POSE & FOCUS: WOMEN IN ADVERTISING - DEVON CHAIKEN
When Devon is not closing large-scale deals with double digit growth YOY and spending time with family and friends, she is taking care of her rescue dog, Finn. Devon is driven and very well liked within the industry. She is both the yin and the yang, with her New York driven attitude to drive growth, mixed with her California chill that is so friendly you cannot help but make her your friend 5 minutes into a conversation. She is smart and genuinely invested in her clients, while ensuring she keeps a well-balanced personal life. Her headpiece was inspired by her boheiman style and fun spirit. So without further ado, lets meet Devon…
For those that are not familiar with the industry, please provide a description of what you do. I work with brands to develop strategic creative marketing plans that engage, entertain and inform our readers while still feeling authentic to our audience.
How did you first become interested in advertising? My first telecommunications course in college introduced me to Ted Turner. I was fascinated with his perspective on media (especially his creative thinking, launch and establishment of CNN). I also thought his relationship with Jane Fonda was interesting.
What made you want to pursue a career in sales? Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing. I had a major in sport broadcasting and got really lucky with an interview at Turner Broadcasting, but had no idea what I was actually trying to do. I always liked commercials and print magazine ads, though.
What is one unexpected expectation/duty of your job that most wouldn’t know? The work will still be there tomorrow. :)
What does a typical day look like for you? Does it include any daily rituals? I roll out of bed, make a cup of coffee and take my dog for a long walk or hike. Until the evening, this is my time to myself.
What are the top pressures in your position? Revenue and the competition. The digital landscape is completely cluttered and the pressure exists at the top and trickles all the way down to the bottom.
What personal traits do you contribute to your success? My outgoing personality and passion for the projects I work on. You could seat me at a table with not a single person I know and I’d make a friend within the first 5 minutes. I like to talk.
Any big success stories that stand out the most when looking back at your career journey thus far? Looking at where I started after college to where I am now. It took a long time to become an expert and asset in this industry, but it has totally been worth it.
What was your professional highlight within the last year? Closing two large-scale Upfront deals with two key partners, doubling both of their revenue from 2016 to 2017.
How did you end up working in Los Angeles? I was living in New York and was ready for change. LA was always lingering in the background since my brother lived out here and I figured, if I don’t do it now I may never do it, and worst case I can always move back. It’s been 5 years and I am not going anywhere!
What was your first gig in the industry and what were the steps you took to get hired? I moved to New York City after college and was introduced to someone at Turner Broadcasting who tossed my resume over to HR, even without knowing me. Within 30 days I had accepted a job at Turner as a sales assistant to executive management. I honestly had no idea what I was doing but I figured that if they trusted me enough to hire me out of college then I must identify well with them. Since I was working for executive management, I also had access to everyone in the company and networked the sh!t out of everyone at every level across every department, which eventually lead me in the direction of media planning/sales.
What advice would you give women who are thinking of working in the industry? Don’t rush! Good things come to those who wait. Don’t just settle. Don’t accept a job with a company just because they are paying you more. Work for a company that has a work hard, play nice mentality and focus on combining your passion points and skills to find the best fit. And always ask for more money without being irrational. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
What has changed in the industry from when you first started out? Desktop traffic turned to mobile traffic turned to social traffic! Remember when Rising Star units were cool!
When starting out, any mistakes you learned from that you would like to share? I tend to have two qualities that might not be well suited for everyone. First, I have no filter. Second, I am a challenger. While I love both of these characteristics so much, it’s important to always read the room. Not everyone will be as receptive to my personality, my language and my questions.
In moments of self-doubt, how do you pick up and keep moving forward? I sing, “You can’t always get what you want”. And, I move on. Things happen for a reason. It’s ok to not feel great about a program you pitched or lose a deal. Everyone goes through the same sh!t. Also, find true friends in the industry so you can lean on each other during tough moments. Those friends understand you and your challenges and should always be there to support you / drink with you to make you feel better. :)
With just three adjectives, describe yourself. Unfiltered, Strange, Happy.
What is one interesting thing about you that most people don’t know? I LOVE Delta’s Sky Magazine.
What does the word “success“ mean to you? Happiness in both your career and personal life.
As women we tend to have a lot of roles between home and work. How do you manage a healthy routine between personal and work responsibilities? I’m still in that selfish phase of my life where outside of work I don’t have that many responsibilities. I rescued my dog, Finn, a few years ago to be a more responsible adult. With that said, to maintain a healthy routine I not only try to stay active but I prioritize my family and friends in the evenings to ensure I’m staying loyal.
What are your go to resources for inspiration? LinkedIn is my #1 social media platform right now and has opened me up to so many articles and stories from media professionals across the globe. I’m obsessed.
In sales you get exposure to a lot of really great restaurants. What is your #1 recommended restaurant in Los Angeles right now? I mourned the loss of Scarpetta. My brother, sister-in-law and me almost ordered extra spaghetti to freeze because we were devastated that this fine establishment was closing down. And then came The Ponte lead by the infamous Spaghetti chef, Scott Conant.
What is one thing in Los Angeles you have been dying to do/try, but haven’t had the chance to yet? Explore the food scene more outside of Central LA.
Los Angeles Rapid Fire Qs: Top Pick
1. The Grove or Americana? The Grove
2. 405 or the 101? Depends on where I am going and what time of day.
3. Fast Track or Carpool? Carpool
4. Rodeo Drive or Melrose Ave? Melrose Ave.
5. Shutters or Terranea? Terranea
6. Disneyland or Universal Studios? Neither. I hate rides.
7. Museum of Ice Cream or Getty Museum? Museum of Ice Cream. I’ve already been 2x.
Thank you for your support in reading this post! Pose&Focus: Women in Advertising is my personal passion project dedicated to highlights women in the advertising industry through interviews and creative expression. Having been in the business myself for over a decade, I found it very important for women (and men) to support female leadership in our community & industry. Especially with our current political climate this mission is more important to me than ever before. I want our female readers to know when they come here they will get solid advice and actionable steps that they can use to elevate their own careers. To learn more about upcoming posts or when nominations for future volumes will open, follow me on Instagram or Linkedin for the latest news.
Thank you and be cool.