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02 | Kira Willner, Barron's Group: Breathing New Life into Media Brands with Events

  • June 21, 2019
  • 38:54

In this interview, Kira Willner (Executive Director of Brand Experience at Barron's Group, a Dow Jones Company) shares how Barron’s Group is breathing new life into many of its brands with live events, balancing the needs of sponsors and attendees and more.

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Top Takeaways

1

IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO START: Whether a brand has existed for some time without events or has been newly created, Kira believes that events are an important channel for achieving growth. For instance, Kira mentions, the Barron’s Group brand Penta recently went through a relaunch. “We had a launch event to reintroduce the brand to the market and that was a really cool way to kind of show people that Penta's back.”

2

STICK TO YOUR CORE: For Dow Jones and Barron’s Group, strong journalism is at the core of their brand. This gives the events team clear guidelines on how to construct events that are aligned with attendee expectations. “How we put these programs together, the people that moderate the programs and also the talent that will have access to them are all things that are going to make people want to go to our events.”

3

GET INSIDE YOUR SPONSORS’ HEADS: Sponsors want much more than just logo visibility. They want to be a part of the event experience in a memorable way. If you’re courting sponsorships, clearly understand their objectives. “Integrating the sponsor to make them feel like they’re part of the experience from top to bottom is absolutely key.”

ABOUT Kira Willner

Kira oversees live journalism events for all of the brands within Barron's Group, including Barron's, MarketWatch, Mansion Global, Penta, and Financial News. She also oversees brand marketing and business strategy for several of these brands.



Episode Transcript

BRANDON:

Kira, welcome to the show.

KIRA:

Thanks for having me.

BRANDON:

Something that just really jumps out to me being someone who studied basically history and literature at school and then ended up in a tech company, is that before you were the executive director of brand experience at Barron's Group, you studied French literature for your Undergrad and then went on to receive a master's in French studies in French language. What threw you in the direction of français?

KIRA:

So you're saying like, "What were you thinking?"

BRANDON:

Well, I mean obviously it was a very rewarding time and then at some point you decided to get working with Dow Jones.

KIRA:

Yeah, so it's actually an interesting story. So I went to Cornell and if you know Cornell, Cornell's a huge university and I went to Cornell after graduating from a high school of 39 people. And so the shock of going from a small, small school of 39 people to 10,000 people was really, it was really tough for me to be very honest with you. I initially was pre-med and I got scared away to be perfectly honest with you, I was always really strong in languages and so I ended up studying French basically because it was something that I had always been really good at. It was something I was always interested in. I wanted to dive a bit deeper into kind of understanding the politics and the culture more than just the language because I think when you're in high school, you do AP and you learn the language, but you don't really learn that much deeply about the culture.

And so I got very, very involved in a lot of the French lit and French language classes at Cornell and I think I also needed a little bit of a pat on the back after a year and a half in pre-med killing myself. And this was a little bit friendlier, a little bit easier for me, and it allowed me to make a transition, a very tough transition. But it's interesting because when I graduated from school, I didn't realize that actually, it was setting me up for my career in a way that I just didn't know that yet. I got an internship when I was at NYU working for—wait for it—the Belgian Tourist Office, and I was the only native English speaker in that office. And I ended up doing all of their marketing, all of their PR, advertising, help them redesign their website. And if I think about it, I mean some of the things I did as a 22-year-old out of college were some of the same things that I'm doing and it's such a different scale now, but very, very similarly.

And so that opportunity would have never happened if I hadn't gone to NYU for my master's and I hadn't gotten that internship and I hadn't spoken French. And so in a way, yes, I'm doing something so completely different, but it would have never happened had I not done what I had done.

BRANDON:

For sure. And so this job that you had with the Belgium Tourism Office, that was immediately after Undergrad?

KIRA:

Yeah. So after Undergrad, I actually moved to Paris for a year. I lived there and I got a master's there, which was really, really focused on French language. So I kind of sort of perfected my language skills. And I think the idea at that point was academia. I think I saw more of a PHD path. I was starting to get a really well-rounded kind of understanding of everything that goes into understanding a different culture. And then after about a year of that, I kind of also longed for, I've always had a little bit of a business mind. I've always been interested in branding and marketing. And so I've thought, let me see if I could do an internship, do something a little bit different and see if there's something there.

BRANDON:

Got it. And then eventually you went back and you got your masters in French, as well.

