Q. Avery, we’ve learned that you’re an avid reader outside of your professional life. Can you share some of your favorite books and how they’ve influenced you personally or professionally?
A. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides is hands down my favorite book of all time. It tells the story of a Greek family who migrated to Detroit, Michigan, from the shores of Asia Minor. It’s the first book I’ve read by an author from Detroit, and it’s set in Detroit. The protagonist, Cal, travels through the city, and I could recognize the street names and landmarks. I’ve read so many books that are set in cities I’ve never visited. Although I can visualize them, it’s just not the same as actually being there and experiencing the place where the story takes place. It vividly captures the characters’ involvement in Detroit’s automotive boom, working on the line in Henry Ford’s factory, and the tragedies that plagued the city in the 60’s. I love Detroit, and reading a book so culturally and historically immersed in the city was an unforgettable experience.
My second favorite book is Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. It was the first time that writing had left me speechless. It’s absurdly funny despite the objectively grim and harrowing backdrop. Heller’s writing showed me that writing is what conveys humor, not the subject matter itself, and it has forever changed the way I view writing and the power it holds.
Q. With your extensive marketing, communications, and public relations background, can you share a challenging experience you’ve had while managing multiple marketing campaigns?
A. In our line of work, creativity is key. But what you may not realize until you’re in the thick of it are the project management skills needed to keep everything running smoothly. It’s not uncommon to have multiple campaigns in progress, all at different stages of development. You could be brainstorming one, scheduling another, and analyzing the results of a third, all at the same time. It can be a real challenge to keep track of everything! Personally, I’ve found that writing everything down and keeping detailed notes is the best way to stay organized. It may seem obvious, but when your days are filled with copywriting and client communication, it’s easy to forget. Having notes allows me to switch between projects and know exactly where I am with each.
Q. You have a knack for brand storytelling and converting technical information for broader audiences. Can you tell us when you had to translate a complex concept into engaging content and the response?
A. My first job at 14 was as a cashier at a pool supply store. How does this have anything to do with marketing? Let me tell you – dealing with frustrated customers who have a green pool and a barbeque in two days taught me a valuable lesson. For a brand, product, or campaign to succeed, it must resonate with its audience – even if the subject matter is complex. These customers needed me to explain how to fix their pool in a way that answered their questions and anticipated their concerns.
For nearly three years, I worked as a copywriter in the biotech field, where I honed my skills in simplifying technical jargon into content that a general audience could read. How do you condense a 100+ page FDA guidance into a three-minute read? By keeping your audience top of mind at all times. What are they searching for? How can I make the information more accessible?
I’ve since moved on from the world of pool maintenance (thank goodness), but that early experience instilled in me a sense of empathy for the people who read what I’m writing that I use every day.
Q. Managing social media for various organizations must have been exciting! Can you share a fun anecdote about creating content or coordinating with teams for social media? Also, which social media platform do you enjoy working with the most and why?
Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of managing the social media accounts of many organizations. While this usually involves a lot of time behind the computer or phone, my experience working for Wayne State’s Housing Department was quite different. With over five residence halls, hundreds of resident advisors, thousands of residents, and constant events, my job as a social media manager required a lot of groundwork. I spent most of my days running around campus, taking pictures, interviewing students, and showcasing events. Move-In Day was the busiest day, where everyone on the team worked together to ensure that students and their families had access to every resource they needed to make the process as easy as possible. In the weeks leading up to move-in day, I was a content machine, anticipating questions and concerns and creating accessible content to prepare students for their arrival on campus. I’m an introvert, so talking to so many people for a job was challenging at first, but it was such a great experience that taught me a lot about what people are looking for on social media.
Out of all the social media platforms, I enjoy working with Instagram the most. Being a visual platform, it allows for content that can be more creative. Instagram also offers the opportunity to interact directly with your audience and share various forms of content, such as videos, static graphics, and pictures.
Q. Congratulations on your numerous honors and awards at Wayne State University! Can you share what the Scholar’s Day Award and Yelda Endowed Scholarship mean to you and any fun memories associated with them?
I know that paying for college can be a tough challenge for most students. That’s why when I received these scholarships, I felt incredibly grateful. Somehow, I was able to cobble together enough scholarships to cover all four years of my education. I had to maintain a GPA of at least 3.5 to keep the funding, but I’m thankful I had this requirement as it pushed me to work hard and to take my education seriously.
One of my favorite memories from my scholarship experience was mentoring incoming freshmen who were also up for the same scholarship. It felt amazing to help out other students who had the same questions and concerns that I did when I was in their shoes. I’ve had some incredible mentors who have made a big impact on my education and career, so it was an honor to potentially do the same for others.