W&L Hosts Third Annual AdLib Conference

Courtney Ridenhour ’13 of Grey New York speaking with students at the third annual Ad Lib Conference.

Courtney Ridenhour ’13 of Grey New York speaking with students at the third annual Ad Lib Conference.

Washington and Lee welcomed alumni from the advertising, marketing, public relations, marketing research and social media industries for the third annual AdLib Conference, on March 6 and 7. Sponsored by brand strategy consultant Don Hogle '75, the conference is designed to introduce students from all majors to creative careers they may not have considered, and to demonstrate how a liberal arts education prepares them for life after graduation.

"AdLib emphasizes the role of liberal arts in advertising and demonstrates the value of liberal arts degrees in the real world," said Amanda Bower, Charles C. Holbrook, Jr. '72 Professor of Business Administration and the founder of the event. "There's a belief that the only way to get a job is to major in business, which is simply untrue. Employers want students who are good critical thinkers, persistent, effective communicators, good at taking criticism and curious."

The conference began with a dinner attended by over 60 students, faculty and alumni, including Andrew Keller '92, the CEO of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, who gave the keynote address. Keller spoke about his journey from English major and pre-med student at W&L to his current role as the CEO of one of the most well-known international advertising agencies in the world.

On Friday, AdLib sponsored events throughout the day, including workshops with alumni, informal coffee gatherings, speakers and panel discussions. Will Chamberlin '08, the head of digital marketing at The New Republic, spoke to students about "Becoming a Job-Conquering Ninja," and Matt Garcia '08, a Partner and the Director of Account Management and Business Development at NSG/SWAT, shared his top tips for success in both advertising and in life. A panel of young alums spoke about "How to Break into the Industry" and the different paths they took to land their first jobs. Another panel discussion focused on "ADaptation" and the many changes currently taking place in the marketing field.

This year's conference drew 208 students, a record number for the event. "We had students from 23 majors and 21 minors attending events, with a 35 percent increase in overall participation from last year's conference," said Bridget Rooney '14, the general chair of AdLib. "AdLib is an exciting chance for students to make alumni contacts and connections, learn about potential job and internship opportunities, and develop a greater understanding of why a liberal arts education is so valuable in these fields."

You can read more about this year's conference at http://wluadlib.wordpress.com/.

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