ADVERTISING – This spotlight series features T. Howard Foundation (THF) alumni working in advertising.
Andre (AJ) Rowe Jr. (THF ’15)
Please describe your role.
I am currently the Director of BBDO New York’s in-house production company, BBDO Studios. In this role, I manage all day-to-day operations, oversee studio and agency partnerships, and supervise 15-20 team members including directors, producers, production managers, editors and animators. I also lead all administrative and financial processes for shooting and post production, user-generated and curatorial content, tech and prototyping, and digital development.
What do you enjoy most about your company?
What I enjoy most about BBDO are the people. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the most creative minds in the media industry. Being surrounded by individuals that take their craft seriously inspires me to continue working hard, and sharpen my skills on a regular basis. It’s rewarding to have a team that supports my ideas, and invests in talented people that look like me.
In what way did this type of work interest you and how did you get started?
Originally as a student journalist, I immediately discovered my love for production. Even though news reporting wasn’t my passion, creating compelling content for viewers felt incredible. Discovering different ways of storytelling continues to drive my career. Being able to produce short-form media, docu-style videos, and marketing campaigns allows me to tell stories in ways I could never imagine.
How has your affiliation with the T. Howard Foundation influenced your career?
THF has always shown me the importance of networking. I have met some of my closest friends through the foundation, and have also made some invaluable connections with colleagues within the industry. Not only have I built lifelong bonds, but I have become a better producer and businessman because of the conversations I’ve had with the many successful people in our THF family.
What personal attributes have been essential to your career success?
The two personal attributes that both play huge roles in my success are my ambition and positivity. Since a little kid, my parents have always pushed me to be the best I can be. No matter what’s happening in the world, or with those around me, I’ve learned to stay focused on my journey. In addition, staying positive through all the ups and downs is what’s important. I can only control my decisions and reactions. Instead of focusing on what I can’t control, I choose to deal with the cards I’ve been dealt, and move on while knowing that everything will work out as it should.
If you were entering this career today, how would you prepare to facilitate entry?
If entering this career today, I would prepare myself for the wild ride ahead. It’s important to manage your expectations when starting a career. Things will not happen overnight, and there will be a lot of hard work involved. However, anything worth having is worth working hard for.
In one sentence please describe what work/life balance means to you.
Work/life balance to me means acknowledging your physical and mental capacity, and unapologetically taking time to check in with yourself.
Use one word to describe how you practice self-care.
Are you an early bird or a night owl? How does this show up in your working habits?
As of late, I’ve turned into an early bird. It not only increases the amount of time for productivity, but it allows me to include rewarding activities like meditation, working out, and cooking breakfast in my daily routine.