New Team Member Spotlight: Ross Pfenning

RLF welcomes Ross Pfenning to the team as a communications specialist. Ross recently worked as a corporate marketing associate for CSOFT International in Beijing, China. He graduated from Davidson College with a bachelor’s degree in East Asian Studies.
To get to know Ross better, we asked him a few questions:

Tell us a little about your work experience and what attracted you to RLF.

After graduating from Davidson College, I decided to pack my bags and head east – well, west technically, but it’s all relative – to search for opportunities in China. Initially performing business development and marketing duties for an international consulting startup, I moved on to a large international translation and localization company headquartered in Beijing. There I performed a range of marketing and communications tasks, but was relied upon primarily for my writing and creative abilities, producing everything from white papers to blog posts to magazine ads. To be part of such a small marketing team for such a large company afforded me many opportunities to expand and further my skills, more so than a person of my age or experience level could expect to find in the U.S. at the time. Ultimately, living in China provided me a host of unique and eye-opening experiences, but the one I am most thankful for is the discovery of my passion for marketing-related work.
And that brings me to RLF. Upon returning to the U.S., I knew I wanted to be in an agency setting. RLF embodies precisely the type of organization I want to be a part of. With such experienced and knowledgeable people on staff, it is a place where I can both learn new skills and contribute my existing abilities to enhance the success of not only RLF, but also its clients. I am excited to be onboard and look forward to the opportunities ahead.

What’s your favorite way to spend your free time?

Breathing fresh air! Yes, after spending three years of my life coating my lungs in particulate matter and smog, I am incredibly grateful for North Carolina’s blue skies and clean air. I enjoy running, hiking up the Appalachian Trail, or just lazing on the beach. Give me a good book and a well-designed playlist and I’ll be happy for hours, though I might take periodic breaks to jump in the pool/lake/ocean – whichever body of water I happen to be near at the time.

What is the last book you read?

I am currently working on several books, one of which is “Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Advertising” by Luke Sullivan. As an aspiring copywriter with a passion for bringing creative ideas to life, I am very much enjoying the comical prose, peppered with cynicism. It is both enlightening and somewhat humbling to learn what masterpieces some of the earlier advertising minds were able to produce. However, finding original and compelling ways to reach my audience is a challenge I am delighted to take on.

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

“Kaleidoscope” by Tiësto, featuring Jónsi. If you haven’t heard it, you should. Okay, the song takes some patience as it has a pretty slow build, but the wait is entirely worth it and the anticipation only makes the ‘drop’ more spectacular. Jónsi, responsible for the vocals in the song, is also the lead singer of one of my favorite bands, Sigur Rós. Hearing him sing in English is a bit of a treat because most of his stuff is either in Icelandic or some made-up, incoherent babble that simply sounds nice (but isn’t the kind of thing you can really sing along to). Tiësto’s contribution of cool synths and a steady dance beat takes the song to another level, delivering a unique combination of sounds both soothing and electrifying that packs everything I want into a single song.

If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Nelson Mandela. As a South African citizen and resident for 10 years, I have a deep and abiding appreciation for all that Madiba did for the country in his lifetime. I am inspired by his determination to unite a nation and awed by his ability to forgive those who treated him so poorly. I would have loved the opportunity to sit with him for even a couple of hours just to get a sense of what such a selfless person must be like. He contributed to not only the development of South Africa, but that of the world as well.