June Member Spotlight on Gina Harlow
Can you give us a few personal details about your life? I've lived in Dallas since I was 3 which makes me native by default. I’ve been married to the love of my life, Kevin Mote, for the past twenty years. Together we are raising two beautiful sons, Reed, age 13 and Rhett, age 9. I learned early on that the secret to surviving in a house full of boys is to enjoy living in chaos. And of course developing an appreciation for bugs, Nerf guns and perpetual motion. One of our greatest enjoyments is our annual family vacations. We’re known for taking wacky, zany excursions to places off the beaten path, including Jackassic Park, Black Diamond the Two Headed Elephant and of course, The World’s Largest Wooden Nickel. We are a family that enjoys spending time together — whether it’s Family Movie Night or a crazy road trip. In my spare time, I hopelessly volunteer for every school-related activity I can manage to squeeze into my schedule — whether it’s serving as PTA President or as a Home Room Parent.
How did you get into the industry and what was your first job? My first job was in the media department at Tracy-Locke in 1986. I knew I wanted to be in advertising, but didn’t have a specific career-path in mind. An opportunity became available at Tracy-Locke as a receptionist in the media department, and with the help of a recruiter, I interviewed for the position. Within a short time, I had moved to assistant and eventually media buyer. Those were the days when you actually had reps come into your office and negotiate rates for an annual face to face. And, we went multiple rounds — not just “one shot deals”. While I didn't work on stone tablets, there were no computers at our desks, just calculators and actual books.
What can you tell us about your current job? Currently, I serve as the Media Director for The Barber Shop Marketing and it's been the most incredible experience in my career. I plan and place media for all of our clients — including A#1 Air, Baker Brothers Plumbing, DCCCD, Smith Thompson and Dillon Gage, to name a few. I work with an amazing group of women (and men) who each bring something crucial to the party. When you truly love the people you work with, and for, it’s a pleasure to come to work every single day. To have found this amazing fit at this point in my career has been a god-send.
What advice would you give someone new to the industry? Relationships are key to your success in this industry. Your reputation and your ability to maintain positive, strong relationships are critical to your longevity in advertising — or any career for that matter. These days, it's rare for a resumé alone to get you an interview. That's because there are so many resumés that land on a person's desk. You have to also have a referral for you to stand out from the stack. As important as your relationships is the ability to communicate both verbally and in written form, as it can make or break a career. Learning the essentials of good, concise writing will serve you well in your career.
Have you had a mentor? I’ve been fortunate to work with many talented and exceptional people over the years. Most notably, there were two women to whom I owe a great deal. Susan Pili, from my Tracy-Locke days, was the first. A sharp, wise and kind lady who took the time to show me the ropes and share her skill set. And secondly, Tina Williamson — from my time at GSD&M — helped to mold me into a strong buyer and provide me with the opportunities to develop my leadership skills. In truth, I’ve never worked at a place where I didn’t have someone who made an impact on me.
What has been your biggest achievement in your career thus far? Every job I’ve held has led me to where I am. It’s impossible to isolate one accomplishment as they've all served to mold me into the person I am today. I've made my share of mistakes but have always prided myself on my ability to learn the hard lessons and grow in the process. I’ve worked with brilliant people and those who have been challenging, but I’ve always tried to learn from each experience and association. My greatest accomplishment has to be not only the wonderful relationships I’ve maintained over the years, but to be sitting in the position I'm in today. To be working for Liz Barber is truly the pinnacle of my career. I’m proud of the journey I’ve made to get to this point and am looking forward to many years being a member of the TBS team and working to build a top-notch media department.
What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career? "Be the change you want to see in the world." - Ghandi. If I really want the world to be a better place, it starts with me.