AdPR Student Spotlight: Maria Cramer

Advertising major Maria Cramer
Maria Cramer is a senior advertising major with an anthropology minor and a music business certificate. She is from Athens, Ga. 

What encouraged you to apply to Grady College?  
Ever since I can remember I have always been interested in how to authentically communicate with people. I have always been passionate about the story of the individual, if you will, and finding ways to creatively generate meaningful content in order to reach different people in today’s culture. It was this desire that made the advertising industry so attractive to me- an industry that works together to generate welcomed creative disruptions in a busy world. Endless curiosity fueled my interest to learn from professionals in the field and to immerse myself in everything that is advertising. Grady College was the most direct path I could take to achieve that goal.

What activities are you involved in at Grady/UGA/Athens?
Outside of the classroom, I am a Bread for Life charity volunteer. This is a non-profit organization that offers men and women, with a desire to improve their lives, hands-on training and instruction from professionals in the hospitality industry. Bread for Life is an organization that exists to beat poverty by teaching and leading by example. It is something I believe in and am happy to be a part of. I also volunteer to raise money for Court Appointed Special Advocates, an organization that recruits and trains volunteers to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom. CASA is another organization that works to improve the lives of children today and future leaders of tomorrow.

What kinds of internships or work have you been involved in, and what were your responsibilities?
In the past I have interned at Hugh Hodgson Hall, the University of Georgia’s Performing Arts Center. There I assisted the Director of Marketing and Public Relations, the Executive Director, and Box Office Director with various tasks in preparation for and launch of their new season showcase.

I have also interned with the Director of Marketing at the Classic Center. In my time there, I kept all forms of social media up to date, created email blasts, designed, and assisted with the planning of major fundraisers while advertising and promoting the amenities of the facility.

This past summer I made my way to Nashville and interned with the Artistic Director of a new visual and performing arts venue called OZ. In preparation for launching the new space and season, I assisted the Artistic Director with any given daily task. I organized timelines for marketing, public relations, design and other needs and researched for a database and ticketing system that would serve the venue well.

Currently, I am a music business intern for the Marketing and Hospitality Director at the Georgia Theatre here in Athens. My responsibilities include artist hospitality, social media updates, overall promotion of the venue and its amenities and more. 

What were the best parts of these experiences? 
Learning from outstanding leaders at the UGA PAC such as George Foreman and extraordinary marketing minds like Bobby Tyler, I learned how to use a special event to increase tickets sales for the entire season. Listening to them strategize and build an outstanding event that endeared their audience to Hugh Hodgson Hall was nothing short of amazing.

The Classic Center was also an outstanding experience. Working with a marketing visionary like Meredith Metcalf and her marketing team, I realized the true importance of developing a product worthy of investment from sponsors and how crucial a well-integrated marketing campaign actually is. Meredith taught me the true value of teamwork and the satisfaction that comes from planning for a successful event.

From OZ Nashville, I met some of the most amazing people. Their Artistic Director, Lauren Snelling is an inspiration. She taught me how to work as a problem-solver and was a shining example of what it means to work hard and have fun along the way. I have her to thank for solidifying my decision about whether to work in the music industry or not.

And last but not least the Georgia Theatre’s renowned Marketing and Hospitality Director, Katie Carmody, exposed me to the hard work it takes to prepare for and put on a show. I have her to thank for endless guidance and support. I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to work alongside of the awesome staff at the Theatre and the amazing talent every day I come in.

What part of your Grady experience (classes, professors, etc.) has been helpful in your internship or work experiences?
The way that Grady organizes its curriculum for Ad majors creates a flawless path towards gaining a well-rounded understanding of what the industry demands. My advertising strategy and research classes created solid foundations for being able to define target audience segments and to specifically reach out and relate to the twenty-first century consumer. This knowledge and way of thinking has been instrumental in my internship experiences from creating and organizing timelines for marketing, public relations, design, and other needs to generating a strong and interactive social media and web presence for businesses.

I chose to take a graphic design class with Dr. Acosta-Alzuru who sharpened my eye for good creative communication and fine design. And this semester, Professor Mark McMullen’s Advertising and Communication Management course challenged and motivated me to work with a team in order to create a well-integrated marketing communications campaign. This involved everything from conducting research and generating a solid positioning statement to creating a media plan and executing creative content. I have been able to apply this motivation and work ethic to real world situations and internship work.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering pursuing an Ad/PR program? 
At Grady and in my internship experiences, I have realized that successful professionals in the industry are curious about the world, passionate about their work, and are always hungry for more. And the reality is, these people are insanely good at what they do but as always, it takes hard work to get there. So take advantage of all of the internship and volunteer opportunities that you can. Be nimble. Move around a bit and see what area(s) you like. It is the best way to know if you really want to be doing that work. Be honest with yourself about what you are enjoying and what you are not. If this is something that you enjoy, it will not feel like work. I promise.

What are your career goals and interests? 
I have an undying curiosity for and obsession with the music industry. It is a place where interesting people, high energy, and true creativity mesh together and make magic. It is something that I have decided I need to be a part of. I have experienced the long hours and hard work that it takes to plan for and put on a show and have found that despite everything else it does not feel like work and I enjoy simply being a part of the process. Eventually when I am older and wiser, I would love to become an artistic director for a venue. I want to curate seasons, do the advertising and marketing, and deal with all of the music industry people that I love. But until then, I would love to gain experience in the field, whether that be in an advertising agency or at a venue. I remain open-minded and look forward to what the future has in store.

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