You Never Know What Opportunities Await when you Stay Connected: an Interview with Haley Altus of Publicis Health Media

The term “networking” can be strangely intimidating, don’t you think? It shouldn’t have to be, which is why Campus Philly created a series of Launch Events throughout the fall semester, designed specifically to make networking feel less strange, and focus more on building authentic, genuine connections with young professionals doing awesome work in Philly, like Haley Altus of Publicis Health Media.

Haley is one of our discussion leaders at Spark Philly, our next Launch event taking place on Tuesday, October 29. Haley and several other individuals living and working in Philadelphia will sit down with small groups of students to talk about their career journey – how they got to where they are, tips and advice they’d recommend, and why Philadelphia is the best place ever to launch your career.

We got a chance to sit down with Haley and talk to her about her role of Project Manager at Publicis Health Media (PHM) – a media buying agency that uses data and resources to target consumers and health care providers with the right content at the right time. Haley is a graduate of Penn State, where she majored in Advertising and Public Relations.

 

Check out our full interview with Haley, below:

How did your classes and college experience prepare you for your job now?

My classes taught me about the industry and what to expect, but what I really learned was through my internships – you don’t get that real life experience from classes. The real-life experience is what prepared me for where I am today.

What’s a typical day at Publicis Health Media like for you?

I walk to work every day (as long as it’s not raining or snowing)! When I get in, we have a daily status meeting with our Business Intelligence team to go over what’s due today, what’s due tomorrow, and any hot items coming in this week. And from there, there’s never a typical day. There are meetings all throughout the day, and in between those meetings I’m checking emails, responding to clients, and recapping anything that happened that day. Before I leave, I double check timelines and make sure everything that was supposed to happen did. I’ll also check in with the team responsible for certain tasks to make sure we’re tracking accordingly… and then I do it all over again the next day.

Where did you intern while in college, and how does your internship experience help you in your current role?

I had three different internships while in college – IMC Construction, Digitas Health, and EMC Outdoor, and for each of the internships, I had a slightly different role. It was really great experience working in these different roles to understand what they do and how they work with other capabilities.

After interning at Digitas Health, I knew going into my senior year of college that I wanted to end up back in the Publicis Groupe family. I knew the culture and people, across all Publicis agencies, were very similar. I loved DH but also knew I’d enjoy working at PHM or Razorfish. While interning at DH, I thought Project Management sounded interesting and that I could see myself there in the future. Sure enough, PHM is where I’ve landed, and here I am on the Project Management team.

What excites you most about your job?

My team is great – I love working with great, fun people, and everyone has the “work hard, play hard” attitude, which makes it exciting to come to work. It’s also great knowing that our work with Gilead, a pharmaceutical company, is helping to save people’s lives. Our team at PHM specifically handles Gilead’s HIV, Hepatitis B Corporate and Filgotinib business… hopefully more one day! It’s really exciting and one of our largest accounts here at PHM with about 60 people on the team.

 

What about Philly made you want to stay and work in the area? What is your favorite part of having a career in Philly?

I grew up in the Philly suburbs and knew that I wanted to eventually end up in Philly. After graduating, I knew there was no way I was going to NYC. I always loved Philly, and when I got my first job in the area, I knew I was staying. I love being able to walk to work from where I live in Fairmount, and being able to live and work in the city near where I grew up.

If you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing before graduating college, what would it be?

If I could tell myself one thing before graduating college, I would definitely say to keep in touch with all of the connections that you made through your internships and networking events. How I got my job today at PHM is by keeping in touch with the connections I made through Digitas Health in the four years since I interned there. I would periodically be contacted about new positions to see if I was interested, without even knowing the position was available. When you keep in touch with your connections, sometimes you’ll learn about a job that you weren’t even expecting.

If you could offer one piece of advice to a college freshman, what would it be?

Get involved. I know that’s the typical thing you learn at orientation, but during interviews when you’re asked questions about experience, if you’re not involved in some sort of club or organization, you’ll have nothing to talk about. Get involved now, whether it’s a small club at school or a huge advertising club. When you get involved, you’ll have something to talk about in interviews when you’re applying to internships and jobs.

If you could offer one piece of advice to a college senior who is soon to graduate, what would you tell them?

Apply to as many jobs as you can. You may not think that you want to be in a certain position, but may realize after interviewing that it’s something in which you’re really interested. Worst-case scenario, interviews are good practice. When that dream job does become available, you’ll be ready with all that experience from past interviews.

Do you have any interviewing tips to offer students as they apply for internships or jobs?

Make sure to do your homework. Go on the company’s website, read case studies, learn about the people that you’re going to be interviewing with (even if it seems a little creepy!). Come prepared with questions that are relevant to the job that you’ll be in and what the company does, and are specific to your interviewer and the company. This will make you stand out so much more.

When and how did you start networking?

I actually started networking freshman year, and I didn’t even realize I was networking. My roommate and I decided to go to an event that a senior invited us to, without having substantial resumes (because we had no work experience) and not even knowing what questions to ask. But going there and hearing the juniors and seniors speak, and listening to the employers as they spoke to the student body, we were able to understand how a networking event works, the questions we should ask, and how a resume should be prepared. Networking really is helpful for when you start applying to jobs and internships. The sooner you start going to networking events, the better, and most of the time, the networking events are free. Why not just go and introduce yourself?

Start now – sign up for Spark Philly on October 29 at Quorum and introduce yourself to Haley! More information on Spark Philly can be found here.