Event Recap: SPARKsouth 2016

SPARKsouth brought together students from throughout the southeast looking to benefit from experiences and mentorship from digital marketing veterans. In addition to panels and presentations, students received one-on-one guidance that included resume improvement, personal presentation, career planning, and the opportunity to have lunch in small groups with mentors.

SPARKsouth 2016 was successful in mirroring the diverse nature of the marketing industry as a whole.

Because marketing careers can take many different paths, SPARKsouth created three main content tracks: Agency, Entrepreneurship, and Brand. Students were encouraged to get their “passports” stamped throughout the day at each of the tracks to understand different potential career routes, as well as the career development sessions. 

The feedback from speakers and attendees was overwhelmingly positive:

“I just wanted to say how much I loved SPARKsouth. I met a ton of businesspeople, got some amazing advice, and best of all made a lot of great network connections. Thank you so much for giving all of us this opportunity, and I will definitely be returning next year.”

- Sarah Wickson, Marketing Student, University of Georgia

" It really allowed me to learn from the individuals who spoke and just gain an insight on what it's like to work in the field. This conference has bridged the gap from being in school to entering the job field. Thank you!"

- Marvin Mathew, Marketing Student, University of Georgia

In addition to the content tracks, three acutely different keynote presentations punctuated the day:

  • Brian Easter, CEO of Nebo Agency, began the day by emphasizing the importance of authenticity in marketing. 
  • Terrilyn Simmons from ChooseATL interviewed the winner of last year’s Ultimate Job Interview Challenge -  Austin Distel to learn about his entrepreneurial journey and it’s consistent intersection with marketing.
  • Joe Koufman, CEO of AgencySparks closed out the day by providing advice to young professionals on how to stand out, what really matters to future employers, as well as specific resources that can help set job candidates apart from the competition.

Related: Can Anyone be a Marketer?

Many speakers throughout the day emphasized that there is no “one-size-fits-all” marketing career path. To quote Christien Louviere, CEO of Sell Personal, and one of the entrepreneurship panelists:

“You cannot compare someone’s chapter one to someone else’s chapter 20.”

This message was emphasized in different ways throughout the day. One student even wrote a blog about the lessons he learned.

Sponsors for the event included Nebo Agency, ChooseATL (part of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce), The University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, AgencySparks, Simpli.fi, and Hypepotamus. Panelists came from top brands including like the Atlanta Hawks, Aflac, SweetWater Brewing Company, Twitter and Red Bull. Agency speakers came from large agencies like SapientNitro and DigitasLBi and smaller ones like Everywhere and Swarm. Entrepreneurs with a vast range of experiences shared their insights for attendees that might consider that path.

By all accounts, SPARKsouth was a tremendous success in its first year.

Plans are already being put into place to make the 2017 edition of SPARKsouth even more spectacular. Potential sponsors, speakers, mentors, and attendees can reach out at http://SPARKsouth.com/contact.