Curator Q&A: Jennifer Carroll

Name: Jennifer CarrollTitle: Account Supervisor Joined Curator: October 2012 Go-to Happy Hour Drink: Something sparkling!

What did you want to be growing up? When I was young, I dreamed of attending law school at Stanford and becoming a prosecuting attorney. Oh, and I wanted to drive a Porsche and never have children. My life is the complete opposite of my adolescent dreams. Though, my husband would argue that I missed my calling. I’m a pretty good debater. I haven’t given up on the Porsche yet either!


How did you get into this field? My parent’s were season ticket holders for the Los Angeles Clippers when I was in high school and college. Yes, the Clippers. I attended a number of games with my dad and was fortunate enough to meet the team’s PR director who, coincidentally, is now one of my best friends. I was envious of her job that combined two things that sparked my interests: sports and public relations. In my first semester at Long Beach State, I interviewed with the university’s sports information director and he gave me a job assisting on the public relations efforts for the track and field and cross-country teams. After about a month on the job, I was travelling and calling the women’s basketball team’s games on radio. That job led me to an internship with the Los Angeles Lakers and Sparks, and the rest, they say, is history.


What do you love most about the industry? I’ve never been bored at work. Things are always changing. Also, I love the fast-paced nature of public relations and marketing. I think starting my career in sports, albeit not the most traditional route, was great preparation for how quickly things shift in this business.

What’s the biggest change that’s happened in the industry since you’ve started? Social media. Hands down. Individuals and brands weren’t using social channels then the way they are today. The ways in which information is shared and digested has completely changed and, as a result, forced communicators to evolve. In some way, we all can be considered journalists: documenting our lives and sharing our findings with an audience beyond our own social communities.

What’s the best career advise you were given? Brian Byrnes, the VP of Sales and Marketing for the SuperSonics and Storm once told me that if I could learn how to sell myself, I could do anything. Sounds like a typical sales guy? He was absolutely right. Feeling confident and finding your voice in a professional setting isn’t always easy and doesn’t come natural to everyone. Though once you do, it’s noticed and can open up a ton of opportunities.

The Curator News Feed: February 21, 2014

We've been reading about the original hipster shelf, IKEA hacks, and more. Read on for the teams' favorite links of the week. unacredenza-grande

14 Tools To Help You Add Images For Your Social Media Posts, Fast Company. More proof that a picture is worth a thousand words, or that people really just like photos over text. A lot of really great tools also listed out here for those of us working in social media. -- Chelsey

The Food Porn Index, Bolthouse Farms. Bolthouse Farms was upset that junk food was taking all the food porn glory. They've set out to bring back the balance and make veggies/fruits the leading stars. I don't know about you but i like an equal balance of fries and kale on my Instagram. -- Brooke

Furniture Collection Created From Hacked IKEA ProductsPSFKWe love our Pioneer Square location the light-filled, exposed-brick office space. Like many agencies, we believe the physical location where we sit contributes to our culture and the type of thinking we deliver our clients. Stop by sometime and check out Shawn's new desk he created from a bowling alley lane. I love this article about an agency that bought its funiture at IKEA, then threw away the manuals and created what their imaginations allowed. -- Ann Marie

Here's Why Ikea Is Discontinuing Everyone's Favorite Shelf, Gizmodo. Speaking of IKEA, they're getting rid of everyone's favorite shelf, the Expedit. Hipsters will recognize it as the one with the squares that hold vinyl records really well. It's not *really* leaving; IKEA's just replacing it with a thinner design, the Kallax, that uses less wood. Still, if you like the thick outsides of the Expedit, you should run out and get one now while they're (possibly) still available. -- Paul

Guardians of the Galaxy, Imgur. Bonus: I'm slightly obsessed with "Guardians of the Galaxy," despite having never read an issue. The movie represents everything you wish movies would be: Big, fun, goofy and a huge risk. It's the kind of thing only a successful studio like Marvel could do. They killed it with the teaser trailer earlier in the week, and now we have the first official poster, with a perfect tagline. Click and enjoy. -- Paul

