Monday, April 18, 2016

The Professional Posse: Elizabeth Grady


Second ever professional posse post coming at ya in the form of the hilarious and adorable Elizabeth Grady. I can't say enough good things about this girl. She's so smart and strong and all around awesome. I couldn't wait to learn all about her career in digital marketing and her life in Atlanta -- a city I know next to nothing about, and incidentally one she moved to knowing no one her age. 

I'm beyond appreciative that she agreed to participate, answering all of my questions and bravely asking a coworker to take some office pics of her. Upon receiving her photos, I couldn't help commenting on the intense shade of green of her office walls. Her response? "Green is my favorite color, so it's meant to be." Something, she informed me, she also mentioned in her interview to land the gig! Ladies and gentleman, a little personality in an interview really does go a long way. 


Name: Elizabeth Grady
Field / Industry: Digital Marketing
Title: Digital Strategy Coordinator
Company: Vert Digital
Hometown: Buffalo, NY
Current City: Atlanta, GA
Alma Mater: St. Bonaventure University


The Job

Describe your role at Vert.

I love my role at Vert because it’s constantly evolving with the exciting new addition of clients and projects. As an agency, Vert is broken into four internal teams: creative & development, brand strategy, account strategy and paid media. My position falls in the account strategy team. Basically we put all the pieces of a project together across the other teams and serve as the main point of communication with the client.  Within my team I manage projects for a handful of clients that typically fall in the direct response/ lead generation category – definitely more B2B.

What was the application and interview process like?

Despite the fact that I had applied for countless positions for months before I found Vert, the process with Vert was a swift process. I stumbled upon the agency through a Google search of “digital marketing agency Atlanta,” filled out an application, received a response in a week and had two interviews. The whole process took a solid 2 weeks.

I took a “social marketing” intern position initially with Vert. I’d advise recent grads to put their egos aside and be willing to spend some time interning after graduation. I had my Master’s, but the things I learned as an intern at Vert prepared me more for a full time position with the company than any of my graduate school courses. I really got a feel for the company culture, our clients and post-grad life during those 3 months, which prepared me for confidently joining the team as a full time “Vertbag.” It was almost like Vert and I got to date for awhile before we settled down and *officially became a couple*.


How many jobs did you apply to when you graduated?

I applied to way too many jobs. Jobs that now I know I was NOT qualified for at all because I did not have the experience. Although I knew I wanted to be in an agency, I broadened my search and applied at corporate companies and nonprofits.

What tactics did you use for finding a job?

I shied away from job boards like Monster and Indeed. I tried to go straight to the source, always applying directly through the company’s page. Because I knew I really wanted to end up at a smaller agency, I figured they wouldn’t always have the budget to spend on posting their jobs on these sites. I stuck to Google and variations of keywords like “digital marketing agency,” “social media marketing agency.” The fact that I wasn’t from Atlanta and did not live in the area during my job search did make things a little tougher. I made the crazy decision to move to Atlanta quickly after graduation without a job, and it turns out that was the best crazy decision I’ve ever made. Being in the area made for a more efficient job search process.

Why digital marketing? 

The digital world is changing every day, so it’s fun to be a part of those changes. I chose agency life specifically because I wanted to get exposed to a variety of industries and projects.


What's a typical day look like?

Honestly in the agency world there isn’t a typical day, and that is what I love about it! New clients and projects are constantly coming in, so it is very hard to get bored in my position. I’m constantly learning about not only the digital marketing industry, but also the particular industries of my clients.


What do you love about your job?

I love that my job is constantly evolving. Looking back at the past almost 2 years I’ve been with Vert, it’s crazy to see how much my role has changed and how much I’ve grown in the process. Vert is a very supportive company with a work hard, play hard culture.


Tell me more about the culture!

The Vert culture is arguably one of the best perks of the job. You can feel the collaboration and creativity throughout the entire office. Everyone works hard and together because we love what we are doing. There are dogs in the office almost every day. Every Friday one of the bosses brings around a fully stocked airplane drink cart that we got at a Delta liquidation sale, and we all have a drink and discuss the accomplishments of the week. When I started at Vert there were 13 of us, now we are nearing almost 25 “Vertbags.” It’s been fun to grow along with the company and being a part of that culture.

How do you maintain a work life balance? 

For me it can be very hard to not take work home every night. I try to make a conscious effort to stay balanced, but sometimes I can fall out of that. I recently moved close to my office, so going from a 45+ minute commute to a 5 minute commute has really helped achieve this balance. I’m also much closer now to all my friends. At a certain point, you have to make the decision to put your laptop away and focus on yourself. I recently started taking Yoga, and I love it. I also try to meet up with friends as often as I can – either by going to trivia, going out for drinks or playing on a kickball league. Sometimes my ideal night is a night in with a random documentary on Netflix and a Glossier mask on my face.




