Spotlight Series: Erika Long
Then and Now: My Journey to Ad 2
This new term, we wanted to get to know more about our Ad 2 Dallas family and share why it's important to join an organization like this. We thought the best way to do both of these things was to interview our current President Erika Long and ask her about her journey to Ad 2 Dallas.
1. How did you get involved in Ad 2 Dallas?
I got involved in college, as the Vice President for AAF at UT Arlington I attended several Ad 2 Dallas events (for volunteering and networking). I fell in love with the people and as an event planner, I enjoyed the variety of events the club organized. I knew I just had to get involved! Once I graduated, I was looking for something to fill my free time - I love to stay busy. I reached out to one of the former presidents and interviewed for the program's chair position. I've been involved on the board of directors ever since!
2. How did your perception of the club change since you first joined to now?
When I first joined, I saw the club as a vehicle to pursue my passion for event planning. I wasn't aware of how much I would gain personally by just planning events for the club’s membership. In my second year, I saw the bigger picture when I joined the executive committee. I built relationships (personal and professional), learned more about the industry, and developed new skills. I also gained perspective on how big Ad 2 actually is as an organization when I saw all the other Ad 2 chapters at a conference. That truly changed my entire outlook on the organization and pushed me to want to be a bigger player in the story of Ad 2 Dallas.
3. What can members of Ad 2 Dallas do to get the most out of this club?
First I would say get involved: attend events, become a member, join a committee, or just volunteer. One of the benefits of Ad 2 is that you have the ability to get the experience you want in a field you are interested in. We embrace each individual and encourage them to do their best within the role they are in. We offer feedback to help you grow and the opportunity to plan and execute events that will enhance your industry knowledge and skills.
The second part that can help you maximize your membership is to ask questions. I learned early on that curiosity keeps you engaged. When you ask questions, it creates conversations that bring in new ideas and perspectives that allow you to grow. However, the only way you get to those perspectives is by asking others questions about their thoughts. This is how innovation starts.
4. Why should people join a professional organization such as Ad 2 Dallas?
Everyone should be a part of an organization that can help you advance within your industry. When you’re in a professional organization, you’re aware of new trends and technologies, you develop soft skills, and honestly, it's just a great way to meet new people outside your bubble. Joining a professional organization, like Ad 2 Dallas, allows you to be a part of the conversation and have a seat at the table.
5. What’s been your favorite Ad 2 Dallas event?
My favorite event would have to be a tie between our newest event, 32 Under 32 and one of our long-standing events Kegs with Legs.
I enjoy 32 Under 32 because I love watching my peers - young professionals - get celebrated and awarded for their hard work. On the other hand, Kegs with Legs is one of those events that has a special place in my heart as it was my very first Ad 2 Dallas event I attended. Since joining the club, I’ve had the opportunity to plan and execute one. What I like about Kegs with Legs is visiting an agency and learning about their culture and what they’re all about.
More about Erika Long:
Ad 2 Dallas President | Account Manager
Erika currently works as an Account Manager at Simpli.fi, a digital programmatic ad tech company located in Fort Worth, TX. She currently serves as the Ad 2 Dallas President for the 2018-2019 term. Erika has been involved with Ad 2 going on three years, serving first as the Programs Chair, before she joined the executive board as the Secretary & Treasurer.
Erika graduated from UT Arlington with a double major in Advertising and Public Relations & double minor in Spanish and Leadership Studies. While at UT Arlington, she was the president of two large event planning organizations - EXCEL Campus Activities and The Big Event - where she helped over 1 thousand students volunteer all over the DFW metroplex, planned and executed major events such as the homecoming bash, and most notably served on the student regents board for all UT Systems schools for a 1 year term. Erika has been event planning for years and truly has a drive and passion for taking organizations and finding new ways to elevate them.
At Simpli.fi Erika manages a multitude of accounts in a variety of verticals. Her job requires her to lay out strategy for clients, analyze data and find insights and trends, all while ensuring projects and campaigns are built and optimized.
Erika’s goals for Ad 2 Dallas during her term include gaining more membership engagement while showing the overall value of being a member, winning 6 first place books for Club Achievement, and achieving Ad 2’s National Most Excellent Club. She aspires to be an advocate for more diverse female leadership and wants to use her presidency to show others that they can push their boundaries and achieve their highest goals.
Outside of Ad 2 Erika loves to go on new adventures with her dog, Summer. Staying active has been a huge part of her life, so participating in events like ultimate frisbee, basketball and hiking is her outlet.