Name: MacKenzie Jones
Job Title and Description: Corporate Communications at Fingerpaint, a strategic and creative marketing company
College Name/Major: George Mason University/Marketing
Twitter Handle: @m_kenziejones / @Fingerpainters
What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?
MacKenzie Jones: I wear quite a few hats, so every day is different! I’m primarily responsible for Fingerpaint’s corporate communications, but that in itself is multifaceted. On a given day, I manage the agency’s external advertising strategies and budget, which includes everything from traditional and digital marketing to media relations, negotiation, and award identification and submission. I also work closely with our creative team to develop new collateral materials, our social strategists to execute multichannel tactics and our people and culture team to integrate new hires into our internal communication system.
What is the best part of your job?
MJ: Getting to collaborate across the entire agency. The fact that I have the opportunity to work with so many different teams and people every day is incredible. It’s not only exciting but incredibly rewarding to know that I’ve played a part, whether that’s big or small, in the array of amazing work that leaves the doors of our agency. It also doesn’t hurt that since I oversee award submissions, I get to attend the fun events and dinners!
What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?
MJ: This isn’t something that came as a complete surprise to me, but I guess it really hit me once I was knee-deep in the work. There are some very strong personalities in advertising, and I quickly learned that it’s not always about the quality of work you produce but your ability to work with others. Navigating people’s behaviors, traits and temperaments is key in any industry, and if you can find a way to work with a range of personalities, you’re golden.
What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
MJ: One mistake I made at the start of my career (Who am I kidding? I’m still at the start of my career.) was thinking that everything would get done smoothly and on time. In this industry, there are always last-minute changes, and you’re usually waiting on someone else. It’s definitely been an adjustment having to rely on others and not being able to complete everything myself. It’s a learning experience I’m still going through, and it’s all about being a part of a team.
What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?
MJ: This is my first job since graduating from college, and I’ve always excelled in a fast-paced environment. However, “agency life” is no joke, and oftentimes you are literally flying by the seat of your pants! The amount of major responsibility I was given only a few short weeks after starting was pretty surreal, but at the same time it was exhilarating because it gave me a chance to prove myself right away.
What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?
MJ: Buy the shoes. Only kidding, but I definitely live by that motto! Something I try and remind myself of every day is that everyone has at least one strength that sets them apart from others—find it, improve it more than you think possible and leverage it.
What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?
MJ: Yes, of course it’s important to secure a job after college, but I think with such a major stress today on internships, jobs, salary, etc. that we forget how much there is to experience your first few years after graduation. I’ve grown and matured so much in only nine months, and I owe that to the risks I’ve taken in my work and in my life. Take every chance that’s thrown your way because regardless of how it turns out, you will absolutely learn from it. Long story short, don’t expect to have it all figured out because I certainly don’t.