Suzanne Darmory, an Advertising Mentor
Suzanne Darmory is that type of savvy and creative business woman you’d want to be around when deciding what to do when you grow up. With over two decades of international experience helping promote brands, she’s the best leader to motivate and organize any team across the digital world.
She’s currently the Executive Creative Director at Acxiom and this spring she'll be teaching the Advertising Digital Media Class at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) for the third year in a row, but her career was made in different New York and London advertising offices. Discover more about this accomplished mentor bellow.
In a world dominated by men, you managed to create a name for yourself, how was Suzanne as a teen?
My teenage years taught me how to toughen up quite a bit. Years later, I finally grew into my height (180 cm) and was recruited to be a Ford runway model, which was the best way to eliminate past insecurities. Had I not had those formative years, I don't think I would be where I am today.
What motivated you to go up on the career ladder?
I have been extremely fortunate to have amazing mentors and advocates during my 20+ years in advertising. I am most grateful to my college professor at Boston University, Alan Holliday of Hill Holliday, who mentored me and made the call that got me my first job as a Junior Copywriter at Grey.
Can you remember the feeling of winning your first award?
I got a call from Deutsch in 1996 to join 7 others in starting their internal interactive agency iDeutsch. A year later, we won our first award for the original Ikea.com. Each and every award is a gift, but my first was definitely my most special and is still in my home office.
What are your top 5 tips for any advertising intern, especially a female one?
Great question! I make time to mentor 2-3 young creative women every year and co-teach Digital Media Advertising Class at the Fashion Institute of Technology every spring. Here's what I tell them:
- What's your Brand? Can you explain your brand in 15 seconds or less? Does your portfolio reflect your brand? Do your social media posts and shares? You will need to know it, and share it, a lot.
- You Can't Do It All. There isn't enough time in the day to get everything done and have a second for yourself too. My definition of success is getting one professional thing and one personal thing done well every day.
- Isolate a Problem By Bringing a Solution. People are so busy these days that the best way to point out a problem is to contribute your idea of what a solution would be.
- Don't be Quiet. Young female creatives tend to be afraid to be vocal. Be proud of your accomplishments and be sure to share them with peers and senior management. Want a promotion? Create a deck proving your worth and wins. Want time off? Ask. You'll never know unless you say something.
- Be passionate and have fun. Present your concepts and executions as if they are the best thing you've ever done. Be passionate, participate, read, explore, and push yourself. If you're stuck creatively, take a walk or go to a museum to see a new exhibit.
What’s your favorite campaign this year?
R/GA's PSA Campaign "Love Has no Labels" is a moving PSA about bias and diversity. It does everything that we're all trying to do, which is to create a conversation and connect with consumers in an emotional way.
College or life experience and practice?
Life experience and practice. Unless you constantly push yourself, you won't grow. Go on a safari, ride an electronic bull, face your fear head on, and you'll be better for it.
America or Europe?
Tough question. I've lived, studied, and worked in the US (NYC and Boston), UK (London), and France (Paris and Nice). That said, America for work and Europe for vacation.
Face to face or Skype and email for doing business?
We live in an extremely hyper-connected and multi-office hybrid world. I believe that face to face meetings (especially when presenting creative ideas) are the best way to build relationships and get feedback quickly and efficiently.
What can you tell us about your work uniform, do you have one? How do you plan your weekly outfits?
I created a work uniform about 4 1/2 years ago when I had to start raising my two boys (then 1 1/2 and 3 years old) on my own while juggling my frenetic career. For summer it’s sheath dresses, jackets, and heels; for winter it's skinny jeans, jackets, and boots. I make sure that all of our outfits are laid out the night before, especially since my older son has the tendency to make me change if he doesn't approve of what I'm wearing that day.
A lot of people need motivation; we love to hear about a day in your busy life…
- I wake up at 7 am, make all three breakfasts and lunches, get all three of us ready for school/work, and then drop them off at school at 8:20 am.
- I then jump on an 8:33 am train from Greenwich, CT to Grand Central and start answering emails and checking work on the way.
- I get to my desk around 9:45 am, where I normally spend my day talking to clients, approving creative deliverables, working on new business, and mentoring my team.
- I try to get home by 7:00 pm every night so I can spend at least an hour with my boys before bedtime, then it's back to work for another hour or so after they're in bed. On the nights that my boys are with their dad, I can normally be found in NYC or Brooklyn.
Either drinks at Soho House in NYC, dinner at Talde in Brooklyn, or home snuggling with my boys in CT.
If I were a man…
I would be a Manbassador, advocating female equality in the workplace.
Whatever you want it to be.
In my wardrobe…
You'll find a mix of everything from vintage Hermes to Rag and Bone jeans to Converse sneakers.
If you’d like to keep up with this savvy and creative business woman, check out her official website.