Alycia Hamilton began her college career at a private university on Long Island, but like many students, decided after a year that she wanted to be closer to home. Hamilton completed her college degree at Western Connecticut State University, enjoying a more personalized college experience that ultimately helped kick-start her career.
“At WCSU, I felt like I had more of a one-on-one experience,” Hamilton said. “Prior to WCSU, I was one student in a lecture hall with 250 other students. At WCSU’s Ancell School of Business, I had a specialized program that felt tailored to my interests. My degree — a B.B.A. in Direct/Interactive Marketing — is specifically what led me to the career I wanted. I also got to pursue my passion areas — I took a handful of photography classes in addition to my marketing classes, so I was able to stretch both sides of my brain.”
Now, in a successful Interactive Marketing career that’s approaching two decades, Hamilton is SVP Group Account Director and Chicago Account Capability Lead at Digitas North America, an agency with offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle, which describes itself as “the Connected Marketing agency within Publicis Groupe, connecting media, creative, data, and technology to deliver ambitious outcomes for the world’s leading brands.” Hamilton has experience across a variety of categories and brands including MillerCoors, Sprint, BP, Maytag, Whirlpool, Delta Dental, Kimberly-Clark and the Mizkan portfolio, which includes RAGU, Bertolli and Holland House.
Hamilton works from Digitas’ Chicago office, located in the heart of downtown. It’s a long way from Danbury, but the knowledge she gained at WCSU has stayed with her and provides direction to her career.
Eighteen years after graduating, Hamilton still points to a business class on presenting as setting the foundation for her success. “One of my classes at WCSU that stands out to me the most was a presentation class, which is something I do now every day in my career,” she said. “It focused on the fundamentals of how to behave and prepare to deliver a presentation, and how to handle hiccups. Even though the topics and technology have changed, what I learned remains useful to this day. The class had less than 20 students in it, so it enabled the professor to work with us in smaller breakout groups and one-on-one. It felt like I was getting personal attention as a student.”
That personal attention and nurturing also took place outside of the classroom. Hamilton joined WCSU’s award-winning American Marketing Association Collegiate Chapter, serving as its president during her senior year, and organized a trip for club members to the AMA convention in New Orleans. To this day, she participates in Zoom meetings with WCSU Professor of Marketing Dr. Ron Drozdenko and current WCSU AMA students, offering career advice and insights into an agency career.
The relationships Hamilton developed with professors like Drozdenko continue to impact her career. “Many times, Dr. D served as a reference for me as I sought new jobs. I also tapped into him as a mentor in the beginning of my career, calling him for advice, recommendations on books and more.” In fact, Hamilton’s first job working as an account manager for Kraft Foods was facilitated by Drozdenko’s connections. That experience later led to a role as associate director, account management at G2 Interactive working on the Covergirl Cosmetics account, before joining Digitas almost 10 years ago.
In the highly competitive agency world, Hamilton said she has succeeded both because of the foundation of her knowledge and the core values she practices with her clients and her team every day. Those values include respect, transparency, honesty, trust, advocacy and having fun.
“You spend equal time with your coworkers and your family,” she said. “It’s important that you enjoy what you do and build healthy relationships along the way. I also believe in leading, learning and nurturing through transparency and recognizing that learning goes both ways. At WCSU, I learned to speak my voice and value the opinions and knowledge of others. I also saw the advantage of nurturing relationships. Both have given me the ability to consistently grow and learn.”
Hamilton currently resides in Illinois with her husband Ryan and their 5-year-old daughter Molly June.
Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals, and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.