Full Tilt Ice Cream Is Making a Flavor for Sir Mix-a-Lot, Seattle Met. 'I Like Big Butterscotch' and 'My Toffee's on Broadway' ice cream flavors may be coming to a shelf near you. Thanks, Full Tilt Ice Cream. -- Megan

Curator Q&A: Brooke Andersen

b_using Name:  Brooke Andersen Title:  Social Media Specialist Joined Curator:  February 2013 Go-to Happy Hour Drink: Wine

What did you want to be growing up? This is an interesting question because when I was growing up ‘social media specialist’ didn’t exist. Going all the way back to 1st grade career day where all the little kids showed up dressed as policemen, doctors or lawyers, I dressed as a GAP store employee. Any little girl who tells you that working in a magical fashion paradise wasn’t her dream is lying. Plus, GAP Kids was all the rage in the nineties.

 Just add GAP nametag here.

Just add GAP name tag here.

How did you get into this field? I began my path for a Fashion Marketing degree with the intentions of winning the position of fashion buyer. As you can get from the previous question, I always had a love for fashion and may have been persuaded to make my shopping addiction legitimate. While in school, I began my blog Just B as a creative outlet to share things I loved. Building a fashion blog from scratch took extra self-teaching between classes on marketing my self-brand in the digital world. With the rise of fashion bloggers, I observed intensely how brands are working with the “new” influencers. Quickly, fashion buying was replaced with digital marketing, which landed me in the world of social media strategy for lifestyle brands.

Graduating portfolio showcasing how brands can work with the new influencer.

Graduating portfolio showcasing how to brand the 'new' influencer.

What do you love most about the industry? The social media strategy you began a year ago can’t live to be the same for years or even sometimes months to come. Our favorite platforms are always working to make the customer experience better. For us as marketers, the customers are always learning so we need to continue to push ourselves ahead of the change. That’s a challenge I’m always up for.

How do you stay up to date on changes/news in the industry? Thousands of tidbits of information and analysis is shared about the marketing, advertising and digital world hourly. To get the most up-to-date social media changes, I subscribe directly from the source. Instead of waiting for Mashable or TechCrunch to pick it up, I will subscribe to platforms' direct company blog to receive the latest news. The Old Reader saved my life after Google Reader went to bed (RIP) and goes hand-in-hand with my morning coffee or happy hour wine!


What’s the best career advice you’ve been given? I’ve really learned in my career that the education doesn’t stop after graduation but that’s when it begins. There’s always room to grow and expand your knowledge in different areas of your career. Just promise yourself to never stop learning!

Curator Q&A: Annie Zanin

Annie_Zanin Name:  Annie Zanin Title:  Senior Account Executive Joined Curator:  January 2, 2012 Go-to Happy Hour Drink: Depending on my mood it’s either a margarita on the rocks with salt or some type of coffee porter. Love Rogue’s Mocha Porter!

What's your favorite thing about working at Curator? By far it’s the people that make up our company. They are the ones that get me excited to come to work every morning. Very rarely do you have the opportunity to work with such creative and talented colleagues. I often find myself sitting in awe of all of them and how truly smart they all are. I’ve already learned so much from them in my two years at Curator and I look forward to seeing what other ways they will help me grow and encourage me to push myself in my career. On top of that, they are pretty fun to hang out with and talk to over a beer during our Friday office happy hours. You can’t beat that!

What’s the biggest change that’s happened in the industry since you’ve started? It might be obvious, but by far the biggest shift I’ve seen is the transition of the media landscape. Consumers are no longer turning to traditional news sources for information. Instead, they’re looking to their peers – bloggers, social media influencers, etc. – to gather information on the latest news and trends. From the perspective of a PR professional, this shift drastically changes our role in the industry. The way we approach media has taken on a new form and it creates a much broader network of influencers for our clients to target.

