Eight years, one month and 13 days ago, I walked into Vistaprint to take on a role as an associate manager on the company’s PR team. Taking the job, I thought that it would be something that would help me transition out of the sports world and get into more of a stable PR role.
Little did I know that walking through the doors would lead me into a completely different career path – for the better.
Shortly into my tenure, my then VP Manya Chait tossed a Businessweek at me with an article entitled Beyond Blogs and asked me to figure out this new thing that wowed the crowds at SXSW called Twitter (believe it or not, I still have the issue and plan on framing it). Little did I know that little side project set off a great career that lead me to learning tremendously and gaining valuable insights and experiences that I don’t think I would have attained if I stayed in traditional public relations.
So as I close out my career at Vistaprint today, it only seems fitting for me to reflect on some of the moments that helped shape my career and are memories that I will take with me along the way.
Launching Twitter: We had a great plan that took six months to formulate – it really kicked ass – and we thought was what was Twitter could be. Little did we know that the community would be against it and ask us to change our approach. Despite the situation escalating quickly, the lesson was one that would be valuable as social is about the people, not a corporate messaging agenda. It also taught me to ask for forgiveness as opposed to permission.
Enter the Facebook revolving door: When my team took over Facebook from the SEO/Web 2.0 team (yeah that was a thing), we tried to formulate the same principles that we had with Twitter. Over the years, this community bloomed and millions of people connected with the company across the globe. The evolution of Facebook as a platform was a challenge at times, but something that also kept me and the teams involved on their toes and looking for ways to iterate, play the algorithm game and give the best value and education to the folks who came to the page for a connection.
Soup to Nuts Social Education: Over the past 7+ years, I have worked in social media and held a variety of roles that challenged me, but taught me that you need to look at social holistically and not in a silo. I am proud to say that I had a hand in leading and creating teams in content marketing, social media paid/organic, customer service and technology integrations.
Making it Rain: Over the years, coworkers have chided me for making hand gestures for making it rain or pulling out the WWE Championship belt – If you are unfamiliar, stop and watch here and here. To be honest, I could really care less. The teams I worked on kicked ass and when we won awards or made money I got excited and work should be fun. The award that I was most proud over the years was that our little team at Vistaprint (Jason Keith, Nick Gosselin and I) ranked above companies like Nike in Internet Retailer’s list of Social Media Impact.
Global Impact: As social media gained traction, I was lucky enough to help found and eventually lead a global team. This was something that had its up and downs but I am really proud of the work that the teams in Europe, North America, India and Australia were able to accomplish together.
There are many more memories like this and leaving is always bittersweet. But as they say, all good things must come to an end. I will forever be indebted to people like Manya, Jason, Nick, Bridget O’Brien, Cristina Sousa, Ginny Powell, Matty Trattles, Ina Ghita, Cindy Starr, Michael Buckley, Anika Watson, Lasky Garwood, Simone Johnson, Kai Schindler, Brooke Hollimon and Becky Bui. I could go on with the list, but don’t want to have to write 10K words.
So as my chapter at Vistaprint comes to a close, I thank the fans and community for their participation and wish the team taking over the best of luck in the future?
What’s next for me? I’ll be joining a great team at Kaspersky Lab, be sure to follow along with my adventures there.