Up Close and Personal: Getting to Know Ariel Deitz, President of American Advertising Federation of Baltimore & Political Lead, Millennial Media

Ariel Deitz

Capitol Communicator is running a series featuring profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic.  In this “up close and personal” profile, we feature Ariel Deitz. Photography for the “up close and personal” series is by Cade Martin;wardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup by Patti D Nelson and Janice Kinigopoulos for THE Artist Agency.

Ariel, please provide a short bio.

After starting my career in New York and Chicago, I moved to the Baltimore region over eight years ago and immediately served as programs chair for the AAFB, revamping their full calendar of events and founding Baltimore Advertising Week in 2009. Now, I am the group’s president.  I also work full-time as the political lead for Millennial Media, one of the largest mobile technology companies in the world, which houses its global headquarters in Baltimore.  In my role there, I have spent many years building successful campaigns for the world’s top political candidates, associations and advocacy groups in Washington, D.C.

I am also an NYU grad and periodically serve as an adjunct professor at American University.

What are the things you are most proud of?

My two kiddos, now two-and-a-half and seven months old.  Being a parent is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  Seeing them grow into sweet little humans is the most rewarding and emotional experience of my life.

Who were your personal role models?

I can honestly say I’ve had hundreds. I feel like I have learned so much from the people I’ve worked with over the years, personally and professionally.  There are so many things we can learn from each other and there is good in most people to be admired. Surrounding yourself with people who are kind, motivated and passionate will push you to find that in yourself.

Did your role models offer professional advice that helped you in your career?

One of my very first bosses, Joe Gangone, and I were talking about my career growth once in a situation that sticks with me today.  He asked me to look at the chair beside his desk.  He said, “What do you see?” and I replied, “A brown wooden chair?”  He said, “Of course.  But I see the woodworker that made the legs, the hammer and sweat that pounded the nails, the upholsterer who worked on the fabric. There are so many more layers to the jobs that get done in our world. Never underestimate the team around you that creates the work you do.”  To this day, I feel like I’m always striving to make sure my teams feel like teams, and that I recognize the hard work they put in to get things done. It takes a village, always.

What professional advice do you have for others?

If it doesn’t work, fix it.  If it doesn’t win, lose it.  If it doesn’t exist, create it. Be tenacious and flexible, but always accountable. The best work I’ve seen done was from a team of people who were never confined by set parameters, remained adaptable, and ultimately didn’t stop until they succeeded. And if they messed up along the way, they were the first to admit it (and present a viable solution immediately, of course).

What’s appropriate clothing for your organization?

I really love the quote “dress for the job you want.” But lucky for me, my CEO wears jeans to work. Ad tech is a fun space to be in.  It almost feels like flip flops are a required foot accessory to know code.  As a 5’2” female, I tend to throw a blazer on most things for work… you know, because blazers make you look taller.  Okay, just kidding, it’s because I’m in sales.

Where do you buy most of the clothes you wear to the office?

95% of the time J. Crew or Anthropologie can provide me with everything I need for the office. So obvious, I know. But it’s all laid out for me on such well-coordinated mannequins! It’s my clothing equivalent to Pottery Barn. The other 5% of the time I like to get overwhelmed at Marshalls or TJ Maxx.  I can honestly say I haven’t had time for that in 2.5 years and miss it dearly.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?

I had a brief stint as a child actress in the 90s, which is pretty random, but was a total blast. It played a big role in my decision to attend NYU, where I decided to study a pre-med curriculum “just in case.” My first week at school I looked outside and saw students from our Arts School pretending to be trees. I quickly realized there were people a lot more serious than me about becoming actors, so I focused on my studies. Three years of pre-med later, I ended up with a politics degree and a full-time job at Sports Illustrated. I’d say the randomness of my life has continued over the years, but I appreciate it all as experiences well worth it. We get one shot at this, right? Try it all, learn from mistakes, and have fun along the way.