Allison Arden has been publisher of Advertising Age of Crain Communications, Inc. since December 2007 and serves as its vice president. In this role, Allison oversees all operations for Advertising Age and Creativity magazines in print, online, and at events domestically and internationally.
Step Up supporters can now pre-order her new book, The Book of Doing, to be released April 3.
Step Up: Tell us about one professional decision you are very glad you made.
Allison Arden: After September 11, I switched positions within Ad Age, moving from ad director to business development director overseeing custom publishing and new product launches. My son had just been born, and based on all that had happened I wasn’t comfortable getting on a plane and being away from home all the time. I also felt it would be better at that time to manage new projects rather than a sales team. It was an excellent decision, as it allowed me to balance my personal life along with my career. The new role also allowed me to exercise my creativity by launching many new products, which has been an important skill, especially as we’ve evolved our business at Ad Age.
SUWN: What is your vision or goal for Ad Age?
AA: A few years ago, we evolved our vision to realize our broader purpose of helping people get smarter about the world of advertising, marketing, and media. This expanded vision of our capabilities has opened our mindset to what we can do and led us to many new places. We’ve launched Age’s LookBook, an exciting platform for companies to tell their story within the context of our site. We also launched Ad Age Insights, a new division to create knowledge-based products to deliver deeper insights via research, trends reports, and consulting assignments. These are just a few examples, but they give you a sense of our evolution from simply a print-based media company to an organization well poised for the future. My goal is to work with our team to continue exploring the depths and possibilities of this incredible 80+-year-old brand.
SUWN: Your first book, The Book of Doing: Everyday Activities to Unlock Creativity and Joy, is about to launch. What was your inspiration, and what about it will inspire us?
AA: I didn’t set out to write The Book of Doing, but I did set out to make a change in my life. I had so many wonderful things going on, but I was running so fast I wasn’t enjoying any of it. I knew that if I could inject more creativity into my life I would be happier. I made a commitment to treat everything around me like my favorite arts-and-crafts project. Arts and crafts was my favorite activity as a kid,but as I got older, I didn’t have any opportunity to do it. Through this new lens I approached things without any stress or fear, just a sense of delight and possibility around what I could make. This made everything feel much better and brighter and ultimately led me back to my childhood love of writing and the idea for The Book of Doing.
My hope for The Book of Doing is that it will help people realize their own creativity and push their personal boundaries by taking time to do the things that make them happiest. We’re all so busy with our many responsibilities that we often don’t allow ourselves the time. Taking the time to do the things you love not only energizes you, it expands your understanding of what you are capable of if you allow yourself the opportunity. The book is like a kid’s book for adults, filled with 94 different activities to help fuel and energize your life.
SUWN: What’s next for you?
AA: Had you asked me a few years ago, I wouldn’t have seen a book in my future, so I’ve learned to be very open to all the possibilities of what’s next. The last couple of years have been focused on evolving our business at Ad Age and on developing The Book of Doing. Both projects have taught me a tremendous amount about what it takes to develop new ideas and move them forward. There are still a lot of ideas that I’m excited about pursuing on both fronts that will take me to new and interesting places.
SUWN: If a Step Up teen wanted to follow in your footsteps, what advice would you give her?
AA: Pick a career that you’re passionate about, surround yourself with people you enjoy working with in a place where you compliment each others’ skills and support each other, work hard, realize that every job you take may not be your ideal but you can learn a tremendous amount from it, and stop worrying about what will happen next – it will all be okay.
SUWN: What is your crowning achievement?
AA: Living a life filled with love and purpose–but I still have a long way to go.
Let Allison know how she has inspired you by commenting below!