A Shift in Narrative: Ashleigh Garmon, RPA

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A one-size-fits-all, or a this-is-how-we've-always done it, is anticipated, and frankly a big turn off compared to the agencies and brands that really embrace and lean in to inclusive and diverse advertising

We spoke with Ashleigh Garmon, copywriter at RPA, on how a company's core values can help foster professional growth and delevoping a creative voice that accurately reflects our dynamic cultural landscape.

Can you tell us about your current role and responsibilities?

I’m currently a copywriter working with clients on ampm, Pocky, ARCO NW and New Business. I help concept campaigns to help brands build engagement with their audience and garner traction within the market, as well as increase brand affinity.

What drew you to work at this agency and what opportunities does it provide to foster your professional growth?

I was personally drawn to RPA in particular due to the fact that so many associates have such a long tenure at the agency. To me, that speaks volumes about an agency’s positive working environment as well as the nature of its associates. People typically stay at companies for extended periods of time when something’s going right. In an industry where seeing a lot of movement and job-hopping is the norm, seeing associates stay at RPA for extended durations is a testament to the core values of the agency actually being implemented.

In terms of fostering my own professional growth, RPA has done a great job of extending a variety of opportunities for me to offer my particular skillset, interests, or get in front of some of the higher-ups. As a diverse woman in an historically homogeneous industry, I value these opportunities immensely. Having my perspective considered, encouraged, and championed goes a long way toward having a great sense of respect, pride and loyalty to an agency.

Are there any unused skills you have that you'd love to incorporate into your professional work?

As someone with former acting experience and a love of performing, it has been really fulfilling to offer my performance skills, as needed, within the agency. Whether that means providing voice-overs on particular projects, willingly appearing in company videos, or volunteering to help out with any projects my superiors consider me a great fit for. Simply having my various strengths recognized and readily tapped helps me feel more fully realized as an associate in my professional life.

Joining such a massive industry can be overwhelming. How do you stay informed and ahead of the curve?

Keeping abreast of industry news via social media, LinkedIn, sites like Contagious, or forums such as AdForum, AdAge, etc., as well as reading thought pieces from respected people in the industry, helps keep me informed on what’s current, what’s trending, and what’s being talked about on a larger scale. Trying to keep a diverse pulse on the happenings within the industry is important, similar to how we should digest a wide variety of news, and is how I attempt to stay informed and ahead of the curve. Keeping an eye and ear on cultural happenings among diverse populations is also very important and vital to being sensitive to the demands and needs of a diverse audience.

What areas in the industry do you believe could use an overhaul?

Continuing to prioritize and make diverse voices heard is imperative. We’re seeing the demand for the narrative to shift as it’s long overdue. Our world is truly multi-cultural, multi-faceted, and ever-changing. Thus, advertising needs to continually reflect such a fluid and dynamic landscape. A one-size-fits-all, or a this-is-how-we’ve-always done it, is antiquated, and frankly a big turn-off compared to the agencies and brands that really embrace and lean in to inclusive and diverse advertising.

Where do you hope this role will take you down the line?

As I continue to learn and grow within the advertising agency, I can only hope to continue to evolve my creative voice, perspective and work. I want to always be listening and adapting to the needs of our diverse world and, of course, do my part to help contribute to a more just and equitable narrative. In turn, by keeping my focus on creating insightful work, I hope to emerge as a thought leader within this industry as I continually work my way up the ladder.