Travis S. on Flickr

What's the best vacation you’ve ever taken? My husband and I took a trip to Napa this past Spring and visited the winery where we got engaged almost exactly two years prior. If you’ve never been to Obrien Estates, I would definitely recommend checking out the spot. It’s a smaller, quieter vineyard that can be a welcomed break from all of the big tourist attractions in the area. Enjoying a glass of wine at one of the picnic tables in the middle of the vineyard is a must! I’ve had the opportunity to travel to a number of other countries, but nothing could beat this vacation that was just a two-hour flight away. It was the perfect calming escape from our busy and stressful lives – good food, good wine and amazing views! Napa is definitely my happy place.


How did you get into this field? For years growing up and even into college, I wanted to be a news anchor. I think part of it was because I loved Katie Couric’s haircut at the time and figured I could have access to her hairdresser if I just got behind that desk! Ironically, now I’m the one working behind the camera most of the time instead of in front of it. But, it was my love of the communications field as a whole that still led me to my role in PR today. I found myself more intrigued by observing behaviors and how brand messaging could have such a strong impact on someone’s perception towards a company, person or idea. To me, PR was the perfect intersection of marketing and sociology that helps get me excited about the work I do every day.

david_shankbone on Flickr

What’s your trick to promoting a brand without being overly aggressive? It can be easy to forget when you’re interacting with what seems like hundreds of different people in one day; but it’s so vital to think of every interaction as a chance to build a meaningful relationship. That means the dialogue needs to be both genuine and beneficial to all parties involved. Think of it almost like how you would approach a friendship – You don’t want to be that needy friend who is texting others 24/7 about every little thing you did today. But, you also want to make sure you’re putting in the needed effort to maintain the friendships that are important to you. That means sharing crucial moments with them, communicating with them regularly and making them feel important. A lot of the same ideas hold true when communicating about your brand to media, consumers and stakeholders.

Curator Q&A: Matthew Robinson

Matthew_Robinson Name: Matthew Robinson Title: Producer Joined Curator: July 2011 Go-to Happy Hour Drink: “Something with Scotch” (I’m a fan of letting the bartender get creative. So far I’ve never been disappointed).

What's the best vacation you’ve ever taken? Two and a half years ago, my wife and I spent just over three weeks backpacking through Europe. It was, by all measures, the adventure of a lifetime. We stayed with locals along the way, some of whom we already knew, but most we met when we arrived in a new city. Thanks to these new forged friendships, we got to experience the local culture of each city in a way no guidebook could ever help you do. Pubs on Portobello road without a tourist in sight, beer gardens in actual gardens in Munich where no one spoke English (not because they couldn’t speak it mind you, but because they didn’t have to) and traditional, home cooked meals in the style of whatever country we happened to be in at the time. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoy traditional sights as much as the next person and still visited some of the requisite destinations – Musée d'Orsay, the Houses of Parliament, Prague Castle, etc. – but our best memories from Europe are of the times spent just sitting in a café or pub talking to a local, riding bicycles out away from the crowds and getting to know our hosts.

We made an impromptu overnight stop in the tiny town of St. Goar on the Rhine River. Pro tip: build in time in your vacation schedule to do and go wherever you want.


What did you learn from your first job? I grew up on farm, so my first jobs were bucking hay, stretching fence and feeding animals. I was fortunate to have a boss that was both kind and brutally honest. He gave me a piece of advice that I still think about today and often pass along to graduates. “Matthew,” he told me, “No matter what kind of work you’re doing, your job is always the same; make my job easier.” It’s pretty brilliant advice when you think about it. Your boss has an objective in mind, and if you can help achieve that goal while making his or her life easier along they way, you become a valuable member of the team. I’ve taken his advice with me to every subsequent job I’ve had since then and tried to live by it as best I can.

