Humans of TMA is a content series that showcases the diverse, interesting, and creative people that make up The Marketing Arm.
Let’s Get to Know Chloë…
Can you describe what your role at TMA is? As an Associate Creative Director, I’m responsible for mentoring and leading creative teams on projects as well as working with my creative partner to create campaign work. Depending on the project I’m doing, anything from concepting broadcast scripts, presenting to clients, supervising audio records, sitting behind the director at a TV shoot, or creating digital experiences. Currently, I work on the State Farm team but I’ve also worked on the U.S. Army account and assisted other wonderful teams at TMA on other projects.
What led you to this career/industry? An aptitude for creative writing and a healthy imagination. I was actually first attracted to the industry because of the potential to be involved in cause marketing. I’m very grateful I’ve been able to create work for some amazing social good organizations.
What’s the coolest or your favorite thing you’ve worked on? I’m proud of so much of the work I’ve been able to put out in the world. It’s a tough call, but I think my favorite experience was getting to interview and shoot spots about incredible Austin women and their entrepreneurial stories.
What three words would your closest friends use to describe you? Empathetic. Loyal. Intelligent.
How do you bring your full self into your work? What unique perspectives do you bring? Throughout my career and life, I’ve held firm to a set of ethics. Honesty is huge for me, so are kindness, compassion, and integrity. I don’t believe the “ends justify the means” and I never will. The work I do is seen by millions of people and I want to be proud of what I do as well as how I got there.
Where do you find inspiration? Everywhere. Getting out on a hiking trail and working out, harvesting peppers, attending plays and operas, soaking up art in Chicago’s word-class museums, reading short stories and long form journalism. Asking strangers questions and just letting them talk.
What is your guilty pleasure? I don’t believe in guilty pleasures, but I do have a larger than average board game collection. We’re undergoing a modern renaissance in tabletop games and there is a breath-taking variety of beautiful nature, cooperative, and even mystery games that scratch that “escape room” vibe. Highlights include Obsession, Glen More II, Caper, Meadow, and Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons.
What has been your favorite cultural moment of the last few years? Watching Black Lives Matter grow and influence policy and culture. It’s long, long overdue.
What causes are you supportive of and why? My beliefs are entrenched in intersectional feminism, and that means I look toward the organizations that support the most marginalized people. It’s heartbreaking that we aren’t in a place where people have basic human rights. The Black community, Indigenous and Native Peoples, People with Disabilities, and young Queer people are still victims of daily hate, discrimination, and violence. There are amazing national organizations, but local grassroots organization are so important in doing the groundwork. In Chicago, I recommend The Night Ministry and Brave Space Alliance.
We’re in a precarious time where book bans are on the rise in libraries and educational institutes across the country. According to the American Library Association, three fourths of the 1,100+ books banned in public schools have been written by authors from marginalized groups, by authors of color, by LGBTQ2SIA+ authors. And gun violence is a huge, visible problem in this country. I highly recommend checking out the important work Chicago Cred is doing.
I’m also a lifelong advocate for environmental causes. Climate change is only getting worse. Individual AND corporate action are essential. Lots of amazing organizations to look at, start with the Clean Air Task Force.
What’s your hobby or passion project outside of TMA? I got into advertising because I have a compulsion to write. And it sounds boring because writing is the core of my job, but that’s my central creative interest outside of it too. Most of my closest friends are writers and readers. I lead a book group and exchange work with other writers. I also play piano and guitar and do a massive amount of baking in the cooler months.
What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from? My third-grade teacher told me, “life isn’t fair.” It may sound trite, but it’s something I’ve always come back to. At the time, my parents had recently divorced, I was the new girl in school, and my close friends had major issues in their home lives. I believed that if I was a model student and perfect daughter I could somehow overcome my background. It’s a piece of advice that’s proved more profound as I’ve grown older. Being a top student and a hard worker doesn’t compensate for not having generational wealth or family connections. Some people must work harder and prove themselves more to gain less. At the same time, I know I have privileges others don’t. It’s because life is fundamentally unfair that it’s important to not put value in people based on money, success, or rank. Kindness, compassion, and understanding are more important than status.
What is one thing you wish more people knew about you? I’m not great at names, but I’m exceptional at voices and faces.
What would be the name of your TED Talk? “Kindness Doesn’t Cost a Thing”
What are you watching? Really into the workplace comedies Our Flag Means Death and Abbot Elementary. And 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything is a staggeringly ambitious docuseries about resistance and revolution that is still relevant and prescient in 2022. Also, in love with foreign mysteries. The Scottish shows Shetland and Loch Ness are both standouts.
What are you reading? Everything. My nightstand perpetually holds a whodunnit or mystery novel. Recently finished two great ones that focus on Black identity in America. One in the 1970s: Harlem Shuffle by Colston Whitehead and one set in contemporary Virginia: Razorblade Tears C.B. Crosby. I’m making my way through some beautifully written nonfiction: The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company by William Dalrymple that dissects the effects of British colonialism in the latter half of the 18th century and I’m listening to Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worldsby Merlin Sheldrake. How much we still don’t understand about the natural world is continually astounding. For my graphic novel fix, I can’t get enough Mind MGMT and SAGA.
What are you listening to? For podcasts: 99% Invisible, The Missing Crypto Queen, Science Friday, Dead Eyes, Throughline. For music: Sarah Bareilles, Brandi Carlisle, Kate Bush, Kacey Musgraves, Ingrid Michaelson, and Andrew Bird.
Who are you following? Janelle Monáe. George Saunders. The New Yorker. Eve Ewing, G. Willow Wilson.
What are you ignoring? Anyone who comes from a place of hate. Anti-intellectuals, anti-science movements. Bigots and xenophobes. Concern trolls.
Photography: John Gress
Chloë Westerfield | Associate Creative Director | Chicago Office
An Austinite by birth, a Chicagoan by whim, Chloë Westerfield has learned to appreciate scarves, but still can’t keep track of her gloves. In her two years at TMA she’s been lucky enough to work with incredible, kind individuals on several accounts including: Army, New Biz, and State Farm. As an Associate Creative Director, she’s delighted to not only write and concept, but also lead teams to work that creates resonance and impact.