AUP students enjoying an evening picnic at the Seine river.

Distinguished Alumni Speaker Series

Distinguished Alumna Monica Taylor, Managing Director of Craft Worldwide, Speaks at AUP

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On Tuesday, January 30 the AUP Alumni Office and the Department of Global Communications hosted AUP’s first Distinguished Alumni Speaker of 2019 – Monica Taylor ‘91.

Taylor is a Managing Director at Craft Worldwide, one of the largest global production networks in the world, specializing in creating bespoke networked advertising and marketing solutions. After graduating, she worked in New York, then Paris, before moving to London in 2000 – where she has been based for the last 18 years – though she returns to Paris regularly in her current role.

Taylor delivered a fascinating and inspiring talk on the state of the advertising industry today as well as her time at AUP and offered advice to the students in attendance.

Work your network. Anyone you meet, save their contact and stay in touch. With AUP you have a phenomenal network. Don’t be shy.

Taylor started by describing her “global explorer” childhood. The daughter of an American father and Swedish mother who met when they were both working at Pan American World Airways, Taylor grew up in Florida and spent summers in rural Sweden. “There is a global citizen nature to most people at AUP,” she said.

She described how the advertising industry has changed radically since the cigarette and scotch-fueled days of the Fifties and Sixties, epitomized in the series Mad Men. As well as a difference in culture, Taylor suggested that the number of outputs and audiences today are exponentially higher. “They had the luxury of a much smaller endgame,” she noted.

Taylor also outlined the importance of streamlining processes on a local, regional and global level and described the increased role of the procurement person and the pressure to achieve savings in outputs, emphasizing the importance of a reciprocal relationship.

“When dealing with agencies, an open-minded brand person and procurement person can be extremely beneficial.”

Another theme was the changing roles and relationships of the creative and the producer. She suggested that, in a fast-moving, web-driven landscape, the line between the two naturally become more fluid. “The relationship between creative and producer should be akin to that of architect and structural engineer. The producer is part of the thinking team,” she said.

She ended the talk by emphasizing the importance of “wandering and wondering” – the kind of joint-up, inquisitive thinking encouraged by a liberal arts degree.

The session finished with a Q&A, facilitated by Professor Waddick Doyle. His Global Communications students were some of the most vocal participants, asking specifics concerning career advice, which Taylor generously provided.

When asked to identify the most useful skillset for today’s communications market, she said: “Someone who understands data but isn’t a complete data head – someone who can blend data and creativity.”

When asked about finding opportunities, Taylor suggested resourcefulness and persistency as the way to go. “Shortlist and longlist the companies you’re interested in and contact them all. Google-stalk your shortlist.” Most importantly, she stressed the importance of that age-old adage: It’s who you know.

“Work your network. Anyone you meet, save their contact and stay in touch. With AUP you have a phenomenal network. Don’t be shy.”