How did you get started in this field?
Growing up, I was always fascinated by the power of words and how a message could move someone. It could infuse an emotion, change thinking, introduce a new truth, or even alter how people see themselves by bringing an inner realization to life. That intrigue and fascination followed me into college where I majored in Journalism, PR, and Advertising. The world opened up for me at that point. I realized the impact I could have on the world if I brought my passion for writing, strategy, and communication to the marketing world. I was fearless in pursuing interviews in the agency world, because I thought it would allow me the opportunity to have the most impact by working with several brands in a variety of industries. I was so passionate about the prospect of working at an agency that I offered to work the first 6 months as an intern, even though I had my college degree, hoping to strike a chord with the right agency who was looking for me: a young, driven college grad with plenty of ideas and even more determination. The plan worked. I was offered a few different positions in cities like San Diego and Minneapolis but ultimately accepted a position as Account Executive for a boutique PR firm in Omaha. I had the privilege of being exposed to everything in the business, from learning how to build relationships with journalists to working on brand strategy to honing my storytelling skills as a writer. As a 22 year-old, I even had the opportunity to travel the country, from Silicon Valley to Boston, to pitch our firm to a variety of c-level executives who were interested partnership. From that point on, I was hooked with how much I could offer to the marketing profession.
Why did you stay in marketing? What attracted you to it?
I’ve been in marketing for 10 years, and to this day, I’m still inspired by the work I do. The potential I saw in this profession is what drew me in, and the impact I’m able to have is what keeps my passion alive. At this point in my career, I’m able to influence the brand perception of more than 1200 firms across the country, including the largest of them all with Carson Group here in Omaha. However, beyond having that reach on a national level, I’ve grown within an organization that had very little brand recognition and has become a flagship for the financial services industry. It’s a journey that I’ve been intimately responsible for, along with our team. We’ve grown from a marketing team of one to a department of 12 in just the last 7 years.The biggest element that attracted me to marketing is the idea that “message can move someone.” A person’s behavior, attitude, perception, and decision-making can be influenced with the right message, coming from the right brand, in the right place, at the right time. And when you appreciate the art behind that formula, it makes marketing one of the most challenging – and stimulating – careers out there.
Who is your biggest influence and why?
My biggest influence as a marketer has to be Seth Godin. As I’ve grown in my career, marketing as a profession has changed dramatically, and Seth’s thinking around what marketers need to do to build compelling, authentic brands is something I carry around with me every day. As a leader, my biggest influence is Simon Sinek. So much of what Simon shares about leadership connects with the marketing profession. We work in an industry where it matters to care about the “why” behind the message, and Simon has been an absolute pioneer in teaching leaders why people follow. As a marketer, your impact is limited unless you have a team of amazingly talented people alongside you.
Was this always your career goal or did it happen by accident/you stumbled into it?
Trust me, as a kid growing up on a dairy farm in Nebraska, I didn’t even see “marketing” as a career option. In high school, I did some examination of what I was naturally interested in, and marketing just felt right. Yet even then, I thought I needed to start with a more “stable” major going into college, so I chose Criminal Justice. It didn’t take me more than my first semester of classes to notice the passion wasn’t there and to follow my instinct of being a creative. From there, the pursuit of making marketing a career just felt natural.
What are some of your accomplishments and what do you hope to gain/give back with your current role?
The biggest professional accomplishment for me at this point in my career is the role I’ve played in the last 7 years in helping bring a brand to life. Marketing was nothing more than a single position responsible for a myriad of random little projects at our firm just 7 years ago. Now, it’s a full department that, in many ways, has become one of the single biggest drivers of our revenue growth as an organization. We’ve played a central role in the evolution of our business, we’ve single-handedly created a compelling message for our brand, and we’ve become thought leaders to the thousands of smaller firms we serve. Personally, my biggest accomplishment is being a father to my two amazingly beautiful little girls, Jolie and Nella. They humble me, they inspire me, and they teach me more about growing as a person than anyone ever could.
How long have you been working for your company for?
A little more than 7 years
What are you most excited about presenting to AMA Omaha?
The most exciting part of presenting is that I get to share my challenges and successes with my peers. As marketers, we don’t get endless amounts of opportunity to connect with those who face many of the same obstacles and opportunities in their own unique roles. It’s refreshing to be a part of a group of like-minded professionals who can teach me more than I could ever learn on my own.
What kinds of skills do you hope your audience will gain during/after your presentation?
I hope people gain a better understanding of how they can mold their brand message to move the modern-day consumer. As human beings, we all are looking for something or someone we can connect with, and if you can accomplish that personalized connection with your consumers by grabbing their attention and giving the something to remember, what better way is there to prove yourself as a marketer.
I also hope people walk away from my presentation knowing what they need to do in order to simplify their message in an increasingly complex world. Attention is the new currency. And we, as a society, have changed. We no longer fall for the traditional marketing tricks and clever language when it comes to purchasing a product or service. We’re drawn in by authenticity and connection. As consumers, we want to feel understood by brands, and marketers own that responsibility. My hope is to enlighten the audience so they are better equipped to own that role.