Never Dim Your Light, Be a Sponge, and Advocate for Yourself: How to Find Your Professional Passion

Sponsored by Ampersand

Allie Garber. Photo courtesy of Ampersand.

Allie Garber. Photo courtesy of Ampersand.

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July 14, 2024 at 2:41PM UTC

Finding your professional passion isn’t always easy. For example, for Allie Garber, determining what she truly loved to do took a long time. “It took a lot of networking and informational interviews to garner a better understanding of the multitude of opportunities within my industry,” she explains. And, part of the process was learning that what you don’t like is just as important as what you do like, Allie tells us. 

Allie’s breakthrough came when she was a Sales Coordinator and her manager would have new-hires shadow her and sit with her. This helped her realize that her passion was to be a people leader and to manage a team — and she hasn’t looked back since!

Today, Allie is following her passion in people management at Ampersand as a National Campaign Management Manager with eight direct reports who she guides and oversees in managing the post-sale health and maintenance of their specific campaign assignments.

“People management is the reason I love my role, as helping individuals understand the work they are doing and how they influence not only the workplace, but the overall business, is something that is inspiring for me to watch and contributes to being a driving motivator to bring my best self to work each day,” Allie notes. “Watching a team member develop from day one throughout their tenure is extremely rewarding and fulfilling as I can know that I played a part in their personal career journey.” And, as a people manager, Allie can now help her team further develop in their careers and find their passions at work. As she says, “it all comes full circle!”

For others who have a passion for leading teams, Allie emphasizes the importance of advocating for yourself. “It is so powerful to be able to confidently advocate for yourself and ask for what you need,” she advises. “I would not be in the role I am today if I had not believed in my own skills and abilities and took a chance on myself by advocating for my candidacy for my first Manager role at a former organization.”

Here, Allie shares more of her passion and reveals her tried-and-true career advice, insights into her journey, and more!

To begin, what’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

Ask questions and be a sponge. This industry is constantly changing; once you think you grasped something, there is a new technology or new process in place. It’s so important to ask questions if you are ever unclear about something or want further explanation — there are no stupid questions. I am still asking questions every day and am able to learn from prior mistakes to better understand how to move my team, and the overall business forward. 

On the other hand, looking back on your career, what would you say has been your most valuable career mistake?

I don’t think I am able to pinpoint one specific mistake, however there have been many times (whether it was early in my career, or starting a new job and being less tenured on the team) where I have kept my questions, opinions, and thoughts to myself. I have since learned that throughout every role and job I have been in, I have been there because someone else believed in me. Whether that person was the hiring manager, my direct supervisor, or another person on the team, I was asked to join the team because they saw value in me when I may not have necessarily seen it in myself. Looking back, I should have never dimmed my own light as my questions, thoughts, and opinions are what helped me secure a specific job, and are just as important and valuable as other’s contributions

What advice do you have for someone new to the media advertising industry?

The media advertising industry is very large but also can also feel small at the same time. It is so important to not burn any bridges in this industry. I often find myself corresponding and working with individuals whom I was working with at the coordinator level. We are all further along in our careers now but have eventually crossed paths again while at different organizations or in different roles. 

There is ample opportunity in this industry to network, connect, and build relationships — which is one of the most unique and favorable qualities of the Media Sales industry.

Next, let’s talk about Ampersand’s culture. What’s your favorite aspect of it, and how does Ampersand help you succeed?

Ampersand goes to great lengths to provide room to grow within the organization. Because I manage a team of entry-level employees, it is important for me to give the team opportunities to grow within their role and within the organization. When I was interviewing at Ampersand, I was interviewed by my current boss, Sarah. Sarah began as an entry-level Sales Coordinator and, over a span of six-and-a-half years, has held numerous roles, been promoted several times, and now oversees both my team of National Campaign Managers, as well as the National Account Managers. Sarah’s journey highlights that Ampersand wants to bring in talent as well as nurture and retain that talent. It’s encouraging to see Ampersand take the time to help develop individuals to become the next leaders within the organization.

Outside of growth opportunities, the company is consistently hosting speaker series surrounding different topics that many of our employees encounter. The organization is often engaging in conversations around religious holidays, fertility and loss, and the LGBTQIA+ community.

Everyone at Ampersand is encouraged to share their stories if they so choose, which truly aids in helping our teams work as a unit; we understand one another. Our leadership team also hosts monthly town halls where we have insight into what every organization within the company is working on. Being at an organization where we have full transparency into what is going on across different areas, as well as the greater business outside of Ampersand, helps us stay ahead of trends.

And how does Ampersand support your work-life balance?

Ampersand does a great job at ensuring employees have a realistic work-life balance, whether it is flexible hours or additional breaks during the holidays, such as Labor Day. I truly feel like I come to work to work and am expected to live my life to the fullest outside of the office. Personally, I’m someone who relies heavily on physical movement outside of my working hours. I find that once I have exercised, not only is my body awake, but I can also work with a clearer and sharper mind.

Want to grow your career in a place that will support your full self? Consider joining Allie as part of the Ampersand team.

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