The Department of Advertising and Public Relations is excited to announce our newest series, AdPR Achievers. This series recognizes young alumni who are already making an impact in their field. Featured alumni are Accomplished, Driven, Purposeful, and Resourceful. We are proud to call them our own.
Our first AdPR Achiever is Anna Gardner. A recent May 2020 UGA Grady College graduate, Anna studied Advertising with a minor in Fashion Merchandising. She soon launched into her career at Luckie and Company, where she worked in a dual role as an account lead and strategist. She moved into an account position in 2021, supporting Travel, CPG, and Hospitality business units.
Anna describes her biggest strength as a working professional to be her curiosity. This curiosity has exposed Anna to people, conversations, and perspectives which she feels would have otherwise taken years to evolve. Her company encourages this curiosity, providing the fresh idea that career growth is synonymous with being vulnerable about what you don’t know.
“I have seen my curiosity transition from asking the infant-adjacent ‘whys’ to ‘whats’ and ‘hows’; essentially moving from questioning for understanding into questioning for ideating/innovating.”
In her career, she is continually curious about advertising’s connection with the human condition, constantly wondering, “does society affect advertising, or does advertising affect society?”
“Curiosity in the face of our industry (at times) becoming automated and reality-blended remains what ground advertising as a continual source of human connectivity.”
When asked to provide one word describing her career journey, Anna used the word “uncomfortable”. Uncomfortable is not a negative remark but rather a positive one. She recently had a colleague share with her that change demands uncomfortability. The result pushes her to leave her comfort zone, requiring her to grow, learn, take risks, and slowly succeed.
“This is how I would also describe my work externally with my clients. First, it is uncomfortable to learn the ropes. Then it is uncomfortable to have hard conversations, and then it is uncomfortable to make them uncomfortable with change. But then, you grow, and you grow together, therefore becoming better together.”
To succeed, Anna knows she must not evaluate herself against other people’s strengths. Like many recent grads, Anna understands how complex imposter syndrome can be, specifically in the advertising industry, given the teamwork it requires. Over time, she has learned that self-doubt does not foster a culture of success. Anna has high hopes for her (already successful) career in the advertising industry. She hopes to continue her passion for connecting human needs to brand visions through an account-driven role.
“Being a connector of client-to-consumer and client-to-internal agency teams creates a dynamic, never-ending cycle of being a bit better every day, personally and professionally.”
In her current role, she has demonstrated experience in leading client strategy and aligning her client’s businesses closer to their consumers. She is always eager to deepen her integration into her understanding and grow her skills. In her professional career, leadership, and management experience are valued. As the former Director of New Business for Talking Dog Agency, Anna has continued partnering with the Agency, mentoring teams each year to support students’ career development.
Anna also highlights a misconception of the Advertising and Public Relations industry that Anna has seen throughout her career is the linearity of work and its execution to final product development.
“Coming out of school, I assumed that there was this A to B to C execution of work, where a client brings an idea or problem to a team, the team goes through the insight and discovery process, and out comes a campaign. In reality, some of our best client work has come from team members having a bad date or overhearing demographic survey data on the news before work and connecting the relevance of their day-to-day realities to drive impactful solutions for client business problems.”
Anna’s favorite part about working in the Advertising and Public Relations industry is the people. Within her account role, Anna works with a wide range of professionals, giving her a wealth of personalities, brains, and advocates to find the best solutions for clients.
“Because it is a people-first business, there is never a dull moment!”
And when asked to divulge the best piece of advice she has received, Anna says it applies to all facets of her life. “No decision is a decision,” and “the worst decision is no decision at all.” Both resonate with Anna as they work together in tandem.
“Considering life is essentially a choose-your-own-adventure due to the butterfly effect of every choice affecting the next, feeling paralyzed by decisions still signals a choice has been made. I have found that the consequences of indecision affect trust, confidence, and momentum in work and life. Because at least if you make the wrong decision, a forward energy exists where pivoting is exponentially easier and more possible.”
Anna’s continued contributions to Grady College make a valuable difference in the budding careers of students. We wish the best of luck to Luckie’s Anna Gardner on an incredibly successful career and life!
Please find Anna on LinkedIn to follow her career journey.