AGENCY LIFE

My Path To Advertising – An Intern’s Access Experience

I like to describe myself as a person of many passions. Throughout my childhood I donned various college apparel and explained to anyone that would listen what I was going to do with my life. Some of those aspirations included Harvard Law School (thank you Elle Woods,) law school somewhere in California, marketing, nursing, teaching, journalism, athletic training, East Carolina University, James Madison University…the list goes on. I’ve also experienced a wide range of employment since the age of 14 that helped confuse my perplexed little heart even more. How could anyone choose? There are so many great options in this world!

When it came down to having to make that seemingly impossible choice, I chose nursing school at my local community college. I was accepted into the very competitive program on my first attempt and was ecstatic, until I remembered all of the other things that I wanted to do. At the time I had been a full time preschool teacher for more than a year on a military base. I loved what I did, I looked forward to seeing my kids every day and creating new ways to learn, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Then I started weighing pros and cons. Not long after this turbulence in my decision making process, I took a job in marketing. The first thing my father said when I got the job was, “Great, she’s going to change her major again.” This was hilarious to me, as I was already on my third major and couldn’t imagine extending my college career any longer than I already had. I had just received my acceptance packet from Radford and was looking forward to their highly ranked Education program. I guess the joke is on me though, because I fell in love with a career once again and ended up changing my major to Media Studies with a focus in advertising. I swear it’s the last one.

There is something so intriguing about this field. For the girl who wants to do everything, it’s perfect. Advertising is an art, it’s a science, it’s about valuing history and looking to the future, and it involves strategy, research, intellectualism, creativity, and so much more.  The most beautiful aspect in my opinion though is that it is always changing. The girl that craves variety and challenges has truly found her home, but don’t ask me to choose one job position just yet.

Although I applied to Radford for their Education program, I couldn’t have received a better experience with my major from any other school. My professors have all worked in advertising, teach us about what we are actually going to do in the field and help us develop our skills through hands on experiences. Not only are they great educators, but outstanding mentors as well. Because of the relationship I have with one advisor/professor in particular, I was able to work an event at Radford called AdScape and introduce myself to one of the speakers, Todd Marcum. After stressing over my WordPress site, my resume, and my portfolio, I worked up the courage to email Mr. Marcum and ask if he had a place for me at Access as an intern.  I thought for sure I would have to follow up, apply more places, and would consider myself lucky if I heard anything back. That, however, was not the case. Within an hour after sending my request I received an email from Mr. Marcum that basically said, “Sure, let’s talk.” To make a long story short, I couldn’t believe my eyes and actually had someone else read it to make sure I was reading it correctly.

After the excitement of receiving the internship I was bombarded with fear. I’m a nerd. I look at agency websites all the time. I had always been tremendously impressed with their work and I couldn’t believe I was about to be part of all of it. Somehow though, everyone here immediately made me feel at home.

On my first day I got to sit in on three different meetings. That may sound boring to some, but let me tell you meetings with creative people are never boring. I was really lucky in that Mr. Marcum gave me a wide range of tasks. In my time at Access I have audited websites, written copy for websites, researched Roanoke history for a documentary, sat in on documentary interviews, created social media for a client, sat in on shooting for a local non-profit video, edited video, sat in on various creative and strategy meetings, pulled research for client objectives, and created print ads. Additionally, I helped organize, create print materials for, write narrative for, and work a non-profit fundraiser in the area.

Throughout those projects I felt comfortable asking anyone at Access for their expertise and help. I also had the opportunity to meet many impressive people in the community and marketing world along the way.  My only wish is that I could have stayed longer and experienced more.

The people that make up the Access team are a breed all their own. They are fun, exciting, creative, talented, smart, humble and masters of their craft. I feel extremely lucky for every minute I have experienced with them and hope to one day perform at their level. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. Not even a puppy. And that’s saying a lot.