Alessandra Lariu: Stay Scared

While creative prowess, meticulous organization, and a knack for networking are often touted as essential traits for any successful creative, a serious sense of work ethic is the unsung quality found in the very best. Alessandra Lariu, Senior Vice President, Digital Group Creative Director at McCann Erickson, and founder of SheSays, a group that aim to help women further their careers in digital advertising, understands this well. In coming up with digital ideas and projects for clients, Lariu’s groundbreaking work and creative personality shine outwardly, but it is her ability to stretch further and work harder than anyone would readily expect that makes these ideas become reality.

Lariu recognizes that, from the get go, an intense passion for a project is necessary, even if that means working off the clock or trading favors. “[I have] worked for free — and at 5AM in the morning — to see the idea all the way from concept to execution. I become totally obsessed and single minded about the idea I want to pursue that I mention it in every single meeting. (And yes, annoy the hell out of everyone). I’ve charmed co-workers into doing stuff for free and offered people to help them out with another project they were working on if they helped me with my project or idea.”

I like to be scared at least once a week. Scared by an idea no one has done before.

Working relentlessly has benefits beyond accomplishing a goal – it allows Lariu freedom to experiment with ideas that are both conceptually groundbreaking and aesthetically uncommon. Lariu elaborates, stating that to accomplish something “innovative that has never been done before” is often difficult “because it was hard to justify ROI the client.” Again, Lariu turns to her incredible work ethic to trounce such obstacles. “I’ve overcome this by doing work almost for free for the client, seeing the project through, seeing it win awards. After that is was easy for me to convince the client to buy another ‘crazy’ idea.”

Lariu’s creative inclinations are as bold as her motivation. “I like to be scared at least once a week. Scared by an idea no one has done before. By using technology in a way no one has ever used before.” She looks for similar qualities in her co-workers, searching for “passion and dedication, [as] everything else can be taught.”

Ultimately, Lariu’s humility may be her most endearing and powerful quality, remembering that at the end of the day, her most creative ideas are unsuccessful if they don’t achieve her client’s desired effect. “When presenting work to a client I do a lot of work on the end users/consumers. You use them to talk about how appropriate and interesting your idea is – always remember that the work that you do is mainly for people out there and not to satisfy your – or the client’s – ego.”

More insights on: Clients, Risk-Taking
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