Lauren Pohl Russ

Vice President at Fleishman-Hillard

Degree(s): BJ '02 (Advertising)

Whereabouts: United States, St. Louis, Missouri

Describe your company and what makes it interesting.
There is never a dull moment. There are a lot of advantages to working at an agency. You get to work on a wide variety of projects and accounts, gaining exposure to work you could never get working for one company. We also get to do the “cool” stuff and are often trying something out for the first time. FH also hires the best talent, so I am working with an insanely smart and interesting group of people.

What are your responsibilities?
My main responsibilities are client management and developing those who report to me. Client management is challenging, but also very rewarding. Our clients are paying us to do good work, and it’s my job to make sure we are delivering that every day. I’ve worked on many different clients – AT&T, Merck, Visa and others.

How did you get your job?
I applied on the Internet and then asked a friend who worked at FH to forward my resume to the hiring partner.

What is your favorite J-School memory?
I have two: The first was listening to Steve Kopcha’s war stories, both military and advertising. And the second was our trip to Chicago with my campaigns group, after convincing everyone that we just had to see our client in action to really be able to do a solid job. (To our defense, we really learned a lot on our trip – but a free trip to Chicago was too good to pass up!)

What would be your best advice to current students?
Use every opportunity, whether it’s in school, in an internship or in your fist job, to prove yourself. Go above and beyond what your supervisor or project lead is asking you to do. Take on an assignment that is a little over your head. Showing initiative will show your dedication to the job, and give you exposure to new things that will help you grow professionally. Most importantly, be a good colleague and teammate. No one wants to work with a jerk.

What are you currently working on?
My team is working on our communications plan for 2012 for a large project that we are currently supporting. We are preparing to present it to leadership in a few weeks, so we are busy figuring out our plan to execute all of our big ideas for next year. I’m also working on several new business projects to win new business with an existing client and start working with a new client. New business is a really important part of everyone’s job. It’s how we grow.

What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement?
I’m really proud that I went back to school to get my MBA. It isn’t really a requirement for a PR job, but it is something I wanted to do for myself. It taught me how to think differently, and it sharpened my writing.

What makes you good at your job?
It’s a combination of being a good teammate and helping my clients solve problems. We are always working as a team – no matter how small the project. Your colleagues need to be able to count on you to deliver and be fun to work with. My clients are counting on me to solve their problems, make our program a success and make them look good to their leadership.

Who would you like to work with and why?
I’d still like to be a press secretary someday.

What are your next career steps?
Technically, my next steps are senior vice president and then partner. Personally, I’m happy as long as I have a new challenge in front of me.

Updated: November 10, 2011