Independent Agencies with Charlene Coughlin

An Undergrad the Podcast Episode

with Charlene Coughlin

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Welcome to the Ad Undergrad Podcast! A show where Katie Moy and Julian Lewis sit down with marketing practitioners to share their experiences, insights and tips from the industry. The Ad Undergrad Podcast was created to give students, recent grads and those switching industries the opportunity to learn about advertising outside the classroom and provide career advice through the paths of practitioners. In today’s episode, Katie and Julian are joined by Charlene Coughlin, Managing Director at TWIST Creative, to chat about the benefits of working at a smaller, independent agency. She shares the lessons that she learned in her early days interning at non-profits that continue to guide her work, including the importance of collaboration and not being afraid of hearing “no”. Listen to this episode to hear great advice from a leader who takes initiative to get things done and always has time to give back to her community. Jump straight into: (01:08) - On Charlene’s passion and how she built her career - “I really wanted to help people, so my goal was originally to go into nonprofit work. Those internships gave me experience that I'm still using today.” (04:27) - What a “setup for success” individual looks like in the eyes of the industry leaders - “There's so much about the soft skills that I think are overlooked, and that's one of the first things I look for.” (05:54) - Why working at an agency will constantly nurture your skills and knowledge - “You're constantly moving. It's never the same thing day in and day out, every project is different.” (09:50) - How initiative, mentors, and networking will highly impact your professional journey - “Ask questions all the time, that's so important because you've got to understand the business as a whole.” (13:38)  - The importance of practice and building muscle for your professional journey - “The more that you can get the internship experience the better, because until you're in a room with a client, it's hard to imagine what it's going to be like.”  (16:46) - How to become a fearless thinker and how a small agency could unleash your full potential - “It’s all about questioning everything and not being afraid of pitching an idea.” (21:10) - Charlene’s advice to land your first job and thrive inside the industry - “Take a risk, follow up, send emails, be relentless.” Resources Connect with (Charlene) through LinkedIn Keep an eye on (Nancy Hall) (Adweek Executive Mentor Program) Ad Undergrad is a podcast hosted by Katie Moy and Julian Lewis. To learn more, visit ( and follow on social channels @theadundergrad. You can reach Katie and Julian directly via email  This show is recorded and produced at StudioPod in San Francisco. If you want more details on how to fully record and produce your podcast go to (