In honor of International Women's Day and Women's History Month, we had a thoughtful conversation with our resilient Head of Media, Jaime Byrdak. She's just one of the many incredible women who make up the Billups team. Jaime leads with strength and empathy in her professional career and beyond and we're excited to share her story, discuss the women who impacted her journey and ways in which we can all continue to uplift women.
Path to where you are now in your career and length of time at Billups
I started my career at a full-service media agency in strategic planning with an eye towards growing into a creative role. Around this time I was also accepted at The Art Institute of Chicago and enrolled in evening courses. After earning my fine arts diploma, I was introduced into the world of outdoor planning & buying, which led me to an unexpected journey that fulfilled my creative passion. When I joined Billups 3 years ago, I was excited for the opportunity to balance the art of OOH planning with the accessibility of data science metrics and to collaborate with so many talented team members to prove OOH works.
MolsonCoors client Erin Vitellaro (left) inviting Jaime (right) to join her on stage to accept the OBIE Hall of Fame Award with a celebratory Miller Lite in Austin, 2018.
The early OOH days in Chicago (from left to right): Maureen McCloskey, Annie Bednarski, Leslie Bloom and Jaime, 2008.
3 influential female role models in your life
There are many female role models that I am lucky to know, admire and support. When I reflect on the most influential educators, prominent voices, colleagues, family members and peers I would like to highlight my mother and sister as well as my first professional leader.
- My mother instilled many strong values in all of her children. She leads with compassion and kindness but has unspeakable resilience and strength even in the most challenging of times.
- My sister balances motherhood while thriving in her career. She is consistently earning incremental certifications to extend her skillset built around helping others live a better life, from pediatric to elderly patients.
- Katie Cross was my first director in the professional world. She guided me with confidence in the workplace and taught me how to stand out, succeed and have a strong voice.
Jaime (left) with her children, sister (right), and her sister's children in Chicago, 2019.
Top qualities of a strong leader
Authenticity, trustworthiness, engaging and leading with empathy.
Jaime and her daughter at age 8 in Chicago, 2018.
Best piece of advice you've received you would want to share with other women
The importance of advocating for yourself, prioritizing your needs to make things happen.
Jaime working at night on her photography freelancing business.
Favorite OOH campaign that celebrates women
I am drawn to Nike campaigns that celebrate female athletes. Growing up playing basketball, I am especially inspired by the OOH activation featuring Maya Moore celebrating her achievements, talent and success. Another notable one is Nike’s Play New: WNBA, endorsing women’s basketball by asserting that the problem is not a lack of MVPs, but that people just aren’t watching.
Jaime playing basketball at age 17 for her high school in the Southwest suburbs of Chicago.
Maya Moore Wings campaign (top left), Play New: New Dynasty (bottom left), and Play New: WNBA (right).
Ways we can continue to uplift and support women in the workplace
Lead other women with guidance and encouragement. Not only manage, but mentor to help guide them in achieving goals. Speak up for what is right and recognize, celebrate and empower women. Lastly, protect flex factors that are important to working moms and set goals around female involvement.
Jaime and her husband and children in Michigan City, 2021.