So why have a conference? Professor Amanda Bower explains the origins of AdLib, beginning with SXSLex in 2011:
For a couple of years I have brought in the occasional speaker to give advice on how students might prepare themselves for the job market. Students have lots of questions about how to make connections, how to develop a resume appropriate for the field of advertising (or associated fields like PR, marketing, etc.). Obviously, information straight from the mouths of professionals is enthusiastically welcomed. Of particular help has been Marty Tompkins Ritter (’04), a recruiter from The Martin Agency. Student interest in those sessions was always strong.
Then in 2011, I got an email from a former student, Laura Hornbuckle (’07), working at Edelman. She said she’d had some students contacting her about how to enter the market and asked if she could come down and talk to them all at once. At the same time, I was talking to Courtney Berry (’05) who was working quite successful at Euro RSCG. Euro had realized the quality of our students and was interested in perhaps hiring more. So I thought, “Maybe we can put this all together.”
I asked Courtney and Laura to come down for a day in March 2011 for an informal (for lack of a better word) “thing.” I also contacted some alums at Martin, including Marty, Colton Payne (’10), Lindsay Erickson (’08), and Sarah Helms (’07). We could have an informal panel where our alums could talk about how they got where they were and give general advice on how to get into the market. They could talk some about their agencies, talk about the kinds of work they do, and what it’s like to work there. Additionally, we also arranged some informational interviews with some students because of Euro’s interest in our (excellent) students.
The night before everyone descended on campus, there were some Twitter exchanges between (among others) Colton, Emily Allender (’11), and Chris Rucker (’09). South by Southwest (SXSW) was going on down in Texas, and somebody (I can’t remember who) dubbed our event “South by South Lex.”
Courtney did some interviews in the morning, and then we had a nice lunch in Hillel.
After some great conversation and possibly a breath mint, we headed over to Huntley Hall into one of those big, center rooms.
And on a gorgeous March afternoon, one of the largest rooms in Huntley was filled beyond capacity so students could learn more about possible futures, and so alums could come and give back. I kept checking behind me, and the room stayed full for over two hours. Goshen beckoned, and yet, they stayed.
When it was all over, the alums and I looked at each other and said “Let’s do this AGAIN.”
Thus, the inspiration and birth of AdLib 2012.