An Interview with Kedric Lewis

by Cathy Sivak
An Interview with Kedric Lewis

Armed with a bachelor's of science in advertising (1997) as well as a master's in advertising (1998), each from the University of Illinois-Champaign/Urbana, Kedric has worked in advertising sales in both the newspaper and agency levels.

He tells that he finds that each position he works in teaches him something to help him succeed in the future. As the Racine, Wis., resident seeks the right advertising field opportunity, he finds his current role in car sales a daily challenge, an opportunity to learn about people and a good way to support his newly-growing family (wife Aquanetta and infant daughter Bryona).

As his career is only beginning, Kedric feels his greatest success is still ahead, but notes, "Work ethic and positive attitude are what I consider the keys to success."

You & Your Career

Tell us about your career in advertising. How is it unfolding?

I started in 1998 as an advertising consultant at the local newspaper/shopper, the Journal Times/Penny Saver. Since then I have worked for a marketing firm, a temp agency, an advertising agency and in sales.

My career has unfolded a little differently than I thought it would. I assumed, coming out of college, I would find my dream job making lots of money. So far it hasn't exactly worked out as planned, but it will in time. I currently am selling cars. I like the challenge. I have to learn a lot more about cars than I ever imagined, but every day is a learning experience and I love having the responsibility.

Who were the biggest inspirations for your career?

My biggest inspiration for my career is my family, as they have always supported me and have instilled in me a strong work ethic.

What are some favorite projects that you've completed in your career and why?

I worked on some of the advertisements that ran in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper for the Harley Davidson 100th Anniversary celebration. It was cool to work on something behind the scenes, when the public won't know about it or see it for a month or two, then later, watching or hearing feedback.

What are some of your personal and/or professional goals for the future?

I want to be successful and move up the ranks, because I am good at what I do and want to make sure that I am respected by my peers and colleagues. I see myself in a managerial position where I can pass on my experience to help others succeed.

Do you feel that is important for someone to be passionate about advertising and the world of business in order to be successful?

You must be passionate about your work. People feed off of you and how you come across, particularly in sales.

Best business tip for a novice?

Learn and study as much as you can, and talk to professionals in the field. Try to learn what to do, and what not to do, as early as possible.

Education Information & Advice

Tell us about your advertising education. What did you like and dislike about your education?

At the time, I felt getting my college degree was too time-consuming. but now I realize that wasn't the case. What I liked, but didn't realize then, is that being a student is a time in your life where you can truly express yourself, as long as you support your ideas.

How did you decide to study advertising? And how did you find a school?

I took an advertising class my freshman year and it sparked me to take more classes in that area. Several members of my family went to the U of I, so I was familiar with the campus and the school's reputation. and I looked forward to being away from home!

How has your education benefited your career?

My education has allowed me to see that there are many options when solving a problem, and taught me how to think things through.

In retrospect, what do you know now that you wish you knew before you pursued your advertising education?

If I could do it all over, it would be a lot easier the second time around, as I now know how to prepare myself for college.

What factors should prospective students consider when choosing an advertising school?

Look at cost, financing options, scholarships and the average starting salaries of graduates.

What can students applying to advertising programs do to increase their chances of being accepted?

Be as well-rounded as possible in extra-curricular activities.

When is it a good time to go after a graduate degree?

Anytime you can devote the time and effort to complete the program is a good time.

How do you feel that the educational system could be changed to better serve society?

The educational system should be more proactive in getting students real life work experience in students' fields of choice.

Job Information & Advice

What are the best ways to get a job in advertising?

Know someone in the field, as well as having prior or similar experience.

How available are internships?

I found advertising internships hard to come by when I was in school, but I would highly recommend students try to land internships if given the opportunity.

Describe your ideal job.

My ideal job is with an employer that has a fun atmosphere, offers challenges and opportunity and where my ideas are respected.

What are your top five pet peeves with the world of advertising?

Petty people. That the bottom line trumps everything else. Lack of creativity. Knee-jerk reactions from management. Lack of on-the-job training.

What are some of the trends that you see which could help advertising students plan for the future?

Increasing use of technology, and an ever-diversified workforce.

What career advice can you give to business school graduates who want to make a name for themselves?

Study the trends, demonstrate initiative and a willingness to take risks and be confident. Learn as much as you can, keep an open mind for change and of course, have fun!

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