In our podcast Blood, Sweat and CPMs, Kurt Donnell, President & CEO of Freestar, interviews thought leaders across the industry to get their perspectives on what matters most to them, as well as hear their takes on hot industry topics. He ends each episode with this very poignant question: “What advice would the current you give to a younger version of yourself?”
Here are their answers.
Note: Responses have been edited for clarity.
Jess Breslav, Chief Custome Office of Index Exchange:
Well, let’s see, I think very much in line with our conversation today. Change is good and we should embrace it and we should work through it and maybe even enjoy it just a little bit or a lot.
Mike Racic, President and Board Member of Prebid:
Leave the Agency business a lot sooner. So you go in there, and if you’re in a good agency, you’re going to get a broad base of experience on everything from buying to planning, how to run big client meetings, how to present, how to start thinking about POVs and start putting a rational thought to what you’re putting in front of someone and defining it. Probably by your 10th year, you’re not learning anymore. Don’t get comfortable ever. If you’re getting comfortable, you’re not relevant anymore in our industry, right? So you don’t know something. The best way to learn in this industry is to go do it.
Matt Prohaska, CEO & Principal at Prohaska Consulting:
Career-wise, I would say trying not to solve every problem in the world in 24 hours. Also appreciating, listening, and respecting people’s backgrounds and where they come from. We are such a judgmental country and culture these days, especially here, especially in the last six or seven years, that it’s easy and our brains are wired to be visual first. So I would have taught myself earlier. Being in New York day one after graduating college was wonderful sensory overload for a kid from the Midwest. It took me a while to get at least a little bit better at stopping, thinking, understanding context, and understanding the perspective of where someone’s coming from. And so when we apply that in our business, I always say that this to our team and to me in the mirror as well, people acting a certain way, setting certain policies, hiring or not hiring us.
We all come with our own backgrounds and baggage and experiences and perspectives that shape things. So let’s just make sure we always keep that in mind when we’re trying to help everybody and understand each other a little bit more.
Angelina Eng, VP Measurement, Addressability & Data Center at IAB:
Don’t limit yourself to just one skill set. I think it’s important to both be a generalist and a specialist. So learn to be a specialist, but then become a generalist by understanding not only what are your responsibilities, but also how they fit into the overall big picture and learn about all the roles and partners that you have helping you to build a successful campaign or program. So, therefore, if you’re a search specialist, try and understand social media. If you know social media, learn about tagging right from an ad op standpoint, become a data analyst, and then become more of a general brand expert. And by learning, becoming experts in all those different areas can open up so many opportunities for you, not only from a career perspective but also from a knowledge perspective of just being able to know things.
Terence Kawaja, CEO & Founder of Luma Partners:
I was probably too anxious to try and get to a certain point in my career. So I have a motto that I tell people, which is to get rich slowly. It’s got all those elements to it. Yeah, journey, not the destination. And just enjoy it and be deliberate. No reason to slow it down. I’m just saying there’s no stopwatch that’s going to click and you have to look at it when you achieve something. Just enjoy the ride and it’s all good.