What does it mean to be a strategist?
Universe builder. In college I went to a career fair. I was talking to a recruiter about a career in copywriting. After some discussion he said, “you could do that, but what if you were a universe builder?” He was talking about strategy. The idea is you create this universe for the creatives to work within. I don’t know that I’d say I’m building these environments. Usually the space in the marketplace you want to live in already exists. You just have to figure out how to navigate there and understand the laws that govern it.
Do you think you’re wired for it?
I feel like I’ve been doing strategy my entire life. When I was in the second grade, I was in a program called LEAP, and the teacher had us tackle these big questions like What is God? or What Are Dreams? While our classmates were taking spelling tests or learning basic reading skills, we were straight up writing research papers on big cultural and philosophical questions. Granted they were written by 8-year-olds. But it carried into middle and high school. Every year there was a big project, very creatively driven, super collaborative, lots of debating, deep thinking and research.
Would you say your previous roles have somehow led you here?
My first job in Houston was writing, but it was paired with account service. Then they bounced me to other dual roles. Next job, same thing. But I was open to it, because I’ve always been super curious. Working in so many different departments—copywriting, account service, public relations, social media, content—I feel like I have a very holistic perspective. I can see things from many different angles. I actually came to Langrand looking for what’s next. When I met Andrew, I was drawn to strategy.
Do you feel compelled to contribute to something bigger than yourself through your work?
That’s why I was drawn to Langrand. It’s cool we’re getting to work with HAWC. Women need to be financially independent to live the lives they want to and escape the domestic violence cycle. Helping Teach for America address education inequity couldn’t be any more relevant given what’s happening across the country right now. In the public sector and healthcare you have these great initiatives, and knowing that Shannon comes from a political reform background just shows you how much she cares about these issues.
What needs to change in our industry?
Equality and equity have always been issues in our industry. There are a lot of gaps in knowledge in how we’re creating messaging—we being the advertising-marketing industry. If you don’t have enough perspectives on your team, you’re not going to have the ideas that resonate with different cultures and different peoples. Langrand is very diverse. Which is important, working with the public sector and healthcare in the most diverse city in America. It’s important to represent and reflect that. But industry-wide, we all have a long way to go to make sure we’re expanding that perspective further.