Agency Life 101: Kim Diesel, Senior Account Executive



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 Kim Diesel, a Senior Account Executive who has been at SHIFT for three years now. She started as an intern and has quickly grown in her career. Kim gives us insight into what life is like as an SAE and advice for those looking to follow in her footsteps.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities as an SAE at SHIFT?
As an SAE, I’m expected to be the driving force behind my clients’ media programs. One way I do this is by starting my mornings off reading! Businessweek, Forbes,USA Today, VentureBeat and (I’m not ashamed to say it) PerezHilton are at the top of my morning reading list. It’s how I stay up-to-date on trends, get inspiration for new pitches and spot opportunities to get my clients out there. Perez doesn’t really help me do all that, but how else am I supposed to find out what’s going on with Jay-Z and Solange?

Mentoring junior staff is another big part of the day-to-day role. You have to take everything you’ve learned about media relations and editorial programs and pass that on to other members of your team. This is one of the best parts of the job because you often find yourself learning from each other.

I’m also expected to keep up on social media trends so I can make recommendations to clients for building social elements into their PR programs. Mashable and Advertising Age are great for staying up-to-date and finding inspiration.

What are some of the best parts of being an SAE? What are some of the challenges?
You really become ingrained in the client-agency relationship and recognize how important each role is to building that relationship. I feel like I’m not just a part of the team here at SHIFT but also a part of my clients’ teams. That feeling made my job become that much more rewarding. Whether it’s seeing great results after implementing a successful social media campaign or having that awesome piece of coverage come through for one of your clients, your team’s successes become more meaningful because you’re sharing in the excitement around those accomplishments with your clients.

When you become more comfortable in the SAE role, you get more opportunities to dip your toes in the strategy waters. Clients occasionally start looking to you for counsel, especially in regards to their media programs. This felt like a lot of pressure because I knew clients were putting their trust in me. I got nervous and started to second guess myself. I was reminded that it’s okay to ask for help – everyone needs a gut check once in a while.

Talk about your growth from intern to SAE. What were some of the big factors in your career growth?
Initially, it was hard for me to receive feedback and not feel like I was being criticized. I would get defensive because I really wanted to succeed at SHIFT. I think that’s something a lot of newbies go through. Once I realized that the senior members of my team wanted the same thing for me, I started seeking out feedback. Those conversations have always helped me understand what areas I need to work on to move forward and set new goals for myself.

I’ve also relied on my mentors. SHIFT has a fantastic mentorship program that connects you with a more experienced coworker that isn’t on your larger team. It’s great for getting some outside perspective. The thought of having a conversation with your boss about your professional growth can be intimidating, but my mentors have always provided great advice on how to approach those conversations. My current mentor (looking at you @JenaRossi) even told me to stop being a wimp and reminded me that if you don’t ask the tough questions, you’ll never get the answers you want. It was exactly what I needed to hear at the time.

You’ve been at SHIFT for three years now. What has kept you loyal to the agency? 
When you start working at SHIFT, one of the first things you realize is the culture is shaped by the employees. You’re surrounded by smart, creative people that have made it a fun place to work. It’s why the people are the number one reason I stick around. There’s always someone to help you brainstorm new social ideas, proof that press release that needs to get out the door, go for coffee when you need a break or grab a drink after a long day.

What advice do you have for others who are looking to secure a job at SHIFT?
If you do your research, you’ll learn SHIFT really “walks the walk” when it comes to our values. Everyone who works here is smart, creative, connected, dedicated, positive, honorable and ballsy. Discuss a few examples of times you’ve embodied these values and we’ll be impressed.

You need to have all of the necessary skills and experience, yes, but it’s also important that your personality comes through during your interview. That’s our chance to get to know you. Let us know what you will bring to the table.

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

Amanda Grinavich
Marketing Analyst


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