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My Biggest Lesson: Vince Belizario

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Jack Morton SVP, group account director on why 'If you don’t ask, you won’t get'

My Biggest Lesson: Vince Belizario

Currently an SVP, group account director driving global experiences for Meta/Facebook, Vince Belizario joined Jack Morton in 2012 and has over 25+ years of experiential agency experience. His career has spanned across traditional sales promotion, sales associate training, partnership marketing, sports, and experiential marketing. During his nearly 10 years with Jack, he has worked with Dolby, ebay, Meta/Facebook, LinkedIn, NVIDIA, Samsung & TuneIn. A founding member of the AAPI@Jack employee resource group and a member of the global DEI Council, Vince is also an incredible mentor and advocate for AAPI talent at Jack and within the advertising industry 

LBB> Is there one event / piece of wisdom from your career that's always stayed with you? What is it? 

Vince> If you don’t ask, you won’t get.

LBB> Set the scene! How old were you when you learned this insight, where were you working, how long had you been there, what year was it, what was your role and how were you feeling generally about your career at this point?

Vince> This really came into play for me early in my career in the late '90s. I was only a couple of years out of college, still trying to figure out what I wanted to do in the industry. I was fortunate to be in a programme traffic manager role at an ad agency. It gave me insight into the various agency roles needed to support the work we were currently doing. After working with all these teams, I had a better idea of what side I wanted to be on, but there was not a clear path for me to get there. I had only been in my role for six months, but I talked to my boss at that time to express my interest in moving in a different direction towards a specific team. Thankfully, she was so supportive of my desire that she spoke to the head of that team on my behalf. Because I had asked, she was able to determine that there was an open role and helped me to work out a clear path and timeline to get there. Little did I know that the role I was going into would be what I would do for my whole career.

LBB> Tell us about the chain of events that led to you learning this insight.

Vince> I was only a few months into this new role as a traffic manager, but I realised early on that I did not want to be doing it forever. I was like a sponge, learning everything I could about that role and really enjoying it, but I kept thinking to myself, 'what’s next?'. The role was relatively formulaic and repetitive so knowing myself, I was going to get bored. 

One of the projects I was working on was in conjunction with the agency’s internal Sports Marketing group and the people and work that team was doing seemed so fun. So I had to figure out how to get there. That is what lead to my conversation with my supervisor at that time.

LBB> And if you've got some words on wisdom from a particular person or there’s a key, influential person in this story – tell us about them! What was your relationship to them, what were they like, how did you feel about them?

Vince> My discovery of experiential marketing was really thanks to one person that gave me my first shot. I was about a year out of college, working as an advertising coordinator at a regional boutique agency in a suburb north of Chicago, and I wanted an opportunity to work at a major agency. At that time, Y&R was hiring for a coordinator position and Janie Libels, one of the agency leaders in Chicago, was the hiring manager. I was fortunate to get an in-person interview and I still remember putting on my jacket and tie, driving into downtown Chicago for my interview. I was so nervous. I had a great interview, and was able to really connect with Janie. At the end of the interview Janie told me, “I think you are great and that you can do this job. But its really an administrative role and I don’t think you’ll like it.” I immediately said that I didn’t mind and was willing to do whatever was needed to get into a bigger agency for the experience. She said that she would take that into consideration and would be in touch.

A little bit of time had passed so I followed up with her again about the opportunity. I was fortunate to be able to connect with her over the phone. She again said that she didn’t think I would like the job but wanted to introduce me to someone else within their sister agency Wunderman Cato Johnson. Persistence paid off, as because of that introduction, that first traffic coordinator job would lead to my passion in experiential.

LBB> Why do you think it struck such a chord? 

Vince> I didn’t take no for an answer. I wouldn’t have found my current line of work if I didn’t ask for the opportunity I wanted.  

LBB> How did it change you as a person and in your career? 

Vince> I’m pretty much an open book. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m passionate about my work and the people I do it with, and I often just speak my mind. It doesn’t always land well or result in any substantive change but my conscience is clear and I know it is the right thing to do.

And it’s served me well thus far, so I’m sticking with it!

LBB> And as you’ve progressed in your career, how have you re-evaluated this piece of advice? 

Vince> This has really stayed with me my whole career. Nothing has changed. Agencies, clients and work can change, but it always applies. Some may not want to hear it, but great things are never easy.

LBB> Is this insight or piece of advice something you now share with others? If so, how do they respond to it?

Vince> I take pleasure in formally and informally mentoring junior talent. I think I’m a pretty good litmus test of people and can have honest conversations. I always tell new folks in the industry that if you don’t speak up for yourself, who will? I want to pass on what I’ve learned to newer folks so that they can avoid making the same mistakes that I made and progress within the industry faster.

I think people see where I’ve been and what I’ve done personally so they know that the advice comes from experience, and that I’m trying to help them along in their own personal careers.

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Jack Morton, Fri, 27 May 2022 08:04:54 GMT