Agency Life 101: Turan Apakay, Account Manager

From time to time, we like to open a window into what life is like here at SHIFT. We pride ourselves on our smart, dedicated (and who can forget ballsy) culture. This week, we check in with Turan Apakay, an Account Manager who recently celebrated his second anniversary at SHIFT. Turan gives us insight into what life is like as an AM and offers advice for those looking to follow in his footsteps.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities as an AM at SHIFT?

One of my primary roles is to serve as the day-to-day contact for our clients. I strive to be the person they can turn to at all times and for any reason. It’s important to have that strong relationship, so I try to regularly call the client to talk through strategy and tactics, provide counsel around a campaign, or just shoot the breeze and see how things are going!

Media relations is of course big part of the job, particularly when it comes to knowing and pitching top tier business media. So I’m definitely reading up on what’s being covered by the New York Times, Fortune and others to help figure out where the opportunities lie for my clients.

I’m also responsible for taking the lead on all things planning. That starts with making sure each client has a PR plan in place with goals and objectives, and ends with ensuring that we’re following it as a team to deliver success.

I also work with each team member to help them in their own professional development, guiding them as they work towards their own goals and grow in their careers.

What are some of the things you enjoy most about being an AM? What are some of the challenges?

One of my favorite parts of the job is the opportunity to take what I’ve learned over the course of my career and impart that on to others on the team. I’ve walked in everyone’s shoes from intern to SAE, so there are things that I’ve done along the way that may help them with they’re going through right now. I like to share best practices and help guide them along their path to their career success.

I also enjoy being called on as the person who clients can always turn to, and I work to build and maintain that trust. It’s important for them to see the value to what the team is bringing to the table, so I always have in mind to try and deliver on that.

And it may not necessarily be a challenge, but something I always have to keep in mind is to tie what we’re doing on the tactical side back to the overall strategic goals of the PR program. Any creative campaign or proactive pitch, we should be doing it in a way that achieves their overall PR goals.

Talk about your career growth and the biggest factors that have led you to where you are today.

At the end of the day it’s all about working hard, making the effort and always striving to take on more and prove yourself at every level. It’s important to show that you’re solid and delivering value in your current position, but that you’re also looking for other ways that you can contribute and take things off the plate of person above you. I remember when I first interviewed with SHIFT, Cathy Summers told me the simplest way that success would be measured for my role: whether I made life easier for my own manager. That’s something I continue to keep in mind today.

Oh, and I’m surrounded by talent and brains at SHIFT, so if you listen, learn, reflect and contribute, how could you not grow in your career here?

You’ve been at SHIFT for two years now. What sets the agency apart from others in your mind?

Since I’ve started, SHIFT has constantly reinforced that it’s an agency that values the folks on the ground – from interns on up – above all else. It sounds simple, but the agency works hard to make sure that we’re happy coming into work every day.

I think we really strive to hire people who fit the SHIFT culture. That’s something that I essentially see with every new person who comes aboard. I’ve worked out of the New York office and have met so many Boston SHIFTers that have come out to SF (I swear, I’ll visit you guys soon!), but everyone seems like they’re carrying that SHIFT flag. Regardless of which of the three offices you’re in, the culture is consistent.

SHIFT also goes above and beyond, which was made clear with the introduction of the ESOP. It was the first time I had heard of an ESOP in PR and it wasn’t something that we as employees even asked for, but it’s a program that Todd and the rest of management decided to gift to us. The ESOP is a genuinely nice way to show the value they place on us.

Training is such a big emphasis here, too. Bringing in Kristina Norris, our Learning & Development Coordinator, was huge. It’s great to have someone in-house who’s able to focus solely on training programs and how we can all benefit from it. While many things we do are learned on the job, we also have the opportunity to hone the fundamentals and learn more beyond the day-to-day – at all levels.

What advice do you have for others who are looking to secure a job at SHIFT?

At the end of the day, our clients come to us for help with media relations. The successful SHIFTers are the ones who have a solid understanding of the media landscape and are voracious in their desire to read and be up on all things relevant to their clients. These are the people who are also hungry to be on top of larger, macro trends, giving them gain the ability to talk about their clients beyond their industry niches.

So to answer the question simply, the person with the desire to think like a journalist and who wants to keep reading, learning and understanding the big picture is a perfect fit for SHIFT.

Think an Account Manager role sounds like a good fit for you? Check out our open positions

Zach Burrus
Marketing Analyst

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Posted on June 18, 2014 in Agency Life, Culture, Public Relations

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