Kim Fabian at Ampersand is no stranger to hard work. The Queens, New York native, who was the first woman in her family to earn a college degree, is driven, ambitious and entrepreneurial-minded. She believes that our lives are a direct reflection of what we perceive them to be — good, bad or indifferent.
"I create opportunities; I don't wait for them. We are the creators of our destiny. It's all about perception. If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change," she says.
She's worked with Ampersand on and off for the past 20 years — growing her career each step of the way. We recently spoke to Fabian about her career journey and why she calls Ampersand home.
Tell us about your current role.
I am an Account Director of New Business Development for Ampersand. I'm responsible for generating new business for the company. Critical to that is developing relationships with clients where they see me as a trusted resource.
I learned the values of integrity and trust early on in my career. I first worked at an agency where we did great and challenging work. I maintained that relationship after I left the company. That rapport and trust are what opened the door for me when I later called on them for business. They knew whether I was working for them or with them, that I'd do my best work.
How did you grow your career?
I started at Ampersand as a coordinator and held successive roles from there. With each new opportunity, I did my best to go above and beyond, but I also frequently raised my hand to work on new assignments. I've always been persistent, so I leveraged each assignment to continue learning, to prove my ability and to ask for the next one. Thankfully, I had managers who also challenged me.
That's what led to my moving to Miami to help establish the company’s multicultural initiative. While working in New York City, I saw the chance to start calling on multicultural agencies, enabling brands to run Spanish-language advertisements on TV. The company saw the significant possibilities and decided to open an office in Miami. I spent two years there and helped to establish go-to-market strategies and tactics.
Working in multicultural advertising opened some doors to new and exciting opportunities outside of Ampersand, but after five years away, I returned in 2012. Three reasons fueled that decision. One was that Ampersand has a unique position in the marketplace and I felt that they'd have a significant role to play in the future of the industry. Second, I'd also recently had my first child and needed greater work-life balance. Ampersand offered the support I needed as a new working mom, so that I felt comfortable returning to work soon after giving birth to my first daughter. And, lastly, it always feels good to come home again.
What are some of the challenges you faced in growing your career with Ampersand?
I didn't always understand the cultural norms of being in a corporate environment. I was lucky to have a mentor at work who coached me on how to dress and how to present myself. She always provided constructive criticism that felt genuine and not at all like judgment. That helped a lot and went a long way to my being receptive to her advice. Sometimes you have to check your feelings and not take things personally to receive what you're hearing. She helped me grow a lot and I'm eternally grateful for that.
What do you do to stay ahead in your career?
My goal is never to be complacent. When I was younger, I watched this TV show called Fame, and I thought, “I am going to that high school.” I later got accepted into the performing arts high school for theater that the show was based on. I knew that I could do anything I set my mind to once the school accepted me. That fire to keep going after what you want hasn't died in me.
So, I try to stay ahead by always expanding my knowledge. I make sure to get industry certifications and have even gone for my Six Sigma. An employer with a tuition reimbursement program (like Ampersand) is incredibly helpful, especially when you're early on in your career.
I also try to read a lot. My go-to, which I've read seven times, is Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff. I pick up something new each time I read it.
What's the first (and/or last) thing you do at work every day?
The first work-related thing I do every day starts before I even enter the office. I give thanks and gratitude for having a career that I love and the opportunities it provides; I have a gratitude journal in which I make these notes. I close out my days by making a list of what I have to do, which gets me ready to tackle the next day.
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