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ICF Next

Meet the Digital 40 over 40 honorees: Patti Temple Rocks

Patti Temple Rocks is senior partner and head of Client Impact at ICF Next and one of Campaign US's Digital 40 over 40 honorees. Here, she explains why no career is perfect, why her calendar is her life and how mistakes actually lead to growth

How did you feel when you saw your name on Campaign’s D40o40 winner’s list?
Honestly, I wondered if there was a category for 40 WAY over 40!  But mostly I was appreciative of Campaign’s decidedly non-ageist approach to talent.

Can you sum up your journey in less than five words? 
I always give a damn.

What three qualities do you need to be successful in digital today? 
An appetite for change; eyesight to see around corners and an ability to patiently and compassionately lead people through the change.

How does the culture at your organization help you to thrive? 
I have only recently joined the organization, and they knew it was important to me to keep talking about ageism in the workplace and they encourage me to do just that.

What excites you most about digital advertising right now?
It allows brands to tell their stories at scale – but in context.  And, most importantly, where and how consumers want to hear those stories. 

Can you describe one piece of work that you have produced in the past 12 months that excites you?
My book, ‘I’m Not Done!’.  I have always had plenty to say, but I’ve never been motivated to share it with the world before. Writing this book and seeing how people have responded to it has been an incredible experience.

If we took your boss out for a drink, how would she/he describe you? 
Given that I just ran the agency for my boss during her unexpectedly early maternity leave, I think her gratitude would make her say I am the greatest thing ever!

If we took your team out for a drink, how would they describe you?
Well since we’re at a bar, I hope they would say I am a lot of fun. But I also hope they would say that I am fair and that I have their back. 

Who's your biggest inspiration and why?
I truly can’t name a single person. I draw inspiration from the acts of people more than the person themselves. If I see someone on my commute who is managing their commute while blind, I am inspired.  If I watch a junior copywriter gather the courage to ask for help when he is blocked, I am inspired. When I see the busy senior leader taking time to mentor, I am inspired. 

Do you have any digital life-hacks that help you boss your job? 
My calendar is my life. I don’t let anyone else control it, and if I need time to think, I block it out on my calendar, and I set reminders. I learned the hard way, that if you don’t control your own calendar you will never get done what you want to get done.  

Can you tell me one thing you’d love to be digital… and one thing you hope never goes digital? 
I would love it if brushing my teeth could be digitally automized – three thorough brushes a day.  But never, ever, digitize my morning hot shower! 

What advice would you give to someone entering the industry? Any tips for success you'd like to share?
The one thing I always tell young people is that it won’t be perfect. This career of yours will more than likely not go as you have planned it, but the twists and turns along the way will lead to something potentially better – as long as you keep an open mind and an open heart. 

As for tips from my own success, I would say it is just that – embrace the journey.  I once gave a talk called ‘Shi(f)t happens’ and retrospectively looked at my career and realized how much of my growth happened as a result of unplanned things… and even some screw ups. 

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