Starburst Creative sponsored the Ad Club of Edmonton’s Student Speed Mentoring night on October 7, during which Starburst’s President, Rob Jennings, announced our two new NAIT and Alberta School of Business scholarships. Account Director Kiri Wysynski, Studio Manager Brenna Voogd and Account Executive Chelsea Rho were also at the event as mentors. Here are their thoughts.
Why did you volunteer as a mentor for the event?
Chelsea: A few years ago I attended Speed Mentoring as a student. I was eager and excited to get into the industry, but it was pretty intimidating and I wasn’t sure where to start. This event was a huge turning point for me in terms of understanding what kind of opportunities existed in the city and where my education was steering my career trajectory. Now, as a member of the professional community, I jumped at the opportunity to help bring that experience to the next batch of ad men and women.
Brenna: I was a part of the ACE board last year and the previous year and I wanted to continue to contribute to ACE and the student community. I also feel that ACE and the industry professionals that attend speed mentoring are a very important resource for students and wish I had taken the opportunity to participate more when I was a student.
Kiri: I’ve volunteered for this event for several years. I remember being that student who knew the importance of networking, but wasn’t quite sure how to do it. This is a great way for me to make networking a bit easier for current students. Also, it’s great for my own networking. It’s great to catch up with my industry colleagues, some of whom I may not have seen for several months.
What do you think is the value in an event like this?
Kiri: For students, it’s a chance to tap into a wealth of practical advice on the realities of working in the advertising industry and what different career paths are possible. For people in the agency world, there’s value in seeing who’s coming up through the schools, who’s got a good head on their shoulders, who seems driven and is worth watching.
Chelsea: Opportunities to sit down with some of the leading minds in Edmonton’s ad community don’t come by often. As a student, it can be scary to approach industry professionals on your own, so having a facilitated event that gives you scheduled one-on-one face time with the pros is extremely valuable. From the agency perspective, it’s great to see the next round of potential colleagues who will soon be entering the work force.
Brenna: The value of events like these are that we as professionals get to meet the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed students that are going to be a part of our industry in the next few years; more importantly, it’s a chance for students to get their face out there and set themselves apart from the other students that will be graduating with them. It means they’ll be remembered by the industry professionals they meet with after graduation.
What was your main piece of advice to marketing and advertising students?
Brenna: I had two main pieces of advice. Firstly, find a way to separate yourself from the flock. What makes you better than the next guy/gal? Make a point of being present at industry events, get over your fears of making small talk and meeting new people and take advantage of the knowledge and network that’s out there.
Kiri: It’s a small, connected community. Treat everyone respectfully – you can’t afford to burn bridges.
Chelsea: Get involved! Keep coming out to events. Volunteer. Pursue an internship. There’s no better way to get your name and face out in the community—and show that you’re serious about making a career for yourself in the industry—than to go beyond the basic requirements of completing your education.
What was the best question you were asked?
Chelsea: I had a few students ask me how I got to where I am—it was nice to be able to tell them firsthand how getting out into the community and getting involved really does make all the difference.
Brenna: The best question I was asked was “What can I do to set myself apart from the crowd?” It showed me that they were really interested in the industry and keen on figuring out how to get into the inner circle.
Kiri: “Did you ever take the ‘wrong’ job and regret it?” My answer was yes, I have taken the “wrong” job, but I don’t regret it because there’s always something to learn or a new skill to develop, and it’s ultimately led me to the right job.