Career Compass Recap

By Hannah Ketelhut

For those of you who may have missed out on our Career Compass event, we took it upon ourselves to highlight some of the most significant moments of the night so that we could share it with you. This was the first time that this event took place, and it was undeniably successful due to the attendees and the pros that volunteered to take part in it.

So, what even was the Career Compass event?

The Career Compass was an event hosted last Thursday featured a panel of six professionals in the advertising industry from the greater Grand Rapids area. The purpose of the event was to help guide (hence the name, Career Compass. Clever right?) those of us who don’t know specifically what area of advertising we want to work in because let’s face it, there are a lot of options.


Who were the professionals that attended?

The six professionals that attended this event all came from different corners of the advertising world. Here are those that attended and their LinkedIn pages, so that you can connect with them. They are always willing to help aspiring advertisers, so reach out to them and take full advantage of their endless knowledge:

  1. Dan Spicer – Graphic Design and Concepting at Our Full attention
  2. Todd Morris – VP of Marketing at Adtegrity
  3. Megan Collins – Account Executive at Full Circle
  4. Janelle Coffey – Project Manager at Auxiliary
  5. John Heritage – President at HA Digital Marketing
  6. Stephan Hokanson – Principal at Pluck Creative

What Advice did they Give?

Each professional offered some key advice for us as students to keep in mind as we move forward to transitioning from the college life into the real world.

Here are some quick tips from the pros you’ll want to remember:

  1.    Dan Spicer
    • Dynamics shift from job to job; so don’t think that how you joked with co-workers at one company is going to be acceptable at another company. Keep this in mind – you can lose respect over a misplaced joke in a minute, but it takes much longer to gain it back
  1.   Todd Morris
    • Not everyone can be a creative (and that’s a good thing)
    • Hustle – if you’re going to do it, do it.
    • Forcing creativeness gives you bad results
    • Don’t see an entry-level position as a dead end
  1.    Megan Collins
    • You’ll touch a lot of areas in the industry; so don’t think that you’ll fill one role and work strictly only there
  1.     Janelle Coffey
    • There is never a single day in advertising that you know what you are going to do
  1.     John Heritage
    • Each organization has a specific focus – find something you can focus on and go for that. If it doesn’t work, change directions
    • Don’t be in a rush; be young; take your time; have experiences
    • If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough
    • Get HubSpot Certified!
  1.     Stephan Hokanson
    • Advertising is all about telling a story
    • Do your best, and put your heart into what you do
    • Have something in your portfolio that you put your heart and guts into
    • If you like sleep, don’t be a creative

There was so much more advice that was shared during this event, but these were the key points from each of the speakers. The Career Compass event was meant to give everyone a better understanding of the different roles within the industry. Additionally, it was hoped to renew or possibly enhance a student’s current passion for the field. Students not only had the chance to ask questions and receive great advice, but they also had the opportunity to network themselves.

A Note on Networking

Events like the Career Compass serve as great opportunities to network with the ones who know it best in our local industry. Many of the pro’s suggested going out for coffee (or a drink, if you’re old enough) to network in a personal way. This event was a personal look into the mysterious shroud that surrounds the pro’s who have our dream careers…so when they tell you to take talk to them over a latte, take that opportunity. Send them a thank you email or letter. You know who they are- this is your chance to have them remember who you are.

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