KIRA:

That's right. That's right. So my program basically had two parts. So I did a year in Paris and then I did a second part of the program back in New York. And when I was in New York was when I started having an internship because towards the end of that program I started to need some work experience obviously. And so that's where sort of that's where I got the internship, but yeah it actually turns out that I ended up with two masters. One that was very focused on sort of language and linguistics and the other one that was more focused on politics and culture. So it makes me quite an interesting person at a cocktail party. But I can't say that I exercise my language skills as much as I would like. But it gives you something to differentiate yourself, let's put it that way.

BRANDON:

For sure. Okay. So you mentioned you had an interest in business. Meanwhile, you had this, it sounds like a very rich and rewarding exploration of French and the culture. How did you eventually shift back into business?

KIRA:

Yeah. So I think my internship at the Belgium Tourist Office actually ended up turning into a full-time job and what was really interesting about, I always look back at this job as being so rewarding and I actually was very close with my boss. I still do, I still talk to her many, many years later and it was a really close-knit group of people. I mean we're four of us essentially running this little office and I got exposed to so many different areas of business working there from marketing, how do you promote a brand, finances, kind of understanding how to budget, advertising, where should we be getting our name out? And PR too, which I did a ton of. So it was a really cool way to kind of learn business without being thrown into a crazy corporate environment at 22 years old. I did it a little bit differently than some people might have.

BRANDON:

Got it. And eventually you're sort of picking up this experience. You had that full-time job, you work through a number of different jobs in publishing and then you eventually end up at Barron's Group.

KIRA:

Yeah. So it was interesting because every job you take leads you somewhere else and there is always, when I look back at the progression of my career, it's very consistent in some ways. And then also kind of like how did that work? It depends on what angle you're looking at it from. But the interesting thing is, so when I was at the Belgian Tourist Office, I became, because through doing a lot of PR work, I got to know a lot of people from different publications because I was planning press trips. So I was bringing journalists to Belgium and showing them around and taking them to different places and introducing them to different things so that we could get press coverage. And in that, I started to actually become kind of start to understand the publishing landscape a little bit.

And I became close with someone at Travel + Leisure, which is how it led me to working at Travel + Leisure as my first kind of publishing gig. And interestingly enough, my mom is in the travel industry. So between kind of knowing the travel industry and then making this connection at the magazine, it was sort of a match made in heaven for the moment. And so that's kind of what took me there. And then when I was at Travel + Leisure, that was a real first corporate job. That was your typical, I was an assistant, I sat right behind my vice president's office. I learned all aspects of the business from her. Travel + Leisure was owned by American Express at that point. And so it was a really interesting ride in what corporate culture is meant to be like.

And from there it was a pretty natural progression also because I was technically a sales assistant at Travel + Leisure which meant I had more support at the sales team, but I was really interested in what the marketing team was doing and I felt like I tried to in my off hours, which I didn't have very many of because when you're a sales assistant, you're run pretty ragged, but in my off hours I would try to get to know the marketing team, see what they were up to. I liked looking at their client pitches. I thought it was really interesting and it was in that kind of a very natural move from going from a job that was more salesy to then looking more interested in marketing and that's what I started doing in NBC. And so every move that I made sort of had a general progression, but it was always me sort of peeking my head in and being like, "This sounds interesting. Let me see if I could figure it out who these people are, what they're doing."

At NBC, what I really did that I think was really helpful for my career is I was a marketing coordinator there and I learned a ton about digital marketing. I learned a lot about SEO, I learned a lot about SEM, social. I was still fairly young at the time to be honest. And so it was a really fantastic learning experience. I reported to an editor at the time and then also a marketing director and that kind of gave me digital skills that I hadn't had before, which was a really important time in the industry too because advertising was really turning much more to digital. And so getting sort of a kind of on the ground floor and trying to sort of understand digital when people were starting to sell digital, I think was really helpful for me.

And ultimately that kind of led me to Dow Jones. And I've had a number of different roles. I've been there over seven years now, had a ton of roles in sales and marketing and that's all with increasing levels of scope and responsibility, et cetera. And that's kind of what brought me to Barron's Group is eventually I started working on a product that launched in 2015 called Mansion Global, which was a digital product and it was essentially a startup within a large organization. We started from literally nothing, built the product up and it was absorbed into Dow Jones as its own business unit and now it's part of Barron's Group. And so that's kind of what got me over to Barron's Group. And then just probably around a year ago I was asked to start looking at the live strategy. And so that's kind of how I got here.

