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How’dja get that!?: Eileen Sutton on the Long Game

Posted by Ilise Benun on

Another in our occasional series about how people got great gigs. Eileen Sutton, principal of EF Sutton Creative, describes the means to a very spectacular end. Sometimes, it’s less about what you do than what you’ve been doing all along…

The project was a 6-panel capabilities brochure and several sell sheets for a global financial company. The fee was substantial and I was glad.

How did I get it?

It all started years ago when I joined a professional organization in the financial field. After a year or two, I started doing pro bono work for this organization’s yearly events. The president of the organization, Jackson B., was naturally well connected in financial services. He knew me, I knew him, but I wasn’t sure I was even on his radar.

When Dave S, the marketing VP for this global financial company, called me for the job — ostensibly out of the blue — I was excited to be considered for an ambitious assignment direct-to-client, especially because I wanted to be writing more in this particular financial arena.

When I first met Dave he didn’t need to look at my samples. We talked for several hours, and I think he could see I was able to deliver. I had worked for several other companies like Dave’s, so he had a natural faith in my ability. Dave also knew one of my clients.

In the final moments of the interview, he happened to mention that he and Jackson were friends, and that Jackson had referred me. I had no idea.

The moral of the story: you never know who your brand ambassadors are out there, and I was glad that my pro bono work paid off. Naturally I am sending Jackson a gift to express my deep gratitude for the referral.

Got a great story—with or without life-changing lesson—of your own? Let us know!

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