How To Be… An Ad Exec, Kara Miller

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For Kara Miller,  a non-traditional path to a career in the dynamic field of digital advertising, turned out to be a good way to marry her appreciation for business and creativity.  She discusses the challenges of preserving the integrity of creative work, her passion for music and more.

Stats

Name: Kara Miller

Age: 26

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Profession: Advertising Executive

Work

How did you get started?
I first got started in advertising because I knew I was fit for a career in “business” but needed creativity as well. I’ve never been satisfied with a level of monotony or mundane-ness in my day-to-day, so when I first discovered how turbulent the advertising industry was, I was immediately drawn to it. Plus I loved the idea of wearing jeans to work. My first official introduction to advertising was through the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) Multicultural Advertising Intern Program (MAIP). I interned the summer after my junior year of college as an Account Management intern for Hill Holiday, working on their Bank of America account.

After a couple of years in advertising, I expressed my interest and passion for music to the heads of my current agency – and supporting the independent label, Weirdo Workshop, that the agency was partnered with seemed like a natural fit. So I raised my hand to initially support the first act under the label, Louis York, who also happened to be the label co-founders, and built relationships from there. Not having a formal education in the music industry has been a struggle at times, but I think my curiosity and everyone’s overall willingness to teach and communicate has certainly helped me grow and learn. Weirdo Workshop has the most amazing mix of diverse talent and people – both artists and behind the scenes – and I’m beyond grateful to be a part of it.

What’s an average day like?
My favorite part of my job is that there’s no such thing as an average day. Every day that I come into the office I’m tackling a variety of things. It could be a day filled with client meetings, a full day of shooting something for production, a day of blasting emails or event planning. Every single day is different which keeps things exciting.

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Why do you do it?
Since I was old enough to really understand what a career meant, I’ve never been willing to compromise my happiness for a paycheck. Of course we all still have to eat at the end of the day, but I believe in doing work that you’re passionate about. While I don’t have the technical skills to create most of the work that I help to execute, from a professional standpoint I do everything in my power to advocate for the creative work so that consumers can share in the experience – be it a social campaign, a song, a YouTube video, etc. I also just love to learn and I’ve thankfully been given ample opportunities to wear multiple hats across projects, so that also keeps work exciting.

Since I was old enough to really understand what a career meant, I’ve never been willing to compromise my happiness for a paycheck.

Ups and downs you sometimes face on the job:
Working in a creative environment is sometimes challenging because art is so subjective. I sometimes find myself having a hard time understanding why work that I’m excited about isn’t quickly recognized by others. I have to remember that, especially in our world of technology where consumers are inundated with things to pay attention to, unfortunately some of the best work gets lost in the mix. I’m a bit of a workaholic so on the flip side when that good work does get recognized and appreciated, it makes the effort put behind it that much more meaningful and exciting.

Your greatest achievement so far?
This is potentially me being very hard on myself, but I don’t think I’ve quite reached the full potential of my “greatest achievement”. I’m still relatively fresh in my career and have high expectations of myself.

What might be next for you?
I’d love to know the answer to this question! Hopefully you’ll see me in the next big edition of AdWeek or Billboard.

I’m only about 2-3 years into this natural game so still taking tips from others!

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Let’s Talk Hair

What are your go-to hair tips?

  • Co-wash your hair. No one has time to shampoo and condition their hair every day or every couple of days. I personally use the Shea Moisture Co-Wash and have had good results.
  • Sample a variety of products. Everyone’s hair is different and what works for a friend may not work for you. In the world of natural hair “results may vary” is a legit statement.
  • Embrace big hair! If you’re someone who frequently straightened their hair (relaxed or natural), then decided to go 100% natural – don’t be afraid to rock the big hair. It probably looks crazier to you than it does to other people, and the only way you’ll get used to it is to keep rockin’ it.
  • There’s no such thing as one magical miracle product. Every time I wash or condition my hair, I probably follow it up by about 3-5 additional products before it looks half decent for me to walk out of my house. I also have multiple textures in my hair so I know I can’t just wash and go.
  • I’m only about 2-3 years into this natural game so I’m still taking tips from others!

Fun Fact: Kara began playing the violin when she was only five and went on to play with the National Symphony Orchestra. She is also conversational in French and studied abroad for six weeks in Morocco.

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