In our series to celebrate Women’s History Month this week, we discover a little more about Emily O’Dea. Emily moved up the career ladder at Strategic Marketing from Account Manager to Director of Account Services and now Vice President. On March 8th, at 31 years old she was granted a seat on Strategic Marketing’s Board of Directors and promoted to Vice President of Account Services. Having worked with a variety of industry clients, Emily’s leadership contributes to the success of the team and getting the job done.
How did you get to the position you have today? Can you share your professional story?
Hard work, patience, great ideas and sheer tenacity.
I’ve always been an all or nothing person. If something is worth doing, then I put 150% effort into it. I learn everything that I can, and I apply that knowledge while working as hard as I possibly can. I take this approach with both short- and long-term goals.
My professional story started when I took my first class in marketing. I was not a marketing major; however, my school required that in our freshman year we take a “learning community” class in a major different than the one we had chosen. I was a psych major at the time so I chose to take a marketing class called Consumer Behavior. I was fascinated. I wanted to learn more about marketing so I set myself up with a summer internship in the advertising department of Conde Nast.
While untangling necklaces in a style closet for hours alongside my boss, I learned that the fashion/ publishing world was not for me. However, I was intrigued by the ad agencies sending us the creative ads for our magazine so I kept interning, but this time on the agency side.
Since graduating, I’ve continued to work in advertising over the past ten years. I joined Zimmerman as a Traffic Coordinator and then switched to Account Services. After Zimmerman, I went to a boutique digital agency and then onto the client side as a Marketing Director before joining the team at Strategic Marketing.
Along the way I learned to speak up when you have a good idea, learn everything you can and work hard.
How hard or easy was it to get in the job market when you started?
I graduated in 2009. That was a really hard year to get hired for any industry, especially marketing. Before graduating, I anticipated this challenge so I interned every single semester to ensure I had an edge when the time came to get a full-time job. I also realized that no one really knew a whole lot about digital marketing and that presented an opportunity to carve out a little niche in a tough job market.
Was working in the Advertising and Marketing industry always on your radar?
Not at all. I went to college undecided but firm on the fact that I wasn’t going to be a business person. I saw myself as the creative type with an aptitude for science. Then through the classes I took I realized that advertising is about being both creative and analytical in a collaborative environment. I tell students all the time to get out and intern because before I did, I never really knew my job existed.
What are some characteristics of a great leader in your perspective?
To me, great leadership is about being out in the trenches with your team doing the hard work and leading the charge. Leadership is letting your hard work and passion for the project inspire your team to do their best.
Any life lessons that you learned in your career that you believe helped you to make it where you are today?
Take the risk. If you want something, ask for it. If you don’t get it, let your work speak for itself and ask again.
Do you believe in the power of diversity?
Absolutely. Whether it’s through the relationships we build with our clients or through the creative the end consumers are seeing, we’re in the business of connecting with people. Having empathy for experiences that differ from your own are of paramount importance when making that connection. Having diversity within your team is a powerful catalyst to developing that empathy and understanding so that you can make a more impactful and authentic connection.
Do you think that the women in leadership make any difference in your organization?
Of course, and the answer is twofold. We have long understood that the woman is the buyer in the household. Most consumer advertising needs a female perspective in order to create a stronger connection with that consumer. Secondly, the next generation of adwoman need more role models.
In this fast-paced market, people are always trying to do things better, faster and smarter. Can you share how you made a project more efficient?
Finding and implementing the right software that elevates the quality of our product and arms the team with the tools they need to get the job done correctly.
What’s your superpower?
Multitasking. Keeping all of the plates spinning and switching gears at a moment’s notice.
Any advice for entrepreneurs that want to partner with Strategic Marketing?
Creative is subjective and targeted toward a specific audience and goal. When an agency creates work for you, seeking too many outside opinions can create feedback that mucks up the intended message.
How does your career background contribute for you to make great work at Strategic Marketing today?
Having experience on both the agency and client side helps me to better connect with my clients and teammates. The one-woman-show marketing director role I once had directly before coming to Strategic made me very resourceful, which is a powerful trait to have in an industry that continues to change.
How would you describe your working style?
I plan as much as I can knowing that the most carefully laid plans will still need a back-up.
Any company run or founded by Women that you would like to have as a client?
Orangetheory Fitness! Hit me up! We’ve got expertise in franchise marketing and we’re ready to help each of your locations succeed.