[Editor's Note: Have you ever wondered what it's like to work in an advertising agency, as well as what types of jobs you can hold at one? All week long, we'll be featuring stellar females from WDCW, an advertising agency with offices in Seattle and Culver City. Our founder works there and can tell you firsthand, these ladies embody what IWHJ stands for. Check out yesterday's interview with assistant account executive Jessica Tade.]
Do you love to compete? Do you love making relationships and talking to people? If so, chances are good Skyler Mattson has the job you want. As the managing director at WDCW, Skyler is the one who gets to help court new clients for the agency through new business and public relations efforts, and she’s a pro at pitching WDCW’s A-team talent. In addition she oversees the account department and makes sure their needs and financials are in place.
Skyler was an instrumental part of WDCW’s “Gossip Girl” success [See the case study here], and she’s even appeared on “America’s Next Top Model” as a judge on behalf of the agency. (But she’s not one to brag. I had to work with her four months before I learned that juicy fact!) Skyler’s idea of a perfect weekend includes spending time with her husband, John, and her son, Cashel. And she’s a sucker for a relaxed Sunday afternoon.
Occupation: Managing Director / WDCW
Education: Communications / UCLA
How did you discover your current job?
A friend worked at WDCW and told me about the position. I always admired the agency’s creativity.
What has been your path so far to get you where you are today?
I started at Dailey and Associates and worked on Nestlé for two years. I came to WDCW as an AE (account executive) and then worked my way up.
Was there any one situation that helped you along your way?
Every situation that pushed my comfort level, whether a new business presentation or pushing back on a client that was heading down the wrong path, has helped me grow along the way.
What do your day-to-day responsibilities include?
In my position as managing director my goal is to ensure our agency is running profitably, that our clients are happy with us as partners and that we are proud of the work we are doing. On a daily basis this means overseeing the account services team, reviewing account financials and managing our public relations and business development efforts.
What traits do you look for when interviewing candidates for the agency?
In terms of experience, I look for candidates that have worked at agencies with an excellent creative reputation and on brands that do relevant, insightful work. I want to know about specific contributions to strategy development and the creative process. And I want to know how the candidate cultivated relationships with both their internal team and external partners and clients.
From a personality standpoint I’m most encouraged by candidates with a deep passion for the industry. I also look for well-rounded individuals because hobbies and interests outside of work provide a richer background of experiences to bring to what we do for our clients.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Winning a new account.
What is the most challenging part?
Not winning a new account that we worked tirelessly to pitch.
What is one lesson you’ve learned in your job that sticks with you?
There is no situation that doesn’t have a solution.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?
The agency business historically works 24/7. Now that I have a little one it’s harder to stay at the office late nights.
Who are your role models?
My mom is my inspiration. [Editor's Note: Skyler's mom is an I Want Her Job alum. Find out what she does here: Carrol Mardian] She ran a business with my dad and raised four amazing kids. I always admired her for working but never felt like we were a second priority.
What has been your favorite moment in advertising, and why?
I’ve been lucky to have had several moments when I’ve been in awe of the people I work with and the ideas we come up with together. My most recent memory of this was in December, working on a pitch for a very high profile prospect. It was almost midnight, music was playing, and there were 20 people running around the agency with the energy and passion that said there was nowhere else they’d rather be. At that moment, there was nowhere else I’d rather have been either.
What advice do you have for women who want to be in your industry?
Take an entry-level job and work your way up by impressing people with your natural enthusiasm and talent!