BRANDON:

So you spoke a little bit about Mansion Global. I mean you kind of talked about how Dow Jones has different brands under its belt. Could you explain a little bit more about Barron's Group and specifically what your role is on a day to day basis there?

KIRA:

Yeah, absolutely. So Dow Jones is obviously the parent company of the Wall Street Journal and Barron's Group. Most people probably know the Wall Street Journal and then you probably say, "Oh, Barron's Group Barron's, that makes sense." So what Barron's Group is, is it's essentially a collection of brands under one umbrella that sit outside of the journals. So Barron's is the flagship, but we also have MarketWatch, which is another sort of financial site that's been around for a very long time and has a very loyal following. Penta, which is a brand that was recently, so it's actually, Penta has been around for over 10 years, but it was recently relaunched. It's a wealth management and lifestyle magazine website and also experience platform. And the magazine is distributed within Barron's so it has a connection to Barron's as well. And then Mansion Global, which is a standalone luxury real estate website. And then there's a brand in London called Financial News, which is basically financial news for London proper. So it's basically the heart of the London financial district, is financial news.

And so they all are different brands. But certainly, there is this financial thread that ties them together. So whether it's learning how to earn your money, keep your money, spend your money, invest your money, our brands are covering it in one way or another.

BRANDON:

So how do you go about sort of differentiating these brands and using events to drive business outcomes for each of them?

KIRA:

So it's interesting, for each of these brands it's different, right? You have to sort of approach every brand very differently. And a lot of that, when we think specifically when it comes to events and experiences, it's all a little bit about legacy too, right? It's some of these brands, some of the newer brands. So Mansion Global is a good example. With Mansion Global, we expanded into events at the end of year two and so in a way we're actually a bit, I guess you could say slightly mature in the event space, right? Two years under our belt. So it's a little bit of a different strategy. It's trying to sort of now think about, okay, we've done two years of events, we have a really good sense of what works, what doesn't work, what our clients like, what they don't like, what consumers like, what they don't like.

And we've been able to try and figure out kind of how to sort of tweak that model. Whereas with other brands, this has really been foundational where for Barron's for instance, Barron's has a very, very mature financial advisor, event business, professional business. But for consumers, we've really, our touch points with consumers is mainly in print and online. So this year for me it was about, "Okay, well how do we engage these people in person? Is it extending franchises that they know in print? Is it creating new franchises? Is it looking for new audiences?" So that's been the thought process for me around some of these. And MarketWatch is similar too, because MarketWatch is an online publication, they do a few things in print and really have done no events. And so that's been kind of a similar thing is sort of how do you bring these brands to life that haven't necessarily engaged one on one before?

And I guess similarly for Penta too, is Penta went through a big relaunch over the last year and a half rebrand, which was a great opportunity. We had a launch event, we sort of reintroduced the brand to the market and that was a really cool way to kind of show people that Penta's back, but it's a little bit different. And now what I'm trying to instill is I think it's important for all of these brands to have live components that are part of their DNA so that you're looking at a brand with a 360 degree lens. And I think especially in our environment in 2019 you need to have that because frankly everyone else does.

BRANDON:

And it sends out to me that in some of these brands like Barron's have been around for a very long time, others are a little newer. Why do you think, and maybe your answer is a little biased here, but why do you think events are really important today for engaging the audiences of these brands?

KIRA:

So I think that it's really, there's a couple of answers to that question and it's a really good question. I think first you have to think about the audience. I think for a lot of the brands that I deal with, we're talking about a high net worth audience. We're talking about affluent people that don't have a lot of time, but that kind of yearn for exclusivity. They yearn for face to face, they yearn for things that are special. And I think events play an extremely important role in that world of experience, right? I think it is the way you engage with that kind of audience. Yes, it's hard to get them there sometimes because they don't have a lot of time, but if you do something truly extraordinary, that I think is a brilliant way to engage with them. I also think when we think about how we measure ourselves and how we measure our brand, the biggest way that you can know if you're doing something well is if someone tells you, you're doing it well.

