Copywriter Lisa Banks Lisa Banks, M.B.A. Copywriter Florida, Atlantic Canada, Japan

Copywriters rarely get to talk about themselves.

We're usually talking about your product. But here's my story. It's not your typical copywriter's resume...

I knew I was going to be a writer when I was about six.
And here I am. With a bachelor of commerce in marketing and an MBA to boot. Clients in several countries. Writing to my heart's content. 

Not exactly what I had in mind when I was a kid.

When I wasn't catching frogs, riding horses, canoeing, and playing badminton, I spent about four hours a day reading (ten on weekends). My parents made me turn off my light about nine o'clock. So then I'd get out my flashlight.

I wanted to move people the way other writers moved me. I wrote plays and made my friends act them out in English class. Always top marks for creativity (even grammar, too!) on writing assignments.

But you know how it goes--you grow up, get practical.

'Practical' for me meant business--commerce, economics, marketing... So I moved to the city from my tiny village in Nova Scotia to learn  how all that stuff worked.

I majored in accounting at first. The logic appealed to me. The first year, all my balance sheets balanced... But by the second year, I knew I wouldn't be anyone's accountant.

The psychology, the creativity of marketing got to me. Consumer behavior, market research, distribution, advertising--I was hooked. I loved how you could find the answers by knowing your customers.

Well, my bachelor of commerce degree soon led to an MBA.

Meanwhile, my passion for marketing took on practical form. I worked for Sales & Marketing Group (now Mosaic Inc.)  I led local campaigns to increase brand share for consumer products. My teams dressed up like mascots for Hostess Frito Lay, sampled Pepsi Max, secured distribution for Neilson Cadbury (I think all that chocolate is one of the reasons I got such good grades).

I joined the Centre for International Business and accompanied local firms to Europe. Setting up meetings, presentations, writing research reports...I managed to tuck consulting experience for a few firms under my belt while I was still in school.

But I was ready to travel more. After graduation, my classmates soon became important people in big companies. I had been their career placement officer--they shook their heads as I took off to become a language consultant in Japan.

I studied Japanese and consulted at the board of education in Hakodate, Hokkaido. But finally I decided it was time to enter the world of business in Tokyo.

That's when I became a copywriter. Before I even knew I wanted to be one.

I moved to Tokyo and joined forces with a division of the world's largest telecommunications company. I wanted to be a translator--but they spotted a better use for me and hired me as a copywriter. When I wasn't writing copy, I helped with translation (it was like getting paid to study Japanese!) And I put on fancy shmancy seminars for Japanese business people who had dealings across cultures.

I worked with the pickiest people on the face of this earth.

Picky in a good way, I mean. Diligent. I practically memorized the Chicago Manual of Style. Everything I wrote had to stand up to scrutiny and cross examination, in addition to being interesting, creative, and compelling.

I'd always been a hard-working perfectionist. Now that's not always a good thing--but I loved working with the Japanese. I admired the way my co-workers dug into a project and never let less than the best leave their desks. Copywriting got me. It was the perfect marriage of my marketing background and my love for writing.

I was determined to write everything as if my own signature would appear on it.

We worked side by side with the largest ad agency in Japan, possibly in the world. Those weeks found me taking $50 cabs home at night (the trains stop running around 11 p.m.)

Eventually, tired from the frantic pace of life in Tokyo, I yearned to be closer to my family. With my youngest sister in Florida, I thought the climate there would be more agreeable than the Canadian winters.

So, next I joined forces with a medium-sized advertising agency in Florida. Totally different. (In a good way, of course.)

Instead of mobile phones and multimedia tools, I was writing for manufacturers of air intake filters and fire trucks, equine embryo transfer, fitness centers, and high vacuum components. Lots of medical copywriting, too. Residential builders, custom closets, retail name it.

As time passed on, I became the senior copywriter at Adbiz, a fabulous, high-energy advertising and marketing force.

In the spring of 2004, I began to explore another dimension to my work as a professional writer and editor: travel writing! Trips to Paris and Nova Scotia inspired this aspect of writing for my personal pleasure, and I have plans for India next (where I'll be getting married in December 2006).

Professionally, I've developed a specialization as a website copywriter, where my ongoing research has kept me growing and evolving for several years now. In 2005, I joined forces with SEO Advantage, a top-tier search engine optimization firm, as their marketing director.

Oh, and by the way, I speak, read, and write Japanese thanks to Yamazaki Sensei, a very strict teacher who was assigned to teach me the ropes in Hakodate.

Everyone's got a story. What's yours?
Drop me a line and tell me about yourself. Or ask about my pricing for your next project...

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ads • flyers • email • presentations • editorial
product sheets • commercials • corporate videos
annual reports • CD ROMs • white papers • press releases • catalogs • user manuals • letters/notices
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