What's been your favorite work or project related moment this year? Last summer, I had the opportunity to help lead a two-week event in Dallas, Texas involving a mobile coffee shop, a small fleet of support vehicles and a half dozen staff members. The events themselves were a blast, despite it being over 100 degrees the entire time and working about 17 hours a day, but the best part of the whole experience was getting there. The trailer we used was in Columbia, South Carolina and needed to be modified at a shop in St. Louis, Missouri. This meant that instead of a 4 hour flight to Dallas from Seattle, I had a 5,000 mile tour of America via planes, trains and automobiles, most of which I spent with a 16’ trailer in tow. It was grueling. It was exhausting. It was amazing.

My trusty steed.


How do you stay up to date on changes/news in the industry? They say as you get older that time keeps moving faster. As it turns out, that’s completely true. Finding time to read (outside of my nightstand and bus commute books – generally history or biography) can be a real challenge. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of tools to help stay informed on just about any topic you like. Feedly is my go-to reader that keeps me in the loop on marketing, business, tech and creative, not to mention topics that I personally like to follow like politics, travel and Buzzfeed GIFs. My advice is to organize your Feedly by topic, and put your top 10 sites in their own category for those days when you only have time to skim a few top headlines. If you’re not familiar with Feedly, check out this brief overview of it and a few other choice productivity apps.

What tools do you need to get you through your day? Like so many other people in this industry, I have a lot to get done in a day and rarely enough hours get it all done. Juggling a dozen projects with scores of dependent subtasks, rapidly approaching due-dates and a grip of vendors, contractors and suppliers can be downright overwhelming. Checklists and reminders are great, but for me, I need something a bit more robust. Here are my top three get-er-done tools that I can’t live without.

Asana: I use this checklist to keep all of my to-dos organized by project, and to collaborate with Shawn on creative. It allows me to organize everything on my list into specific tasks and subtasks, assign owners and due dates, and even set up reoccurring tasks for all of my daily/weekly to-dos.

SmartSheet: Whether creating an estimate, timetable or work-back schedule, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better tool than SmartSheet. You can create date-specific tasks with dependencies and budget numbers against each to keep two of the most important parts of any project, (time and money) in order. It’s a paid service, but worth every cent.

Evernote: The best decision I made in 2013 was to fully adopt Evernote for all of my notes. Whether it’s web research, meeting notes or an idea for a campaign, everything goes in Evernote in a client specific, digital notebook. This allows me to find everything in seconds through Evernote’s search tool. It can even recognize and find text within photos, including handwritten notes, which makes finding a business card as easy as typing the person’s first name.

Curator Q&A: Megan Kamitsuka

megan_use Name: Megan Kamitsuka Title: Assistant Account Executive Joined Curator: June 10, 2013 Go-to Happy Hour Drink: Bellini

What did you want to be growing up? I discovered I loved to write early on. I also loved animals. A lot. So, young me thought I would be an author and a veterinarian, until I realized that anatomy and blood weren't really my forte. Now, I am happy in my PR career where I get to write every day. I've even worked with clients on pet-friendly events, from dog parties to Santa pet photos. So I count myself pretty lucky.

What did you learn from your first job? In high school, I worked for the flagship store of a retail company that's very well known for its customer service. You can probably guess which one it was, but it goes without saying that customer service was our number one priority. People are insanely brand loyal to that company because they know they can always trust them, and they put their customers first. Ever since then, going above and beyond to solve problems for my clients and their consumers has been an essential part of the way I work.

Describe your first day at Curator. Well, my first day at Curator was actually my second-first day at Curator. I interned with the team the summer prior. First off, instead of a regular desk chair, like everyone else, I was welcomed by a brand new, state-of-the-art balance ball seat. You know, an exercise ball on wheels. Talk about ergonomics.

Stylish, yet casual.


Not too long after that, I opened my top drawer, and lo and behold:



For the record, according to science, ball chairs don’t actually do anything for you. And, that Ice remains unopened, probably tucked in the back of the office fridge still to this day. Needless to say I had a memorable first day on the job. The people who make up Curator's culture are what makes coming to work every day so much fun.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Honestly, Seattle is exactly where I want to be right now. I went across the country for school, and it's really nice being back home. I'm still in awe of this beautiful place. I love it. But, if I could have a vacation house, it would probably be a small cottage somewhere in Provence, the French countryside. Then I would take weekend trips to London and small villages in Italy.

