March 8, 2020
#InternationalWomensDay: Empowering Lessons from Women in Advertising
In the leadup to our panel event in partnership with Microsoft Advertising, Growing Your Voice: Empowering Lessons From Women Leaders, we sat down with some of Metric Theory’s senior women leaders to learn more about how they came up in their careers. Nadine Fuller is our VP of Agency Development at Metric Theory who has been at the company since its inception; she built out the account services team in our Denver office and grew the team from 4 to 30 in just under 4 years. Read on to learn more about how Nadine manages a healthy work-life balance in the pursuit of her neverending goals!
Let’s talk a little bit about your background and how you came up in your career. What was it that got you interested in pursuing a career in marketing?
Nadine: I actually studied marketing in college, but when I graduated in 2009, there weren’t too many jobs available (hello financial crisis!). Because of this, I felt lucky for securing a full time job in my senior year, even if it wasn’t in marketing. I started as an Associate Consultant for a healthcare consulting firm in San Francisco, a job that involved weekly travel and a lot of tedious auditing of medical documents.
I quickly realized that this was not the career for me — I needed to work in an industry that allowed for more creativity, problem solving, and collaboration. After sticking it out for the full first year, I made the decision to leave and search for a more well-suited role. While that was a very scary decision at the time, I’m extremely grateful I took that leap of faith. Six weeks of job hunting later, I landed a job working for Adam Edwards, who taught me the ins and outs of digital marketing and client services. I guess the rest is history.
Do you feel like that job helped shape your trajectory up to this day, either by ruling out any career paths or helping you realize this is what you wanted to do?
Nadine: I absolutely believe my first job helped me direct my career path. I learned what type of job suited me best, and through this process I found a much better-fitting career path.
What was your support system like as you advanced in your career? Did you have a particular role model?
Nadine: My husband, parents, and friends have always been my support network — they celebrate successes with me and guide me through challenges.
You are a VP of Agency Development at Metric Theory — do you feel like you’ve made it?
Nadine: I’ve never viewed my career as a means to “making it,” and my focus is not towards just achieving the next level or title. My goal is to continually learn new skills sets and improve my current ones. I like to take on new challenges and responsibilities, solve new problems, scale teams, and work with different clients. If I had to define “making it,” though, that would be when others consistently look at me as a standard for someone who craves learning and makes a positive impact on those around them.
Were there moments in your career when you felt you might want to do something different?
Nadine: Of course! I think it’s important to continuously evaluate what you are doing and whether it’s the right fit for your values and goals. If you feel like you want to go in a different direction, it’s important to first see if there are opportunities within your own company to do so.
Was there a pivotal moment in your life that encouraged or motivated you to get to the position you are in currently?
Nadine: I’ve always been intrinsically motivated, so I can’t speak to a pivotal moment in my life. That being said, in order for me to stay motivated, I always need to be tackling new challenges and problems so I continually seek those out in my professional career.
What does a typical day look like for you? If your day-to-day varies greatly, is there one thing that you make sure to do every single day?
Nadine: I juggle several different responsibilities on a day to day basis at Metric Theory, so no two days look alike! For me, it’s always important to be extremely responsive if any type of people issue comes up, whether that’s with an employee or a client. Those issues will get prioritized over everything else I’m working on that day.
What steps do you take to ensure you are always learning and improving in your job?
Nadine: Learning and improving in my job is extremely important to me. I spend at least 20 to 30 minutes a day reading articles related to digital marketing, culture, and managing people. I’m also a total book nerd, and I’m always reading a new business book — I recently finished ShoeDog, fascinating book!
I’m also a big believer in feedback, so I push my direct reports and the people I work with most frequently to give me constructive feedback. It helps unveil areas of improvement that I may not be aware of.
I also try to find opportunities to shadow people within my organization who have strong skill sets in areas I feel like I could grow. For example, I love listening in on Amanda Ferrante’s calls when she’s negotiating a deal or diffusing a client situation, as I always learn something new from those calls!
Do you have any creative outlets, or something outside of your job that helps you balance your work? How do you achieve work-life balance, especially with a family?
Nadine: Balance as a working mother is a tricky concept and something I don’t think I’ll every fully achieve but am always striving for. Day to day, my life often doesn’t seem balanced — there are often unexpected events like a sick child or a work fire drill. However, when I look back at the past week, my goal is to feel like I spent meaningful time with my kids and husband, accomplished my work responsibilities, and made an impact at work and took care of myself. If I go several weeks where it doesn’t feel that way, I’ll usually look to make a change.
I went through this process recently where I realized that my work-life balance was in fact not balanced. I decided that while I love what I do professionally, I needed to cut back. I proposed a 4-day work week to my manager and MT’s CEO, which included the responsibilities I needed to shift, the responsibilities I would retain, and a clear plan of action in case of emergency on my day out of the office. The plan was approved, and my work-life balance has greatly improved since then. I’m extremely grateful to work for a company that understands the need for flexibility for working mothers.
Last item that I find extremely important is taking care of myself. For me, that means doing something active every day. During the work week, my lunch break is blocked off for a workout class. That type of flexibility is something every working parent should seek from an employer.
What advice would you give yourself If you could go back and talk to yourself in your early 20’s?
Nadine: Don’t forget to prioritize and take care of yourself! Only when you’re taking care of yourself can you be the best professional. For me that includes working out, eating healthy, and having fun throughout the day!
This interview is Part 1 of 6 in our interview series leadup to our Growing Your Voice: Empowering Lessons From Women Leaders panel. If you are interested in attending on July 23rd in San Francisco, register here. We look forward to seeing you!