What brought you into the world of marketing?
Jillian: I interviewed for an entry-level business development position at a big branding agency in New York wearing my favorite Express pantsuit. Luckily, they overlooked my 22-year-old fashion sensibility and I got the job. One of my senior colleagues there realized I had a talent for writing, and the rest (including the Express pantsuit) is history.
Pat: My background is in broadcasting, so I was dead set on moving to NYC to work in television. My first job out of college was NBC Page at 30 Rock (yes, like Kenneth), and I zigzagged my way through TV production, web editing, on-camera hosting, then to the agency side helping other brands build themselves up.
What kinds of projects are you working on right now?
Pat: I’ve been working on lots of projects specifically in the food and beverage space, both on branding and awareness for consumer packaged goods and on business-to-business distribution and sales efforts. It’s an unexpected niche I’ve moved towards and it’s very fun and exciting for me. I love snacks!
Jillian: The beauty of this job is how many different things you get to work on at once (actually, for that matter, the hard thing about this job is how many different things you get to work on at once). My task list at the moment has campaigns for everything from healthcare brand awareness to plant-based treats to sneakers.
Give me a line or two about what you spend most of your day doing.
Jillian: Helping Michael Tsanis decide what he wants for lunch. Correcting Lianne Coogan on her idiom usage. Oh, and, writing copy and helping create campaigns for clients across industries.
Pat: Sending emails. Scheduling meetings. Replying to emails. Rescheduling meetings.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would your dream job be?
Pat: Hosting TRL in the late 90s/early 2000s.
Jillian: Being a lady of leisure? But if that doesn’t count, I’d love to own a cozy independent book store in an alternate universe where publishing isn’t struggling.
How do you spend your time outside of work?
Jillian: In my past life, I’d say reading, hanging out with my husband, maybe exercising once in a while. Now, I am my six-month-old baby girl’s personal assistant, on call 24/7/365.
Pat: Taking care of plants, either around and outside of my house, or at Daddy’s Plants, the business I own with my husband. When I’m not doing either of those things, I’m probably asleep on the couch.
Describe your perfect weekend.
Jillian: Picture this: a luxe lake house, 60 degrees outside with a steady rain, the windows are open, and I’m curled up inside with a steady supply of snacks, books, true crime podcasts, and maybe a Below Deck marathon on for when I get sick of reading.
Pat: Two consecutive days without a schedule or obligations. Or that thing when you’re settling down on a Saturday evening thinking it’s Sunday and then realize you have a whole other day to enjoy.
Who’s the closest sitcom character to your real life?
Pat: Being very partial to 30 Rock, I’d like to say that I’m a Liz Lemon at heart, but let’s be honest, this past year I’m probably closer to Jenna Maroney.
Jillian: I desperately wish I could say Moira Rose (Schitt’s Creek), but in reality, I’m probably more like Jan Levinson (no longer Gould, of The Office), specifically in the episode where Michael reveals she never gets out of bed in the morning. It’s nice to have goals, though.
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?
Pat: “People with little failure are people who aren’t taking enough risks.”
Jillian: “We tell ourselves stories in order to live…we interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices.” (And no, I don’t care if it’s cliché as a writer to idolize Joan Didion.)
Where are you from originally?
Pat: I grew up 20min north of Pittsburgh, PA in a lovely suburb called Cranberry Township.
Jillian: I’m from South Buffalo. I’m now banned from the neighborhood for being a traitor since I now call North Buffalo home.
Do you like blue cheese?
Jillian: Yes, but not the wings that usually come with it.
Favorite cartoon character?
Jillian: I’ve gotten really into Moana lately (again, refer to six-month-old baby). Girl characters are so much better than they were when I was growing up—smart, strong, brave and the heroes in their own stories.
Pat: Bart Simpson played a key role in my childhood and was formative to my adult personality.
What single most important piece of advice would you give to students and young designers trying to establish themselves in the industry?
Pat: Your career is not linear… it’s not a ladder. You’re going to make parallel moves and find yourself in professional areas that you may not have expected, so take opportunities as they come and learn from them. It’s been just as helpful for me to learn what types of gigs that I don’t like as to find the ones I do.
Jillian: Be humble, listen and absorb everything you can, be willing to put in the extra hours, and learn not to take constructive criticism personally!
Biggest pet peeve?
Jillian: Friday late afternoon briefing meetings. Love you, account team!
Pat: Realizing the only time everyone is free for a briefing meeting is late afternoon on a Friday.