressions, the campaign and gallery event was a successful celebration of Canon’s passion for imaging, and confidence in their flagship camera.

 

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DENTSU AEGIS NETWORK TAKES TIME OUT WITH…MARLENA EDWARDS, VP of MKTG HR

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Our partners at Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) recently launched a series spotlighting leaders throughout our network called Time Out with…, and their first profile features MKTG’s very own Marlena Edwards, VP of HR. DAN North America Comms leaders Belle Lenz and Megan Madaris chat with Marlena, delving into her 11-year career with MKTG, from starting off in an entry-level role to leading her department. It’s a fascinating conversation that you should add to your reading list  and will be a recurring series moving forward, found on Medium.com.


DAN: So let’s set the stage here. Tell us a little bit about where you’re from and how this all started.

ME: I’m from Rochester, NY, upstate. I’ve been in New York City since 2002 and can’t see myself living anywhere else. I live in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. It’s one of those areas that’s just on the cusp of being gentrified, but you still get all of your services and it’s still pretty cool and edgy. I love it.

DAN: You run HR for MKTG. How did you find your way into it?

ME: That’s an interesting story. It’s really about being prepared for opportunity more than anything else. I didn’t go to school for it. Never imagined a career in HR. From the time I was eight I always thought I was going to be a lawyer. I got a scholarship to law school, but by the time I finished my first year I was questioning what I signed up for. It became really apparent that it just wasn’t that kind of idealized Law & Order kind of lawyer vs. the real life monotony of being in a court room and arguing the same thing every day. So I took some time off law school and I got a job to support myself and after a few years I needed to figure out what I wanted my career to be. I talked to a recruiter and at the time I was working in operations, but my manager had me involved in a lot of employee relations, doing some payroll, etc.

The recruiter asked me if I’d ever thought about HR and as opportunity would have it I was working in more of an operations role at MKTG. I submitted my letter of resignation to take another position more in line with what I was going for with HR in the non-profit sector. An HR employee at MKTG told me that they knew I wanted to be in HR and recognized how hard I worked and my determination and they wanted to give me an opportunity in HR at MKTG.

Literally, just like that they gave me my first opportunity as an entry-level HR person at MKTG, going on 11 years ago. Every year has been an education in HR since, but that’s how it all began.

 


DAN: So that was 11 years ago. Wow. What has that journey been like for you?

ME: So I think the journey for me has been really kind of significant and similar to a lot of our other MKTG employees. What I love is that MKTG really allows you to own your business and work autonomously and if you can step up to the plate and you’re prepared and you can show people that you’re providing a service and a benefit, there’s always opportunity. Whether it was working on small acquisitions; rebranding and thinking about our culture and what we want to change; introducing a new program in terms of employee recognition; doing surveys and listening to employees and understanding why we were having people thinking about leaving and understanding how important learning and development was… as long as I was able to build a case and present that to our leadership team, I was always given the opportunity to rise to the challenge. Year after year after year there was always some business challenge that called for HR support and I was able to provide a service to our leaders. And 11 year’s later, here I am!

DAN: Is it what you expected? What has surprised you?

ME: Absolutely not! People ask me all the time what makes me stay because 11 years in the advertising/marketing space is unheard of. But every day is a new day. We do a lot of experiential work rooted in events and having employees in 40 different states spanning a number of different industries from sports to wine and spirits, you have a lot of factors that can lead to so many precarious situations. So if it’s someone wanting an alligator at an event, I need to know what our liability is as a company for having that happen. That’s an HR issue because I need to understand our insurance policies and what that means. Or if we’re going to open an office in London, what does that mean about hiring people, and visas, etc. So really having the opportunity to spread my wings and learn and identify mentors — like other HR leads across the Dentsu Aegis Network — have allowed me to learn about situations I hadn’t experienced yet.

DAN: How has it been to grow as a leader within the same company? Some people move jobs every couple of years to get promoted or ascend but it’s different to do that in the same company.

ME: It is, it’s very different. It takes a lot of self awareness and hard work because when you are being promoted from within people see you in the role that you came in as and it’s a constant reminder. But if you have a manager or a support system that really believes in your contribution, like I have had, they are championing you 100%. They say, “she has a voice, it’s important and we need to make sure we’re listening to it.” It can be difficult but if you have the right team around you it can work. And if you find a place that you’re comfortable, why not stay there and grow?


DAN: Have you had any career defining moments that stick out to you?

ME: The one thing is definitely submitting my letter of resignation and having someone come to you and say they recognize something in you. That has always pushed me to make sure that I’m always doing my best and it’s not always easy. Sometimes you want to take the easy way out but someones always looking and noticing, so that was the most defining moment for me.

The other moment may be before MKTG was acquired, there was a more senior HR person and I remember being asked if I wanted to be considered for this potential role. I was less senior than I am now of course but I remember being all “yes, sure!” You’re young, you’re ambitious and you want to get it done. Well we had a board at the time and after a week or so the team circled back and explained that one board member thought I needed more experience before they could think about me for that role. I took it really hard and I had to sit down and acknowledge that to someone who didn’t work with me day to day and from the outside looking in I had only been at the company for five or six years, without a huge amount of HR experience, so it made sense.

