Allison R. Lenz, M.O.D. Media Productions
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Allison R. Lenz, owner and creative director, M.O.D. Media Productions.
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What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?
At M.O.D. Media, we are the great interpreters. Everything the we create is personal and has an emotional connection to our client. Whether that be a targeted video campaign, a full brand build, the wedding, the family photoshoot, even down to the headshot, everything we do must express our subject with the utmost truth and conviction. We are tasked with not only creating a genuine connection with our subjects and clients, but also using our skill and creativity to express them accurately to the rest of the world. This may be our greatest challenge, but it is also our greatest achievement. In that, the most rewarding part of this “job” is when the client is overwhelmed and taken by their reflection. They are overwhelmed with the beauty that they have already possessed, but that we were able to bring to light. When their campaign is successful, when they reach new customers and their brand is speaking to exactly who they are, when we can show others the meaning behind the brand, the meaning behind the eyes, the meaning behind the story, that, to me, is the most rewarding.
Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?
To be completely honest, I still really look up to Pierre Stephenson, of Pierre’s Portrait Art. He took a chance on me over 14 years ago that I don’t know anybody else would. He hired me because I had an artistic eye but no knowledge of how to use a professional camera or shoot in a studio or anything that a creative professional knows. He taught me just about everything I know (of course, I’ve been shooting for quite some time now), but at that point, he couldn’t have been more generous. He would give seminars on his technique, telling the entire class exactly what settings and what lighting he was using, and I asked him one day, Pierre, why are you giving away all of your secrets? He responded, “Anybody could have the same settings, the same lighting, the same subject, but they will all take a different picture because we are all unique.” That has stuck with me to this day and we take a lot of pride at M.O.D. Media keeping that sentiment alive — sharing with other creatives, hiring them, seeing the potential in individuals rather than an academic certificate. His creativity, candor, and compassion will always be traits I admire.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
Oh boy, there have been quite a few. From Reebok to Dane Buy Local, there are so many incredible insights you gain from working with so many different businesses. But I’ve got to say, and this might be cheesy, no pun intended, but I am a HUGE Packers fan, born and raised, and we have had the opportunity to shoot at Lambeau Field twice, lined up in the same hallway as the players, shooting on the field, and on Christmas Eve in 10 degree weather. That was a big pinnacle for me. It was like a rite of passage. But career-wise, I think one of the highest of points was shooting for the Madison-Camaguey Sister City Cultural Exchange in Camaguey, Cuba this year. Having the opportunity to utilize both my journalism degree and my photography was a great reminder of my strengths and how I can use them to enact real social change.
Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
Be grateful, be focused, and don’t try to grow up so fast. It’s easy to do many things when you’re young but focusing on one thing can prove difficult. I often thought I was getting to an end goal, but really, there is no end goal. The reward is doing whatever it is you are doing, period.