Molly Mitchell is a communications associate at Scott Circle and member of WWPR.
Chintimini Keith is Vice President and Head of Integrated Production at Edelman’s DC office. She is also a proud WWPR member and credits the organization with helping her navigate the DC communications world. When she’s not taking the PR world by storm you can find her enjoying time with her family, decorating cookies in her kitchen or sharing a special meal at Rose’s Luxury in Capitol Hill.
WWPR’s Molly Mitchell sat down with Chintimini for the May edition of Power Points to learn more about the career lessons she’s learned, what advice she would give her early twenties self and where her you can find her go-to-margarita.
MM: Thank you for taking the time for WWPR today!
CK: Thank you for having me!
MM: I know from your LinkedIn profile you started out as a marketing coordinator for a radio station. How did you eventually get on the agency track?
CK: It wasn’t planned to be that way! I studied communications in college and thought I would end up at an agency. But toward the end of school I did an internship at the radio station — which I thought would be fun and it was! And just before I graduated my boss at the station left and a position became available which hardly ever happens. I thought it would be a fun, great first job. So I put my agency plans on hold for a few years.
MM: You’re very involved with WWPR. How did that start and how has that impacted your career?
CK: Greatly. I tell everyone that WWPR is one of the most dynamic, interesting and valuable groups of women to get involved in. I have been helped so much by this partnership and collaboration over the years. Early on in my career I got involved right away and WWPR definitely helped as I was looking to transition to an agency career path.
MM: How would you describe your current role at Edelman?
CK: Multifaceted. I do a lot of things, which I think is really common these days. You may have a title with a specific role but you actually end up doing many different jobs. Currently, I lead a team of producers and technical project managers working on creative projects, website builds, and coordinating with our strategy and planning team to ensure that the things we are creating match up to our standards.
MM: What’s the most gratifying aspect of your job?
CK: I would say the caliber of people I get to work with every single day both within Edelman and colleagues in the DC community.
MM: What experiences have you grown from or learned the most from in your professional career?
CK: Those moments when you realize how important it is to take risks and that you can take risks. When you’re starting out, that’s the last thing you want to do. You want to take the safe road, you want to do what you’re supposed to do. But there comes a time when you get a little more confidence and you start trying things. I would say to do more of that. Really that’s how you learn! If you fail, you also learn. Then you know for the next time.
MM: So it’s good to be out of your comfort zone?
CK: It’s essential.
MM: Circling back to mentoring women. At Edelman you’re involved with GWEN (Global Women’s Executive Network). Why do you make time for that?
CK: It’s one of the reasons that I came to Edelman when I was being offered the position way back when. I found out about GWEN and it was one of those things that sold me on Edelman. Not only was this a great company but also this was a company that had an initiative for women and was really putting their money where their mouth was when it came to getting women in the senior most positions at the company.
MM: What do you see as the major trends in marketing communications today?
CK: Well I think it’s no longer that digital is the future. Digital is here – we’re in the future and everything is digital. Even a few years ago people were still saying things like, ‘Well digital has to be involved but…’ Now we’re there and digital is really running everything.
MM: Going off that – what are your thoughts on the constantly evolving social media landscape? How critical are those to a successful communications campaign?
CK: No doubt they are highly critical. I think it’s in the way that companies and brands are using them. That’s really where the trick lies. Every brand shouldn’t necessarily be engaging on every channel all the time. That’s where the strategy comes in and you have to look at what the companies’ goals are and who their audience is. The reality is people can talk about your brand anywhere at anytime. Even if you’re not necessarily active on a channel or a platform you still need to know what’s happening because it’s important for your holistic communications plan.
MM: How do you define success for an effective marketing communications campaign?
CK: Before you start to plan the campaign, and this is where a lot of campaigns can fall down, you need to talk about what success really means for that company or client. Right at the beginning, before you jump into cool, fun and splashy tactics: What are you trying to do? Who are you trying to get to do it? Who’s your audience? Setting up the foundation of how you’re going to be measured. Oftentimes that isn’t happening or not to the level that it needs to be. Clients are still really focused on “likes” or things in that vein but at the end of the day what does that “like” really equal?
MM: Does it translate into money, brand awareness or new business for the client?
CK: Exactly. Is it converting to sales?
MM: Turning to fun lifestyle questions. I know your twitter handle is @chintiminibakes. What’s your favorite thing to whip up in the kitchen?
CK: This is my side hobby that I do at 2 a.m. because that’s the only time I have. I specialize in decorated sugar cookies. Some people know that’s my secret side activity – even though I don’t have that much time for it these days. But I have made everything from a power drill to a baby to a Yo Gabba Gabba! character cookies. It’s my secret hobby!
MM: Where’s your ideal place to get a drink after work?
CK: One of my favorite places to go when I do have time is Lauriol Plaza. I love a good margarita – this time of year especially.
MM: After that, where’s your favorite place in the city to eat?
CK: I love to eat! My favorite place to go changes with the seasons. These days it’s Rose’s Luxury or the Tabard Inn. Rose’s Luxury is just fabulous they have really great fresh ingredients and mixed drinks. But you can’t go wrong in DC, the restaurant scene is exploding and it’s really exciting.
MM: Any DC hidden gems you love?
CK: One of my favorite places to go and take the kids is Gravelly Point right by the airport. You can see the planes landing and taking off. I just think that is so fun. You feel like the plane could touch you. It’s an experience unlike any other.
MM: Last question, what advice would you give to your early twenties self?
CK: Oh, so many things! I would say learn how to take risks, make decisions and go with them, go with your gut and just be fearless. And if you don’t feel fearless or confident – fake it till you do. A lot of other people feel the same way.
To learn more about Edelman go to: http://www.edelman.com/office/washington-dc/