1. What’s the biggest difference and biggest similarity between your current job at The Martin Group and previous job at your past employer?
Liz: The biggest difference is – I’m not working in a newsroom. And yet, the beauty of my job here at The Martin Group, as part of the Martin Davison PR Team, is I get the opportunity and flexibility to wear my journalist hat every day! My job, in one way or another, allows me to use my skills to enhance our team’s overall efforts. It’s ironic actually, in J-school, such a stark contrast was made between these two worlds – Public Relations and Journalism. In hindsight, after being a professional television reporter and anchor for years, I realize (once I landed at TMG) that these worlds are much more similar (in my opinion) than they are different – from pace to storytelling to creativity to delivery to servicing clients. As a field, Communications evolves at such a fast pace and that’s why I’m continually fascinated by what I do – and more so now- about the space in which I get to do it.
Megan: I actually previously worked for another ad agency as an art director. So, there are a TON of similarities [laughs]. The differences are huge, though. TMG is much more project-based than my previous employer, which had just a select few retainer clients. Here, I get to still have consistency with a few retainer clients, but I also get to touch on a few new ones. This keeps things fresh for sure. The clients are also, in my opinion, really cool at The Martin Group, which allows us creatives to put out some really good work that the employees take pride in. Overall, The Martin Group is just a really exciting place to be working at right now and I am really happy to be a part of the company.
2. What’s your favorite restaurant in Buffalo?
Liz: Oh, wow! That’s a tough one. I have to say, and it’s not just because I’m a proud Buffalonian born and raised – but we have some great restaurants here! But, if I had to choose, I would say Hutch’s. The service, the ambiance, the quality of food – never a disappointment!
Megan: I really love Marble + Rye. Not completely sure why. I think I just have really good memories of dinner and drinks with friends there. And the food is amazing. I love getting a bunch of things to share with a group. I also love ANY place with a solid patio…Left Bank and Community Beer Works – I’m looking at you.
3. If there’s a quote that, in one way or another, sums up the way you view and live your life, what would it be?
Liz: “Follow your passion. It will lead you to your purpose.” – Oprah Winfrey
Megan: “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” – Nelson Mandela
4. What’s the best professional advice you’ve been given by someone else? What’s the best professional advice you would give to someone else interested in pursuing your career path or something similar?
Liz: My morning executive producer gave me a piece of advice that I remind myself of daily. Truth be told, it took me a while to understand what she actually meant by it, but I pass it on! As an inherent perfectionist (as I think many of us are), it’s so important to validate yourself and not over critique yourself. One morning, as I was struggling to write my copy for our 5 a.m. show she said, “Liz, trust yourself. Don’t let great, get in your way of being good enough, there’s always tomorrow’s show.” It was like a lightbulb went off in my head – “Oh right, there’s such thing as tomorrow!”
The best advice I would give to someone who wants to work in Communications is, “Be malleable; nothing about our business is static or stagnant, it’s all about the ebb and flow and how well you can go with it.”
Megan: I have been given a lot of advice in the past few years, by professors, mentors, and creative directors. And I think what really carried me the furthest was something my Jewelry Professor had told me while I was studying to get my Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design. I was in my junior year of college and hadn’t been struggling per se, but was getting pretty burnt out. I chose to take Jewelry, which was more soldering than beading, to fulfill a studio requirement. For one of our projects, I had to design a pendant that was three-dimensional (rather than just a flat plane of metal cut out) and do sketches beforehand to help establish a design. I think I did like 50 sketches and when I showed my professor, he basically told me “You’ve got it in you, don’t sweat it, kid. You’ll go far as a designer.” This helped me more than anything. It gave me a sense of accomplishment that I didn’t get from getting A’s in class. All I needed was some affirmation that I was headed in the right direction. Not only did he give me some piece of mind, he also helped me when I needed it. I ended up with a sculpture rather than a pendent and it was featured in the student art show.
So, I guess my advice would be seek out people who see potential in you and take any opportunity or help you are given that can help you learn and grow in your career. Oh, and make sure you’re happy in whatever you pursue. It makes a huge difference!
5. What are some of your favorite things to do after work or on weekends?
Liz: Play with my seven-year-old Black Lab, Halo Olivia (yes, she has two names. No, it wasn’t on purpose, [laughs]!), play tennis, go to Barre class, spend time with friends and family, and SLEEP – trust me, you forget to appreciate some good ol’ rest when you wake up at 2 a.m. five days a week!
Megan: I try to get outside whenever possible – hiking and kayaking. And spending time with friends and family is huge for me and takes up most of my weekends.
6. What is one thing that people may not know about you, but that you’re proud of? Why?
Liz: I have Fibromyalgia, which, for those who don’t know, is a chronic illness characterized by nerve inflammation. It’s not an easy condition to diagnose or live with, but over the past year and a half, learning about it and finding a good team of professionals to educate me on pain and pain management has really encouraged me to change my perspective on life, the things I value, my goals, my lifestyle choices, and the importance of finding gratitude in every day. I take pride in choosing to do things that bring me joy despite the pain and I find that speaking up and out about it has really connected me to people, not distance me. Ironically, I think I’m better at what I do as a communications professional because I find it easier to relate to people.
Megan: I used to get in trouble all the time for talking too much in class growing up. I feel like at first, most people I work with see me as very quiet and worried about following all the rules (for the first year, anyway). And this is most likely because over the years, I was conditioned to be quieter. But elementary school Megan would always be getting three strikes for talking too much and socializing with other kids. I would just show up for a good time.
I’m proud of this because it’s who I was and, still very much, am. It works out pretty well for me considering the field I work in – I love working and collaborating with others and feel energized by it.
7. Favorite artist of all time?
Liz: Beyoncé, hands down!
Megan: There is no way in Hell I could choose one or even a top three.
8. If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would your dream job be?
Liz: Either an interior decorator or a shoe designer.
Megan: Either something to do with animal research like a zoologist or teaching art/incorporating it into the Buffalo community somehow.