Last week, we had the chance to chat with Sweeney’s new VP of agency services and marketing trailblazer, Lisa Pocci. We discussed everything from her first internship to what three items she would need to survive on a deserted island. Don’t miss how Lisa switched tracks from journalism to marketing, how gray is the new black and white and who her most valued mentor is in life.
During college I thought I wanted to continue down the journalism track since I was very active with my high school’s television station and newspaper. While I remained engaged in the field during all four years – taking several journalism courses and serving as an editor of our college newspaper – it was my intro to public relations class that opened my eyes to that career possibility.
For a couple weeks our professor arranged for industry professionals to come share their stories. They worked at agencies, corporations and non-profits, which helped me understand the role that marketing plays in these various organizations. Hearing their accounts and seeing the diversity of the field inspired me to pursue an internship in the industry.
Tell us about your first internship.
I was lucky to land an internship in a very competitive program at a full-service agency in Cleveland. The company hired eight students each summer, essentially creating a mini agency within the agency. We were able to assist with client work as well as complete our own project together. This gave me a taste of what working at an agency would entail and truly set the stage for my marketing career. I started with that agency full time two days after I graduated.
What is your favorite thing about marketing?
Its diversity and influence. Marketing is a broad world with so many specialties. It requires you to stay educated and know enough about everything in order to strategize and implement at a very integrated level. Despite all of its technological advances, I think marketing will always remain more of an art than a science – and while that creates its own shades of gray, I found that’s where I thrive versus a world of black and white.
What aspect of the industry do you think has changed the most during your marketing career?
The level of consumer engagement and the control they have over their experience. The ongoing evolution in the digital space is continuously creating new channels, changing the way we communicate and allowing people to consume information on their own terms – anytime and anywhere. Facebook launched when I was in college – now college students are taking courses in social media and graduating with degrees that never even existed when I was in school.
What is an accomplishment that you are most proud of?
My first agency job paved the way for a nine-year marketing career in real estate development with two different developers. I started off as a department of one and by the time I left there was an internal marketing department of seven employees. From there, I went on to launch a brand-new, mixed-use property that was opening just four months from the time I started. I walked into both of these roles with blank slates and was challenged to quickly build solid foundations. I’m proud of the legacy I left and the contributions I made to help create places where people live, work and spend their free time.
Who would you say plays the role of a mentor in your life?
I’m lucky to say I have many – but if I had to pick one it’s my sister. What began as a very successful career in journalism has evolved and she now owns her own content marketing company. She’s always taken a very active role in my personal and career development. From the early days of homework help and touring colleges to where we are today – brainstorming projects, sharing industry insights and even attending conferences together. She is always there to help, motivate and support whatever I’m doing. She’s the kind of sibling and confidante everyone should have.
What advice do you have for young marketers beginning their career?
Explore as much as you can and be open minded about where life takes you. Also stay as connected as you can to your peers, professors and industry professionals – and take advantage of any opportunity you can to expand your network. You’ll be amazed how paths continue to cross.
What three items would you take if you were stranded on a desert island?
While I’m sure many would find it blissful to disconnect, I don’t think I could do it. I would definitely need my phone (with Wi-Fi!) to stay connected to my family, friends and the world at large. I would also bring my dog and my husband – and hopefully he can figure out the food situation.