Long before Carly Zipp became the Global Director of Brand Marketing at Amazon Ads, she was a familiar voice to radio listeners of the greater Washington, D.C., metro area. That all started during a gap year between high school and her first year at Vanderbilt University, when she accepted an internship at the radio station Z104 doing what you might imagine are basic intern duties—cataloging songs, prepping for on-air interviews, and the like. But the job shifted considerably on the morning of September 11, 2001.
“I interned the morning shift—5 to 9 a.m.—but when the Pentagon was hit, everything changed,” Zipp remembers. “My job as an intern changed to going around to schools in the area and interviewing people on what America and the Pledge of Allegiance meant to them.” Her coverage of the day made national news and, as she puts it, she “inadvertently made a name for [herself].” Her ability to pivot in the moment led to a full-time, on-air position at a rival station. Over the next two decades, Zipp has cultivated a career that’s ranged from television publicist to magazine social media pioneer and steward of TikTok’s global B2B marketing strategy. Now she brings all that experience and more to Amazon Ads.
Zipp’s career has largely been a string of pivotal moments that have required a mix of ingenuity, self-confidence, and perhaps a pinch of challenging the norm. Throughout the years, Zipp has developed a philosophy that drives her personal and professional life: “Know your worth. At work, at home, in love, and in life. Don’t settle for anything less.”
Below, Zipp shares how she’s navigated her career, her advice for leaders looking for balance, and how a Diet Coke break can change the whole day.