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Confessions of a Student-Run Ad Agency – Account Executive Edition

When I applied to Roxo, I had no experience working in an advertising agency. I did not know what it would be like to work on a team for real clients. It sounded kind of like one big group project, but instead of a grade, clients would pay for our finished work. As I stepped into my role as an Account Executive, I quickly realized this would be a unique, exciting, and challenging learning experience. Communicating with our clients, maintaining team deadlines, delegating work, and ensuring consistency with our deliverables provided countless areas of growth. As the liaison for my team, and Roxo, I experienced the importance of concise and clear communication, quickly discovering the necessity of prompt replies and error-free scheduling. I learned more during my time working at Roxo than any other class has taught me. That said, here are a few of the values I discovered to be essential while working as an Account Executive in a student-run agency.

Confidence

In my first client meeting, my team looked to me to lead the conversation and set the tone for our relationship with our client; and honestly, I was beyond nervous. Meeting with established professionals in the Fort Worth business world undoubtedly made me feel unqualified. As a college student with textbook knowledge of advertising and public relations, I did not feel ready to take this on. But I learned, through this experience, the importance of confidence. Our advisors helped instill this in me through wise advice that only comes from years of industry experience. They gave me assurance and direction to navigate the agency/client relationship. Even though I was initially intimidated by directing and leading client meetings as a student, I realized that they are not as scary as I thought. Maintaining poise and assurance, regardless of how I felt, resulted in clear communication and overall receptive clients. Our clients respected our work and treated us as professionals because that is how we presented ourselves and our work. As an Account Executive, especially in a student agency, it is crucial to be confident in yourself, your team, and your abilities.

Professionalism

In my role as an Account executive, I represented Roxo, and my team, to our clients, so it was imperative to impress our clients by showing them all that can be done by student ad-agencies; this starts with professionalism. Weekly emails to clients, phone calls, and zoom meetings needed a consistent level of excellence. Something as simple as a typo in an email could cause our clients to doubt our abilities. Ensuring my communication was effective and respectful was key to continuing our clients’ confidence in our work. Prompt and polite responses created a positive relationship with our clients, who, in the end, appreciated and valued our work. All of which was possible by maintaining professional communication.

Flexibility

The beauty of student-run organizations is the opportunities for leadership, real-work, and lessons only learned through experience. On the other hand, a challenge for students in these types of organizations, like Roxo, includes juggling classes and extracurriculars, all while creating top-notch work for the agency. Everyone on my team had different class schedules and activities outside of Roxo; these often conflicted. We had to be flexible when working together to coordinate meeting times and completing our work. Specifically, this meant using our time wisely when all seven team members were available by sticking to our agenda and staying focused on the tasks at hand. Our hour Monday morning meetings allowed us to make a game plan for the week. Even if someone had a test or project in a class or an important event for another campus organization, we could talk about it ahead of time and adapt to make sure our deliverables stay on track. By being flexible within our team, we collectively created a supportive, positive environment that allowed us to collaborate efficiently as well as appreciate each other’s hard work.

Humility

While my role allowed me to be the leader for my team, there were many things I did not know how to do. Since this was my first experience working at Roxo, I was hesitant to approach my team and ask for their input, especially when asking team members who have worked in a student-run agency before. I wanted them to have confidence in my abilities to guide our team, and I worried that by asking them a question, they would not trust me to lead them. But what I learned was that asking them was the best thing. Admitting when I did not know something allowed my team to share their thoughts, whether they knew the answer or not. Setting the tone within our team of openness and humility allowed us to create the best work we could because, as a group, everyone openly asked questions when they did not have an answer, and ultimately, we all learned more because of it.

Connections

Arguably, my favorite thing about working at Roxo as an Account Executive was the connections I made. Meeting new people within TCU’s Strategic Communication department as well as getting to know our clients provided the opportunity for exciting, professional relationships. Our clients introduced us to various other people, both inside and outside of their organizations. I had the pleasure of communicating with them on behalf of my team and Roxo, allowing us to establish a relationship for future work and possible employment opportunities. As a student, the first-hand connections I formed with peers and current, recognized Fort Worth business and nonprofit leaders are invaluable for the future. The experience I had creating these connections provided unique opportunities for networking and personal growth.

My time at Roxo as an Account Executive taught me so much more than I could ever share here, but I hope this provided an inside look into what it is like to work at a student agency. I am thankful for the valuable experience to learn the importance of confidence, professionalism, flexibility, humility, and connections in an agency environment. I will carry these values with me far beyond my time working at Roxo, and I cannot wait to see all that the agency accomplishes in the future. Go Roxo and go frogs!



Bethany Harrington is a Strategic Communication and Religion double major at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. She is an Account Executive for the student-run agency, Roxo, Texas Christian University’s advertising and public relations agency located in the Bob Schieffer College of Communication. Bethany enjoys long walks by the trinity river, reading for leisure, and sharing a home-cooked meal with the people she loves.


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