AdPR Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Zagorski

Sarah Zagorski
Sarah Zagorski is a native of Roswell and a 2012 graduate who majored in advertising with a New Media certificate.

What are you doing now and how did you get there? Currently, I work for a strategic advertising agency called Media Storm. Our office is based in SoHo in New York City and I am a Planning Coordinator on 3 major accounts including Connecticut Tourism, Loehmann’s, and a children’s television network, The HUB. I was initially connected with my current boss through a mutual UGA professor we shared (Dr. Karen King, get to know her!) Dr. King was my faculty advisor for a fellowship program I participated in the Spring semester of my senior year with PHD (the agency was recently named AdWeek’s Global Media Agency of the Year).

What is your day-to-day like at your job? (Any interesting projects that you can share with us?) One of the BEST aspects of this job is that no day is the same. Requests and new projects are constantly rolling in which only expedites the learning experience. I am consistently being exposed to innovative methods, thought processes, and challenges that may need tackling that particular day (some of which I never would have expected when I first walked in the door that morning). This means I am NEVER bored and I always leave work feeling an immense sense of accomplishment. In terms of interesting projects in general, one facet of the business I often get to work on is New Business research. The compelling thing about New Business is you have the opportunity to research a product, category, industry, or brand you may not know anything about initially. Also, being able to say you helped lay a foundation that wins your agency a client is pretty cool if you ask me. 

What activities were you involved while in Grady/UGA? Sigma Kappa Sorority, UGA AdClub (Vice president of Fundraising), HSBT (Director of New Business), Barberito’s Franchising, Inc. (Advertising and Marketing Intern).

What part of your Grady experience (classes, professors, etc.) has been helpful in your career today? I have nothing but AMAZING things to say about my experience at Grady, the curriculum and the professors associated with the school. Grady, without a doubt, helped prepare me for my career in advertising and, perhaps more importantly than anything else, helped fuel the passion that I have for this industry. In terms of being the most helpful though, I would have to say my participation in the PHD Creative Collective program was most directly influential to my career today. PHD is a global media agency and my senior year I had the opportunity, along with four other Grady seniors, to participate in a research assignment for the agency to analyze and understand the media habits of Millennials. After compiling our research, the five of us were flown up to the New York PHD office to present our findings in front of about 30 industry executives and some of their clients as well. PHD put me in touch with Dr. King (I never had her as a professor for any classes otherwise) who then put me in touch with my boss at Media Storm, and I certainly have the PHD program to thank for that.

What is your favorite Grady memory? I would probably have to say the Chicago Agency Tour I went on Fall semester my Senior year with AdClub. I had never been to Chicago and the opportunity to experience a new city and visit some of the best agencies in the country (Leo Burnett, Edelman, Digital Kitchen) was such an incredible experience. Just being part of the conversation and having the chance to experience the passion these industry leaders willingly dish out first-hand really made the trip a memorable one for me. 

What advice do you have for current AdPR students?
 - Put in the time to do your research about where you want to end up on the front end, whether that is an agency of three or 3000, try and develop some sense of what you think will fit your personality best (or at least what you want to try out first) before applying to jobs.
-  Don’t be afraid to pick up and leave! Think about what uprooting your life, or staying in the same place will mean long term (a pros and cons list will be your best friend here). Moving to New York City was a HUGE change for me but the personal growth I have experienced because of it in the last six months has been truly incredible. I have learned more about myself and what I want moving forward in my life and in my career than I ever thought I could have.
Talk to as many people in the industry as possible and don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. I was literally sitting at a bus stop in Austin, Texas and I noticed the guy next to me had a notepad with an Austin Advertising agency on it. We exchanged emails and just last month I passed on his information to a friend interested in working at his agency. Take some self-directed initiative and reach out to that contact you have been meaning to forever! You never know who will help you land a job!
- INTERN INTERN INTERN! A no-brainer but paid opportunity or not, it’s SO important to jump on any chance you have to get industry experience BEFORE you graduate! (I had 5 internships all together!) Media Storm has a Summer Internship Program!  Feel free to send me your resume and I’ll be happy to share some additional information.
Make some business cards (Vista Print)! They don’t have to be anything fancy but always good to have. In my experience, being able to hand out a business card to an unassuming industry professional can really speak volumes, especially when it comes to first impressions. (Save the business cards you collect too!
- Lastly, I want to suggest one of the latest books I’ve read: The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay. Definitely a great read when it comes to 20-something post-grad realities. If you want some really decent advice about work, relationships and how your brain is functioning and developing right now, pick this one up.

Of course, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about what it’s like to live and work in advertising in New York City. Grady got me here in the first place, I figure the least I can do is try and give a little back!

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