Next up, Kelly Holley, everyone...
How do you think you approach your job differently than other people?
"I'm not sure I consciously try to approach my job differently than others. I do not pretend to be more special than everyone else who goes to work every day and works just as hard. What I can say is that the one thing that I consciously do, which is especially important in our industry, is to never become cynical or jaded. I try to look at every challenge, client rejection and no as an opportunity to do something unexpected (and hopefully great). My less cliché answer to this question would be that I really just try to read, watch, listen and observe everything. As a strategist, most of my strength comes from my knowledge of people and culture. My belief is that you can never have too much of that."
What kind of accounts/projects do you currently work on?
"Currently I am co-leading the strategy side of Arby's with fellow 32 Under 32-er Ellery Luse. She is the best. I also work on Herradura Tequila, which in my opinion, is the best tequila out there that you've never heard of (sorry but not sorry for the plug). The past couple of years, I have also worked heavily on new business. Call me a glutton for punishment, but those crazy, chaotic and emotional pitch experiences full of late nights and weekends are the ones that I really get off on. Pitches are the best crash course in advertising you can possibly have, and being able to sit in rooms and dig in with people like Pat Fallon and Jeff Kling is so incredibly inspiring. Intimidating, but inspiring."
What's the best advice you've ever received?
"HAVE A POINT OF VIEW. Those words have been spoken to me by various co-workers, mentors and friends over the years, and if I was the type of person to have a mantra, this would be it. To me it means that whether right or wrong (both of which are okay), you will never make any ounce of difference in this world unless you speak up. Having a point of view forces you to explore, de-construct and reconstruct your thoughts to get to something meaningful. That exercise is priceless, and it's served me well so far."
What gets you excited to come to work every day?
"I won't give some bullshit answer about creating great work that will change the world here. In truth, I love coming to work every day because Fallon has a lot of fucking fun in the midst of everything else. Excuse my French. But we do."
What has been some of your proudest work?
"I am certain that my proudest work has not yet been done."
Who is one person who has helped you get where you are? Or, one person you really look up to?
"There are so many. If I had to name one though, it would have to be Michael Fanuele, who is my current boss at Fallon. He has made me cry more times than anyone, maybe ever. And I really am grateful for that (again, glutton for punishment?), because he refuses to let me settle for anything less than the best of myself. And not only does he push me to be better, he is the kind of mentor that doesn't just coach, but empowers. He lets me fail sometimes, because that is important. And if you've ever seen him in front of an audience, then you know what an inspiring experience that is. I am so dang thankful that I get to work beside him and learn from him daily. If I deserve any recognition at all, I am sure that he has played the biggest part in making that happen.
Thanks, Michael. I don't tell you that enough."
Anything you want to say to the Minnesota advertising, PR, marketing community?
Don't just do advertising. We are best when we are creating and doing things that we want to do, not just what we are told to do. Make time for it. It matters.