Lee Emerson Receives NextGen Under 30 Award
We’re thrilled to announce that Smirk Client Service Director Lee Emerson was recently named one of the 2021 NextGen Under 30 winners in Media, Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising. Award honorees were selected by a panel of respected community leaders from over 8,600 nominees across the state of Oklahoma.
Lee’s Journey to NextGen Honoree
Lee has had a heavy hand in the success of our team’s large number of award-winning projects over the last six years. Let’s take a deep dive into Lee’s professional journey and discover what led to one of Smirk’s own becoming a NextGen honoree.
What does your position as Client Service Director entail?
I oversee Smirk’s team of Content Creators and coordinate with our Project Managers to ensure that our clients feel heard in their partnerships with us. Good relationships are at the forefront of everything we do, especially when it comes to long-term mutual success.
What brought you to a career in digital marketing?
I joined Smirk as a part-time Business Development Coordinator shortly after graduating from OU in 2014. My degree is in Linguistics and Spanish, but I quickly fell in love with several key aspects of marketing — the level of organization it requires, the nuance of branded language and the research.
I’d always wanted to be an editor, so I jumped at any chance to edit other people’s copy, even though I was on the Business Development team. Ad copy, blogs, social media content, you name it — I wanted to read it and help elevate it.
How has Smirk helped you grow as a professional?
Our President and Managing Partner Allie Carrick made the intentional choice to invest in my professional development. She gave me opportunities to edit copy, brainstorm with the marketing team and take photos on-site. I had just been hired as a part-time Business Development Coordinator for Smirk, but she saw something more in me.
In less than a year, I was a full-time Content Creator and on track to begin managing my own clients. That was five years ago. Since then, I’ve learned the ins and outs of Facebook Business Manager, Google Analytics, social strategy, community management, agency leadership and more.
What does Smirk mean to you?
From the bottom of my heart, Smirk represents everything that’s right with team culture. Our commitment to bringing every voice to the table and supporting each other is unlike any other job I’ve had. We invest in our people and it pays off at every level, internally and externally.
Who is someone in the industry that you have looked up to or modeled your career after?
Is it cheating if I pick Allie? Smirk’s President and Managing Partner Allie Carrick has been my biggest inspiration by far — she’s not only a marketing whiz, but she has an innate and powerful understanding of client relationships and leadership that I admire greatly. She’s everything I want to be.
What are your goals for your career?
My goals aren’t related to climbing any sort of corporate ladder, or snagging a certain C-Suite title — I’m interested in adding more team members to Smirk and investing in their growth. I want to set others up for success and give them the mentorship and culture-first relationships that Smirk has given me.
What did it mean to you to be selected for the NextGen Under 30?
This is cheesy, but it’s just great to be recognized. I’ve followed NextGen for years and seen all of the local recognition across so many key industries, and now I can count myself among them!
What advice would you give to recent college grads starting their career?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! Network with people, ask questions, get your hands dirty. Learn everything you can.
I recently read an amazing quote from Brian Tracy — “I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often.”
Another Win for the Books
Awards like NextGen Under 30 recognize young adults that push the boundaries of industry standards while being active in the community. Smirk is proud to cultivate a team of hard-working individuals who are dedicated to excelling in the marketing industry and beyond.