Conventional wisdom on how to make it in the ad business tells us that there are specific steps to success: start young, move to a major market, work at a few big agencies, climb the ladder. Not for this advertising executive.

Sharon Napier grew up in a first-generation Italian family. Her father ran a business – which means all of his children worked in the business as kids. It is this that Sharon points to when asked what kicked-started her life as an entrepreneur. Her career path, which led her to where she is today, was not a traditional one. She never once worked at an A-List hot shop, she completed her Masters at 45, and founded a creative ideas agency in Upstate New York.

Today that creative agency is widely known as Partners + Napier, has offices in both Rochester, NY and New York City, and just celebrated its 10th anniversary. To honor this milestone we sat down with Sharon, the agency’s Chief Executive Officer, to uncover some insights into what this nonconforming entrepreneur is most passionate about and what her best piece of career advice is. Watch this video to find out more: