'Be confident and never be afraid': 8 questions with Robert Holeman, Team One
Editor’s note: ThinkLA’s DIG (Diversity, Gender, Inclusion) initiative has been created to celebrate and work towards greater diversity in Los Angeles. ThinkLA and The Drum are pleased to highlight African American leaders in the Los Angeles marketing community, their thoughts on the industry and how to build greater momentum for all.
Robert Holeman, digital asset coordinator, Team One
Who was your role-model when you were younger?
Growing up I admired my aunt Leslie. She works in the film and TV industry, and her work ethic — and seeing her thrive — really got me focused on making that my first career. Most importantly, I saw the way she treated the people she worked side and above, helping me appreciate everyone no matter how small or big their role.
What was your first job in advertising?
I started freelancing as a digital asset coordinator for a short stint at Saatchi & Saatchi LA back in 2015, and shortly after began working at Team One.
What is most rewarding aspect about your job? What makes it all worthwhile?
I think the most rewarding part about what I do is just the chance to learn more. I feel like I’m developing an encyclopedic knowledge base for our clients and it comes in handy when helping project teams, and I enjoy helping people!
What's the best compliment you've ever given?
The day after our recent election, I held a safe space session at Team One on behalf of my MOCA (Men of Color Alliance) chapter. We had a great turnout and I started getting emails from coworkers I had never even met before saying “thanks for help in processing my emotions” and “thanks for helping me get through today.” That was a pretty satisfying feeling.
What advice do you have for young black people in advertising?
Learn to pick your battles, be confident and never be afraid to voice a concern or convey an idea. More often than not, people will appreciate your perspective and it will begin a new dialogue or train of thought on the subject.
How can we support more diversity in advertising?
Let high school kids and college students see that there are people of color in advertising! Expose them to the industry and let it blow their preconceived notions away! Growing up, I always thought that advertising would be stuffy and stiff, but industries change with the times.
What's something about yourself that would surprise people?
I’m an avid comic book reader and music lover! I also got to work with David Bowie twice before he died.
What should our industry be talking about in 2017?
I think the industry should work towards reigniting the interest of the disenfranchised, genuinely focusing on both highlighting our differences while reaching out to consumers on a common level.