Once we got through that together they saw me as their person for that role. Showing that you’re there doing your best is always going to work in your favor.

It was a blow of course. It took some time, but there were some challenges that came through the business and I was able to partner with some of our senior leaders and they saw that I could rise to the occasion, stand there in the difficult times and support them. And then once we got through that together they saw me as their person for that role. Again, showing that you’re there doing your best is always going to work in your favor.

Two times that I didn’t think things would work in my favor but some how, some way, they did.

DAN: What would your advice be in that moment when you think you’re nailing it, at the top of your game, and someone says “you are, but you’re not quite where we need you to be”? How do you deal with that?

ME: One of the biggest things I’ve learned is you really do have to be self aware. You have to step outside of yourself and really listen to and hear the feedback that you’re getting. You need to be able to get that feedback and adjust and pivot as necessary.

DAN: And get visibility…

ME: Absolutely. Visibility is really really big. The larger the organization, the harder it is but you have to make that effort to get that visibility and make sure that people understand how you’re contributing.

Location: The Roxy Hotel, Tribeca, NYC


DAN: Do you ever talk to your teams about executive presence? How do you think about that?

ME: I definitely think that it’s important at all levels to think about executive visibility. From an HR perspective, you never know how people are going to react to the information that you give them. You always want to make sure that you’re representing the department you come from and the company in the appropriate light. What’s good about our organization is that whether you’re talking about our COO, or our CEO, they’re very entrepreneurial people who ask all employees what the they think about different ideas. They’re really all about the think tank approach. So if our employees have ideas I always encourage them to take it to the table, but it’s really about how you take it to the table. Are you able to show the benefit to the company? It can’t just be us spending money all the time. What’s the value? Talking to employees about how they position themselves whether they’re entry or junior level, there’s still a contribution to be made. It doesn’t have to be this huge thing.


DAN: On the flip side of that, people say that HR is a people business and I’m sure you encounter individuals who are not at their best dealing with difficult situations. Do you have any tips for how you help people problem solve those sorts of issues?

ME: When you’re talking to managers who are having a difficult time with employees, they usually are just looking at behaviors. Counseling them on the factors that really lead to those behaviors, and that those factors are what you really need to address with the employee is what’s been most helpful in my experience. I find that when you’re talking to people honestly and transparently, they’re more apt to be honest and upfront and come to a consensus with you. We often get involved in “this is what I want, and this is what you need to do,” type of thinking, and that never goes well. The questions should be more like “What’s going on with you? What can I do to help you?” and a lot of times people don’t come from that “What can I do” perspective when they feel like the other person is in the wrong.

Also, just try to be objective and take all the personal out of it. I’m really proud of counseling people out of some really disastrous situations. There have been quite a few over the years and you’d think people would never be able to stand in the same room with one another again, and after sitting down, really laying everything on the table, as long as there’s mutual respect there, I don’t think there’s anything that can’t be overcome. Respect sometimes means, I need to address really difficult things with you and this just might not be the right fit. Even though that’s a tough pill to swallow, people respect it and they understand it.

It’s the age old rule, talk to people and deal with people the way that you’d want to hear and receive that information and it goes a long way.


DAN: What are some of the biggest misconceptions about HR?

ME: Ha. That you always have to be careful about what you say! When I meet people at different agencies or in different walks of life they always say they would never imagine that I would be an HR person. Or we go out to dinner or have cocktails after work and people will be like, “oh we can’t talk about this cause HR is here.” We’re not judging you. We’re not here to judge people, we don’t do that. You should look at HR personnel as a resource. We are here to help you get the work done; to help support the business. We like to have fun doing it and we are a part of the culture and the fabric of the business. Talk to us like you’d talk to anybody else. If you’re crossing a line or getting a little fuzzy, we’ll let you know, but utilize HR. I think a lot of people are a little apprehensive when they hear HR or they always thing it’s negative, and it’s not. I encourage people to seek out their HR partners because we’re working with the leaders of the organization to implement change and cultural initiatives and we can help push that forward.

DAN: What do you think makes a good leader? How do you foster a culture of leadership at MKTG?

ME: I think a good leader is somebody who hears their employees and listens to hear not to respond — that’s one of my favorite sayings. A good leader allows their team to drive their business and hears out their concerns . A leader’s job is to listen to that real concern and figure out how to fix it. It might not be fixed in three days or three months, but they’re going to put a plan in place to make sure that the organization is supporting everyone. No good leader wants to do the work of the people on their team; they want to empower their team to run with it.

Listen to hear not to respond — that’s one of my favorite sayings.

 


DAN: You’ve been with MKTG for 11 years. How do you stay engaged?

