JWU ADTEAM Visits Hill Holliday and CEO Karen Kaplan

Hill Holliday CEO and Chairman Karen Kaplan talks to JWU ADTEAM and Ad Club Members

The JWU student ADTEAM and Ad Club received an invitation from Hill Holliday, a prestigious, national advertising agency based in Boston, Massachusetts, to visit and take a tour there this past November. The visit included a panel presentation by Hill Holliday representatives, including a JWU alumnus, and the chance to meet and talk with Hill Holliday Chairman and CEO Karen Kaplan, one of the few female CEOs/chairmen in the US.

Kaplan started her advertising career as a receptionist at Hill Holliday — an agency with big-name clients including Tempur-Pedic, Planet Fitness, Chili’s Grill & Bar, and Party City, just to name a few. Kaplan became successful in this competitive industry by reigning in high-level accounts including Dunkin’ Donuts, Johnson & Johnson, Bank of America and John Hancock.

The 20 of us visiting the agency had the opportunity to pick Kaplan’s brain about key industry topics. We heard from Kaplan about the increase of consultant agencies as being a threat to full-house agencies. She also talked about how diversity in the workplace is expanding, and how companies like Hill Holliday look for a diverse pool of applicants who offer different skillsets and ideas for this fast-paced industry.

"The 20 of us had the opportunity to pick Kaplan’s brain about key industry topics."

We also sat in on a panel presentation given by some Hill Holliday employees including JWU ADTEAM alumnus Jasmine Turner ’17, representing the platform media team as an account executive who serves as a direct link between clients and the agency, and a copywriter for Dunkin’ Donuts and other clients. We asked panel members about their backgrounds, their everyday work lives, and what they enjoy about working at Hill Holliday and about working for an ad agency in general. The panel presentation and discussion was a great way for students, especially seniors, to envision their future careers at an ad agency and to get some inside advice from people who, not long ago, were students themselves aspiring to work in the ad industry.

Hill Holliday has hired more than 1 JWU ADTEAM alumnus as “Humble Hungry Humans,” a term the agency coined to describe the passionate people they seek to employ. In addition to Jasmine Turner '17, another recent hire is ADTEAM alumna is Samantha Roberts '17, an assistant platform media buyer. As students, both Roberts and Turner worked on the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) campaigns for Pizza Hut and Snapple Beverage Corporations.

About the JWU ADTEAM and Ad Club
JWU’s ADTEAM competes in the NSAC and spends a lot of time and energy working on the annual competition. In 2017 JWU’s ADTEAM was the NSAC champion. The Ad Club is a less intense version of the ADTEAM, whose members are a passionate group of students who have fallen in love with the advertising industry. The Ad Club gives students a chance to network with industry professionals and even to visit ad agencies — like Hill Holliday — that create some of the most recognizable work in the industry.

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