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career memos

Moving from Agency to Client Side with Amy Hufft, Head of Global Brand Marketing and Communications at Shopify

March 12, 2021

Amy Hufft is a leader for one of the fastest growing companies in the world, Shopify.

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Hello!

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to work at an agency and then go client side in global brand marketing and communications, this episode is for you.

Amy Hufft is a leader for one of the fastest growing companies in the world, Shopify. She shares her career journey from writing celebrity profiles and movie reviews for magazines, working at agencies, working with founders, and then sharing more about her role as Head of Global Brand Marketing and Communications. I am so excited for you to listen in.

Listen to the episode now on The Career Memos Podcast available on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, and Stitcher

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Working at an agency will cultivate valuable foundations in your career.

Have you ever wondered whether you should work at an agency or not? Amy is a huge proponent of holding a client-facing role at an agency for at least some stage of your career. 

The cliches are true – agencies are really intense and fast-paced at times and you have to have a thick skin and the ability to work well under pressure. It doesn’t matter whether the agency is large or small – these traits tend to be a given no matter where you land and what the agency’s core capabilities are. It’s an all hands on deck environment.

Having the ability to work on multiple projects and with a variety of clients will grow your emotional intelligence. Amy did everything from social media to digital marketing to PR and never felt like she was “in a box.” Each client will have their own unique personality, needs, and wants, and being adaptable will take you far.

There’s also the benefit of working closely with inspirational founders and leaders who are passionate visionaries. Working closely with these entrepreneurial personalities while at an agency will push you to do your best work and give it your all.

An inside look at working for one of the fastest-growing companies in the world.

Shopify is growing at such an astounding rate. When Amy first joined the team, their key focus was on performance and growth marketing, as well as merchant acquisition. The big gap however, was Shopify’s brand story, and the leadership team Amy worked with was beginning to realize that they weren’t honing in enough on their values and their core mission. If they didn’t tell their own story, someone else would. And there was definitely a story to tell!

Making sure that Shopify shows up in the world and shines as a mission-driven company is one of Amy’s key responsibilities.

Under her umbrella of Global Brand Marketing and Communications, there are so many facets. Brand marketing is one of the bigger functions, where her team explores what Shopify’s values are, and what it means to be an entrepreneur. Sometimes they’ll leverage more traditional media like billboards and radio advertising to tell that brand story.

Then there’s the social media team, responsible for all of the channels they use on a regular basis, like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.

On the communications side, Shopify is passionate about storytelling and PR, ensuring they’re getting regular media coverage and earned coverage about their economic impact and leadership.

Shopify also values being “merchant obsessed” by way of experiential marketing, and pre-COVID, one of their favorite pastimes was traveling to different cities around the United States and connecting more deeply with their merchants. They’d offer live panels and encourage their customers to share their successes and failures. Human to human interaction is so important!

Have faith in yourself while you’re on the job search.

Looking for a new job can be challenging and even mentally depleting at times, so Amy’s golden advice of having faith in yourself is just the extra dose of encouragement you might need to keep going.

If you’re dreaming of working at a company like Shopify, there’s a good chance the qualitative side of you will be more important than what you’ve accomplished or how many years you’ve worked in a previous role. When Amy is knee-deep in the interview process, she focuses more on who you are as a person rather than asking detailed questions about your craft. Are you willing to learn and grow? And are you open to shedding your beliefs to make room for new ones? 

An entrepreneurial mindset goes a long way at Shopify and plays into their culture fit. Many Shopify employees actually have their own Shopify stores, so I love that they embrace a good side hustle! You have to be eager to move fast and be a rockstar collaborator and team player.

Thinking about working at Shopify? Check out their Careers page here and the additional resources linked below.

NOTABLE QUOTE

“You can’t come in the door and assume that you know it all. And you can’t come in the door and assume that what you’ve done in the past is right. You have to be willing to forget what you know, and that’s not easy for everybody.”

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Your Podcast Host and Career Coach

Over the last 12+ years, I’ve done everything from work as a global human rights activist to lead marketing & partnerships initiatives at companies like Postmates and Apple. I’ve started businesses, lived in multiple cities around the world, pivoted careers more than once, and know what it takes to turn career goals into a reality. As a career coach & consultant, I’m passionate about sharing all that I’ve learned with you, helping you define tangible goals, and providing you with the tools and direct feedback you need to achieve them.

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