Tell us about yourself and your current role: Where are you from? What do you do?
My name is Sonya Matejko and I’m the Communications Manager at Situation – a digital agency best known for helping brands build passionate communities. From Miami to New York, I've focused my career on making connections, boosting talent, and generating positive brand recognition for agencies. By collaborating with all levels and disciplines, I concentrate on reputation management and building thoughtful agency exposure through events, awards, speaking, thought leadership, and press. Outside of agency walls, you'll find me writing short stories, articles, and multiple first drafts of a novel. If you can't find me there, I'm probably off traveling the world.
How would you describe the culture of New York City?
I have a serious love-hate relationship with New York City. I always dreamed of moving here ever since I was a little girl. Once I got here, I understood why that dream persisted in me until I made it happen. There’s an unquestionable energy in the air, and it vibrates off the never-empty sidewalks. Everyone in the city is here with a dream, and you can feel the power of that across every neighborhood. Everyone here hustles like their career depends on it because it does. Everyone here has a story, and New York City makes you more confident so that you might tell it one day. Everyone here has a purpose or is leveraging the city to try and find theirs. That’s not to say that the city doesn’t come with its challenges (because it does), and it’s certainly not always (or ever) easy, but that’s part of the allure of it all. This city enables you to make magic happen and move at the speed of an NYC taxi cab. Careers are made here. Companies are born here. Innovation is bred here. Life is always exciting here, and there’s no other city like it.
In what ways does the city or its culture inspire you and your work?
One of the most amazing things about New York City is that there is an opportunity around every single corner. At any point, you could meet someone or make a connection that will forever change the trajectory of your business or your career. This prospect is increasingly more important as we move into a digital-first lifestyle because the most effective connections are still made in person. The city offers a multitude of ways to meet people in and out of your industry – the trick is making the time to go to events, seminars, conferences, and networking events. Another great thing? There’s a myriad of ways to improve your professional skill set so you’re more prepared to make career-changing connections. Just hop onto Eventbrite and there are hundreds of events on empowerment, public speaking, team building, etc. There is inspiration everywhere if you make it a point to see it.
What is the best incentive that NYC offers agencies?
NYC is arguably the home of advertising. Some of the greatest advertising in history was conceptualized in one of the many high rises across the city. For many people in the industry (including myself), just getting to NYC to work in advertising was a career goal. Because of that, there’s a community and natural respect for the people who work in the advertising business. We understand the struggles, the late nights, the endless need for coffee, and the joy of seeing it all come together. We all come from different places, but we connect here under the same passion for our work.
Could you offer any advice to young talent heading to work in NYC?
Persist. Candidly, this city doesn’t balance giving and taking well. The city takes a lot out of you without always offering something back in return. However, that’s why persisting is so important. Over time, you’ll realize how much stronger the city makes you as a human being. It’s not easy, and certainly not as first, but it’s undeniably worth it. If it scares you, that’s a good thing. If you’re not struggling in some way, you’re probably doing it wrong. The trick is to enjoy the hilarity of what it takes to make it here, keep going, and enjoy the view.
Why should young talents and industry leaders come to NYC? What is the best part of working in NYC?
New York City forces you to chase your dreams, push yourself beyond your perceived potential, and magically make a million things fit into a single minute. Outside of personal development, there are also hundreds of advertising agencies and brands that choose this city every day to feed creativity and move the industry forward. It’s the place to be for young, ambitious talent to come in and make a difference in our rapidly changing world.
If you had to choose, what is your favorite hidden-gem in NYC?
My favorite spot in NYC would be the hammock grove on Governor’s Island. While it may not be a hidden gem, it’s certainly hidden. I love it partially because leaving the city always makes you appreciate it more. I also love it because it’s so serene and quiet – which are two things you normally don’t say about the city so that peace is incredibly precious.