The village of Gortes in France.


What's one piece of advice you have for someone getting out of school or in the interview/job search process? Never get complacent. Do everything the very best way you know how, and then look for ways to improve, and to do more. In this industry, there's so much room for creativity, and forging your own path. There are no right answers, there's not one right way to do most things. Sometimes it can be easy to slip into a routine and feel satisfied with every day tasks, shutting down the computer once you've checked off your to-do list. That's great, but there's always more you can put into your role, and the agency, to reach that next level. I've always believed that you get out what you put in.

Curator Q&A: Scott Battishill

_DSC3376_BW-1 Name: Scott Battishill Title: Principal/Founder Launched Curator: January 4, 2010 Go-to Happy Hour Drink: It varies on the time of year, but typically a Manhattan.

Describe your first day at Curator. My first day at Curator was spent at my kitchen table. I had spent nearly a year leading up to that morning concepting Curator – defining the agency’s point of view on the industry, coming up with a name that encapsulated that POV in a word, sketching logos, and working with the incredibly talented, Shawn Herron, who ultimately became our Group Creative Director, to design our website. And once that was all done, on January 4, 2010 I officially launched the company. I tried to start a PR firm almost exactly 10 years earlier and it never really got off the ground, at least not in a meaningful way. My wife and I call that period my MBA – it costs nearly as much I think and perhaps I learned even more. This time around I was rigorous in the planning and far more realistic about the commitment it would take to build momentum. I consider it an absolute blessing to think back on that morning at the kitchen table by myself and to compare it to today with an office full of wonderfully talented team members building and executing campaigns for some of the country’s leading brands.

What area of 'lifestyle' are you most passionate about? One of my favorite things in the world is to sit around a table with my wife and kids, friends and family to eat together and talk. I’m a foodie in the sense that I love food – I love to cook and I love to eat, but more so, at the core I love how food brings people together. So, while I’m passionate about the lifestyle category as a whole, I’m particularly fond of the food vertical within the category.  A few years ago we created the Food & Wine Festival in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo in Mexico. We were representing the tourism board there and partnered with FOOD & WINE Magazine to produce the event. About every six weeks I’d head down to IZ to check on the progress. As part of each trip the head of the tourism board would bring key people from the region together and host a dinner where chefs who would be participating in the festival would preview dishes. The bonds I created with people there over those dinners are what bring my wife, kids and I back down to IZ a least once year or more still. We fell in love with the region. It doesn’t hurt that they have some of the most stunning beaches in the world, but it started at a dinner table.


What’s the biggest change that’s happened in the industry since you’ve started? The shift in influencers – those who determine the success of a campaign. When I started in PR everything we did had to go through a media channel of some sort to reach a consumer, so journalists were at the top of the totem pole as it related to influence.  They were THE audience. Today there is no totem pole, no hierarchical structure. It is varied in total based on client and category. Just as social media added bloggers to the influencer mix, we’re now seeing those who are most definitely influential but can be neither journalist or blogger. The tools available today to identify influencers are great and are opening up lines for new strategies. I had a conversation today with someone who was creating a pure content development strategy for a brand as their sole program. Their strategy called for zero media or blogger outreach – just proactive content development designed to educate and entertain their consumers directly. Big shift from where I started.


What's the best vacation you’ve ever taken? I mentioned earlier the genesis of the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo trips. A couple years ago my wife, kids and I were there for Thanksgiving.  On the Sunday after Thanksgiving we were all on the beach and playing in the water. The head of the tourism board joined us, out of the blue, along with his wife. He had a table brought onto the beach and for the next three hours or so he ordered samples of all of his favorite Mexican dishes.  We ate incredible food we otherwise would not have known how to order, drank great tequila and had one of the most memorable meals of my life.  But on top of that, the vacation came at about the two-year mark of Curator’s growth and at a time when I was pretty exhausted. It was a slow week at the resort where we stayed and it felt like we had a beach to ourselves. We had a week of perfect family time. It was a wonderful trip.


