Meet Melissa Murphy, the Marketing Director at RAPP, a customer experience agency based in New York City that specializes in creating experiences for clients like Toyota, Mattel, and Brita. Straight out of college, Melissa landed a job working for Donald Trump in Miami, Florida as the Director of Communications for Trump Grande Resort (can you say hustler?). She then went on to be the Director of Communications for pop artist, Romero Britto at his Miami Beach gallery.
She’s also one of the few people out there who knew what she wanted to do at a young age:
In high school, I excelled and enjoyed my art and business classes, so I figured advertising and marketing would be a great career choice. I was accepted to Fashion Institute of Technology’s Marketing Communications program and dove right in. It ended up being a great career path for me. I started in special events, then PR (both at agencies and in-house), then social media, and now corporate marketing. I’ve learned a lot along the way, and I think it has made me a very well-rounded marketer.
To top it all off, she’s an amazing mom. When she’s not working, you can find her brunching with her daughter, sweating it out at hot yoga, drinking green juice, sporting the coolest nail art, and wearing killer heels.
Keep reading to learn more about Melissa’s career, her style, how you can break into her industry, and how to be a kick-ass intern.
- Name: Melissa Murphy
Current title: Marketing Director at RAPP
Education: Bachelors degree in Advertising and Marketing Communications from the Fashion Institute of Technology
What does an average day look like for you?
Nothing about my day is average and that’s why I love my job. One day, I could be negotiating a sponsorship deal or planning a trade show, another day I’m arranging press interviews or approving case studies. Every day is different, plus I get to collaborate across all of our U.S. offices, so I get the opportunity to work with all kinds of people with different backgrounds and specialties. It’s hectic and sometimes stressful, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What’s the dress code for your industry?
Unfortunately, the dress code in the advertising industry today is not half as fabulous as the Mad Men days. The people in our creative department can wear whatever they want. Jeans and tees are fine. Our client services team definitely steps it up a notch with their professional office attire. We do have some very fashion-forward newbies with blue hair and chic vintage wardrobes.
I work in corporate so I’m usually rocking a dress and heels, but you can sometimes find me in a blazer, jeans, and stilettos.
Do you think college prepared you for the duties of your job?
Yes, FIT has a great program that allows you to learn real-world skills while in school. We worked on actual campaigns and the professors are all top professionals in their practice. My first internship at FIT turned into my first full-time position and really set me up for the successful career I currently have.
What advice would you give the person who wants to get into advertising and marketing?
Work on building a personal brand. Social media has offered us an amazing tool to share our passions and expertise with the world and build your own brand — take advantage of that. My second recommendation is to network, via social and in person, and become a LinkedIn pro. It’s the easiest way to keep in touch with business contacts as they grow and move through their own careers. Third, build yourself a tribe of people who work in similar industries that you can count on.
It’s great to have a built-in focus group to bounce ideas off of, can help you in a pinch, and who don’t mind talking shop over happy hour cocktails.
How about PR?
Same as the above with an extra emphasis on networking. PR is all about relationships that you build with the media and your clients. No matter how good your pitch is, relationships matter.
What do you expect out of your interns?
I expect my interns to be ready to dive right in, take initiative and bring new ideas to the table. We have a great summer internship program here at RAPP and it’s always an exciting time at the agency. I had great internships and mentors throughout my career, so I like having the opportunity to give back.
What’s the hardest or most interesting lesson you learned that helped you get ahead?
Failure is okay! Not every project, campaign and relationship is going to work perfectly every time. In our fast-paced world, you have to learn from your mistakes and quickly forge ahead.
What have been some career highlights?
I have had an amazing career so far. I’ve been able to travel the world (on an expense account), work with amazing clients and brands, scored some really great press hits like The Apprentice for clients, threw a gallery opening for the Prince of Monaco, attended Fashion Week in Milan and collect some great swag along the way.
Why do you think you’re so successful?
I’ve always been open to new opportunities and try my best to keep all the doors open when it comes to clients and employers. I’ve also always been open to learning new skills, by taking classes and attending seminars about the industry.
Where would you like to be in another 10 years?
I decided in college that my career goal would be Chief Marketing Officer. I can see that goal clearer now than ever before, especially since I report to the CMO in my current position. I’m not sure if I’ll be at a brand or still at the agency in 10 years, but I’m excited to find out.
Want to learn more about Melissa? Follow her on Twitter — @MelMurphyTweets.