The Preparation: 


What did you study at St. Bonaventure?


BA Journalism and Mass Communication, Minor History


MA Integrated Marketing Communications


Were you involved on campus?


I was a crazy overachiever in college. I was an editor for the school newspaper and a student ambassador (I gave campus tours). I loved college. I think I really came into my own during that chapter of my life. I met my best friends and figured out what I wanted my career to be.



Did you intern at all during undergrad?


I interned as soon as I had the opportunity in college. I spent two summers interning at a PR agency in Buffalo. I fell in love with Atlanta the summer before I started grad school. I spent the summer at a small PR agency in Atlanta.






The Style

What's the typical workplace style?

Our office is pretty casual. Jeans are okay everyday. We typically dress nicer for client meetings or pitches.


What's your go to work style?

I’m all about comfort. I love dresses, jeans, cute blazers, etc. I feel like my work style is all over the place. Some days I’m dressy, other days I rock a pair of skinny jeans and a t-shirt.
I have some go-to items that make regular appearances.

  •  I pair my jean jacket from The Loft with pretty much everything.
  • I also pair my navy blazer from J. Crew with a lot of dresses and jeans.
  • I think I have worn my Old Navy cargo jacket a week straight with a variety of different looks.


Do you have a favorite store for work clothes?


  • Ann Taylor Loft is my FAVORITE. I have gotten most of my skirts on sale there for $20-$30! True story: I own a black sweater that I bought on clearance there for less than $2. 
  • Dress Up is a boutique chain here in Georgia that I am obsessed with! I’ve gotten a lot of cute dresses from there that I wear both at work and for fun. My favorite pair of booties are from there.
  • Old Navy is where I get all my essentials. T-shirts, sweaters, jeans, you name it.
  • For my more dressy work clothes I love J. Crew. All of my blazers and button up dress shirts I got there. They are such good quality and so cute!


How long does it take you to get ready for work in the morning? 

I like to maximize every additional minute of sleep I can possibly get. I press snooze at least 3 times most mornings. When I’m trying to look good for work, it takes me 30 minutes to get ready. On a typical day though, I spend 15 minutes.


How did you make your desk your own?

I recently decided in order to brighten up my space and mood I am going to always keep fresh flowers at my desk. If you take care of them, they can actually last weeks! I don’t keep pictures on my desk, but I keep random knick-knacks and funny office awards I’ve won. I won the Best Pizza Haiku during a snow day tweet contest our team had when we were all working from home. I also love having inspirational quotes around.



The City 

Why Atlanta?

I <3 Atlanta. I knew I wanted to try some place new after graduation. What more perfect time in your life to move to a city where you don’t know any friends? Atlanta was the right choice for me because I have an aunt here, who let me stay with her until I got on my own feet.

It’s a big city with a lot of big companies. It’s growing, and I love being able to experience that growth! The weather is nice, although the summers can be very steamy. It’s a pretty city. There is green space throughout the whole city. Everyone here is so nice. There are a lot of young professionals new to the city, so it’s easy to find friends once you get up the courage to put yourself out there.

How long have you lived in Atlanta?

I will have lived here 2 years in June.

Any restaurant recommendations? 

There are so many delicious places to eat! Here are some of the places I always take guests:


What's the best season in the city?

The fall here is BEAUTIFUL. The leaves take a while to change colors and the weather is so nice.


Do you have a favorite part of the city?

I love Virginia Highlands. It’s a cute neighborhood with a lot of great food, shops and bars. I also love going to Braves games!



The Advice:

Do you have any advice for young professional women who are just starting their careers?

DO NOT DITCH THE COVER LETTER. I am always surprised when I see an article or hear someone talking about how outdated a cover letter is. That’s shocking to me! That is a way to give a company a sneak peek at your personality. Even if a company doesn’t require one, make the effort and write a cover letter customized for that position.
Network, network, network! Especially if you are new to a city! And if you are nervous or don’t think you are good at it, practice! The more you put yourself out there and awkwardly stand at networking events, the more comfortable you will get approaching people and striking up professional conversations.
Never stop learning. Just because you have a degree, that doesn’t mean you are done with school. Sign up for classes, workshops, conferences, etc. in your field. Get certifications. Read articles. It’s impossible to ever know absolutely everything about your industry.

Any advice for interviewing?

Be yourself! Remember it’s a conversation, so be prepared to ask questions about the company.



The End Game: 

Do you have a mentor?

I don’t have one in particular. I try to learn a little bit from each person I work with. I really value the feedback and example my bosses and supervisor have provided me.


What's next?

I really hope to keep growing in the agency world and continue to get even bigger and more challenging clients and projects. And who knows, maybe someday I'll make the switch to an in-house marketing team for a large corporation.


Want to keep up with Elizabeth? Find her on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter
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