Director of Creative Development
Company Name: AAA
After several years of social work in New Orleans as a child abuse counselor, I decided that advertising was more my speed emotionally and would also allow me to indulge my writing skills. I was fortunate enough to get hired as a copywriter at an in-house advertising department for a retail store, and then spent several years as a copywriter for 3 different ad agencies in the Tampa-St. Pete area. I returned to in-house marketing for an electric utility where I managed the ad agency and a small in-house staff. After 9/11, my social work leanings took me to the Red Cross as their media spokesperson for a couple of years, when I was recruited to AAA to head up their in-house creative department. I’m on the board and a past president of the Tampa Bay Advertising Federation. I have a degree from the University of North Carolina, dropped out of work for 2 years to go sailing with my husband, and still live on the water and enjoy the boating and beachy life.
What is the best thing about working in-house?
I like knowing products, services and people in-depth and find that is more possible in-house than at an agency.
What types of projects does your department do?
We handle all marketing for AAA for Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. Our business lines include Road Service, Insurance, Membership and related benefits, hotels, attraction ticket, discounts and financial services. We also handle collateral and ads for internal departments such as P.R., H.R., and various branch and employee initiatives.
What keeps you motivated and inspired in your job?
My staff! They are earnest, interested, inspiring, helpful, quirky, funny, sarcastic, giving, open and talented. They are parents, singles, hard workers, lazy, newly-weds, newly-grandparents, helpful and prideful. They are everything a group of creative people should be.
What do you consider the biggest success of your in-house career?
Hiring copywriters and proving that advertising is about more than the pretty pictures.
What are you currently reading, watching and listening to?
I’m reading that bogus memoir that Oprah recommended and then found out the guy lied, but it’s a good book regardless — A Million Little Pieces. Also reading Blue Ocean Strategies, about creating new market space. I read the St. Petersburg Times and Ad Week, CA and How Magazine. NPR listener and rock and roll, classical, blues and opera. The only TV I must see is West Wing and it’s been cancelled. That happens to every show I get hooked on.