Get to Know Team Ditto: Tiwanna Hamilton
Read more about Tiwanna Hamilton. Tiwanna has been working for Ditto for the past 2 months as a Assistant Account Executive.
Getting To Know You
Where are you from?
Can you tell me a little about your background?
I am originally from Eugene, OR. I played many sports growing up and was always active — I competed in gymnastics when I was very young, soccer, track & field and basketball as well. I ended up falling in love with basketball and that was what I stuck with all the way through high school and two years of college. I went to Saint Katherine’s University in San Diego my first year and a half and then transferred to the University of Oregon where I majored in Journalism: Public Relations and minored in Business Administration. I recently graduated this past June and moved to New York immediately after.
Who is your spirit animal and why?
My spirit animal is a cheetah — quick and always on my toes.
What would your ideal Sunday entail?
My ideal Sunday would entail brunch with friends at The Crooked Knife, meandering through DUMBO and catching an evening Broadway show such as Aladdin.
If you could have dinner with three people – dead or alive – who would you choose?
If I could have dinner with three people — dead or alive — they would be Beyoncé, Prince and Kobe Bryant.
What’s your favorite curse word?
All of them?
How did you arrive in NYC/SF?
I accepted an internship in NYC about a month before I graduated so I knew I was coming here, plus I’ve always had dreams of working and living in the city.
Last song you listened to on your phone?
The last song I listened to on my phone was FLIP THE SWITCH x Quavo ft. Drake
If I wasn’t in PR, I’d be…
Working in the financial industry — but I get to do that now even!
About your work at Ditto
How did you end up at Ditto? And why did you decide to work here?
I ended up at Ditto because I was at the end of my previous internship and looking for a different experience, one where I knew I could really learn and grow as a PR professional and kickoff my career considering I’ve only been out of school less than 6 months. I chose to work at Ditto because I immediately felt a difference just from speaking to current colleagues in my interview. I liked the feel of a smaller agency where I would get the opportunity to be hands on and work on projects that aren’t just mundane, administrative tasks. I felt that my colleagues were genuine people who worked hard everyday and ultimately appreciated and supported each other to produce the best results — I wanted that.
How would you describe working at Ditto?
Working at Ditto has been quite enjoyable. The culture is unlike any other. Yes, it is still an agency at the end of the day, so there are days that are more stressful than others but nonetheless — I always feel supported and I always know I can ask any of my colleagues for anything and they will see to it with the best of their abilities. I feel like I have learned a significant amount just in the short amount of time that I’ve been here and that’s what excites me to come into work everyday.
What makes Ditto different than your past jobs?
Ditto is a non-traditional PR firm and I believe Ditto truly values each person that works here and the work that they do. I work for a CEO who actively engages with his employees on a daily basis and is dedicated to each person’s professional development–how often do you see that? Also, there isn’t a hierarchy like you see at most PR firms. People certainly have titles here but it’s really an all hands on deck culture — nobody is too good to do any task and vice versa. I’m doing work as an Assistant Account Executive that I wouldn’t necessarily get to do at a traditional PR firm right off the bat but at Ditto they trust me enough to take on tasks and challenge me to be the best that I can be. This has contributed tremendously to my growth already.
Bigger thoughts on life and career
How do you think the PR industry could improve?
The PR industry could improve in several ways. For one, I think the majority of PR firms take advantage of junior employees. Many firms will keep their junior employees at the same level longer than necessary even though they are more than qualified to work at the next level. Many PR firms do this in order to save themselves money when in actuality you should be rewarded for the work you do when you do it (or at least that’s the mentality at Ditto). I also think the PR industry could be more inclusive as a whole and actually embrace more of a work/life balance.
What tips would you give on balancing work and personal time?
It is so important to have a work/life balance and be able to unplug from work when need be. I feel that an employee cannot truly perform at their best if they cannot unplug, recharge and take time for themselves. I personally do not believe in working around the clock like most PR firms implicitly do. I totally understand there are things that often go on outside of work hours for an account and that’s typical but if you’re finding yourself never able to unplug, then that’s a problem. My advice, especially in the morning time, I don’t even check my email until I get into the office so that I can get my day started without feeling overwhelmed or stressed out first thing in the morning. I try to own my mornings as best I can and really dedicate that time to prepare myself for the day before things start to get crazy.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice before your first job, what would you say?
If I could go back in time and give myself some advice before walking into my first job, I would tell myself to master the little things.
Talk about the challenge of balancing priorities like results and outputs with less tangible work like creative thinking.
Creative thinking can often be overlooked in this industry due to most PR pros constantly working from one deliverable to the next without getting the time to actually sit down and brainstorm — it can get tricky. However, I think it’s best to set aside time each week, whether that’s 30 minutes or an hour with your team just to brainstorm creative ideas to implement or present to the client. I think during these brainstorm sessions it’s important that there are no laptops or electronic devices. That way it can be very organic without any distractions — pen, paper and your teammates; that’s it.
What makes for a positive work environment?
I think what makes for a positive work environment is essentially a positive work culture and supportive colleagues. Nothing will make for a more toxic work environment than working alongside people who don’t support you or constantly have a negative attitude. Being solutions-based is another contributor to a positive work environment.
In your opinion, what are the characteristics of a good boss?
I think being able to lead by example and serve as a LEADER rather than a BOSS is very important to me. I think it’s also important to demonstrate that you care about your employees and show them your appreciation any chance you get. There are many employees across the board in all different work sectors that don’t have good relationships with their managers or resent them to some degree and that shouldn’t be the case. I think establishing a sense of mutual respect is beneficial too.