“How I Got Here 7” tasks industry leaders with telling their origin stories by answering 7 simple questions. Then we deliver those stories straight to your inbox every Thursday.  

Natalie Kim, Founder, We Are Next

Natalie Kim, Founder, We Are Next

It didn’t take Natalie Kim long to realize what her advertising “calling” was. The surprise was that it meant leaving the agency world. 

She’s the founder of We Are Next, which is (in her words) “an open resource for students and jr. talent beginning their careers in advertising and marketing.”

In our words, it’s a groundbreaking resource for the next generation of great advertising talent.

On top of being a universal repository for internships and entry-level job opportunities, it doles out helpful advice like “4 Tips That Make Cover Letters Easier to Write” and “How to Find (Almost) Anyone’s Email.” 

But more, its approachable format and colloquial but straight-forward tone has lessons to teach the industry about how to engage a young, curious pool of talent. 

Be sure to check it out (after you read her HIGH7, of course…)

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As a child, what was your dream job?

I wanted to be an artist, but I don't think I had any idea what that actually meant. I imagined myself in a paint-covered smock in a studio.

What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?

I worked retail at an upscale stationary store where I learned the basics of revenue margins (the mark-up on greeting cards is insane) and merchandising (I was told to wear black to make the store feel more like an art gallery). I also learned how to wrap gifts with perfect corners and no visible seams, which is a surprisingly handy skill to have.

The thing that made you excited about the industry on day one and still keeps you excited today is: 

Advertising's ability to reflect, comment on, and influence culture.

How would you explain what you do every day to a child? 

I help young people find, land, and start their first jobs with confidence.

Describe a key pivot or defining moment in your career that ultimately landed you where you are:

Starting to guest lecture at universities in 2015. Not only was it a high like no other, but it made me realize just how stressed and anxious students feel about starting a career in advertising. And that there wasn't a resource that was open to everyone to help people through this exciting but emotionally-charged time.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever found yourself doing for work?

When I worked at an agency, I once helped create a dummy for a shoot by duct taping over a coworker's clothes and then cutting the DIY cast off. It actually worked pretty well!

Finally, the quality that makes you successful in this business is: 

I'm always listening. I listen to what young talent struggles with, what professors see in their classes, and what the industry is looking for, and use what I hear to guide the content and resources We Are Next puts out. 

Check out We Are Next here.

Margaret Molloy, Global Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Business Development, Siegel+Gale

Margaret Molloy, Global Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Business Development, Siegel+Gale

Susan Hoffman, Chairman, Wieden+Kennedy

Susan Hoffman, Chairman, Wieden+Kennedy