Gracie McKinstry-Smith recently sat down with us at Ad 2 to chat about her career journey and experience in AdFed and on the board as the Mentorship Chair. As the temperatures rise, Gracie and the rest of the board are getting very excited for the events coming up in the next couple of months!
Gracie graduated from the U of M in May of 2015, and worked in six different internship roles during her high school and undergraduate careers, including Carmichael Lynch and Hunt Adkins, ultimately leading to her current position as Associate Marketing Specialist in owned brands packaging at Target.
Ad 2: Can you tell me a little more about yourself and your career?
In college, my internships ranged from nonprofits to corporations to ad agencies and I loved all of them. Now that I’ve graduated I’m working at Target Corporate in their packaging department, where I lead packaging strategy for certain categories.
Ad 2: How did you get involved in Ad 2?
I got involved in high school actually; I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do in college and found out about Ad 2 when I was doing informational interviews. After doing some Google searches, I found the Student Advertising Summit. I went and learned a lot about the industry and met so many people. It was a really good starting point and I was hooked from then on.
Ad 2: How did you get into your current position on the board?
Through an AdFed event, I met the chair of mentorship the first year I was in AdFed and kept in touch with her. She was in mentorship and needed more people for her committee so she asked me if I was interested, and I thought it would be a great way to get more involved. When she decided to move on to a different position, I applied to become the board member for mentorship.
Ad 2: What is your favorite AdFed event and why?
One of my favorite events – I love them all – is actually the Mad Men and Women of Minneapolis event. I love it because so many people come out to that event that don’t go to other events or who you don’t really see in the community, like presidents of agencies, people who have run every company you can think of. You can meet some really awesome mentors there, and people who have a lot to teach you if you’re willing to ask.
Ad 2: What is something you’d tell someone who is on the fence about joining Ad 2?
Do it! Absolutely join, it’s the best way to make connections, learn more about the industry, and get more involved, which as you’ll hear in so many classes and from other mentors is important for internships or jobs. And this is the easiest and most fun way to do it.
Ad 2: What advice do you have for students or recent grads about jobs and internships?
Meet as many people as possible – you have to get out there. You also have to be as professional as possible but also fun at the same time. You have to stand out for sure. And have passion. You can’t fake passion.
Thanks for sitting down with us, Gracie! And if you haven’t already, check us out – we’re having our Agency Tour on April 7, and the Mentorship Event on April 21st. Hint: these events are awesome for students to network and meet awesome people!
By: Taylor Burke