A Career Choice is a Life Choice Logo

In the latest A Career Choice is a Life Choice blog, we’re speaking with Jered Gold, vice president of marketing and communications at ArtCenter College of Design, located in Pasadena, California. Starting out in hospitality and customer service, he eventually made the move to corporate communications for a major movie studio and then to a small design college. Read about his insights and the advice he has to offer from his long career.

Jered Gold, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for ArtCenter College of Design.

DB: What is your current position?
JG: I’m the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at ArtCenter College of Design.

ArtCenter is a global leader in art and design education located in Southern California, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees across a wide spectrum of visual and applied arts, and industrial design disciplines.

DB: What has your career path been like?
JG: I majored in hospitality management and early in my career held a number of management, community outreach and customer service positions in the food service, special event and hospitality industries.

I was able to parlay these skills into an entry level job in television production, specifically working in the contestant relations department for a then-popular TV game show. It was like community outreach and customer service on a massive scale since we’d conduct contest auditions in Los Angeles and across the U.S. with as many as 100 people or more in attendance. I also began working with the production company and individual television markets on press releases, media cultivation and some advertising, which gave me my first real sense of publicity and PR as a career path.

From there, I went to work at Universal Studios in Corporate Communications where I initially focused on media and community relations and then assumed management responsibilities in internal communications, brand stewardship and corporate events.

My former boss at Universal was recruited to ArtCenter and sometime later asked me to join her. While she’s no longer at ArtCenter, I’ve since had the opportunity to acquire additional skills and take on increasing responsibilities. Today, as vice president, my team encompasses media relations, editorial and digital content, campus communications, special events and our in-house graphic design office. I also continue to spearhead the college’s promotional partnerships, general advertising, crisis communications, brand management, and community and civic relations programs.

DB: What do you value most about your current role?
JG: I know it’s a cliché, but I work with an amazing team of designers, content creators and storytellers. I think there’s a mutual respect for what each person brings to the table, which gives everyone the freedom to do what they do best. In turn, we’re producing really quality work together, whether it’s our new Viewbook, a captivating story on our website, a stunning Grad Show exhibition of student work, or an Instagram photo that resonates with our followers.

Outside of the office, I work in an incredibly creative and inspiring environment where students really are poised to have an incredible impact on the world around us. Students are working on autonomous vehicles and immersive realities, they’re creating sustainable solutions to wicked problems, and sharing deeply personal stories through their work.

If you get bogged down too much in the mechanics of the job—I think we can agree that every job has too many emails and pointless meetings—you can walk through the student gallery or sit in on mid-term presentations and it’s a refreshing reminder of why the job is so purposeful.

DB: What has been the biggest learning to date from your career path?
JG: Oh, there are many lessons I’ve learned along the way! The most important that springs to mind is about the importance of building relationships. I don’t mean in a “nepotism” kind of way. Rather, we all need the help of someone else to get the job done. That could be a client, a co-worker or a vendor, or maybe someone whose story we’re trying to tell (or whose product we’re trying to sell). Forging solid working relationships with people will make any job that much easier and, dare I say, pleasant. And yes, building relationships could also result in new and surprising career paths as well.

DB: What is your favorite interview question to ask candidates?
JG: Don’t tell HR because they might consider this a no-no… I remember reading an interview tip a long time ago and they suggested to ask candidates what their favorite movie is. I try to phrase it toward the end of an interview as, “Tell me more about yourself and what you like to do for fun. For instance, what’s your favorite movie or favorite book?” It may seem like a non sequitur but that’s the intent since someone is unlikely to anticipate the question. Ultimately, you can use the question and shift in conversation to see how quickly a person can think on their feet. I suppose it can reveal something about the interviewee. But the answer itself doesn’t convey whether an individual can fulfill the job responsibilities and isn’t as important. Unless they say Horrible Bosses.

Deanna Backos is a partner at the midnight oil group, a Detroit marketing agency offering full-service communications for clients. We live and breathe our clients’ brands, always developing new ideas, strategies and creative solutions to build awareness, engage with their target markets, and develop true brand advocates.