CTAE Instructor Shiletha Sanders-Williams gives an inside look at careers with Atlanta Influences Everything.
Atlanta Influences Everything is a marketing consulting agency that focuses on multicultural audiences with a hyper focus on black culture.
Bem Joiner - New Business
Ian Ford- Lead Designer
Torry Edwards - Production, Content Creation
Overview Of Our Time
We discussed best practices regarding how internal and external partners can work together to better student awareness of creative positions, career building experiences and bridging the gaps between motivation, internship, higher education, experiential field trips and employment opportunities.
Who are your clients or customers? There are three target audiences. On the retail end, anyone that believes in the statement “Atlanta Influences Everything” and want to show their pride for the messaging. On the consultant end, local/non local companies and brands that want to create more authenticity within their community engagement platforms. They want to build a connective tissue within the community. The third target audience wants marketing consulting services that connects them to a cultural audience.
Do you have an organizational chart showing how your company is structured? No, we’re working on one
During the past several years, what major industry changes/issues have impacted your company? Established in 2015, there has been an uphill battle with the stickiness of the brand. When COVID happened, the social unrest and the corporate giants that Atlanta has gained, the role that Atlanta played in the election have been the major issues that have catapulted the brand. It was the pause of that time that allowed both decision makers and us to create content and maneuver to push the brand. The hashtag of #AtlantaInfluencesEverything, a food drive and the “Your Vote Influences Everything” with GA Stand Up and Coca Cola embraced, civic, culture and commerce. We leveraged that connective tissue to create workforce and economic development in those areas because our prowess makes that special. What changes/issues does your company anticipate having an impact on the company’s future development? Leveraging Gen X leadership across sectors. If we cross combine Gen X leadership and digital development that would impact our future development
Describe your company’s culture? It is a free flowing culture that is based on nomadism. We are all remote with varied responsibilities until we have a local event. We are digital based until we choose to settle into a home base.
How many people are employed by the company? Four
How has technology affected the company? It has been amazing. It has put us into a position to “don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness”. It allows us to build out a thing, put it in place, run a pilot and show the results with data or a case study.
What should I be teaching in my classroom to prepare students for employment in a company like this? Communication & soft skills. Creative exercises, getting students to work in groups and break out of their shells. Icebreakers and team building skills, breaking the monotony of the school day would prepare them for a business like this. Confidence comes through exposure - documentaries, field trips, research & development, magazines all help lead to thoughts which also leads to SEO.
What would you recommend educators do to strengthen the relevance of school to the workplace? Develop strong plug & play partnerships with the public sector on all levels. Anyone in the public sector should be able to plug in easily. The Metro Atlanta Chamber and Invest Atlanta important. However the employees there don’t come from the APS system so building rapport and relationships on high levels with the business community are important. If we have the world’s busiest airport in the world, our students must be doing more than putting luggage on the cart. Make ACCA relevant to all of the major brands in Atlanta. Look at everyone who has headquarters and outposts here and make it relevant to the student base; Delta, Coca Cola, Microsoft, Pandora, UPS, Tristan Walker, etc. Reading the Atlanta Business Chronicle will help you target the brands that you need to connect.
During my week with Atlanta Influences Everything, we:
- Identified several solutions to the challenges facing the ACCA Design Studios student.
- Connected with Miami Ad School’s Assistant Director to discuss education, speaker opportunities and access to resources for the ACCA Design Studios student.
- Attending a community meeting regarding arts grants in the Atlanta area.
- Discussed with AIE New Business Leader, Bem Joiner ways to connect ACCA to community for support and an extension of network.
Unaware of educational and career opportunities in the creative industry therefore unable to maximize on salary benefits and higher socio-economic power.
- Tap into the vast resources of Atlanta to open doors for the ACCA Design Studios student.
- Connect with companies that have moved into or are native to Atlanta that is willing to invest in the up-in-coming talent pool.
- Connect with program leaders of creative careers to maximize the pipeline of talent to college.
- Develop an internship program called, “Designed to Dream” that will connect students from ACCA Design Studios to industry.
- Complete an externship twice a year to create a straighter path to success for creatives enrolled in the ACCA Design Studios program.
Does not self-identify as creative.
- Create a marketing campaign via tik tok, hs magazine and Instagram that tells the story of each creative student in our classroom called, “I am Creative” so other APS students can find themselves in the experiences of the junior designers attending this program.
- This campaign will help to increase the enrollment of the program and also catapult students who are a great fit for the role of designer.
- Create the marketing campaign with our new magazine, co supported by Miami Ad School’s publication department that will highlight students across the schools in APS that we work with to share student work and promote the programs from the school.
Not connected to a network of influencers that can aid in career goals.
- Creating a podcast that allows students to interview top designers, art directors, digital marketers from the Atlanta area.
- Create a program called, “Peer to Pro” with volunteer designers from Miami Ad School as an adoption program for junior designers from ACCA Design Studios.
- Develop (8) experiential field trips around the city to allow students to experience what it is to be in the industry.