Open the door and say ‘hello’

Robinson and Associates was a proud sponsor of “Imagine the Possibilities,” the Northeast Mississippi Career Expo for eight graders that was held at the BancorpSouth Arena last month. We were part of the “Marketing” pathway, and all Robinson and Associates members took turns attending the expo and meeting with the students.

When the students came to the Marketing area, I was able to identify them by town. Most of the students caught on that I was looking at their school T-shirt, jacket or jersey as I asked them about their home, but it was a good segue into marketing and branding. My point was that a lot of companies spend a lot of time, energy and money to get their names and images into the public eye. It’s part of the sales process. For those students who were interested, I explained more.

When asked, “What do you know about marketing?” we received very few answers. I didn’t expect an answer; it was a way to open a dialog to explain marketing. Hopefully, by the time they left for another pathway, the students had an idea about marketing.

I’m glad that the schools participated and prepared for the event by discussing the careers that were available. The opportunity to meet with people who work in the careers that were featured is invaluable. I also encourage the students and teachers in attendance to look further into the students’ careers of interest and ask questions. I’ve had several Boy Scouts over the years call or send me an email about the history of advertising that they were researching. So I know I have made some impact over the years.

Depending upon their desires, these students will be our new workforce within the next 10 years. Little do they know that this is just the beginning of their journey.

When I was in school and it was suggested that there are classes in the business world, I scoffed and said that I would be finished after college. Little did I know what lay ahead. Also, little did I know I would actually enjoy the learning ahead.

I did not have a clear path to the career I have now. I did not start out looking to earn a degree in marketing. The story of how I got where I am today is a long one for another time, and it falls under “happy accident.” The courses that I have taken after joining my marketing company have helped me greatly, especially since I have been very interested in the subject matter. I have always learned something from a course I have taken, even if it may appear that I was “overqualified.” I took a basic account executive course about 10 years after I started working so I should have known the subject well. I found out there were some different ways that I could be working which were beneficial to both the client and my company that I would not have come across had I not enrolled in the class.

From time to time I am asked advice on what college to choose or what career to pursue. Truthfully, I am not qualified to answer. Only the person asking the question knows their heart. That’s what should be followed. Everyone has an important part to play in the makeup of the community. We cannot exist without each other. A restaurant cannot run well if the waitstaff are not present nor can it run well if the cooks are not present. They don’t work for the owner; they work for the customers just as the owner does. Different jobs with different pay are equally as important.

What is critical is to earn a high school diploma. That is step one. The second step can go in any direction. That is where the adventure begins. Have a goal in mind. Know that the goal may change. I wanted to be an engineer, but now I work in marketing. And, with one of my clients, I market for engineers. It’s the best of both worlds for me.

Keep an open mind. When opportunity knocks, open the door and say, “Hello.” Who knows what’s next? That’s part of the adventure too.

Originally published on page 16 of the November, 2015 issue of the Northeast Mississippi Business Journal in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

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