Laura Schnarr Cameron, 23, is a graphic designer and account coordinator with Colorado Springs marketing and public relations firm Blakely + Co. The Colorado native serves several local nonprofits and recently accepted the position of vice president with the National Advertising Federation’s local chapter. The newlywed spoke about what it’s like to wear two hats professionally, the future of Colorado Springs and her “fur child,” Yoshi.
Where are you from?
I’m from right here in Colorado Springs, born and raised. … I went to Fort Collins for college for a year and wanted to come back home. So here I went to [Pikes Peak Community College] for graphic design and had two internships during school. One was purely creative. It was all graphic design with a really awesome creative director here in the Springs. The other internship was focused on marketing strategy and advertising. I went to school at PPCC for an extra year for marketing.
What was your first public relations and marketing job?
Right out of PPCC, I got a job with Wendy’s in Colorado Springs in their marketing department. I was doing local marketing for 19 stores from Castle Rock to Fountain. At the same time, I was really involved with the American Advertising Federation, which has opened a lot of doors for me. That’s how I got a mentorship with Camille Blakely, and after a few months she offered me a job here.
Tell me about your position with Blakely + Co?
I’m an account coordinator and graphic designer. I do half graphic design in the creative department and I do half on the client side and work on strategy and budgets. I get the best of both worlds.
That’s unusual doing both. How does having a design background help you with clients?
I think it’s huge. A lot of clients don’t see the creative side. Our creative department usually doesn’t talk with the clients. As a designer I can get the creative perspective and get an idea of what they envision for their brand and bring that back to the creative department and communicate that with them, or I do it myself. Being able to show them creative and talk about it allows them to trust our decisions a little more.
What’s your favorite aspect of the creative side?
I love everything about the creative side. What I love about Blakely is they let us explore our creative intentions, and we’re allowed to throw out ideas, even if they are risky and over-the-top, without worrying what our bosses are thinking. They’re open to new ideas.
What’s your favorite aspect of the client side?
I love working with people and seeing how passionate clients are about their brand and being able to bring that passion to life.
What’s your opinion of the young professional environment here?
I’m very involved with the Colorado Springs Rising Professionals. I’m on their marketing committee and was a big part of the brand re-launch recently. Being involved in the community is my biggest thing. I’m part of a lot of nonprofits here in town. I see tons of opportunity. I think you need to look for it. Some young professionals don’t look as hard as they can, but it’s there. Get involved, do internships and get to know people and there’s tons of opportunities…
I think Colorado Springs right now is on the verge of a huge breakthrough. I think we have a lot of opportunities at our fingertips. We’re making some huge steps forward and taking initiative. City for Champions is one example of showing that Colorado Springs is trying. That’s what’s so intriguing to me — what young professionals can do here in a couple years.
Tell me about the National Advertising Federation.
The federation is a national nonprofit that focuses on the advertising industry. … My biggest role was helping to start the student chapter while I was a student in Colorado Springs. When I became a professional I stepped into the professional board and have been on the board of directors for three years. … Now I’m going in as vice president.
What was your favorite thing to eat at Wendy’s?
I didn’t eat there that often, but their pretzel buns are amazing!
What do you do in your free time?
I recently got married — [three] weeks ago! We are in the process of closing on a house. Recently, my entire life has been nothing but wedding planning and closing on a house. But we have a puppy and he is my “fur child.” He is a black Lab with too much energy. So we go hiking and running. We love the outdoors and during the winter, on most weekends, I’ll be snowboarding.