Meet Mentor in Residence Christina Campisi
By Caroline Cakebread, Junior Newhouse NYC student and MAG major
Our next mentor in residence is Christina Campisi, an ’02 Newhouse and Whitman grad, and the global marketing director at Elizabeth Arden. She has been living in NYC for 10 years (in the same apartment!) and is excited to have the opportunity to help the Newhouse NYC students navigate through school, internships and city life during her time as a mentor in residence.
In fact, she has even become interested in a possible shift to the career development world after being a Newhouse NYC mentor and working with interns in the Syracuse University Mentor Mentee Alliance (SUMMA) program!“This is a great opportunity to test drive working with students in a deeper capacity,” she says.
So, how did she get to where she is today? We got the scoop when we sat down with Christina to find out all about her journey from ‘Cuse to NYC.
Post graduation, she set her sights on moving to NYC and working at an ad agency. But when the chance to work at a smaller agency in Westchester presented itself, she knew it would be an excellent opportunity. She took it and turned out to be right, admitting that it was a great first step into the agency world that allowed her to gain a lot more experience than she would have at a larger agency.“It just goes to show you can’t always plan out everything and you just have to see what the opportunities are and do what seems right,” she says.
However, she still had her heart set on NYC. So, after two years in Westchester, she got a job at a larger agency and moved into the city with her best friend. This also turned out to be a fantastic opportunity. The agency she had landed at won the campaign to revamp the Almay beauty line and she became the leader of the account. “It was really my first 360 ad campaign that I followed through from start to finish,” she says.
It was also her first move into the beauty world, and she did everything from product strategy to working with the creative team to flying to LA for the actual ad shoot. “When I go into stores today, I look and see where the brand is now and I think it’s cool to know I helped feed into where it is today,” she says. The campaign also made her fall in love with the beauty world, and she hasn’t left since.
But after six years in advertising she was ready to try something new, and decided to try her skills in marketing. It was not easy at first. “I had recruiters tell me to my face that I would never get a job in marketing, but I didn’t give up,” she says. “I knew I had the skills and experience and that I could make the move.” She was right, and landed her first job as a marketing manager for Elizabeth Arden fragrances.
Within a short time, she moved to Elizabeth Arden’s licensed fragrance side of the business. A few years later, she was promoted to marketing director. She says that it was a real learning curve at first. “It’s not something you can really prepare or study for, you really just have to dive in and go with the flow and ask questions and just absorb it all,” she says.
Now she works on Jennifer Aniston, Taylor Swift and Mariah Carey’s fragrance lines—or what she likes to call her three “diva brands.” She says she gets asked all the time whether or not celebrities are actually involved with their fragrance lines, and, contrary to popular opinion, the celebrities she works with are incredibly involved and enthusiastic about developing their scents. In her role she does pretty much everything: Develop the fragrance, work with the celeb’s teams, come up with ad visuals, work with the PR and media teams and even work with sales and supply chain managers.
“It’s really a great position because I get to touch all points of the brand,” she says. Presenting ideas – whether it be to a client or internally with her team – is her favorite part of the job. She also has been on calls with Jennifer Aniston and met Taylor Swift – not bad job perks.
While Christina’s career is a clear lesson in seizing opportunities when they present themselves, her top piece of advice for the Newhouse NYC students is to stay connected with all of the people you meet. “It is those networking contacts that will really help you springboard into your career once you graduate,” she says. She also recommends taking advantage of all the cool things NYC has to offer. And for those close to the Central Park, she highly recommends spending time walking, running or biking through, especially as the weather gets warmer.