June 22, 2018

Filed under: Inspiration

Meet Claire: Account Manager Extraordinaire

What good is good creative if it isn't delivered with good service? By our standards, not good, that's what. Thankfully, we have a Claire: a self-proclaimed "Type A person" (hey, she said it, not us) whose role as an account manager is to make sure the client is happy and everything is running exactly as planned—and finding solutions when it's not. (But that never happens.) On the daily, that means she's an internal champion for the client while keeping the rest of us in check, and for that, we are eternally grateful. Internet, meet Claire!

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In the beginning...

Belief-er since: May 2018

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. Southeast Portland, to be more specific—the root of the weirdness. My parents were huge hippies. My mom worked at a flower shop and made all her own clothes, my dad delivered newspapers, and we all slept on a futon. When I was 5 or 6, my dad was like, “Oh, shit. She’s going to want to go to college and do all the things,” so they grew up and bought a business and we moved. We were still hippies, just in a house. Hippies in a house.

What drew you to the creative world?

The funny thing about my hippie parents is that I couldn’t stand the hippiness when I was little. My mom is free-spirited and funky and has a fix-it-yourself mentality—now I’m those things and I’m into, like, drinking apple cider vinegar and composting. My mom is also incredibly creatively talented—she can paint and play piano and do pottery and has those left-brain skills I’ve always been envious of. I’m more like my dad—an analytical, business-forward thinker. Creativity is in my DNA, but there’s no way I’m getting paid for it, so that’s how I ended up in this career—I’m managing good creative and fighting for good creative; I'm just not doing it myself.

So you were always destined to be an account manager?

Nope. I always wanted to do something where I helped people, so I went to the University of Oregon (go Ducks!) for physical therapy. That quickly came to a stop when I found out I had to dissect a cadaver (just couldn’t do it) and I made the next-best, most logical choice: public relations. I wound up interning for a cloud computing tech startup, which led to my first job out of college at a PR agency that did a lot of business-to-business work with tech companies. Like physical therapy, PR wasn’t quite the right fit for me, so I moved to Seattle on a whim, started talking to a ton of agencies in town, and after endless conversations with people, was able to articulate that advertising was where I wanted to be. Account management sounded right up my alley—I’m smart, good with people, and can organize shit and stick to a deadline. My first job in advertising was at Wexley School for Girls (R.I.P.), which was great and fun and taught me a ton.

The 9-5

So, why Belief Agency?

Something about Belief called me. “Telling the truth” is a differentiated message, and here that means looking out for the client (or potential client), even when it doesn’t benefit us. Beyond that, I really respect the work and like having production capabilities in house—it’s an opportunity to control the creative and move fast. Belief is also a place where there’s a lot of autonomy, potential growth for the future, and forward-thinking. Plus, it’s an interesting and fun experience to work with people who have less traditional backgrounds and structures and experiences.

Why do you love what you do?

I like that I get to talk to people all day long. I’m a people person; I don’t think I could do a job where I wasn’t communicating. And I like being around all the creativity here—it’s our currency, so somebody has to be behind the till making sure everything’s being dealt with appropriately. And, at a small agency like Belief I’m empowered to think about service strategically—I’m always thinking about the best, smartest thing for the client.

"Take the risk or lose the chance. That mantra has landed me in a lot of weird situations—and they’ve all been great."

Words of wisdom

Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Trust your gut. It’s funny—earlier on in my career, I’d spend forever refining emails and then send them to my boss before sending them to a client. The edits would come back from my boss, and they’d almost always reflect my initial version of the email. I’ve heard that phrase, “trust your gut,” so many times over the past few years.

Trust your gut—and your skills. Imposter syndrome is real, particularly as a woman in a traditionally male-dominated industry. How do you deal with it?

Confidence is key. Amy Cuddy has a TED talk about this. Before meetings, I’ll often do her power poses in the mirror and tell myself I’ve got it, and that really helps. Your body language is super important, and so is positioning yourself as a leader, being strong in expressing what you think, and not being afraid to challenge people in positions of power. Ask questions and stand up for yourself, even if it means getting shot down.

Do you have a personal commandment?

Take the risk or lose the chance. A lot of my life has been doing things that aren’t the plan, but I’ve gotten a lot of joy and success out of those things regardless of what’s expected me or what the societal norm is. That mantra has landed me in a lot of weird situations—and they’ve all been great.

After hours

Currently evangelizing about: Apple cider vinegar shots for the health benefits (or at least the placebo effect), marigold yellow everything, tequila (with a pineapple back, if you want to get specific), murder mystery shows, and the artist Blood Orange.

Book club recommendation: The Girls, by Emma Cline

Top-three desert island movies: Bridesmaids, Step Brothers, and Stand by Me

Walk-up song: Kanye West’s “Touch the Sky.” Rihanna’s “Needed Me” if I’m feeling fierce.

Next (wanted) passport stamp: Cuba’s high up on my list. Iceland! All around Africa. I have a huge docket of places I want to go.

Little-known fact: I don’t shop online. I’m an old soul.