My Platform by Margaret connors

This is an amalgamation of content from my notebook, my mind, and my heart. Through course work, experiences, relationships, and life in general, I can now build my network and shape my philosophy.


Over the past four years at the University of Oregon, I've met and collaborated with many people.

Working for SOJC Comm's office for the past year has allowed me to more fully immerse myself into the SOJC. It has given me new opportunities to write stories, meet and get to know the faculty in the SOJC, travel and interview people around Oregon, and build my network.

Christopher Chávez, Assistant Professor for the SOJC, has been an incredible mentor, teacher and critique for me over the past few years while I've been learning the ropes of the Advertising world. Chris helped me through many struggles and assisted my endeavors, and I can't thank him enough. Thanks to Chris, I had the support to go to South Africa for three months to work as a journalist.

While in Cape Town, South Africa, I worked with intelligent and honest Journalists and through my internship, I met incredible people.

Glynis O'Hara, Editor at The Big Issue ZA, was my supervisor, mentor, and friend. She took me under her wing and taught me an immense amount about the industry and life as a Journalist in South Africa. Through my internship with Glynis, my network grew.

Warren Lodge, Managing Director for LIFE brand, met with me several times during my time in Cape Town. He introduced me to his colleagues and other professionals, he spoke with me about the industry and his goals and how he's gotten to where he is today, and I have an internship beginning in July with LIFE Brand in Cape Town, where I'll be living for 2 years post-grad.

Connections are key. A family friend introduced me to Mary Stucky, Founder and Executive Director for the organization Round Earth Media, the winner of the 2014 Peabody Award. I've emailed and submitted an application for an internship with the organization.

Connections are key, continued. Cathy Blaney, Executive Vice President of Development, National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center Foundation, Inc., a family friend of mine, heard I was moving to South Africa post-grad and introduced mw to Jemma Read, Head of Bloomberg’s Philanthropy & Engagement Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC). Jemma and I have a coffee date in July to discuss opportunities for me to work for the Bloomberg Cape Town office.

Throughout the past few years in the Creative Strategist Program at the SOJC, professionals from the industry have come to speak to students about the industry. Leslie Ziegler, cofounder of Bitty, came to speak to the class and proposed a challenge; to redesign and relabel the popular chips that her company produces. Myself along with 2 teammates contacted Leslie throughout the process and collaborated to create a new idea around Bitty. Her response is still pending!


Taking in culture is continual. I find that the older I get, the more I realize just how much depth there is in everything.

Eating is one of my favorite ways to dive into a culture. Not only what's being eaten, but how, why, when, where. One of my favorite markets to go to was The Old Biscuit Mill. It was a beautiful and delicious place.

Being observant ties into just about everything in life, but especially culture. It's important to be observant not only to learn but also to respect and understand other cultures.

The culture of ME, who I am as a person, is constantly developing and becoming deeper. But when I think of who I am, my mind usually works chronologically. I think back to my days as a student at Green Meadow Waldorf School. Playing outside, developing my imagination, learning to play instruments, dancing, knitting, creating, storytelling; the Waldorf education I had as a child is the basis of who I am today. The cross-disciplinary nature of the education taught me that it's okay to not have a straight path or one specific focus in life. Being random and diverse in skill is good.

Read everything! Such a good lesson. Newsletters, books, posters, labels; the tangible things you can read will translate into more physical or emotional abilities. To read a person, to be able to listen to them, look at them, understand their life and culture, that is another form of 'reading' and it will come about more naturally if you read actual things like books and newsletters.


Audience insights. Simmons. Google trends. Adobe suite. Anything not ad related. Travel. Be futuristic. Make good work. Be curious. Read good books. Read good newsletters. Listen to good music. Take random classes. Be well rounded. A good cover letter is about the company, about me, then about us. If you don't try it then you don't have an opinion. Coding and digital creation is the tool of the future. Be curious. Be niceBe compassionate.


The ways to define the definition of a strategist are endless, it seems. When discussing with classmates we came up with a good list of what a strategist is: a point guard setting up the team for play, the author of connect the dots, an absorber and synthesizer of culture, a leader, someone who is quick with ideas, the marshmallow holding the rice krispy treat together, and A HYBRID THINKER THAT BRINGS STRUCTURE TO CHAOS.

The types of strategy are digital strategy, comms strategy (the future of strat), social strategy, data strategy, and creative strategy.

This profession has so many facets, its exciting. To be a successful strategist, one needs to be a hyphenated person, showing your energy through your work. It's important to be interesting while staying interested. The golden thread that connects all of us together, is that we are all storytellers. Strategists are the best judge's of effectiveness: the whole part of being a strategist is to question things, don't always just agree. Be a futurologist! You, as a strategist, are on the edge of whatever the hell is going on, because you need to know. A good start for me to try to find my place in the world of creative strategy, was to find my place in this list: strategizing (client tried, agency research, creative brief) → concepting (creative concepting, comms planning, measurement plan) → producing (executional concepting, profuction, ship) → learning (celebration, reports, pause + learn).

The Ad industry ties social and economic interests in order to target certain groups of people. The product is the superhero, but you need to make sure there is thoughtful dialogue to underlying social issues or a real problem. A tactic that has worked for me in the past: Look for the values that bring people together and start from there.

3% of creative directors are women. Let's work to change that statistic!


Be good, do good.

Take risks.

Spot, do and be interesting.

Fight for the right idea.

I learned this from Leslie Ziegler:

  • Don't let feedback destroy you.
  • Know your strengths (and your weaknesses.
  • Learn how to think, not what to think.
  • Become a self-sufficient human.

Have composure, it shows self-control and poise.

Be purposeful in all you do.

"Data drives the human evolution of everything." Thanks for that lesson, Alex Morrison.

Here's a short list of wisdom from Chris Chávez:

  • Be objective! Journalists are filled with bias, but try to push passed it.
  • We are our identity, our job, our family our inspiration: our professions now tell us to find what is important to someone else's identity and sell to it. Learn.
  • As advertisers, we have to occupy someone else's life while creating. So learn to understand point of view.
  • Break boundaries.
  • Connect culturally.
  • Advertising is more than merely a system of creating meaning, it is a system of discerning or discovering meaning.
  • Travel! Be outside of your normal frame of mind. Travel in order to become an amalgamation of different things.
  • Diversify your workforce in meaningful ways.

Wisdom I've learned from Don Miguel Ruiz:

  • BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
  • DON'T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY. Nothing others do it because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won be the victim of needless suffering.
  • DON'T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, drama.
  • ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse, and regret.

Watch the Happy documentary on Netflix.

Do what Douglas Davis did. Meld the creative process with reality. When you don't have anything to lose, then TRY. Thanks, David.

BE INTERNATIONAL. It will change your perspective on everything.

Learn to not be afraid of failure.

Learned from Corey duBrowa: You don't need to have a linear career path, random works.

Become influenced by everything.

When you're stuck, unplug.

The basis of your work should be human truths, not product truths.

Proactive ambition.

Old world kindness goes a long way.

"Life is a succession of moments. To live each one is a way of succeeding."

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. You're playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."


Created with images by tpsdave - "south africa landscape scenic" • Hans - "cobweb morgentau dew" • South African Tourism - "S 0062 Bo Kaap LR" • Todd Huffman - "Bees!" • Unsplash - "neon sign light" • Unsplash - "books pages story"

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