Sunday, March 22, 2009

Time to Give Back

Photo Credit: Wm. Marc Salsberry

It was by complete coincidence that I bumped into new friend, Sydney Owen, at the Mashable party that we sponsored last week during SXSW. I was making my way through the crowd and she grabbed me and said, "hey, can I do a quick video interview with you?" Little did Sydney know that I love to talk (in spite of 
my lack of voice that night) and so two minutes later, she was asking me what advice I would give to someone just getting out of college getting started in PR.

My answer is here but that's not the point of this post. It's
 the fact that after a few back and forth exchanges on Twitter/e-mail, between Sydney and me that she aske if I would mentor her based on our similar way of thinking. I thought about this for about five minutes before agreeing. My rationale was, I've had so many people dedicate time to me and help me along, how could I not give back to her?

Now in fairness, I'm not sure I'd agree to mentor just anyone but I loved Sydney's "go get 'em" attitude. I also appreciated the fact that she seems to live and breathe the
 socialsphere. That combo made me realize that she's got the potential to do something big!

To get us started, Sydney asked if I would answer a few questions for her. Rather than trapping them in an e-mail, I thought it might be nice to share in the event that other "mentors" and "mentees" are looking for a way to get started. Here goes:

What is your background?
The lightning fast version of my story is that I started working at a small ad agency (10 people) in 1994. I was the chief cook and bottle washer and learned how to write copy, layout ads/brochures, write HTML, create direct mail programs and service clients. That job prepared me well for the 9+ years I spent at Fidelity Investements -- 4 years in their in-house agency and 5 years in marketing. During my time at Fidelity, I focused on web development, online advertising, e-mail and search marketing, and partnership development. Since then I've led marketing and social media efforts at Mzinga and now Powered. This experience doing traditional marketing/advertising has helped me better undestand how to get the most out of social media and online community.

Where did you get your first job? And how?
Oops, I guess I kind of answered that above. If you really want to know about my "first-first" job, it was cutting the fairways and rough at a local golf course. I've also worked at a video store, washed dishes, done landscaping and caddied at the Brookline Country Club. During grad school at Georgetown, I worked in that the law school as an office manager (yup, I've done my share of grunt work over the years).

What is the best thing about Powered? The worst?
There were four things that attracted me to Powered when I first got the call from their recruiter back in September of 2008:
  1. Ken Nicolson, Powered's CEO (and my boss) is just a really smart, caring, savvy guy. Our first conversation was two hours long and it felt like it was 15 minutes.
  2. The team -- we have a great set of execs AND extended team. They all work hard, play hard and truly get "social."
  3. Our customers - we have some great customers at Powered. Sony, in particular, is one of my favorites because they are willing to talk publicly about their results (any marketers dream).
  4. The company is located in Austin (great city) and backed by Austin Ventures (great venture capital firm).
In all honesty, there really isn't anything I don't like about Powered. If I had to pick something, it's the fact that we don't sell $.99 hamburgers so the current economy has made new sales a little tricky. We're still holding our own, however, so we're happy that we can weather this economic storm and live to fight another day as things recover.

On my end, next steps are to review Sydney's resume ("make it bleed" she tells me) and then pass her along to any folks I think might be interesting. Given how impressed I've been with her so far, that shouldn't be too difficult.

UPDATED 3/23 @ 12:15 PM - And she's a good editor... ["breath" now fixed to "breathe."] LOL

1 comment:

  1. So listen, I think you meant live and breathe with an "e".


    I might be biased but I think this is your best blog post ever. EPIC.