From Commercials to Consulting

“Thanks to Corner Alliance, I’ve found a personal mission and a professional home.”

I left the world of creative advertising agencies in 2017 after roughly eight years--but I wasn’t expecting to. I loved the thrill of problem solving, telling stories, and inspiring emotive branding. It felt like I was contributing to a cultural narrative--that I was leaving a mark on the world. But long hours, ruthless competitiveness, and a general dilemma over ‘selling stuff people don’t need’ had me curious about what more was out there. 

I was also leaving New York City for Fort Collins, Colorado. I moved for love, a family, and all the healthy living that Colorado could give me. So when I was seeking a new job in early 2018, I wanted to find a position with more personal fulfillment and balance. And that’s where Corner Alliance comes in.

From initial phone screen, to nearly a year and a half in, here are five stand-out moments that remind me of why I’m here.

 #1 The job posting. My first impression of Corner Alliance was only positive. The lead sentence of (my future) Communications and Outreach position read, “Do you enjoy meaningful work in an environment where you can make an impact, learn, and collaborate well with others who are just as passionate about their work as you are?” My answer: an easy YES.

 #2 My cover letter “ah-ha!.” Every job seeker knows the cover letter cut and paste shortcut. You’re applying for a bunch of jobs at once and it’s just quicker to recycle cover letters (plug and play job titles and company names). However, for my application to Corner Alliance, I took an organic approach. After all, it was so different than any position I’d applied to elsewhere (consulting for a government public safety client!). In crafting my letter from scratch, I found that the words I wanted to say came naturally; I didn’t need to hype, oversell, or spin my pitch as in some other applications. I was surprised at how easily the words “I want to make a difference” appeared on the page.

 #3 Bits of intrigue. The questions during the initial phone screen were about my skills: fairly straightforward. Yet every subsequent interview revealed a bit more about what the position called for, and what people valued: problem solving, creativity and flexibility, going above and beyond client expectations, and—my personal favorite—communicating with key audiences to increase brand awareness and engagement. Before I knew the “what” of the subject matter really well, I knew “how” I could deliver what was needed. Suddenly, this was a job that stood far and above any other.

 #4 Translatable skills. One of my current colleagues who interviewed me at the time asked me about leaving the world of advertising. He knew firsthand that it was an industry celebrated with glitz and glamour—a far cry from government work. Yet again, I found little hesitation in conveying that I was ready to translate the skills I learned in advertising and apply them to a more altruistic mission. I wanted to give to something bigger.  

 #5 The greater good: One year and some change later, I believe my mission-driven mindset is ultimately the reason why Corner Alliance and I were–and are–so in sync. Recently, for Corner’s Alliance’s annual staff meeting, I took an assessment that told my purpose—my “why”—is to add value by contributing to the good of others. And come to find out, many of my colleagues and clients in government feel the same way. It’s as if the first line of that job description knew what would fulfill me before I even did: meaningful work with likeminded people. I’m proud to say I feel it every day.

Quite far from the job titles I’ve known, thanks to Corner Alliance, I’ve found a personal mission and professional home. Here’s to many more years.

 Stacey Trunnell is a consultant at Corner Alliance, leading communications and outreach activities for a public safety client in Boulder, Colorado. Prior to consulting, Stacey worked as a strategic planner in some of the most awarded advertising agencies and branding firms in North America, and internationally. She has also worked for non-profits and news organizations. Stacey lives by her life motto, “Life is change. Be flexible.”


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