Meet HZ: Kelly Cheung

How long have you been with HZ? How did you come to call this orange-clad office home?

A year and a half. I had many stops along the way before landing at HZ - several years in the quaint town of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, several more years in the giant snowpile filled city of Boston, Massachusetts, and finally in the fine Disctrict of Columbia and HZ. It was mostly the passionate people I met during my interview that attracted me to HZ... and partially the all orange all day decor.


Tell us a bit about some of the accounts you’ve worked with over the years. Is there a particular industry or type of client you specialize in, or do you find yourself working with a more diverse portfolio?

I'm lucky enough to have worked with a diverse portfolio of brands and accounts over the years. From financial services (remember Wachovia, now Wells Fargo?), to moonshine (taste-testing was semi-optional), to cruise lines with a tendency of experiencing technical difficulties (no comment), it's been a fun, dramatic roller coaster of a ride. Good thing I like roller coasters.

Why do you think a strong brand-agency relationship is so important?

As a business, you have to care what people think of your brand. More importantly, you have to first make sure people know your brand exists. Otherwise you're not going to be around for very long.


Where are some common snags that brand-agency relationships hit and how do you work to avoid such pitfalls?

Settling. Getting too comfortable in maintenance-mode. Not being open to trying new things. Playing it "safe."

One of my favorite things about working in an agency and at HZ is the never-ending stream of passion and creativity available. People are always thinking of new ideas, new ways of doing something, or new ways of telling others about doing that something. My job is figuring out how to clearly communicate all of this to the client and showing them how it will help better their business or brand.


HZ is a big, integrated agency with a ton of departments and capabilities—how do you communicate all that we can do to clients without overstepping or sounding pushy?

You approach it from their point of view. You have to first understand their business and their goals, then emphasize the capabilities that best meet their needs. No client has ever said they prefer inefficiency so communicating the efficiencies of our integrated model is a good starting point.


Enough work—tell us about yourself a little. You are notorious for consistently packing the healthiest lunch of anyone in Rockville. What’s your best, most nutritious dish and how soon can you make it for everyone?

HAH. You mean my organic, all natural peanut butter with banana on brown rice cake lunch part I? Or my fruit + kefir + dried mulberries parfait lunch part II? I'm about to head into the kitchen to make said parfait if anyone would like a taste...