Applying Our Pasts to the Present: Part I
Aug 27, 2014
Together, Centerliners have a pretty impressive resume. While a few of us came here straight out of college, most Centerliners have a unique – and valuable – career history.
Every job offers many opportunities for learning. Here are five Centerliners who have had extraordinary jobs – everything from working in Hollywood to being a supervisor at J.Crew. They’ll tell us what they learned and how it applies to their current position at Centerline.
Hannah Sink, Associate Creative Director
Previously a Writer and Director in Hollywood
Working as writer and director in Hollywood prepared me to work at Centerline in many ways. One, TIME is always an issue for a director so learning how to prep a shoot effectively is the key to success. I’ve been able to adapt and be much more agile because of my set experience. In turn, this has allowed me to keep up with the fast-paced nature of an agency.
Secondly, the art of story is key to any deliverable. My experience in Hollywood, adapting novels into screenplays, has dramatically informed my writing process and how I tell a narrative regardless of the content. It’s all about STORY!
Brenna Mickey, Graphic Designer
Previously a Peace Corps Volunteer
Living in Albania for almost three years definitely shaped my perspective of the world outside of the States. Immersing myself in a culture other than my own, learning the local language, adapting to the local customs unavoidably resulted in a lot of personal growth.
As far as professional growth, being a Peace Corps Volunteer taught me basic skills that are valuable in any work environment: Adaptability, making the resources you have work, good communication, working with people different from you.
As a graphic designer at Centerline, that experience definitely helps me create experiences that appeal to audiences of various backgrounds. Working with people from different backgrounds other than my own, and in a foreign language, helped me understand the importance of explaining why I made certain decisions in my designs> and taught me to be comfortable speaking about my work in front of people. Also, doing all of this in Albanian made it way easier in English later.
Ashley Wentz, Content Strategist
Previously a Brand Training Supervisor at J.Crew
During my time at J.Crew, I was responsible for building and developing a variety of specialty service teams (e.g. Personal Stylists, Wedding, Email/Chat) to provide top-notch service to catalog and Internet customers. My role required me to conduct need assessments and identify development opportunities to help teams excel in communicating the brand story in a dynamic way, while creating a connected customer experience.
The culmination of my experiences at J.Crew helped shape my role as a Content Strategist in many ways. Today, I conduct deeper need assessments for Fortune 500 companies, working alongside key stakeholders to identify communication gaps and determine business opportunities to inform multi-channel marketing plans.
My focus on creating memorable customer experiences at J.Crew translates seamlessly at Centerline, where I get to help companies like IBM craft digital communication strategies that build long-term relationships with their customers.
Alisha Hawkins, Senior Project Manager
Previously a Leadership Development Associate at Theo Davis Printing and a Project Manager at Mail Management Services, LLC
With both of Theo Davis and MMS Delivers, I learned the intricacies of juggling many, many projects in different stages at once. At first, this idea seemed super daunting, but the more I got into it, the more I really enjoyed the challenge.
These opportunities also taught me the importance of understanding how something happens. You can “manage” a project all day long behind the veil of email, but until you get onto the production floor and see how something is done and (in some cases) do it yourself, you can’t really be a good project manager in my opinion.
Soft skills and being able to talk to clients are great, but really understanding the process of how what you are managing is created is what I feel is the most important part. And I feel that starting out in a place where there was an actual production floor where I could go get my hands dirty was really conducive to my curiosity when it comes to what we do here.
Ronny Nause, Production Specialist/Studio Manager
Previously a Photographer and Field Technician at News14 Carolina
My time at News14 gave me plenty of skills that have proven invaluable here at Centerline. Some of them are obvious, like working as part of a team or being able to properly operate and maintain production equipment. I was also able to develop my communication skills after years of interviewing all kinds of people, from community leaders to celebrities to powerful politicians.
Working as a journalist also taught me a healthy respect for deadlines (Read: Don’t miss them ever). As it turns out, deadlines are also important in an agency environment. This ties in with one of my biggest takeaways from News14, which is the ability to improvise. The control center didn’t care about any equipment malfunctions, they only cared that I made deadlines. This meant creating new ways to get a job done on time, often under very stressful conditions. For example, the live truck broke down on me on the way to a crime scene that was over an hour from the office. In order to make the deadline, I had the truck towed to the crime scene so that I could edit/transmit the video.
The ability to keep calm and work under pressure to get the job done regardless of any hurdles has proven itself to be very valuable, particularly on set and in any type of production environment.
Influencing our storytelling
When we craft content, we owe a part of our success to our past experiences. These unique opportunities have helped us learn how to understand subject matter, how to target an audience and ultimately how to effectively tell a story.