October 19, 2009

A Big Jump From the Small Screen to Cyberspace

Account executive Chris Meredith ’02 left ABC Family for more challenges at AOL/ — by Jess Wason ’11

After five years in ad sales at ABC Family, Chris Meredith ’02 made the decision of a lifetime. He switched from a television company whose operations have been fairly constant for decades to the digital frontier at, which AOL purchased for its ad network business.

“I made a huge jump from TV,” he says. “I liked ABC, but there was little room for promotion, and I decided I wanted to challenge myself and move to a brand new world.”

Chris works as an account executive in the AOL/ Publisher Services Department.

“I manage a large roster of Comscore Top 500 online publishers including major newspapers, TV networks, and ISP (Internet service provider), gaming, and social media sites,” he says. “We work with the publishers to monetize their discretionary ad inventory by filling ad space with our network of advertisers.” (Comscore is a global leader in measuring the digital world.)

Chris is not sure if he will stay at AOL forever, but he appreciates how devoted the team is to its customers.

“Our clients range from large newspaper web sites to small companies that generate a ton of inventory,” he says, noting that he likes the versatility at his job, that every day is different, and that he is constantly challenged.

Chris also sought out challenges at Lafayette. The minute he stepped onto campus, he knew he was in the right place. He was the type of student who liked to be involved with a variety of organizations. His personality took over Lafayette with his involvement in Greek life and Student Government and service as a resident adviser, first-year student orientation leader, and head of Dance Marathon.

Chris believes he developed essential skills through his campus leadership roles and classroom opportunities.

“My studies at Lafayette prepared me for the real world in a multitude of ways,” says Chris, who double majored in art and anthropology & sociology. “Most importantly, my time in the classroom prepared me academically, helped me become a better presenter and team player, and enabled me to learn the fine art of time management.”

“Every club on campus makes you focus on teamwork,” he adds. “Because I was so active, it became natural to work with people, and that helped me with my career today.”

The Office of Career Services and its Gateway program also played a major role in preparing Chris for life after Lafayette, teaching him resume building, networking skills, and interviewing tactics. They also enabled him to try his hand at public relations and client-side advertising before settling on ad sales.

“Before I landed my first job out of college, I had no resume,” he says. “Career services helped me build my resume, and helped me get four internships during my time at Lafayette.”

For two of those internships, Chris took advantage of Lafayette’s closeness to New York City. In the summer of 2000 he focused on public relations at the Kirshenbaum Bond and Partners ad agency. In the summer of 2001 he interned at Ketchum Communications.

Leveraging his internships and a contact he made though a Lafayette connection, Chris landed his first post-graduation job at ABC Family.

“I’ve always had an interest in external communications, where there are a lot of personalities to take into account,” he says.

Chris hosts a Lafayette extern every year and even helped two past externs, Meghan Baker ’07, who is working for ABC News, and Jesse Clemmens ’09, find their first positions out of college.

“Being an alumnus who used Gateway, I think it is very important to give back,” says Chris, who also volunteers for Lafayette as an alumni admissions representative and career mentor. “I hope they like [their jobs],” he says with a laugh.

Wherever the little AOL “Running Man” takes Chris, he’s confident of success because of his experiences at Lafayette.

“The best thing to do is to get involved in campus; branch out of your comfort zone and get involved in something totally different,” he says. “Trust me, it’s worth the experience.”

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