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November 28, 2011

How I Spend My Workday

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kelly mcnearney

Photo Credit: Mark Leibowitz

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Kelly McNearney, 30 Los Angeles, California
Occupation: Account executive in digital media at ESPN
Annual Income: $200,000 (on average)
8 a.m. Traffic is terrible in Los Angeles, which means my commute is grueling — sometimes it can be an hour and a half each way. I always listen to NPR on the way to work, and when I'm stuck at traffic lights, I catch up on e-mails on my BlackBerry, since my inbox starts filling up at 4 a.m. My office is in Burbank, on the 25th floor, with a great view of Universal Studios and the Warner Bros. lot. Sometimes it feels like I'm on a movie set all day.
9:30 a.m. I start prepping for my daily meetings first thing. I sell advertising for ESPN Digital Media, which includes ESPN.com, ESPN mobile, and apps for all handhelds. A typical day finds me making several 45-minute PowerPoint presentations to as many as 15 people each time — it's a good thing I love public speaking so much. I work with 40 advertisers, which is a lot!
12 p.m. When I'm not eating at my desk or out with coworkers, I often schedule client lunches at restaurants with a California-style menu — in other words, lots of avocado-based dishes. After that, it's video conference calls with our sales teams in Detroit and New York to discuss marketing strategies or what our competition is up to, and then I'm driving to sales meetings all over town with clients like Lexus, Toyota, and Sony Pictures. I'll pitch them new products we're working on, like WatchESPN — which lets you watch live games online — or our latest mobile app, called Bowl Bound, for college football fans.
3:30 p.m. This is typically when I have to deal with a crisis, which can occasionally derail my entire day. For example, right now an advertiser sent us a concept that was just too racy for ESPN. It's a problem because sometimes we don't see the concept until after we do the deal, which involves hundreds of thousands of dollars. Sports companies are more conservative than people think. I'm sure I'll have to get on the phone and salvage the situation. And sometimes I'm not even at the office when something goes wrong. Twice in the past two months, I've received calls from screaming clients as I was boarding a plane! Luckily, I found a happy solution before take-off.
6 p.m. It's schmoozing time. My relationship with clients is very important to me. In this industry, you spend more time at work than you do with your friends and family, so you end up forming friendships with many of these people. I'll take clients to a Lakers or Dodgers game, or the latest hot spot for dinner or cocktails. If there's any problem getting in, I usually say, "I'm Kelly from ESPN." It works every time. I get to entertain clients at the World Cup or the annual ESPY Awards, which is just the most glamorous event of the year in my business. Last year I saw Justin Timberlake, David Beckham, and Oprah.
8 p.m. On days I don't have to be with clients, I'll meet my girlfriends for dinner or grab takeout on the way home, or my boyfriend cooks me dinner. It's great because he never makes the same meal twice. I usually watch a movie, and then fall asleep by midnight. I try not to check my BlackBerry an hour before bedtime, otherwise I end up dreaming about my clients!


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