Angela Godfrey (Tisone) is a College of Communication alumna who has recently taken on a new position at Arnold Worldwide as Vice President of Marketing. Before joining Arnold in this role, she was an account supervisor for Jack Morton and (previously) a marketing director for Arnold Worldwide.
In our conversation, Angela and I discussed her experience at Boston University, how she became a vice president at 29, and her advice for current students.
Becca Buchholz: How would you describe your time with BU and COM?
Angela Tisone: I honestly had a great experience in COM during my time at BU. Not only did I have professors who inspired me to think differently, but the COM community really does prepare you for the real world in advertising. The connections you make and experiences you participate in are so valuable, especially in a small city like Boston where networking is crucial.
Because of COM, I was able to secure multiple internships as an undergrad, and those internships led me to connections that have helped me get to where I am today. So many people helped me along the way from BU. Professors are an invaluable resource, but then with internships, my mentors helped me even more. For the communications industry, getting a foot in the door early in your career is so important.
I still stay in touch with several of my fellow COM classmates and have participated in alumni events on campus. I, of course, continue to follow The COMmunicator; it was a great creative outlet for me during my time as an undergrad. COM does a great job of holding different networking opportunities and events, so I definitely took advantage of those–to soak up as much information and meet as many connections as I could.
BB: That’s fantastic. What was your journey to becoming VP at age 29 like?
AT: Arnold was my first “real world” job after BU, and I worked there for about five years before leaving for an experience-driven agency in Boston, Jack Morton. I worked at Jack for about two years and then decided to rejoin the Arnold family. Both Arnold and Jack have afforded me fantastic career opportunities.
It’s hard to say what the most valuable experience has been because I think they all impacted me, who I am today, and how I feel about my career. But if I had to identify one, it would be stepping into the role of a manager and being responsible for growing others. I had terrific mentors and managers throughout my career, so I place enormous importance on that for myself.
BB: Can you tell us a little bit more about Arnold and your day-to-day life there?
AT: My daily responsibilities include things like ongoing communication and managing the relationship with the client, in addition to working across an integrated internal team at the agency to ensure projects are briefed correctly and deliverables are met on-brief, on-time, and [that they] reflect great creative work.
At an agency, everyone wears a lot of hats, so every day can be different. It’s critical to stay nimble and always be willing to learn new skills, so you can be a valuable asset to your team and your clients.
The culture at Arnold is just fun and very focused on growing and celebrating our people. We all work extremely hard, but Arnold does an excellent job of ensuring that we have a diverse and fun culture that makes people proud to work here and makes others want to join our family. From holding employee art galleries to unique training opportunities to spotlighting great work at all-agency meetings, Arnold continues to invest in its people, and it’s one of the big reasons I came back.
BB: So what advice would you give to current students, especially those in advertising?
AT: My mantra is: Work hard, and be nice to people. The work we do holds enormous value. We tell stories, we build experiences, we change perspectives. And with that also comes considerable responsibility. Hard work pays off, and it inspires others to think/change/feel differently.
But with hard work, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when frustrations are high and deadlines are fast. Our advertising world is small. Boston is even smaller. And the fact is, we spend more time at work than anywhere else. And yes, we do it as good partners to our clients and because we believe in the work, but great work demands collaboration at all levels.
The work is better, the late nights are easier, and the successes are sweeter when you love the people you’re working with. And I truly believe that great leaders are those that build others up and bring them along for the ride. That kind of kindness is powerful, and it’s essential.
BB: That’s a really great point.
AT: I would also tell senior year self something else. I was so focused on getting all the internships and taking as many interviews as I could. Enjoy your senior year a little bit more, soak everything in.
Enjoy your last year being a kid before your time in the real world. Soak it all in, because there is plenty of time for you to work. I never even considered traveling after school or taking time off. You’re so focused on the adult stuff that those three months make a difference. I wouldn’t change anything I did, but I would enjoy the BU experience much more.
The transition is tough. Advertising is very fast paced and complex, and it really does require you to be flexible, and sometimes that’s uncomfortable when you don’t know all of the answers. I will say though that I felt very prepared coming out of COM, as they really do equip you with the knowledge and connections to be successful. To my earlier point, I think internships are so valuable in giving you a taste of the real world and affording you the opportunity to explore different career paths while you’re in school so the real world seems a little less scary when the time comes.
Another thing I wish I told myself back then [is] it’s OK to make mistakes! With the pace and detail needed for advertising, it’s easy to put an enormous amount of pressure on yourself to be perfect. And while responsibility and accountability are considerable, we’re all only human, and we’re learning along the way. Fail fast, learn quickly.
Becca Buchholz, Staff Writer
Becca is a junior studying advertising with a focus in statistics. She spends her time reading ad books, watching advertisements, and refusing to disable her ad blocker. She has a midwest personality mixed with an east coast sass but is always ready to lend a hand. Find her on campus with a full bottle of water and her trusty Supergas.