This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Photo: Chelsea Webber '08, left, and Sherry Jacobs Nemmers '76, right

All in a Day's Work

It's difficult to get an internship in advertising in New York. When I first graduated, I was offered jobs at publishing houses and law firms. Then, quite randomly, I ran into a lawyer who'd married a "Vassar girl." He suggested I consider advertising. I did. On July 6, 1976, I took a job as a writer, and have served as global creative director at three different big New York agencies for over 25 years. I've always looked for opportunities to help Vassar students start their careers. This summer I reached out to Vassar to find a student who could benefit from some real life, real advertising experience.

Chelsea Webber ’08 was one of several students who applied for the internship. After Chelsea’s interview, I knew she was in every way my kind of Vassar person. She had initiative, a quiet but surprising sense of humor, and most importantly, a sense of urgency. At first blush, she didn't seem the "type" for an ad agency, but I knew from listening to her that she was exactly the person who would be a good fit. She would contribute more than just brainpower, I believed she'd find a way — do whatever it takes — to get the job done.

One time this summer, two hugely important prospective client meetings were accidentally scheduled not one week, not one day, but one hour, apart. Ours is a very small office, with one conference room, and in fact, one management team. One set of dishes. One coffee pot. One dessert plate. Chelsea and I put our heads together to "build" two different atmospheres, agendas, menus, and venues in the same room, with a mere hour in-between meetings.

We had everything from soup to nuts that day, and I do mean literally. We changed flowers, presentations, signage, seating, props, food, beverages, washed dishes and started all over again. It was like a sped up old silent movie. Chelsea never let me down.

Unexpected challenges, organizational skills, and quick thinking are all in a day's work. And when all else fails, we make it up.

What I found in Chelsea was the same strong spirit and independent thinking that Vassar had helped develop in me, and in all of her children. The ability to blend creative ideas with practical executions. To be innovative, to speak up, to be heard, and to listen to what's really being said. To get things done. I encourage other alumnae/i to reach out to Vassar and offer a start for some smart student (just like you were, 'way back then). Make a connection, keep the Vassar ties strong, do good. And have some fun.

 Sherry Jacobs Nemmers ’76

November 2007

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