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What's It Like Working a C-Level Position in the Advertising Industry? C-Level Advertising Professionals Share Their Advice on Breaking Into the Industry, C-Level Challenges, and C-Level Responsibilities

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The following article contains advice from CEOs, presidents, and chief creative officers on how to break into the advertising industry, the challenges of C-level positions, and the responsibilities of a C-level position in advertising.

What’s it like working a C-level position? While I’ve never experienced the rush or the overwhelming responsibilities myself, I have interviewed numerous C-level executives who have. Below you’ll discover what numerous chief executive officers and chief creative officers have to say about the challenges and responsibilities of working at the C-level in advertising, as well as what it takes to succeed.

How to Break Into the Advertising Industry and Become a C-Level Employee



Vandy Kindred: Co-Partner and Co-Creative Director at Dave Syferd & Partners

''My advice would be to go for it. It is a difficult industry to get into, so be patient and persistent.''

Kathy Sharpe: CEO of Sharpe Partners

''Intern at different agencies and marketing departments — large, small, with different specialties — and see what you like. We always have interns, and we bring them into everything. In that situation, have an open mind and join the team. That attitude feeds on itself and gets the intern involved in more meetings, engaged with more projects — great as an intern.''

Kristi Bridges: Partner and Creative Director of The Sawtooth Group

''Learn as much as you can. Every day, someone invents a new way to communicate. You will be most valuable to your company and your clients if you know all of the options.''

The Challenges of Being a C-Level Worker: What Are the Challenges Faced by a Chief Creative Officer?

Robert Gourley: Creative Director at Mojave Interactive

''As far as challenges…I have to work until I feel like I’ve cracked the idea. I won’t settle for mediocre concepts, and that can mean late nights brainstorming or throwing out ideas that don’t make the grade.

''It…takes work to stay out of meetings all day so that I can schedule brainstorming and creative time to take on the creative challenges.

''Advertising can be a hard business to break into, with long hours and little respect at the beginning. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas with your creative director or supervisor. I believe that good ideas can come from anywhere. Respect those around you as you move ahead in your career. Be honest to yourself and your clients. Never try to sell an idea because it’s easy. Always try to push the work to make it better. Trust your instincts.''

What It Takes to Work as a Chief Creative Officer

Tom Ortega: Creative Director at RIESTER

''In order to thrive in this business, you need to be a consumer of culture. You must also be open to other people’s suggestions and be willing to change. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to feel like you have all the answers all the time.

''Have fun. We are lucky to be able to do this for a living.''

The Responsibilities of a C-Level Employer Include Understanding Your Clients

Peter Krivkovich: President and CEO at Cramer-Krasselt

''A typical day involves a series of strategy meetings about our clients, our campaigns, and our own company goals. It’s fascinating and I wake up every day excited to get to work.''

Robert Hurni: Partner and Creative Director at Off Madison Ave.

''I help set strategic direction on certain accounts, creative direct others, and offer business consulting to a few more. I also like to check in with as many people as I can each day to see how things are going, field any issues that may have come up, and generally take a pulse on the workload.''

Some Final Thoughts from a C-Level Executive

Tom Simons: President and Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons

''Your initial objective: a bad job at a great place is a lot better than a good job at a bad place. Make sure you get initial exposure to talented people, good work habits, and high ethical fiber.''
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