What’s your career advice? When I was growing up and when I was young in my career I had the impression that all the really successful people I saw made it because they were so charismatic or because of connections and once on top they got to just enjoy the view and their position. I never had any real exposure to people who were at the top of their game when I was growing up so I made assumptions. Then as I began my career and had a chance to work with some incredibly talented people and meet people who were at the head of their class in any given field. I was beyond impressed with the single, unifying trend I saw in all of them. Yes, they were talented, but more so, they worked incredibly hard. In fact it was the opposite of what I imagined as a kid – it wasn’t so much the talent as the effort. When the two combine is when you see those people who are the best at what they do. It’s a mantra I say in my house with my kids all the time: effort over talent. Talent is incredible and needed. But effort always wins.

Curator Q&A: Dan Miller

Dan Miller Name: Dan Miller Title: Vice President/Group Account Director Joined Curator: September 1, 2011 Go-to Happy Hour Drink: 7 & Seven

Who was your celebrity crush growing up? Define “growing up,” because, frankly, I still am, so I’ll give you several answers. Let’s skip the ‘70s, because I can’t remember if I had a celebrity crush before I was seven. In the ‘80s, it was Heather Locklear, hands down. The ‘90s was the reign of Alyssa Milano. The ‘00s were dominated by Halle Berry, and the ‘10s are currently defined by Olivia Wilde, Emmy Rossum and Sarah Shahi.


Star Trek or Star Wars? Easy. Both. (A younger me would have said Star Wars in a heartbeat and the me of today wants to, as well, but Star Trek has grown on me quite a bit over the years. That series was my dad’s favorite and I have fond memories of watching old episodes on VHS with him, and many of my friends today are bigger fans of Spock than Solo, but if I had to base it on the number of themed toys and action figures I kept in storage for 30 years in the hopes I’d have a son to give them to…well, then Star Wars wins three giant storage boxes to nil.)


Did you go to school for the career you have now? Why, yes, I did…but I didn’t think this was going to be my career. In high school, math and science were my subjects. I still did well in English, but writing was harder for me than things to do with numbers, so, when I entered the University of Washington, I figured I’d be an engineer. Midway through my sophomore year, I took a class called Introduction to Mass Media, and I loved it. So, I took another one, where my “defining moment” happened – I’d been working for two weeks on a research paper that was worth 50% of my grade and two days before it was due, I came to my professor and said “I want to change my topic.” He thought I was insane, but my paper on the role of mass media being the 4th branch of government earned me a perfect 100 points. From then on, I knew I wanted to work in communications. I graduated just over two years later with a BA in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations. (And my love of math still comes in handy for all of the budgeting, spreadsheets and company finance stuff Scott entrusts to me.)

What (nonprofit) organizations are you passionate about/volunteer for? My family is full of teachers, so I tend to gravitate to things where I can give of my time helping teach young people about, well, lots of stuff. I served six years on the board of directors of Island Cooperative Preschool, have been a four-year assistant coach for Bainbridge Island Little League, am in my third year as Cubmaster for Cub Scout Pack 4496, and spent 16 years as Chapter Advisor and now am in my second year as Regional President for my college fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha. I had great role models growing up and want to provide the same to my kids and their friends, so volunteering my time is what I find most rewarding.


