Skip to main content

Kean University

Kean Q&A: Distinguished Professor Robin Landa Shares a Roadmap to Choosing a Career

Robin Landa stands in front of a colorful background holding her book

A Career Is a Promise, the latest book written by Kean Distinguished Professor Robin Landa, of Michael Graves College, is a guide to career development for anyone, including students. She spoke about her book and work in a Q&A interview with Kean News.

Q. You've written 26 books about advertising, design, branding, creativity and idea generation. Is A Career Is a Promise your first book about career development? 

Embarking on career development is not uncharted territory for me. A few years ago, I authored  Build Your Own Brand: Strategies, Prompts and Exercises for Marketing Yourself, a book proudly housed in Simon & Schuster's collection. 

Now, extending beyond design domains, A Career Is a Promise delves into a broader spectrum, providing a tried-and-true framework for individuals across diverse fields. This book is a comprehensive guide offering roadmaps, prompts, inner-directed questions and self-assessment tools designed to help readers unearth what truly excites them professionally. 

Q. What prompted you to write this book? What is the significance of the title, A Career Is a Promise

The impetus behind writing this book is encapsulated by the title, A Career Is a Promise. Beyond serving as a salary, a career symbolizes a commitment to personal growth, success and fair treatment—an oath to oneself for a fulfilling professional journey. The book urges readers to reflect on the promises they make to their own careers, often eclipsed by expectations from employers. The content challenges readers to establish a personal code—a deliberate examination of desires, the setting of meaningful goals and the empowerment of aspirations. A Career Is a Promise is a compass for navigating toward unprecedented possibilities and the fulfillment of one's genuine potential.

Q. You mentioned in the book that you've "guided thousands of university students." How has working with students informed your writing of the book?

The motivation behind writing this book stems from my extensive experience guiding university students toward fulfilling careers, particularly through my role in the Michael Graves College overseeing the BFA in Advertising. Witnessing the need for graduates to smoothly transition into the professional realm, I've focused on imparting conceptual, creative and strategic skills essential for immediate employment. Our graduates' successes at top agencies and corporations such as Droga5, Disney and Google validate my approach. 

Q. What is the most important takeaway of the book?

The book's core message resonates with the reality that many of us overlook discovering what truly ignites our passion and propels our careers to remarkable heights. In a world where we invest over a third of our lives in work, the importance of ensuring our careers hold the promise of fulfillment cannot be overstated. A career, as the book underscores, is a profound promise one makes to oneself.

The most vital takeaway of A Career Is a Promise lies in its invitation to unlock your career promise, fostering a path of self-awareness and purpose that transforms careers.

Q. Where should students like Kean's start in building their careers?

For students, the key lies in seizing every educational opportunity. Actively participating in classes and seeking faculty mentorships are foundational steps. Beyond academia, strategic networking plays a pivotal role—securing internships, obtaining external mentors and leveraging platforms such as LinkedIn to craft a compelling professional profile enriched with relevant keywords.

Initiating professional connections is crucial; personalized messages expressing genuine interest can pave the way for insightful "coffee" meetings with experts in a student’s chosen field. Joining professional organizations amplifies exposure and provides access to valuable resources. Furthermore, students should explore free resources, maximizing every avenue to enhance skills and industry knowledge.

A crucial piece of advice is to cultivate career-building relationships focusing on mentorship and sponsorship. A mentor, someone with more experience, offers valuable advice, guidance and feedback. This mentorship can extend beyond the workplace, encompassing professional organizations, networks or even a trusted professor. A sponsor utilizes their influence and position to advocate for your career advancement. This multifaceted strategy, embracing education, networking and relationship-building, establishes a robust foundation for a successful career launch.

Q. You're a prolific writer, and you have another new book coming out in June. What can you tell us about that?

Hands holding an book entitled Shareworthy

Columbia University Press is set to publish Shareworthy: Advertising That Creates Powerful Connections Through Storytelling, which I co-authored with Greg Braun, retired deputy global chief creative officer of Commonwealth/McCann. Greg's illustrious career includes spearheading campaigns for iconic brands such as United Airlines, Starbucks and Hyundai, creating spots for the Super Bowl, the Oscars and the FIFA World Cup.

In an era defined by global competition, brands must captivate audiences with meaningful stories across diverse media channels. This book, a harmonious blend of practitioner and academic insights, presents a comprehensive roadmap for conceiving and developing advertising campaigns that render brand stories truly shareworthy. 

Shareworthy is a beacon for advertising, branding and marketing students, educators and professionals, illuminating the path to crafting compelling stories, forging connections with audiences and embracing social responsibility throughout the creative process. 

Q. Research and interviews are a big part of developing your ideas. Who are some of the experts you've turned to in writing both books?

A Career Is a Promise unveils inspiring personal narratives of triumph as professionals harness their strengths, expertise and sense of purpose. Dr. Joan Fallon, CEO of Curemark, dedicates her career to enhancing children's health. Ilana Kloss, CEO of Billie Jean King Enterprise, channels her passion for tennis—first as a professional player and now in creating opportunities for underrepresented communities in sports. 

Shareworthy presents candid interviews with expert practitioners. Greg Hahn, Mischief’s co-founder and chief creative officer, advised that one thing “we have to instill in our clients and in ourselves, is that the riskiest thing to do is put something out there that nobody notices, because then you risk blowing your whole ad budget.” Guan Hin Tay, creative chairman of BBDO Singapore, counseled, “Stories that are real and authentic resonate on a personal level. Predictably is the death of any good stories, so always be un-boring.”

These interviews forge a connection between readers and industry leaders, offering insights into the challenges faced by these experts, fostering a deeper understanding of the subject matter. 

This commitment transforms both books into valuable resources, offering credible and dynamic resources that not only educate but also inspire and captivate the readers' imagination.