2023 Women in Print and Promo: Amber Hill, IDLine by Halls & Company
IDLine by Halls & Company, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota
Are you familiar with the name Amber Hill? If not, you should be. Hill is the creative director for IDLine by Halls & Company. According to her nominator, Hill works with the supplier’s largest customers to “create unique ideas in an otherwise cookie-cutter area.” She is also a lifelong student of her craft, frequently engaging with leadership to learn and cultivate new ideas. “Amber is an incredible asset to our team, and the industry is starting to take notice!” her nominator enthuses.
Hill admits she found promo by accident. After graduating with an associate in applied science degree for graphic design from Hennepin Technical College, she worked as a freelance artist for a few years, helping small businesses and independent agencies with their marketing and branding needs. The hours gave Hill the flexibility she needed while caring for her mother, who was undergoing chemotherapy treatments. But Hill craved teamwork, creative brainstorming sessions, and just people in general. So, she started an online job search and discovered Halls & Company.
Hill was hired on the production side, and her connection to the industry was immediate. “I was shocked to see there was this huge industry with unlimited resources and access to promotional products that existed,” she says. “I was like ‘Wow, well I am right at home. This is my kind of industry!’”
Hill finally had the team she dreamed of, and fondly remembers the warm welcome she received. With her newfound knowledge, it was time to advance. She later moved to the graphics department, which finally allowed her to put her creative thinking skills to use. Hill was part of the graphics/prepress team for three years before being promoted to her current role in April 2022.
If Hill has it her way, she’ll have a full schedule for the foreseeable future. Her plans include growing an even stronger brand presence, bringing in new products and expanding existing product lines, building relationships with distributors and other suppliers, and collaborating with other creatives in the industry.
Her Proudest Career Achievement
I would say accepting the role of creative director here at Halls & Company would have to be what I am most proud of so far. Being trusted with and given the opportunity to be one of the folks who takes this company to the next level is an honor. Knowing that you have the skills and are capable to do a job is one thing; having others see and know your worth is another. I am grateful to be a part of the team of such an amazing company and group of people.
How Failure Taught Her Resiliency
Well, it was recently. Taking on a new role and learning all of your new tasks and all of the little things the job requires is a lot to adjust to. Wanting to execute a project or projected timeline for something isn’t always going to happen the way you might want, especially considering all of the things that could go wrong. I guess they call that life! It reminds you [that] you just have to take things as they come. Sometimes, you won’t always be in control of every single thing.
Her Most Significant Barrier as a Female Leader
It’s a male-dominated industry much like the rest of the world. The most significant barrier for me has been the demand to be accepted for who I am without changing the way I speak, act, dress, or wear my hair for someone else’s standards or comfort. Not only being a woman of color, but also a member of the LGBTQ community, we are met with almost three times as much resistance to people accepting how one presents themselves.
How She Thinks Companies Can Attract and Retain Female Talent
I think the best way to start would be promoting more gender equality and offering influence for women in the workplace. It’s extremely important to take a clear stance and let the public know how serious you are about endorsing gender equality and implementing programs that do just that. Secondly, being sure you are examining your pay and promotion practices is detrimental to this policy. Are they fair? Are they equal? Many women leave or switch jobs because they feel stagnant in their careers. It’s important to create a sense of belonging and value.
Her Job Advice to Women
I say go for it! This is one of the most fun, progressive, creative, and amazing industries to be a part of. There is so much opportunity for growth, and it’s important for more women to have an influence on that growth.
Her Upcoming Goals
Professionally, I want to absolutely crush my first year as creative director, and take this company to the next level and beyond. Personally, I’d like to make more time to volunteer and do community work. This summer I plan to do just that.
How She Recharges
I unplug from everything and spend some time outdoors with my family. That always gives me the recharge I need.
Elise Hacking Carr is editor-in-chief/content director for Print+Promo magazine.