What did your career look like before coming to GumGum, and how did it lead you here?
Before coming to GumGum, I worked for Deloitte Consulting for about 7 years. Over that period of time, I was working with a wide variety of clients— technology companies, retailers, consumer goods manufacturers, government agencies, nonprofits and healthcare organizations. Every project was different, lasting 6 weeks to 6 months. Over that time, something was missing… I wanted to truly be part of a company: get to know the business well, be part of the team, and really influence the direction of that business. I started to look at a number of mid-size companies in the LA area—mostly doing something in tech—and frankly, stumbled upon GumGum. I hadn’t heard of it, I wasn’t working in the advertising space or in artificial intelligence or anything like that. But I was just really excited about the product and when I came in for interviews, I had a really great feeling meeting the whole leadership team. It felt like the right opportunity to not only join a company but be able to apply some of the same skills I had in consulting to a lot of the project-based work and special initiatives that I’m helping our president and COO Phil Schraeder and the rest of the leadership team with now.
As the new Chief of Staff, what does your role at GumGum look like?
I help Phil and the rest of the leadership set business priorities and then make progress against those priorities. Day-to-day this can take many forms-- from sizing a market opportunity, to helping pursue a new partnership, to connecting the dots on complex cross-functional initiatives, to working with managers and leaders to shape and communicate their strategies for the upcoming year. By a chief of staff taking on more of the “desk work” associated with these efforts, Phil and our other leaders can spend more of their time making an impact in the market and with their teams.
What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
My husband and I are both from very cold places (Buffalo and Philadelphia), so when we moved to LA about two years ago, we decided to take up a warm-weather hobby. We took an introductory sailing class together and got the basic certification. Now we sail out of Marina Del Rey every month or so, just the two of us or with a group of friends.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I lived in Hong Kong for six months which was pretty cool. When I was in college, it was partially study abroad, partially internship through the summer, which I loved.
What tips do you have for building your personal brand?
What I’ve learned is it takes time. I remember someone asking me what my personal brand was a few weeks into my first job out of college, and really had no idea what to say. The more you work, you start to figure out what your style is and what you bring to the table. You start to learn how to be authentic and true to yourself across many different professional situations. The personal brand that I work to maintain is being reliable, approachable, and very direct and transparent about what I know, what I don’t know, what I’m hoping to achieve.
Do you have any advice for Women of GumGum and future female leaders?
Lift other women (people for that matter!) up, personally and professionally. Additionally, try to focus on the similarities of what we all bring to the table, not differences like gender. This is something I see come through every day at GumGum. By focusing my thoughts and language around a shared challenge or goal, I remain confident that I have a voice and can influence whatever it is I’m working toward with others. We should all be committed to fostering an environment where differences are put aside and we can really focus on what matters.
In just your first 6 weeks here at GumGum, what’s been your favorite part about working here?
I would say my favorite thing has been seeing what I felt through the interviews play out-- that this company is full of smart, collaborative, respectful people, who really care about what we’re doing. That has made me feel very motivated and welcomed in—to voice my opinion and raise my hand when I see an opportunity and know that this is an environment that encourages us all to grow and have a voice, which is really amazing. When you’re joining a new company, you might be really excited about the product or the valuation of the company that you read about online, but you really have no idea what you’re stepping into from a people perspective. I think we’re all very lucky to be part of this team.