When the AFRO ventured onto the Internet with its own website in 1994, it was the critical support of one of its employees, Seth McMillan, which played an integral role in that process. His position as an assistant to the AFRO executive team was actually his first job, but he discovered a talent and propensity for the digital world that has propelled him into an unexpected career – developing websites for large and start-up companies such as Webvisions, Lockheed Martin and Corvis.
After only a year with Illume Communications, founded in 2003 by James Evans, McMillan is now their director of digital strategy.
Known as the “webmaster” in the digital field, McMillan attributes his success to a few core principles:
- Determination and patience,
- keeping the right people close to him,
- moving on the right opportunities at the right time and
- being willing to take risks.
McMillan spoke to the AFRO exclusively about his career current and future.
AFRO: Describe Illume and its client base.
McMillan: Illume Communications is a full-service, award-winning, brand and communications firm. We specialize in research-based creative strategies. Illume’s core competencies are developing compelling and effective messaging strategies. Illume starts this process by delving into the needs of our clients and digging even deeper into the mindsets of their target audiences. We finish the process by delivering thought-provoking communication devices in the language of the target audience.
AFRO: Biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
AFRO: Smartest move?
McMillan: My career path thus far has been rewarding, including my latest to Illume which I believe is amongst the smartest. I’m at a point in my career where the environment and current positioning lends itself to some of the most exciting opportunities ahead. This would not have been possible however, without my former partnership and experience with Marriner Marketing Communications.
AFRO: Who have been your mentors?
McMillan: I've been fortunate to enjoy the company of some wonderfully brilliant people early in my career who've all played a pivotal role in directly or indirectly motivating me upward. To name a few…
- My mother who instilled in me, from the time I was six, that I can do whatever I set out to do; as long as I was committed.
- Jake Oliver, publisher and CEO of the AFRO
- Rev. Frances Draper – former president of the AFRO
- Ellis Marsalis – IT professional and consultant
AFRO: What lies ahead for you?
McMillan: Entrepreneurship is in my blood. I’ve enjoyed its savor and it continues to be my ultimate goal. I’m also a huge believer in giving back in some fashion so, I committed myself to helping others in such a way that their lives can too have clearer purpose and hope.
AFRO: Advice to the aspiring?
McMillan: Opportunity is always there waiting to be recognized and observed by you. Act upon it with vigor and purpose. Be patient with yourself as you encounter the obstacles and challenges that are inevitably designed to generate lessons in life for later reflection.
At the end of the day, if I can do it, you can too!