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Meet Wendy McKenzie, Jr. Art Director at RocketBrand

What is your background?

I’m a proud Texan – I’ve lived here my entire life and I think it’s safe to say that Texas is a part of my identity. My past work repertoire includes being a bookstore clerk, a library page, and a graphic designer for Multicultural Affairs at UTA. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from UTA with a BFA in Visual Communications, which I’m super proud of because I managed this while having a job and being a full time student.

What drew you to a career in marketing and advertising?

When I was in high school I would collect magazine ads that appealed to me in some way – some of them were funny, some were joyful, some made very little sense even in the context of the product, but they all elicited some kind of emotional response – and I would occasionally rifle through them for inspiration. Even if the product itself didn’t really speak to me, the ads themselves told a story that I wouldn’t have thought could be told in one simple image and a few words. I wanted to be able to communicate with others the way that the ads I collected impacted with me. If I can reach out to even one person with my content and make it meaningful or impactful, I feel as though I have succeeded at what I set out to do, and that keeps me going every day.

What is your favorite part about working at RocketBrand?

It’s hard to decide because there are so many great things about working here! I really love the level of involvement and passion that everyone here approaches their work with. Rocketeers are a special breed of people: we work hard, play hard, and love what we do with an intensity that is unmatched. Every day of working with our team I learn something new, and there are few things that I love more than learning.

What do you do outside of work?

I have a wide breadth of interests that are mostly limited to the confines of my house. I am particularly fond of reading sci-fi, fantasy, and graphic novels, but I admittedly return to read Pride and Prejudice at least once every couple of years. I have sunk more hours of my life than I would be willing to admit into video games… I’m super into JRPGs. My fiancé and I also have a D&D campaign that we’ve been running in for almost a year now (NERDS!). And, of course, what kind of a shut-in would I be if I didn’t reveal the the world what they already know: I have three cats who I love very much (who undoubtedly do not love me as much) and I spend entirely too much effort on drawing and photographing them on a regular basis.

What’s the best vacation you’ve ever been on?

I’ve had some pretty spectacular vacations over the past few years, so I would have to say that it’s a tie. Back in May of this year I took a short trip to Ireland with family. My boyfriend of about 8 years surprised me by proposing to me at the Cliffs of Moher (!!) – and yes, there’s a video… ask me about it sometime. The other best would have to be Japan. It was a lifelong dream of mine to travel to Japan, and in my adult years I have had the pleasure of being be able to visit not just once, but twice. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Japan during cherry blossom season I would 100% recommend it!

Whats your guilty pleasure movie or show?

I think I’ve re-watched the entirety of Seinfeld twice in the last year. I probably shouldn’t have admitted that to the world, but it’s out now, so oh well.

Best Dallas BBQ?

If we’re talking Dallas, Lockhart’s can’t be beat. If you’re talking DFW as a whole I would absolutely recommend Cooper’s in Fort Worth.

What music are you currently listening to?

I’ve always had pretty eclectic tastes and like at least something from almost every genre and/or era that you can think of, but lately I’ve been returning to my childhood by jamming out to the Bee Gees. I also have been playing the soundtrack to Undertale on loop a lot recently. My current favorite band is Joywave, though… you should check them out.

What inspires you?

It depends on the day. I follow a lot of artists who do amazing and diverse work. I also love people-watching. I believe that everyone has a story to tell and a unique perspective to share. What’s even more fascinating about this is how our stories and perspectives can transcend cultural barriers and truly have an impact on people if you can find a way to communicate without words to larger groups of people. This ties into one of my other greatest inspirations: travel. I have written about it in the past, but I truly believe that traveling regularly can give you a refreshed frame of reference for problem-solving, as well as help you to better understand yourself.

What advice would you give someone looking to get into Marketing and Advertising?

In the immortal words of Shia Labeouf: “JUST DO IT!”

If you’re young and you want to get your foot in the door, apply for ALL the internships, even if you think you couldn’t land them! You’d be surprised who might call you back, and one of the best (and hardest) lessons to learn in this industry is how to market YOURSELF. If you can’t sell yourself, no one is going to be buying, and then you’ll be back at square one. But you can’t learn how to do that if you don’t get out there and start trying.

Also, do your research. It helps to understand fundamentally what you personally want to achieve in your work. When you start looking to find an agency or a firm that’s a good match for you it will help tremendously if you and your potential employers know that you are striving for the same outcome.