Become an “Intrepreneur”: How to Make an Impact in Your Workplace

On Wednesday June 7th, NY Creative Interns gathered together for our June Creative Mixer, hosted graciously by 92nd Street Y.

Photos by Stanley Stevens

After some mingling, networking and snacking everyone settled down for several 30 second internship and job opportunities. There was also a raffle to win tickets to see Amy Poehler next week at 92Y! (If interested you can still purchase tickets here.)

The highlight of the night was keynote speaker Blair Cobb,  AOL’s Senior Director of Cause Marketing. In this role Blair develops and oversees AOL’s relationships with non-profit partners and the advertisers that support those organizations.

Photos by Stanley Stevens

Blair is orginially from Connecticut and graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Telecommunications. After college she worked in Atlanta taking a position at Clear Channel selling advertising spots to local media affiliates. After two years she decided to take a position at AOL in Atlanta as an Account Director. After six months she was offered and accepted a relocation postion to  New York City.

In her transition from Atlanta to New York she found that in New York your job becomes a much larger component of your identity, and  found herself spending increased hours at work. After almost three years as an Advertising Account Director, Blair admitted that she felt as though she had hit a wall. She realized that if she was going to spend so much time at her job, it needed to be something she felt passionate about. At this point Blair had three years of sales at AOL under her belt, she knew the business and how to get things done. After partnering with companies like General Mills, which have large cause marketing initiatives, she began to realize there was a significant “white space” at AOL, they had little focus on cause marketing.

Blair-Cobb-AOL-NY-Creative-InternsPhotos by Stanley Stevens

She knew that if AOL could support non-profits in a strategic way it would be fantastic for both AOL and the organizations. She was also was fully aware of the impact and influence of the AOL homepage, which millions of people use daily to check emails and news. It was at this time that she dared to have a bold conversation, and scheduled a meeting with the CEO of AOL. (Wow!) The meeting was successful and she was given the opportunity to start the cause marketing team at AOL. Each day a portion of the AOL homepage is devoted to highlighting a new cause. These causes are then archived on AOL impact. Since she began two years ago her efforts have helped raise $500,000 and driven over 15 billion impressions on behalf of over 300 non-profit organizations. The team has also grown from one to four people. (With a possible intern in the near future!)

Blair is an inspiration and a true “intrepreneur”; one that causes change in an already established company or organization. She finished with five fantastic points and encouraged everyone to keep them in mind. These ideas are from her experience in the workforce, but they can also apply to many other situations, including internships or personal connections.

  1. Everyone is human– your fears of talking to someone in a management position should never prevent you from bringing your ideas to fruition.
  2. Never think that executives have all the answers– if you have a fantastic idea or strategy, share it! It could be incredibly helpful to your company.
  3. Don’t equate your value to your graduation date– You are never too young or two old accomplish something great.
  4. Ask yourself, what’s the worst that can happen? As Blair pointed out, her cause marketing pitch could have been easily rejected by her CEO when she met with him. But that still would have been better than if she had never tried to reach her goals in the first place.
  5. Never stop learning and creating– keep innovative and always be willing to learn new things. (Especially as a creative!)

She left us off with the question, “What impact will you have?” 

Thank you so much to Blair Copp, 92Y, and every student, recent graduate and professional that came the mixer! Special thanks to Stanley Stevens for taking event photos, find the entire album from the night on our facebook page.  Finally, if you had to miss the event be sure to check out Blair’s Slideshare presentation below.

About the Author

I love education & technology. Current member of the Community Team at bitly. @juliawilson89

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