By Chris Gillespie,
AMA New York Volunteer
In the dawning months of 2018, Jennifer Consaga made the leap from the agency world to “client-side” for a tech company. She knew this was the right move for her and since then, has not looked back. “It definitely felt at times like I was starting over, but I reminded myself that I was heading down a more appropriate career path that would make me happy,” says Jennifer.
“It wasn’t an easy transition. Culturally, they’re very different. But I knew I didn’t want to be in advertising for the remainder of my career.” It wasn’t that managing clients was bad—she had wonderful relationships—it’s that she had the itch to “do” and to “create.” Says Jennifer: “I wanted—no, needed—to have a more creative role.” But the switch wasn’t easy.
Moving from the big agency world to a startup is fraught with a series of timeless trials not unlike Joseph Campbell’s iconic hero’s journey. You are called to adventure—a more creative role in a fast-moving startup (maybe with equity!). You almost refuse the call—what if it doesn’t work out? Then you cross over into a special world where suddenly, everything is in flux—there are no templates, no procedures, no safeguards, no structure. If you’re lucky, you find a mentor, receive a magical gift (Google Docs!) and return to where you started, feeling stable and confident, but forever changed.
In two short years, Jennifer has a radically new perspective on work and now understands both worlds. She works hard at staying relevant and on top of industry trends, and credits her close connections with friends still in the agency world. “I’m constantly in touch with close friends and colleagues in the industry brainstorming new ideas,” says Jennifer. “I also consume a lot of media. I listen to a lot of varied podcasts, not always relating to marketing, and find I get a lot of inspiration there.”
And when it comes to leadership? “I consider myself a straightforward and creative person,” says Jennifer. “I think my leadership style is no different. I’ve always enjoyed managers that are direct and encourage me to solve problems and think independently. And it helps to have worked in many different places in many fields—from network security to beauty to real estate. Everywhere you’ve been teaches you something.