Dear Interns, by Bill Koenigsberg
By Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO & Founder, Horizon Media
As the summer draws to a close, I would like to thank each and every one of you for making our industry better. You are the future leaders of our industry, and we — the current leaders — owe it to you to provide leadership and advice, guiding you as you navigate this new world.
I have been inspired getting to know many of you this summer. You may have been one of the 300 interns at the 4th annual 1st Five Summer Intern Experience held at our New York headquarters this month. Or perhaps you are one of the 42 interns that I hired this summer, our largest summer intern group ever.
I watched those working at my company as you confidently presented your final projects and left with some words of advice. Here is what I shared, and what I want all of you — our future advertising industry leaders — to consider as you join the advertising industry:
1.Develop and protect your brand.
It takes years to build up your credibility and reputation, but only one bad moment to break it down. You can choose to let this sentiment make you anxious, or you can choose to use it as motivation to be your best self.
2.Go all in and follow your passion.
When you find your calling, run with it. I found media, and with it, the passion and drive for success that has guided me since I started. It is hard to immerse yourself in something you only half-care about, so find something you are wholly passionate about and can move leaps and bounds with — and go all in.
3.There is less traffic in the extra mile.
Get moving. It is much quieter there, less traffic — and it is easier to get noticed. So figure out what gets you there and go. Get yourself in a position where you are thriving in that extra mile.
4.Culture is critical.
The culture at our company is one of the most important things to me. Business is personal, and we spend so many hours at work, away from our families and friends. We all want to work in an environment with kind, intelligent and curious individuals surrounding us, so look for that inspiring culture wherever you land.
5.Get negativity out of your life.
Your network should be your support system. You don’t need negative energy. When I find the hub of negativity within my walls, I see it out the door. Feed off positivity.
6.Ignorance is bliss.
Don’t let what you don’t know kill you. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.
7.Turn failure into learning.
Every time you fail, you also learn something. To make the most out of these instances, you must remove the negative connotation you have with the word “failure.”
8.Be patient. Success will come.
I often tell my nearest and dearest that monetary success comes from following your passions and making them realities — not the reverse. Be patient. Follow your path. It is a journey, not a sprint.
9.Find a mentor.
I have always had mentors, and I still do today. Mentors don’t always share your career path, or work in the same industry. Or are always older than you. They must be someone you have a professional connection with, who acts as a sounding board and voice of reason with honest feedback and advice.
10.“The secret to life is enjoying the passage of time.”
This quote comes from songwriter James Taylor, a favorite of mine. Don’t get me wrong: It is great to seek a professional goal and promotion, but your career is not just defined by achieving the highest position or reaching your end goal. It is about the work you have done, and the impact you have made each step of the way.
Please make sure to find your giving gene. Whether it be time, money or another way to give back, find a way to help those around you.
12.Never think you’ve arrived.
There is always something to work for out on the horizon. Keep moving toward it — even though you may never reach it. This idea spawned the name Horizon Media, an agency that can never stop improving. If you think you have arrived, you are going to get run over.
I am not saying that it will be easy, or that success will come overnight. But after more than 30 years in media, I have learned a lot. And when I speak to my next group of interns in 2018, I am sure I will have added to this list. Like I said — never think you have arrived.
"I developed a much higher respect for social marketing by seeing the value and complexity of this function which seemed very ambiguous to me before."— Student at Boston College after AEF sent speakers from DigitasLBi