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Leading Ladies - Allyssa Kaiser

AllyssaKaiser

If there is a gal ready to take the advertising world by storm, it's Allyssa Kaiser! Not only does she manage the Visa account for the ultra-hip agency, MRY, she also runs her own personal brand coaching business. Strong, passionate, and a lady that has more perseverance than most! Don't forget to follow her on Twitter and give her a shout!

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START?

I was one of those fortunate souls that stuck with my major. In 2009, I began studying Advertising at Syracuse University in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Early on in undergrad, I secured valuable brand ambassadorships with marketing powerhouses like Target, Microsoft, and Bed Bath & Beyond, as well as budding start-ups like Foursquare. These programs primed me well for more traditional advertising internships at shops like Euro RSCG (now Havas Worldwide) and Eric Mower & Associates, which followed, and eventually, my full-time career in the industry. Upon graduating in 2013, I secured an Account Management role on the Verizon Wireless account at McGarryBowen. My unique experience in social and digital eventually landed me at MRY, where I now service the Visa account.

WHAT RISKS DID YOU TAKE?

I had learned at a very young age to be bold. Not to necessarily take risks, but to chase my dreams and aspirations. Learning to harness my passion and combine it with the confidence to act became essential to my success. One tangible example—I spent a good portion of my free time networking.

I remember one day in college, after submitting application after application for summer internships, I decided to write letters to the major figures at top advertising agencies with a rationale on why I'd be a good fit. Among these leaders was Global CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, who at the time was Kevin Roberts. Little did I know that he would send a copy of my typed and mailed letter to one of my advertising professors at the Newhouse School, applauding my boldness. Networking has had a huge impact on my success to date, and for a lot of people out there, it takes guts.

WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT SCARES YOU?

Having a jam-packed calendar is something I've always thrived off of—I am honestly fueled by "getting sh** done." However, one of my biggest fears lately has become fear of over commitment. Between my full-time job, my personal brand consultancy business, my role as President of the Syracuse University NYC Alumni Club, and other personal and professional responsibilities, I often find myself teetering the line between productive and overbooked, and sometimes I have to remind myself that I need time to breathe. Advice for young people out there: take on responsibility, but be sure not to over commit, or everything you do will be mediocre.

LOOKING BACK ON YOUR CAREER, WHAT WAS A MAJOR TURNING POINT FOR YOU?

I had always had a strong interest in the arts, but after studying Media Arts for 2 years at Perpich Center for Education, I learned there was a bigger world for me beyond film and photography. 

I became passionate about advertising because it combined mixed media, strategic thinking, and culture. Advertising, in the very beginnings of digital, also allowed me to incorporate my love for technology and the Internet. Discovering the ad world was a major turning point in my life. Today, I couldn't imagine having a career that wasn't digitally and socially-driven.

WHAT ARE THREE PIECES OF ADVICE YOU'VE RECEIVED THAT YOU'VE CARRIED WITH YOU THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER?

  1. Have perseverance.  Advertising is by no means an "easy" field of work, especially for young professionals just starting their careers. While it may appear glamorous on the outside (think Mad Men)—and can be at times—it is also one of the most demanding fields of work, arguably up there with finance. There have been countless campaigns and scenarios where I've wanted to just give up, but through perseverance, I've learned the value in taking the road less traveled.
  2. Be resilient. My Dad taught me to have thick skin, and boy has that had an impact on my ability to withstand the worst scenarios. In life, you can encounter some real jerks (and sometimes, those jerks can also end up being your boss). That advice was invaluable, and it has taught me to remain confident even at the lowest of lows.
  3. Credit to Nike: Just do it. "If you don't ask, you don't receive." It's close, but I have a better one. "Don't ask, just go for it." One thing I've learned is that if you always wait for permission, you may miss out on the best opportunities. You don't have to be the best in the room to take on a project, but you do have to speak up, say 'yes,' and claim it. A lot of people are afraid to do that.

BIGGEST MISTAKE?

As a young professional just starting my career in the advertising world (and with college graduation on the horizon), I was anxious to secure a full-time job offer. My biggest failure, which I still regret to this day, was that I didn't really negotiate. I, of course, asked for an increase in salary, but I failed to really demonstrate why I deserved more, and consequently, got stuck with the initial offer. Ever since that first job, I've participated in negotiation programs like Levo League's #Ask4More to strengthen that skill set, and I encourage any professional, experienced or fresh out of college, to take the time to learn those skills.