In this industry, it’s not every day someone reaches their ten-year working anniversary! In 2013, fresh-faced Sarah Prokopchak graduated from college and joined Andrew Smith as a Junior Account Coordinator at a small, scrappy ad agency in Richmond, VA. Ten years later, she is leading our team at initiate-it as Account Executive and Operations Manager, wowing clients left and right with her charm and expertise.
To celebrate this milestone, we sat down with Sarah to pick her brain on her experience from the past decade. So buckle up and prepare for some insider insights from one of our all-time greats!
Q: What is your advice for young Sarah, fresh out of college and just starting at initiate-it?
A: My advice for a young Sarah would be don’t rush and put too much pressure on yourself to grow. It will happen over time. It takes experience, for example, presenting or being in front of clients. I always reflect on how much pressure I put on myself early on in my career, and it’s very rewarding now to look back and see how much I grew. So just really embrace the process of learning and growing and don’t try and rush it and put too much pressure on yourself early on.
Q: What is your advice to future successful AE’s?
A: My advice for successful account executives: communication. Over communicate! I think that one of the most important things about being an account executive is really being transparent and over-communicating. If you know you’re not going to make a deadline, definitely communicate that upfront instead of missing it and having to communicate that on the back end, for example. Clients appreciate that even if you aren’t necessarily delivering the best news initially, they appreciate having that kind of over-communication. Communicating and being detail-oriented are the two biggest factors in terms of being a successful account executive.
Can I add one more thing? Being a successful account executive isn’t just about checking the box or making sure this got from A to B or delivering on a goal. It’s also about building relationships. You want to ensure you maintain and retain those current customers. So, it’s about building relationships, increasing or growing the ones you have but then also building new relationships.
Q: What is your funniest memory at initiate-it?
Q: Who inspires you at ii?
A: I’ve worked with Andrew Smith [President and Founder of initiate-it] for 10 years now, but I continue to get feedback from him. It’s almost like a constant feedback loop. I’m continuing to learn from him every day. I think we almost learn from each other too. But that’s probably the most inspiring because even though I’ve been here for so long, I’m continuing to grow and receive feedback that helps me improve daily.
Q: If you were a cocktail, what would you be and why?
A: Let’s see, If I were a cocktail, I would be an Aperol spritz. They are fun, bubbly, sweet, and colorful.
Q: Describe a moment you are most proud of from your career?
A: A moment that I’m most proud of is my recent presentations at the Digital Summit. Presenting was always very nerve-wracking for me. Reflecting on even when I would present to clients at 24/25 and now being here for 10 years, I’m always going to continue to have to improve, and it’s never going to be perfect, but I’ve come a long way. Being on a national stage at a conference is something to put down in the books as one of my favorite moments.