Agency Life 101: Annie Perkins, Vice President

annieFrom time to time, we like to open a window into what life is like here at SHIFT. We pride ourselves on our smart, dedicated culture. This week, we check in with Annie Perkins, a Vice President in our Boston office. Annie offers insight into what day-to-day life is like as a VP, advice for growing a team and more. 

What are your main focuses as a Vice President? What does a typical day look like for you?
One of the great benefits offered by SHIFT is flexibility.  I have a bit of a commute, so I choose to start my day at 6:30am.  I typically spend the first hour plowing through email, diving into the news of the day and psyching myself up for the adventure that lies ahead.  I am generally on the road for a few days a week so I really appreciate the opportunity to hunker down and get organized.  As the day unfolds, I stand prepared to fire jump for clients and the team.

What do you most enjoy about being a VP? What are some of the challenges?
When I joined SHIFT as a director I loved that I was empowered to embrace my entrepreneurial side.  Now, as a VP, that is still my passion.  I love to join every brainstorm and be a part of the overall success of the agency.  Whether it is a small creative project, a full marketing tech implementation or a street team execution, I appreciate that the team is always looking for ways to stretch. The major challenge I face is time management and keeping up with email.  Having been in PR for most of my adult life I understand that there are only so many hours in the day.  It is critical to adopt the Stephen Covey mantra of first things first.  I try to work on the most important deliverable of the day first so that when the day inevitably gets away from me I can still head out at a reasonable time.

As you think about your career path, what do you feel most prepared you to be a Vice President?
To be honest, the number one thing that prepared me for being a Vice President is being a mother to a large blended family.  I faced challenges big and small with my children while trying to balance work, family and friends.  This juggle has given me the ability to quickly assess situations, trust my instincts and manage crazy without going crazy.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned in growing a team within an agency?
Everyone has different gifts and talents, and it is my job to identify those talents and allow people to play to their strengths. 

You lead the consumer and healthcare teams at SHIFT  and have worked with some big brands like Toyota, McDonald’s, McKesson, etc. How do things differ between large brands and smaller ones? What advice do you have for managing the larger accounts?
Interestingly, the demands of large and small accounts are quite similar.  For smaller clients, PR is often one of the largest marketing expenses, and we are relied on heavily to drive results that matter to the bottom-line.  For larger accounts, we are still relied upon for results, however we need to take a more holistic view on our campaigns and executions.  We need to work seamlessly with the larger marketing team in order to amplify the results of the PR program.  In both instances, programs work best when we are in a true partnership with our clients.  Their goals are our goals.  Our success is their success.

What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
My team could answer this question for me because I have shared this wisdom with everyone.  You must first and foremost “plant your own garden.”  You cannot look to others to bring you passion, ignite your curiosity, or power you through challenging days.  Those are the bootstrap moments that ultimately define you.  You must decide for yourself that you are going to take a risk and jump in head first.

Amanda Grinavich
Senior Marketing Analyst


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