ME: I think our industry keeps me engaged. It is ever changing and every two years, it’s a reinvention. We have to make sure we are up-skilling our employees and that we understand what tools they need. What worked two years ago is no longer relevant so it keeps HR and the business busy. There’s so much data and information that we have to stay at the forefront of, that it constantly keeps me engaged. If I was working at a bank maybe I’d say nothing has changed in the last 11 years, but in media and advertising it’s constantly changing so you have to always be at the forefront to understand how to take you business forward.

DAN: Is that stressful?

ME: Haha. Yes, constant change is totally stressful. You have to break it down into bite size pieces and prioritize where you’re going to put your focus. It’s funny we have really focused on learning and development over the last year, and it’s super important to us. We’ve visited the MIT Media Lab, we use General Assembly, offer a Keynote course. It didn’t seem like a big deal if you weren’t a creative to know Keynote but now your client services teams are creating decks and they need to know about how to present. We’ve had to refocus on what’s important. It’s not necessarily about how to put a PowerPoint together, but about how to respond to client needs. We recognize that there needs to be a certain look and feel to everything that we present and that all of our employees need to be able to contribute at that same level. It keeps me motivated to see how engaged our people are with the learning and development opportunities we’re offering. It is stressful though, there’s no way around it. It takes a lot of time, energy and support to identify the people aligned with the company vision who will help you get the work done. That’s what keeps me motivated. I have a great team.

DAN: Is there anything outside of work that helps you destress?

ME: I love to travel. I just tried to take a trip to Bermuda in the middle of a hurricane, which I didn’t make it to… But I love to travel. For me, the perfect vacation is a little bit of beach/rest/relaxation, a bit of culture and a little bit of adventure. So I’ve taken some great trips, would probably say Turkey was so far the best one because there was just so much to do and see. I’ve been to Costa Rica, Morocco, Spain, Paris, London… every year I try to do one big trip and next year is the big 4–0 so I’m planning a big one.

DAN: Do you unplug when you go on these trips?

ME: Sometimes yes and sometimes no. I commit to checking in just twice a day and at most an hour each time I check in. So I give myself very limited times. I think in our world you’re never truly able to turn off. If you plug in and there’s nothing major going on it’s fine to step away again but you kind of have to check in and see what’s going on because things change so rapidly.

DAN: What does a weekend look like for you?

ME: Generally it starts out in Manhattan. I work out, just because I have to! I joined ClassPass and some of my favorite classes are around here [Tribeca]. So the day starts with a workout and I am a firm believer in walking around local cafes and shops, so I’ll just put on my walking shoes and walk. Sometimes from Bed Stuy all the way across the Brooklyn Bridge and around Manhattan. One of my key rules is that I’ll stay at work as long as I need to (whether that be 8 or 9 o’clock at night) but when I go home, I don’t take my computer home with me on weeknights or the weekend. Everything can generally be answered by email on my phone, if needed. That is my firm rule to have some downtime. Monday through Friday, I’ll give you all the hours you need and then on the weekends and after hours I turn it off.


DAN: Have you ever had any resistance to that?

ME: Never. The model at MKTG is that as long as the work is getting done people don’t generally care about the hours or when or how you do the work, as long as you’re being responsive to the business needs.

The clothes that I wear are really my armor. Our industry can be very casual and people always ask why I’m so dressed up, but I think that being a woman you sometimes have to put that armor on so that you get that respect.

DAN: Do you have any good luck charms or rituals that you do/wear before a big meeting or other important occasions?

ME: Not necessarily any good luck charms but I love fashion. The clothes that I wear are really my armor. As you know our industry can be very casual and people always ask why I’m so dressed up, but I think that being a woman you sometimes have to put that armor on so that you get that respect. Coming up in the industry and being promoted from within, fashion has always been a way to project a confident exterior that leads the interior along, and pushes me forward.

DAN: Do you have any advice specific to women coming up in their career?

ME: My first HR opportunity was because someone saw that spark in me and it was because of that person’s mentorship that I am where I am today. One of the things that I’ve learned is to always keep that door open. When I see talent or someone who is trying to take that next step I try to offer advice and pointers because it’s also about perception. People rarely tell you — especially if it’s not positive — how you’re perceived in an organization. Having a good mentor helps you get those pointers to figure out the changes that need to be made so that you can grow in your career. Even just making a connection with one person who you look up to and who can impart wisdom, who can give you real coaching and life advice, will be extremely valuable. It doesn’t have to be time consuming, but it has to be someone who understands where you want to be, your contribution and are willing to give you honest advice. If nobody tells you, you’re never going to learn.

I remember my mentor telling me that I always interpreted things as very black and white, but that in our industry there’s a lot of grey and you have to find out how you’re going to navigate in the grey. She warned me that you’re going to put a lot of people off by always saying no. You can be the best at what you do but if no one wants to work with you, there’s no point in having you here. It’s some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten and I’ve had to learn how to live in the grey. And I still do to this day.


–Contributed by DAN North America Communications team and MKTG 

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