This edition of L&S Unscripted showcases Brittany Bunkers, Associate Account Executive and orator extraordinaire. With a passion for people and multitasking skills that put plate spinners to shame, we couldn’t be happier to have her on board. Read on to see what led her to L&S and how she puts her natural talents to work.
You came to us with some solid experience – there’s even been talk of different disciplines “fighting” over you. Can you tell us anything about that?
My previous job was with a research and consulting firm that had about 200 employees located all across the country. I basically lived out of a suitcase; I was in hotels and airports more than I was in the office. We did a lot of consumer and market research – studying the way people consume advertising, how advertisers or agencies could better reach them, and when they do reach them, how they can be more effective. It’s all about what you say, how you say it and where you say it. It had some elements that remind me of our CI discipline, but it also had a lot of elements of project management and client relations, and that’s where I feel like I’m better suited to.
How does your personal life fit in with what you do at work?
I’ve always been someone who has a lot on my plate and enjoys juggling a lot of things at once. I like to be busy. There are a lot of parallels between my home life and personal life – being involved in as many things as I can, being a go-getter, I guess. I’m not involved with as many things right now as I’d like to be, but I’ve been looking into a few things. In the summer, I like to do anything outside: sand volleyball, running, going for walks with friends, that kind of thing.
I’m also big into volunteering, but I’ve never had one specific thing that I did consistently. It’d be just kind of one-off stuff, getting together to serve food at a shelter, that kind of thing. But I’d love to get more involved in Sioux Falls. I really like kids – I’d really like something involving volunteering with kids. I know those types of positions fill up pretty quickly, because kids are fun, right?
You have a Master’s Degree in Communications. What does “communication” mean to you?
There are a lot of aspects to communication – what I taught was public speaking. The way we taught it was very structured, but even in class, there are a lot of different types of public speaking. Some of it is giving a presentation to your entire company, some of it is leading meetings – it takes a lot of forms. People think it’s just preparing a speech and delivering it to an audience, but what I wrote my thesis on was interpersonal communication. I’m all about people interacting. Whether it’s family, friends, romantic relationships, people and they way they interact fascinate me. I also think nonverbal communication is really interesting.
How does one apply that expertise at work and in life?
It’s complicated. It’s not like architecture or something, where you study, graduate, design a building, it’s built and there you are, that’s the goal. Generally the idea is to make human interaction easier and more rewarding. But improving communication can go as far as you want to take it – some communications experts work in advisory roles to politicians, some go into journalism, law school, consultancy, sales… you can really go a number of different ways. Which was a blessing and a curse.
As far as applying that expertise… Conflict management skills are something you can use at work, or at home or with someone in the grocery store, you know? Just knowing how to read people and communicate with them in a way that they’ll feel comfortable talking to you, so that they won’t be defensive or think you’re trying to attack them or anything. That’s definitely come in handy.
I also spend a lot of time talking to people who rank highly in their companies, especially in my previous position, so I do feel like I can talk to almost anyone a lot more easily than in the past. I’ve always been a talker and outgoing, but taking a look at myself now versus five years or so ago, there were situations where I wouldn’t know what to say or where I would get nervous, but now I rarely get nervous about anything, no matter who I’m talking to.
So how did you end up at L&S?
Well, I actually knew a former employee in high school. At the time I was living in Minneapolis, and my sister really wanted me to move back to the Sioux Falls area. She was a counselor at Washington High School, and L&S had a few people there promoting the internship program, so my sister heard about L&S from there. I got a phone call right afterwards, like, “look at this L&S place, look at this picture of the office, I think you’d really fit in there!” At the time, working with a lot of agencies in the past, I wasn’t sure I was quite ready to make that jump and give up my lifestyle of traveling a lot. A few months later I ran into the same person at a wedding in our hometown, so she nudged me in that direction a little more and told me about an opening in the media department. So here we are!