After being honored with Public Relations Society of America’s “Rising Star” award we sat down with digital marketing manager Rachel Dill to reflect on her career up to this point. As a member of PRSSA, a student chapter, when attending The Ohio State University, the organization helped her determine what career path she wanted to embark on. Her involvement for the organization continued way beyond graduation, as she now sits on the board for the Cleveland PRSA chapter. I was hired to work under Rachel when she set out to formalize Sweeney’s digital efforts under one department and I have had the pleasure of experiencing her ever-curious mind and determination to always better herself and her employees. Rachel is a fearless leader that pushes our brainstorms to the next level and our campaigns to award-winning status. Team Sweeney has always known that Rachel is a star, but are you ready to meet the passionate professional behind the new rising star title?
How did you choose this field?
RD: In high school, I always loved to write and really thought I’d go on to get a degree in journalism. Luckily, I had many mentors along the way that encouraged me to utilize my public speaking and people skills, and who taught me about PR and marketing. Once I was a student at OSU I attended a PRSSA meeting and was inspired by how interested I was in the people I met and the career paths they were on. Strategic communications seemed like a good fit and once I set my eyes on that, I never looked back. I had four internships throughout school (one being at Sweeney) and those experiences further cemented my passion for the field.
What has been one of your favorite projects to work on at Sweeney?
RD: When The Container Store opened its first Cleveland location they chose Sweeney to help them make the opening grand. I had the opportunity to work on a lot of the digital components of that campaign which was really exciting. It was also a unique campaign because I got to help tie Cleveland marketing into a national brand. I introduced the container store to #TheLand and helped welcome a large brand to our city!
What gravitated you to digital?
RD: When I started at Sweeney everyone was already practicing digital and incorporating digital into their client’s campaigns but from the account executive role. Any chance I got to immerse myself in digital best practices, I took, and it became my favorite part about the job. Jim Sweeney and our president, Jennifer Manocchio, always encourage growth within the agency so when I came to them with the idea of creating a more formal digital services offering, they supported me in those efforts. I love that digital is always changing because I’m a fast-paced individual and it’s crazy to think where my career will be in three, five, ten years, because I’m sure roles that we don’t even know about, will exist.
What career advice would you give to other “rising stars”?
RD: No matter where you are or what you’re doing, do your best. I think a lot of young professionals can get defeated at the start of their career because it may not be exactly what they want to do. I firmly believe that you have to start somewhere, so if a company wants you to file papers or wash windows, be the best paper filer they ever saw and make those windows sparkle. Whenever you’re given the chance to prove yourself, try and do your best. Always be the best you can at whatever you’re doing.
What lessons have you learned from Sweeney leadership?
RD: Since the day I started as an intern at Sweeney they have preached that the best ideas come from anyone in the room. Whether it’s the intern or the CEO, we are all welcomed to share our perspectives so that we can learn from one another’s knowledge and experiences. It’s great to be at a company that values that because I firmly believe in valuing different perspectives, no matter the person’s title.
What’s your favorite thing about the culture of PRSA?
RD: I love how everyone who is involved in the organization is so willing to share their experiences and network with one another. PRSA is a great organization that brings together passionate professionals for fun, interactive and educational events. In a world where email has replaced a lot of face-to-face meetings, PRSA has been a great way for me to connect and learn from other like-minded professionals in my field.