Union+Webster: Program Manager
Union+Webster is a quickly growing integrated digital marketing and creative agency. The distributed team stretches from California to Chicago and serves industry-leading, global companies with strategies that put customer experience first. I have rarely worked with such a smart, passionate, fun group of people, nor learned so much, and I'm honored to have been part of the team. From May 2013 to March 2014 I helped strategize, run, and populate several corporate blogs, created the script for a high-impact executive lookbook, managed a C-level LinkedIn community, headed up the process team for U+W, and took care of anything else that got thown my way (part of the fun of a small, scrappy team)!
Parsecco: CEO and blogger
Parsecco was a social network for freelance creative professionals based around the collaborative project. As CEO and cofounder from March 2012 to March 2013, I learned by doing: product development, team facilitation, and systems design. I also have written about my struggles as a woman CEO and about the end of the startup.
Hey Miki: Online branding & social media consultation
When I left liveBooks in April 2010, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do next. I knew that I quickly grew bored when a job didn't give me lots of room to grow. And I knew that office jobs rarely provided as much growth as I craved. I told my parents I wanted to take a month to figure out what was really important to me before I found another job. They suggested I take several, and offered me a car and money to help. Completely overwhelmed by their generosity, I did everything I could to make the most of the time.
After five months of travel I landed back in San Francisco with some general ideas about work, but I was open to whatever came along. I started writing for American Photo again, I was in talks to start a new workshop program, and then two friends emailed me about five minutes apart with the same question: Was I interested in helping a local photo rep make the most out of her online presence?
To be perfectly honest, I had initially resisted the idea of being a "social media consultant." From what I could tell, it was a thankless job, spent discussing things like "metrics" and "ROI" with incredulous CEOs. No thanks. But when I read Heather Elder's email, I saw how much I could help her and thought I might actually enjoy that. When we had our first meeting, I couldn't believe how lucky I was. She was (is) funny and down to earth, but also whip smart and addicted to the cutting edge. She had a lot of great things to say and, most important, wasn't afraid to say them on her blog, even if they ruffled some feathers. All I did was help her focus on her goals, explain some nitty gritty technical details, and urge her to trust her instincts and to speak from her gut.
Her blog was (is) a big hit, and I realized how much I enjoyed this new job that had materialized in front of me. What I did seemed so simple; the tools had long ago become second-nature to me. Could it really be as easy as talking to someone for a few hours and sending them notes and to-do lists? I've been organizing and writing things my whole life, I love talking to people, and I really really love helping them. Suddenly, I realized that "easy" was exactly how a great job should feel, so I hung up my content marketing consultant sign and got to work with lots more awesome creative people.
RESOLVE: The liveBooks Photo Blog
In November 2008 I became the Social Media Editor for liveBooks, a San Francisco–based company that makes web portfolios for creative professionals, mostly photographers. I'd met Andy, the CEO, during the judging for the National Geographic All Roads fellowship, but I had interviewed him the year before and had made a mental note that I wanted to work for him some day. After sending him a proposal to start the blog, he eventually called me up and convinced me to come to SF instead of move to Buenos Aires as I had intended (much to my parents' relief).
In February 2009 we launched RESOLVE, a blog dedicated to looking forward, celebrating innovation, and bringing together all walks of the photo life. I am very proud of the work I did there, especially when people tell me they wish I was still doing it. (The blog is still running under other's direction). In the process of working to promote the liveBooks blog, I learned a lot about social media, first hand, as it was first developing. This, and what I learned from being at a smart website company, is the basis for the knowledge I now offer my clients as a consultant.
American Photo Magazine
When I showed up in NYC with a bachelors in journalism and no job, a fellow Northwestern grad got me a glorified internship at Editor & Publisher Magazine, where I met Jay DeFoore, who soon left to become the director of the American Photo website. One day Jay called me up and told me there was an associate editor position open at American Photo. I had told myself I would find a way to make any magazine job interesting -- I wouldn't have let myself dream of anything as interesting and exciting as photography. I wonder sometimes if you ever feel as proud and hopeful as the day you get offered your first job.
What I didn't know then was just how fortuitous my "first job" would be. During my interview I told the EIC and ME (Dave and Jack, still good friends) that my plans for the future included "running my own magazine." A few months into the job, I confessed I was worried after I said that they would think I was planning to leave someday and become their competition. They laughed. With a tiny staff of overworked editors, they were happy to find someone who was young (and foolish?) enough to want the responsibility. At my first editorial meeting they handed me several stories. Immediately I was calling Magnum photographers and SoHo gallery directors, no idea how important they were (or even who they were), and they were calling me back. At the end of my first year I produced a feature package and front-of-book on innovation and emerging photographers. It sold terribly, but they made me a senior editor anyway. The next year I got to edit and help create the first Pop Photo College Edition, a quarterly aimed at photo students.
Despite the unbelievable connections, opportunities, and creativity the job exposed me to, working at a hard-copy magazine during the "death of print" was hard. At some point I realized that so much of our energy was going toward not pissing off advertisers, not getting closed down or fired, there was little left to put out a great product. I decided my time was up, in NYC also, so I quit, gave up my apartment, and made plans to head to Argentina.