617MediaGroup is a full-service communications agency headquartered in Boston, with offices in five states and Washington, D.C. Working across print and digital channels, 617 offers a wide array of services including traditional advertising, content production, graphic design, direct mail, translation, and many other integrated marketing solutions.
Beyond the work itself, 617 is defined by a strong progressive culture which values campaigns and clients hoping to change the world. Their portfolio includes partners such as March for Our Lives Boston and the Women’s March, illustrating that this an agency doing more than just talking the talk — they’re making a huge impact.
To learn more about the agency and its career opportunities, we recently spoke with Account Director and Emerson alumna, Vishakha Mathur ’17.
What is your current role with 617MediaGroup?
Vishakha: “I work as an Account Director for 617MediaGroup, which essentially means that I lead a team to provide services for a portfolio of clients. I work with and lead a team to ensure that we’re providing the best strategy support and are producing the highest quality of work.”
How would you describe 617 to someone unfamiliar with the company?
Vishakha: “We are a progressive communications firm. What that essentially means is that all of us are very motivated to changing the world. That is even more relevant in this time and space.
We work with clients that are progressive and share the same values as we do. We work with a number of clients, all the way from those supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and those in the labor movement, to March for Our Lives Boston and the Boston Women’s March. We are very flexible as an agency and the services we provide.
We’re driven and motivated by the type of clients we work with and we’re completely dedicated and committed to helping them succeed and find a voice out in the press or out in the public as they deserve.”
How would you describe the company culture?
Vishakha: “We are a very fast-paced agency. As is the case with agencies everywhere, we tend to have a very quick turnaround on work.
It’s very important for us and regular for us to ask team members and staff members who they want to work with, or what campaigns they want to work with. There’s a fair bit of independence in just having all team members pursue campaigns or projects that they’re interested in and we provide them the support to bring those projects within the agency. And we also provide them the support to make those projects successful.
More than that, one thing I deeply appreciate within this company is just the camaraderie. It’s very easy to get along with everybody and there’s a strong support system. There are people who are reliable and who have your back no matter what happens. That’s the kind of culture we have within the company and that we would like to carry forward.”
What are some of the skills or qualities of someone who excels in the agency?
Vishakha: “We’re looking for people balancing their skills with the right attitude, who are ready to roll up their sleeves and get the work done.
It’s not always possible to slow down and explain everything to somebody, but we’re always looking for folks who are energetic, enthusiastic, and not afraid to take a chance and ask questions.”
What are some of the opportunities you recruit for?
Vishakha: “The way we’re organized is that we have an Accounts department where there are Account Executives, Account Coordinators, Account Directors or Managers and our Vice Presidents who work with clients on a day-to-day basis. The process starts from answering clients calls, emails for requests that they have all the way to completing those requests, making sure that each task reaches its fruition. That’s one type of role we have where you get to participate in a variety of assignments depending on the kind of client you’re working with.
It can range all the way from press outreach, writing op-eds, writing press releases to developing a marketing plan, social media, putting together an advertising campaign, buying ads from vendors.
The other department we have right now is our Audio, Video, and Multimedia department where we have very highly experienced producers — one of them is actually from Emerson — who take the lead on curating multimedia materials. Then we have the Design department where our talent designers create materials for projects or campaigns and also help with maintaining websites.
The thing with us is that we really value a wide range of skills. If you know WordPress or, on the other hand, you know how to write a press release, this is the place to be at because here you will get a chance to do both of those and do both of those equally.”
How has your work been impacted by COVID-19?
Vishakha: “A lot of our work was in-person earlier. It would involve a lot of staffing client events. Working on events, going there and getting things printed. That aspect of our work has significantly changed.
Digital is one area where we’ve been able to provide so much more support than we originally did because all organizations, in the middle of this pandemic, are seeing the important of digital work. They’re seeing how important social media can be, especially when you think about political organizing and when you think, How do you bring people together? That’s a lot of what we do in the labor movement and social justice space.
That’s a lot of the work our clients do. How our work has changed, essentially, is just everything that was in-person — all the door knocking around elections, the petitioning happening in-person earlier, is now happening digitally.
We’re focusing more and more of our efforts online and on digital. We’re also focused on assisting our clients and helping them use those tools to accomplish what they were doing in-person or on the ground before the pandemic.”
Do you have any advice for current students interested in applying to 617?
Vishakha: “We have internship opportunities that are on a rolling basis. We want everybody who’s applying for the internship position and eventually becoming an intern with us to see it as a pathway to a full-time job at the agency. We’re a very fast-growing agency and we are recruiting at that rate as well.
We always want folks to see the internship as an opportunity to have a job within the agency. And to see it as a career path. If you’re interested in the company and if you have the same progressive values that we do, then this is the place for you. There’s always something that you can do at 617MediaGroup.
I loved my time at Emerson, so I am just always looking at more and more ways to get those students involved!”