What’s your workday routine and why does it work? I’ve always been a morning person. I’m up at 4 a.m., make coffee and the family’s lunches before I head out the door, am on either the 5:20 or 6:20 a.m. ferry and at my desk in the 6:15-7:15 time frame, depending on which boat I catch. The next 90 minutes is spent on Curator business, for the most part – submitting expense reports, organizing invoices for payment, approving timesheets, updating budget spreadsheets, calculating revenue for tax payments, returning vendor emails, sorting the evening’s emails and much more. This allows me to get most of my admin work done before the rest of the gang gets to the office so I can focus on client work throughout the day. I keep a running list of “to do” items on the computer, but use a sticky note that I keep next to my computer for the stuff that absolutely, positively must get done that day. Then, in between client meetings, strategy sessions, writing and editing, pitching, vendor calls, lunch and myriad other things we all do each day, I make sure those things on my sticky note get done. I generally leave the office around 5 p.m. in order to get to my evening commitments (see non-profit question above) and to hop on the ferry home (where wifi allows me to stay connected and have another half-hour of productivity during the ride) so I can spend time with my kids before they hit the hay. A couple of email checks and then I press the button on my UP band to track the next five-and-a-half hours of sleep before getting up to do it all over again.

What's a misconception about your role at Curator? That I’ll always be the first one in the office. Now, 99 percent of the time, that’s true, but if you show up without your keys one of those 1 percent days…well…sucks to be you.

What's your best resume tip? Candidates should truly understand that a resume and a cover letter are two different documents. Too often I get cover letters that say, basically, “Hi, I’m Fred. I just graduated from WSU with a degree in Communications. I had an internship at the campus paper and I’d really like to work with you.” Well, Fred, you’ve told me absolutely nothing in that cover letter that I can’t get from your resume. Use your cover letter to set yourself apart by telling me why you’re the right candidate. What makes you better than the rest? What insight about Curator or our clients or our way of doing business have you unearthed that shows me you’re a curious, intelligent person who can think strategically? What do you think about the marketing industry and where it’s headed and how does that related to you and us? Show me some personality in your cover letter and give me a reason to want to read your resume.

Curator Q&A: Maria Loida

1469869_661097313911056_492902105_n Name: Maria Loida Title: Account Executive Joined Curator: January 3, 2013 Go-to happy hour drink: Dirty Ketel Martini with extra olives

What’s the best vacation you’ve ever taken? The best vacation I’ve ever taken was probably to Italy to visit two of my best college girlfriends, where they were studying abroad. It’s my favorite for several reasons. First, I was traveling from Brussels, Belgium, where I was studying abroad, too. It stands as one of the best times of my life. Second, I traveled there alone, by plane and train, and didn’t know any Italian, so that was just a fun challenge. We visited Cinque Terre, which is this string of little towns along the western coast of Italy. Sound gorgeous? Yes, it was. Third, we made some stupid mistakes, namely accidently booking a beautiful bluff hotel that was way out of our “poor travel girl” price range. When we look back, as 26 year-olds with jobs, we can appreciate that it was totally worth it to live it up for three days in a beautiful place. After, we visited Florence, where my friends were studying and the perfect contrast to Cinque Terre. We drank wine, had amazing food, explored the city together, and enjoyed meshing our travel stories, as we had all visited several of the same, but new places. I’ll never forget that chance to merge international travel trips with best friends.


What did you learn from your first job? If we’re talking first, first job, I was an assistant dance teacher for the studio where I grew up dancing. My responsibilities included leading warm-up stretches and progressions across the floor, some choreography, and my personal favorite, managing the dance moms. Little did I know, I was practicing client relations. The best way to keep dance moms happy was to communicate simply and often, fully explain any questions or concerns, and make sure I made time to give each of them and their children individual attention. It was about consistently doing the small things correctly that secured another year and often a full career of dance classes with their daughters and sons. After working in client services roles for three years, I find elements of the two surprisingly similar. The photo is of some of my students performing “Rubber Ducky” at the 2006 recital. I’m in the front helping them remember their choreography. They’re nailing it.


Every Curator has at least one orange item. Which of your orange things is your favorite? My favorite orange item is one of the past. When I was 13, I owned my first (and only) pair of Nike Shox and they were borderline highlighter orange. I thought they were awesome! My middle school required uniforms, so I often wore the shoes several days in a row. Those kicks got some major face time. They look kind of like the photo below, but there was more orange and more obnoxious. Like I said, Perfect. Compliment. To. School. Uniform.


