Anna Locke has extensive experience working with multi-million dollar brands and building relationships with clients that increase sales and show results. She’s an expert in creating integrated campaigns bridging the gap between traditional and digital strategies. Anna’s passion for the marketing industry makes her an excellent mentor and resource for helping the next generation of leaders. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Anna as both a client and as a fellow member of the ThinkLA Idea Council. Anna is a woman after my own heart… she gets shit done! I had the opportunity to dig a little deeper to share more about Anna in this Q&A.
Lisa Solomon (LS): Tell us a little bit about yourself:
Anna Locke (AL): I used to always introduce myself by my job title but my vision changed after the birth of my son. So let me introduce myself: I am a mom, a mentor, a friend, a hustler, an entrepreneur, a woman who has a strong passion for the advertising industry and love for people I work with. I went to the University of Missouri, Columbia and consider myself a proud MIZZOU Tiger! I am forever grateful to my college, not only because I had the time of my life there but mostly because it introduced me to the field that became my career path. I moved to LA after graduation and landed my first gig at RPA which jump started my career in digital media, served as a base for my specialty in Automotive category and gifted me with two of my best friends. It’s funny but I met most of my closest friends through advertising. This is an amazing industry that builds very strong relationships both professionally and personally and I am lucky to be part of it.
LS: What are you most proud of in your career so far?
AL: Co-creating Agency Lite with my friend, mentor and business partner Lin is definitely the biggest highlight of my career. I worked in different agencies on multiple million dollar brands, but it feels really amazing to use all the knowledge and experience that I was lucky to get through the course of my career to build our own company.
LS: What led you to become a media professional?
AL: I grew up in Russia where the word “advertising” didn’t exist at that time. When I was a kid, my mom found an article about Public Relations and thought that it might be an interesting job for me in the future. That stuck in my head for years so when I moved to the States, I happily took a PR class in college and hated every minute of it. Since I was going to a Journalism School with Advertising Sequence as one of the options, I decided to try it out. I took a media planning course as one of my electives and I knew right then that my career path was chosen. I have a huge passion for media and stuck with it throughout my career.
LS: What kind of course or resources do you wish you had when you were starting your career to set you on the right path and encourage lifelong learning?
AL: I am very lucky to have amazing mentors in my life. I wish there was a course at the start of my career providing all the valuable knowledge and advice that they’ve shared over the years. Would be really nice to get all of it upfront!
LS: What tools do you find indispensable for those working in media?
AL: I don’t think that it’s the tools that are indispensable, but rather the network that you build and reputation that you gain. Advertising is a people industry, it’s built on relationships, networks and connections. You are only as strong as a network of people you surround yourself with and reputation that you build for yourself.
LS: Any advice for those looking to get into media?
AL: Media is a fun job, but it is also very demanding and challenging. You have to be passionate about what you do and love people you work with in order to deal with pressures on a daily basis. You have to work really hard to do a good job, but it’s totally worth it! The hustle pays off.
LS: How can our students learn more about media?
We live in such an awesome time when all the information is literally just one Google search away. All you need is the desire to learn and be resourceful. Read advertising trades, take online courses, listen to podcasts, follow media thought leaders on LinkedIn, join ThinkLA and attend media events. I think it’s a good list to start.
LS: What books or publications do you find most helpful?
AL: I read a lot of different ad trades on a daily basis. I think the most helpful are Mediapost, eMarketer, Ad Age and Adweek. I also love to listen to marketing and advertising podcasts both for inspiration and news. Recode Media and Behind the Numbers are some of my favorites.
LS: Who or what most inspires your work?
AL: My team, my friends, people I work with.
LS: Where and how do you work best?
AL: I am definitely a team player and work best surrounded by other people. I love to collaborate, bounce ideas and inspire each other. Even at the time when I am working on the individual project, I like to work next to my teammates with a lot of background noise. Quiet room and corporate environment is definitely not for me.
LS: Through which opportunity did have you learned the most over your career?
AL: I don’t think there was just one specific opportunity. Every time I had a challenging project or a new role, I learnt a lot. One of the most impactful experiences was starting at the new agency. I was one of the first people who started working at Canvas Worldwide before it even opened. We had to build the whole digital media department from scratch while working 24/7 trying to set up media infrastructure, create new processes and training, transition accounts from Initiative and at the same time maintain the high level of service for our clients without the actual team. Despite all the challenges, it was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.
LS: How do you hope to impact your community?
AL: I love to give back through mentorship. I am trying to share the knowledge and experience that I have with the younger generation whether it’s members of my own team or other people who are just reaching out to me for advice. I am also blessed to be part of ThinkLA Idea Council that helps impact overall advertising community in Southern California through our work and initiatives at ThinkLA.
LS: What’s the best advice you ever received?
AL: “Always treat assistants the same way as your boss.” I got this advice when I just started in the industry and throughout my career I always treated people with respect and strong work ethics no matter their title or company they work for. I stick with this advice in my personal life as well.
LS: What excites you for the future?
AL: Its [the] uncertainty. There are so many amazing unknown things ahead of us and advertising is definitely the best industry to experience them.
LS: What is still your biggest challenge?
AL: Breaking through the clutter. I think this will always be the biggest challenge for everyone who is working in the advertising industry.
LS: What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
AL: here are so many people who are always willing to help you. Sometimes you just need to ask.
LS: What do you want your legacy to be?
AL: I want to impact people’s lives through my mentorship and help. I want to be remembered as the person who helped others achieve their goals and dreams.
LS: What’s next for you?
AL: Making this world better one little step at a time. Someone told me that “There is more good in this world than bad and there is more love in this world than hate” and I truly believe that. I choose to believe that positive thinking, optimistic outlook on life and care for each other can move mountains and it starts small with each one of us.