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AdTech Reboot

Trust Web Times Interview Series: Marni Gordon ; ANA Educational Foundation

Marc Goldberg

Marc Goldberg

Author at The Trust Web Times
Marc Goldberg

Marc Goldberg

Author at The Trust Web Times

Marc Goldberg is a contributor for the Trust Web Times. Marc is also the Principal at Stages Collective. Stages Collective helps companies at different life stages in a variety of ways. Business Development, go-to market strategies, Landscape analysis and as an additional recruiting resource.

Marni Gordon is the Senior Vice President, Partnerships ANA Educational Foundation.

We exchanged emails for this interview and it has been slightly condensed and edited.

Tell me about your journey?

I’m an anomaly as I have been interested in marketing and advertising since I was in middle  school.  I majored in management with a concentration in marketing at SUNY Binghamton, and really enjoyed volunteering at the campus career center.  I found that it was so much easier for my friends majoring in accounting to find their first job and figure out the clear career paths they could take vs. navigating a career path in marketing/advertising.  I discovered that if you want a career in marketing, you need to be scrappy and figure it all out on your own.  

After sending many cold resumes and cover letters, my first job was at Scholastic as an Advertising Coordinator for their magazine division.  Through this experience, I learned about careers in media planning and then went to work at Grey Advertising (now MediaCom) on Procter & Gamble (Cover Girl, Pantene, and the Fine Fragrances – Giorgio, Red, Hugo, Wings).  My next media planning job was at J. Walter Thompson / Mindshare.

So wait, you worked at J Walter in the 90s? When? I was there 93-96. Did we overlap?

Yes! I was at JWT/Mindshare from 1996-2009.  

Did you go to the “Company Store?”

Yes! I did go to the Company Store and also co-chaired our annual Make-A-Wish event that was held there. 

Wow, small world I did a few of those. Ok back to your story..

So I spent the next 12 years working on amazing clients including Pfizer, Unilever, and Gillette.  While at Mindshare, I also ran our internal M Academy training program and discovered that I loved this more than my media planning day job.

I was laid off from my job in media planning during the 2009 recession and it was a dark and scary time.  I had no idea what was next for me.  I remember all of the people in my network who went out of their way to help me and those who let my emails go into “cyberspace”.  That experience made me realize how important it is to “pay it forward” to help other marketers find what’s next in their career journey.

I was very lucky and landed an amazing job working at the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) where I spent almost 12 years responsible for programming content for national and regional conferences, committees, and webinars while facilitating discussions to help marketers connect and learn from each other.  Last year, I moved to an exciting new role at the ANA as SVP, Partnerships at the ANA Educational Foundation.

So how is this role different?

I am very passionate about the mission of the ANA Educational Foundation and have wanted to work in this group since the ANA acquired it years ago.  The ANA Educational Foundation is a 501c3 charitable foundation within the ANA and our mission is to bridge the gap between marketing academia and industry to inspire and educate the next generation of talent to join the marketing industry.  I remember how tough it was for me to navigate the many different career paths within marketing when I was at SUNY Binghamton and I want to help make it easier for the next generation of diverse talent to get inspired to join our industry.

My role at the ANA Educational Foundation is to lead partnership programs that help the foundation run while achieving our mission.  This includes the ANA Educational Foundation’s Give the Gift of ANA University Membership program which allows companies to donate an ANA membership to the school of their choice.  Both professors and students would now be able to tap into the vast network of programs, speakers, and curriculum that the ANA Educational Foundation offers academia and future diverse talent.  As a member of the Give the Gift of ANA University Membership community, companies will have the opportunity to develop a mutually beneficial partnership with a college or university and engage directly with professors, speak on campus (in-person or virtually), interact with students, and become part of the exclusive ANA University Membership Committee to network and learn from other donors and universities.

I’m also very excited about our annual gala, AEF Honors Night, coming up on October 3rd at the Pierre in NYC!  Each year the ANA Educational Foundation brings together friends from the worlds of marketing, advertising, and media at our Honors Night gala.  Honors Night celebrates industry leaders for their contributions to education and who have gone above and beyond to inspire our next generation of young, diverse talent.  This year’s event will be the “who’s who” of marketing as we are celebrating industry leaders including Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, Procter & Gamble who will be receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award.  The proceeds from Honors Night will be used to support programs focused on building our future marketing and advertising leaders.

I am mentor, really enjoy the program.  How does one become a mentor?

The MADE (Marketing and Advertising Education) Mentorship Matching Program offers the opportunity for students to be matched with a marketing industry mentor.  This is a summer program and anyone in the marketing and advertising industry can participate as a mentor, regardless of your background, experience level, area of expertise or title. The only ask is that you commit to four meetings with your mentee (via phone, video, or in-person) between June and September.  The registration process will open to the industry in spring 2023.

So some of us have kids that are in college and reading this, how do kids join this program?  Any college student who is interested in exploring a career in marketing can apply for this program.  Follow @aeforg on Instagram or the ANA Educational Foundation on LinkedIn as we will share more information about signing up in Spring 2023.

You are doing coaching now. Can you provide high level examples on how you have been able to help?

As an NYU certified career and executive coach with ICF ACC accreditation, I work with marketers to help them find a career they love.  When I was laid off in 2009, that experience made me realize how important it is to “pay it forward” to help other marketers find what’s next in their career journey.

Some of the areas where I have been able to help clients are career exploration, networking, finding the hidden job market, developing your elevator pitch, leadership development, time management and work-life balance.

Are you only working with the brand side? I know a lot of people can benefit from your help but where is your expertise?

I work with marketers on all sides – brand, media, agencies, research, consultants, etc.  I am very passionate about career coaching to help marketers find a career they love!

Sharing with my Network! I think I should have trademarked pay it forward for my linkedin posts and we should have started a t shirt business together. You have been incredible sharing open roles by simply “Sharing with my Network”  What made you start doing that?

My passion for sharing jobs on LinkedIn also stems back to when I was in transition.  I remember how much it meant when someone in my network reached out to let me know about potential job opportunities, pass along my resume, and help me get initial job interviews.  Being in transition can be lonely and scary and I appreciated anyone who would try to help me.  I will always help others find a career they love, especially in transition, and know firsthand how much it can mean to others to “pay it forward”.

How does it feel to be an “empty nester”?

We dropped off our daughter at the University of Virginia a few weeks ago and are still getting used to our “new normal”.  She is studying architecture, made friends fast and absolutely loves it!  While we definitely miss seeing her in-person, we definitely text a lot which is great.

You live in Long Island. What made you like bumper to bumper traffic year round? I kid I kid. What is your go-to spot for Friday night dinner?

Most every Friday night, we order in from La Piazza in Plainview – usually chicken pizzaiola with whole wheat penne!