What major learnings did you take away from your college experience/previous career that you can apply to your job now? Remember how annoying it was when your teacher would mark “-1” or “-2” when you spelled a word incorrectly or forgot punctuation? Usually, when you got your paper back, those “silly” mistakes were worthy of a “head-in-palm” moment. I remember getting really fired up about getting points taken away when I had the correct answer, but made a small mistake. It turns out that your teachers do that for good reason, and if I could’ve gotten all of the silly mistakes out of my system during my traditional education, I would’ve taken red marks all day long to rid myself of them now. Long story, short: Details Matter.

What tools do you need to get you through your day? Being an Account Executive means there’s a lot of moving parts. I make lists like it’s my job, except it actually is my job. Crossing items off the list keeps me motivated to keep moving down it and reduces my chance of forgetting to follow-up or hit deadlines. It may sound simple, but it works for me. I use a tool everyday called Teux Deux. I even pay a subscription fee for it now. It’s a really simple interface that resembles atraditional paper to-do list, except since it’s digital, you can move things around, jump to future/past dates, and sync to the smart phone app.


Curator Q&A: Noelle Ibrahim

noelle_2 Name: Noelle Ibrahim Title: Account Executive Joined Curator: March 18, 2013 Go-To Happy Hour Drink: Could I do Happy Hour App instead? If so- sweet potato fries :)

What did you want to be growing up? So I have a funny little anecdote for this question. While in elementary school, I had to complete a family crest with various autobiographical questions. One of those questions included "What do you want to be when you grow up?" and my answer was simple — a princess. Yup. And I'd still be happy to take that job description, thank you very much! Then I changed my mind, and wanted to be a pediatrician instead, but soon realized that I don’t like being around hospitals very much. As a child, I loved to read at all hours of the day (and night), and loved to write poetry and short stories. This led me to the field of journalism, and eventually to public relations and marketing, where I am today.


What’s the most unexpected role you’ve had to play as a PR professional? As a PR professional, I’m constantly finding myself in unexpected roles, which is part of the fun of the profession. Under the umbrella of the communications industry, I have worn various hats, including everything from stylist for broadcast fashion segments, to facilitator on media trips to a client resort in Mexico, to contract negotiator of celebrity spokesperson deals for PR and media opportunities, in my previous position. And there was that one time I took on the role of publicist for talent walking the media line at the Golden Globes. My role was to ensure talent was being seen and heard on one of the biggest nights in Hollywood. You just never know where this industry will take you, which is exciting!


Every Curator has at least one orange item. Which of your orange things is your favorite? I love wearing pops of bright color when I can, and while orange can sometimes be difficult to pull off, I love my orange Converse Chucks. (Chucks are my go-to whenever I’m not wearing heels, which is an extremely rare occurrence.) The color orange always reminds me of a bright sunny day in San Diego (and of Curator of course), so what’s not to love? Plus they are perfect to help get into the Halloween mood!


Name one aspect of the industry that people don't pay enough attention to. I think that in an industry that is relatively all about relationships, sometimes PR professionals have a surprisingly difficult time going beyond building relationships to maintaining them. Once you make a great contact, it’s important to consistently do the little things that help that relationship flourish, such as sending thank you notes, responding promptly, and paying attention to the little details. Really listening to people and understanding their interests and focus helps to ensure that you are being helpful to your contacts, and not simply shoving your agenda on them. PR is all about two-way communication, so make sure you’re leaving a lasting impression, not just a first impression.

Credit: Empowerment Group

What's one piece of advice you have for someone getting out of school or in the interview/job search process? My best piece of advice for recent college graduates, or even those people who are in the midst of searching for a job is to be open to the opportunities that may come your way, even if they might make you nervous at first. You never know what new skills you might acquire along the way, which is an asset in my book. I’m a firm believer in the idea that the skills you develop in one career can be applicable to future opportunities, and may make you just that much better at what you do. (You can check out my Curator blog post on transferrable skills here.) Keep learning, continue to be curious and strive to reach new goals for yourself.