Employee Spotlight: Michelle Helm-Carpinelli, Director of Media & Promotion
Michelle Helm-Carpinelli is our director of media and promotion. She also works on a variety of accounts and specializes in building partnerships among clients, businesses and charitable organizations to drive measurable results through multiple marketing channels. Michelle has been working at Gard Communications since 1991, taking a 4-year detour in 1998 to serve as marketing director at OregonLive.com. She has an analytical eye and a deep understanding of the industry, which helps her stay on top of media trends and best practices.
Michelle, not everyone is familiar with the role the media department plays in developing an integrated advertising campaign. What exactly do you do? Describe a typical day.
I’m responsible for managing the media department, which includes strategy, planning and media buying, while ensuring we stay within budget. So when you see or hear an advertisement of any kind, be it in a mall, on your cell phone, at the movies or in a newspaper or magazine, someone like me played a major part in getting it there.
I work hand-in-hand with the account management team, creative department and with the client to ensure that target demographics are reached effectively. Using a mix of market research, analysis, pricing structures and client considerations and goals, I negotiate the best possible price for the largest reach and frequency of the campaign.
I also manage a couple of accounts within the agency as well, which utilizes some of the same skill set – planning, organization and collaboration.
As with most jobs in advertising, a typical day does not really exist. I have to be ready to react to current events and media requests at a moment’s notice. For example, in the event of a crisis or a piece of controversial news, I have to quickly react in case media buys need to be pulled or changed from certain outlets in order to protect the agency and the client.
That being said, a day for me at the firm may include staying up-to-date with the latest industry news and trends, meeting with vendors and media sales teams to explore new advertising opportunities, attending strategy meetings, reconciling media schedules, negotiating and executing media buys, delivering final creative and client billing and budgeting.
What’s the most surprising thing about your work?
I’m not sure that anything has completely shocked me in my entire career. But there have been several eye-openers and things I’ve been truly amazed by. During a political year, for instance, the rates for broadcast can be quite shocking. I’m also amazed at how quickly social sites move forward with revenue streams. Like Facebook, which recently launched a number of applications designed to encourage consumers to spend more time on its platform, including a real-time news feature to rival Twitter, shopping tools to take on Amazon and its own version of YouTube.
But what I truly find amazing is the team I work with and the longevity of our clients. Gard really stands out considering today’s unpredictable workforce and competitive industry.
What’s the most rewarding thing about your work?
Relationships and client successes.
In this business, we develop professional and personal relationships that can last a lifetime. And when you continue to see a long-term client succeeding in growing their business or winning a ballot measure, or you’ve assisted them in changing the public’s behavior or perception, you know you’ve done your job.
Of all your past experiences, whether personal, educational, or professional, what’s influenced you most for what you do now?
As cliché as this may sound, my parents have been the most influential people in my life. My father grew up in the country and my mother in the city. Raising a family was their priority and they wanted to ensure we were well rounded. They taught us everything from animal husbandry to arts & culture. Together, they encouraged education, taught me about commitment and self-discipline, how to be competitive and learn from my mistakes, to be curious and try new things, but most of all, to have integrity in everything I do.
What’s your favorite activity in your free time?
Gosh, where do I start? Sometimes I feel like a “renaissance woman” because there are so many things I enjoy doing – I just need more time to do them! I love spending time with all our critters, the theater, and traveling, hiking and biking in this magnificent part of the country we live in. At the same time, I enjoy sports, movies and music of all genres (except rap). I’m also quite domestic – I garden, bake, can preserves and vegetables, sew, crochet and can be a pretty good carpenter when needed.
What are you reading right now? What’s the next book on your reading list?
This past summer I spent a few days at Gettysburg. No matter how much you read about this particular battle, there’s nothing quite like being on the battlefield site. As they were preparing for the battle reenactment, I saw a group of soldiers – one of which was a woman dressed in a confederate uniform. This made me wonder how many women actually fought. After some research, I stumbled upon the book I’m currently reading titled Women in Battle: The Civil War Narrative of Loreta Velazquez.
I don’t keep a list per se. I read whatever I’m in the mood for at the time. It could be a suspense/thriller or a biography. I’m open to suggestions.
At Gard, we’re proud of our diverse and talented team and value their unique voice and style. Our employee spotlights are a tribute to their hard work and dedication. Check out past interviews and stay tuned for the next one.