Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Brandcenter Portfolio Review

I spent last week at VCU Brandcenter's Senior Show. Me and about 100 other creative managers and recruiters from across the nation. Good times all around.

Brandcenter is just plain cool. Another place that made me want to quit my job and sign up for school. And, any chance I have to meet and chat with students makes my day. There was such great work and so many students to get to know, both which made for a very worthwhile trip.

Now when the recruiters left the session each day, most of us wound up at the hotel bar to catch up and share thoughts on all we'd seen.

Did you see Hope Jordan's Richmond Ballet work? Happen to chat with Don Sticksel, the copywriter turned Creative Technologist? (we recruiters discussed CT's at length this trip). What did you think of that nice copy in Colin Quinn's Victoria's Secret campaign? At the end of the day, we were like chatty school girls (+/- a drink or two).

You'd think with 100 recruiters and 97 students there'd be a feeding frenzy and hiring battle amongst us. There surprisingly wasn't and I loved being able to compare notes on the students with recruiters from the top agencies in the U.S. Remember there is usually only one of us at each agency, so we tend not to commensurate very often.

What came out of these late-night discussions was reassuring to me and, I'd imagine, to all the juniors out there. At the end of the day, some of us liked the same work; some of us disliked the same work; a few loved a particular student and others did not; those I connected with, some found they didn't; and so on.

Everyone's tastes are different. I can like a student or one of their campaigns, while the recruiter next to me can hate it. I can not get a concept, while another recruiter thinks it is fabulous. And it's OK. That's what makes recruiting (and showing your book) so great. There is something/someone for everyone. All of our respective agencies have different needs. In turn, the recruiters are all looking for something slightly different in their hires.

Juniors, take note. A recruiter who is looking for someone with just your style or tone or ideas will find you. As well, another may pass you up. It all works out in the end. And, for graduates of VCU Brandcenter I guarantee, it'll end well.

Friday, April 16, 2010


There comes a time in every creative's (read: employee's) life when it becomes apparent it's time to move on from their current agency.

Now this can happen for a variety of reasons, reasons that don't really matter for me to make a point. All you need to know is that it happens and it will happen to you too. Know too this is not a bad thing.

Whenever someone gives me their notice I tell them, on behalf of the agency, I am bummed. Unexpected replacement of staff is a more-than-slight pain. I also tell them, on behalf of me, that I am so excited for them. Taking the next step career step is such a good thing and I love when people make it happen. I call it putting another slice in the pie.

Every job you have is a slice of pie. Over the course of your career, you can have 4 big slices or 8 smaller ones. Just always remember that it's not the entire pie in each career decision or move you make. This takes some of the pressure off when you agonize if you've made the right decision to go somewhere else. It's just a slice moving further down the path of making you whole.

You will always be learning and growing with each place you go. Even if the place turns out to be not all that stellar. You learn from it and move on. In the end, you are building your career.

Go forth and make pie my friends.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Sometimes portfolios make me happy for reasons other than the good work inside. Now, don't get me wrong, I love love love when the work inside is great. But sometimes a book will affect me for other reasons right when I land on the site, before I see even one lick of creative which is cause for genuine happiness.

And, like this recent one, a thoughtful insight into others' creative work.

Michael Wilson's portfolio made me instantly stop and call him up. Not send him an email. We're talking serious dialing of a phone. I really, really liked how he presented his work and wanted him to hear firsthand how it impacted me.

What he does that is not only unselfish but generally interesting, is show a collection of other people's creative work (before you even click through to anything he's done). And, he gives a short paragraph on why he finds each piece interesting. That enables recruiters like me to get a glimpse into how Michael seeks out creative inspiration, how he describes what he likes and how he is pretty daring to put his personal preferences out for everyone to see and judge. A trait that will serve him well in this industry.

I clicked through 4 or 5 links on that page before I ventured on. And by then, I felt like I already had a nice experience on the site. I learned a few things and saw some really neat stuff I hadn't see out there. Before anything else.

Now, to top it off, Michael had some very nice work to back all this up. I am proud to say he's been hired to be our summer intern this year. So I am even happier than I was before.