A Look Into Our First Full-Timer’s Journey to Benecomms
An absolute pleasure to work beside, the brilliant and kind Angela Stanley has recently been promoted to Senior Account Executive. After more than a year of working alongside Helen to help nurture Benecomms to where it is today, this promotion is well-deserved. To celebrate her success, we sat down with Angela to learn more about why she chose Benecomms and the path that brought her here.
Q: What is your WHY?
Without a shadow of a doubt, my “why” is my children. My goal at the start of each day is to work towards leaving the world a better place for them and inspire them to want to work hard and make a difference.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your professional experience. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I knew I wanted to be a writer as early as first grade when I would create stories for my friends as gifts and found so much joy in doing so. Many years later, I became the editor of my high school paper and, after coining the made-up superlative “most likely to become a journalist” among my high school friends, I continued in University, writing for the Daily Tar Heel at UNC (go Tar Heels!).
Then – thanks to the widely televised OJ Simpson investigation – I got a closer look into the everyday lives of journalists and realized that the job was not for me. I shifted gears to Child Development, knowing regardless that I would use this education when I had my own family (I ALWAYS knew I wanted to be a mom). I taught pre-school for a year in Philadelphia, then we moved. In Northern Virginia, unable to get a teaching job in the public schools with my NC early childhood degree, I transitioned to the corporate world. It was there – working for a national medical specialty society to ensure radiologists were paid fairly for the work they do – that I discovered I really like helping people.
It wasn’t until I began working for the national nonprofit Water Systems Council that I was able to make a career out of writing, joining the team as a Communications Specialist. Now at Benecomms, I’ve found a way to merge two of my passions: writing and giving back.
Q: How did your path lead you to Benecomms?
Once my youngest son went to Kindergarten, I began volunteering in the schools, eventually leading me to more community-based volunteer work. Around this same time, I was about to turn 40 and was inspired by a close friend to begin a 40-day kindness challenge. In the 40 days leading up to my 40th birthday, I was to perform one random act of kindness a day, ranging anywhere from a simple compliment to handing a stranger a gift card. Each of these 40 days is meant to make you more intentional about being kind, while hopefully inspiring others to do so as well.
I was recruited by the local YMCA to plan a similar initiative – 25 Days of Kindness – leading up to the 25th anniversary of the Y’s Annual Campaign. Helen and I were Facebook friends – I was a member of her book club (…sort of?) – and she joined the Facebook group that I started as part of the “25 Days of Kindness” initiative. When she learned I was looking for an opportunity, we met for coffee to discuss my working on the philanthropic piece of Benecomms. Shortly after I began, Helen signed a parenting solutions company as a client; as this was an area I knew a lot about, it became a great opportunity for me to receive on the job training in client management. My position continued to grow as the company grew, eventually making me Benecomms's first full-time employee last October. Now, I work with clients to help develop and implement their PR/marketing strategies, manage their social media platforms, and create valuable content for their websites, blogs, and trade publications.
Q: Do you have a standout moment that seemed to influence your career the most?
I think it has to be the project that gave me my first real taste of marketing: planning and implementing the YMCA’s 25 Days of Kindness initiative. So many people – including myself before working on this project – are unaware of how much the YMCA does for the community. They think it’s just a place to work out and send their kids to play soccer, but they do so much more and no one is turned away because of an inability to pay. The 25 Days of Kindness initiative helped promote the various programs the Y facilitates, while also encouraging the “Kerr YMCA Kindness Ambassadors” (as we called ourselves) to take part in random acts of kindness throughout the community over those 25 days. For example, when we promoted the Y’s Livestrong program, which supports those recovering from cancer, our suggested act of kindness was to create chemo bags for cancer patients with items such as mints for dry mouth symptoms, scarves for when they get cold, etc., which we delivered to a local cancer center. Little did I know, Helen was watching my every move. It truly played a big part in launching my career here at Benecomms.
Q. Do you have a standout moment from your time at Benecomms?
Besides the staff retreat – which was amazing – we’ve experienced some great successes here and those are the moments that motivate me each day. I love it when I see a client’s name in print, whether it’s helping them secure a bylined opportunity, a placement in an industry publication, or they’re quoted in a news article as a result of our efforts. Seeing the fruits of our labor always feels good.
Q: Do you have any advice for those just beginning their Marketing careers?
A marketing career requires that you wear so many different hats, particularly in a small agency like ours. From digital marketing to copywriting to SEO analysis, what’s great about this job is that it’s allowed me to try on all of these hats and learn what I enjoy the most. I would recommend anyone beginning their career in this field to first explore the different job responsibilities to better understand which would suit their personality and goals – try on all the hats. For myself, I knew I wanted a combination of client-facing, strategy, and writing, and my position here as Senior Account Executive encompasses all three of those.
Always stay open to learning and growing as industry trends are always changing. Lastly, do not fall victim to “analysis paralysis” as I have in the past. There will always be a lot of data tied to marketing, linking campaign efforts to ROI and KPIs, but understanding a large portion of marketing is trial and error and knowing when to take action may be the most important piece to the puzzle.
Remember that clarity is action, not thought.
This is especially true for writing. For me, I know I often strive for a perfect first draft, but the times that happens are rare. It’s easy to get caught up in research and information gathering, but I find it is most efficient to just get something down on paper and then edit and fill in the blanks with the data and facts later.
Congratulations to our very own Angela Stanley on her recent promotion. We are so proud of you and look forward to seeing what the next year of successes brings.