Meet Debbie O’Connor: Bayard’s Client Service Manager

Intern Interviews: Hillary Bergman

I was lucky enough to have Debbie O’Connor-Fink, Bayard’s Client Service Manager for the past 7 years, share with me her time, advice, and expertise last week in an informational interview.

“Nothing surprises me,” she said, and it’s true—she’s a life-long resident of the Bronx, and a career-long member of the advertising industry.  O’Connor-Fink knows the ins and outs of New York advertising life like the back of her hand.

bsbfsbfbShe specifically is the account executive for our trucking clients, including Swift Transportation, Barr-Nunn, Express-1, and PGT Trucking.  When she started, she was in charge of only one small trucking company, and now is in charge of many of our clients. “Before I came here, I worked for another agency.  I handled a small trucking account at my old agency, so Louis (Naviasky, COO of Bayard) approached me and asked if I could handle one. Then Bill (Davidson, President of Logistics Division) and I went out to see them and that was my first account.  And then came another one, and then another one,” she said.

The trucking industry is no exception to the digital age, and the importance of advertising for both mobile and desktop sites.  O’Connor-Fink mentioned that she has been “doing this over 30 years… We had typewriters when I started!”  When asked about the changes she has seen in the industry, and the ones that are to come, she replied, ”Oh, I can see it changing now.  Going to the online/digital.  My workload and my clients are doing less print and more online.  The transportation magazines come out once a month, and they’re out for the month and its good branding for the company, but these people want instant results.  So you put up a campaign on LinkedIn or Indeed, and their phones are ringing.”

Even with the exponential amount of experience O’Connor-Fink already has, she always is eager to learn. She told me, “If I see something doing something new, I was always like “What is that?” When I first got here, I was able to do my own ads—I knew how to use the art program at my old company because it was PC compatible.  (Since at Bayard we have Macs) I used to sit in the art department on a Friday afternoon with someone who used to be here and he used to teach me InDesign.”

This was part of her advice to me—learn everything you can.  She adds, “Learn whatever’s available, take advantage.  Even today, Zach told me they’re going to design an Extranet for making changes and I told him I want to learn how to use it once it’s up.  It’s really important to keep up with the technology and anything new that comes out.  In this business, I’ve seen people who haven’t kept up with it and they are no longer here.”

When I asked what skills or talents or personal qualities she believes are required for someone in such a cutthroat industry, she listed “excellent communication skills, you have to be very personable…and a new skill that I am learning is you must be very proficient in Excel!”

And if you haven’t realized this already—Bayard is a great place to work.  O’Connor-Fink repeats what many of the other execs have told me as well,” I really like my fellow employees-that’s big.  I like the day-to-day interactions with the clients.  It’s always something different—there’s always something different going on every day, its not mundane, its not boring.  You never know what you’re walking into in the morning.  It’s very interesting.”