Right? I mean you can measure clicks all day long. You can measure, I guess there are measurements that you can do in print though that's very difficult. With events, you get pretty instantaneous feedback. You see if people show up, you see if people come back the next time, you see what they tell you about your event, you see what kind of feedback you're getting. It's a really, really important way for a brand to understand how it's doing. So I think both for the audience were engaging. It makes sense as well as just for ourselves and understanding what we're doing right and wrong.

BRANDON:

So you mentioned that a lot of these people who are coming to events that Barron's Group is producing are short on time and I think that's becoming more and more the case for a lot of people. There is a lot of opportunities. There are a lot of wonderful experiences to participate in. So how is Barron's Group and Dow Jones really creating a different experience that is going to get these people who are short on time to want to be a part of it?

KIRA:

Well, I think again, there's a multifaceted answer to that. I think this first happens before they even get in the door. And I think their relationship to us, and I think this is something that we pride ourselves on. We have deep, deep, deep relationships with our consumers. These are people like I was telling you before that are so loyal to these brands. So I think number one, establishing loyalty and that's not even an event strategy, that's a marketing strategy. That is key because, and what I've noticed is a couple of events that we've done for Barron's readers, these people, they love to go to events because they want to see the brand come to life. They want to see the journalists that they read about. They want to see that. So that brand loyalty is absolutely key.

I think it's a huge, huge differentiator, at least in my opinion. Yes, totally biased. But in my opinion, that's the case. I also think that journalism is always going to be at the core to what we do, right? We continue to expand into different services but journalism is at our core, right? It's who we are, it's part of our DNA. And I think that's another reason where we stand out because they're going to hear, "Oh so-and-so is going to be moderating this panel. I love that column. I have to come and hear this person." Or the access to the talent we have. Right? So it may be maybe they know the moderator, maybe they know the person that's being interviewed. So I think it goes both ways. How we put these programs together, the people that moderate the programs and also the talent that will have access to those are also things that are going to make people want to go to our events.

And I and I think we try and tailor the subject to be really core to who we are. We're not going to put on an event for something that we don't actually write about or our readers don't even know we are known for. So I think kind of sticking to your core and looking at live journalism as an extension of your editorial pillars is really important.

BRANDON:

Yeah. And I mean you mentioned that a lot of different factors go into this, but of course event content is extremely important. And I know that in the past you mentioned that some of the most successful events, they focus on great content programming. Why do you believe that content programming is one of the key things to focus on versus having a great brand design or other elements of the event experience?

KIRA:

So, I mean, I'm definitely not saying that those things aren't important because they are, I think you have to think about who you are. Right? For us, it's key because that's how people think about us. If I was working at a luxury magazine, like a Vogue or something like that, that might not be the case. I might have to really, really win on brand design. I might have to make this look extremely sexy, right? I think you have to be, especially with events, you have to be really true to who you are, and so that's why I think that all of these things are important. It doesn't mean that the experience itself shouldn't be high end. It doesn't mean that all of those different touch points that you have at an event aren't important, but at your core, you're getting people because you're showing them, "Yeah, we know Barron's. Barron's is known for X, Y, Z and this event is totally an extension of who they are." They don't get there and say, "Well, who's doing this again?"

BRANDON:

I see. So it's having a lot of familiarity with the brand that you're representing.

KIRA:

Absolutely.

BRANDON:

And that content, it's not just, "Hey, this is going to be a valuable content, but it's also this content is a touchstone that you will recognize that you'll want to be a part of in some way."

KIRA:

Absolutely. And then having consistency to know that I think part of it is also trying to figure out if there is a consistent message we can have with our events? Right. So that readers know when they come back, they know what they're getting.

BRANDON:

We've been talking a lot about the attendees and how to get their attention and how to create really rich and rewarding experiences for them. But what are the other big stakeholders and events and particularly events for publishers or sponsors? So how do you and your team split the focus between creating that satisfying experience for attendees, but also creating an experience that is going to leave the sponsor satisfied?

KIRA:

Yeah, it's a great question and it's often it's not an easy task all the time to be honest with you. I think you have to really, you have to constantly wear two hats because you have to think about audience and you have to think about your readers, but ultimately you also have to think about revenue and revenue is really, really important. So I think that the one thing that I will say is what makes it not the hardest thing in the world is to know that if the attendees are happy, generally the sponsor's going to be pretty happy because if the event is well attended and you're getting good feedback, that's feedback you're going to pass along to the sponsor. So I haven't been in a situation where the two have very different opinions about what's going on. Normally their opinions are kind of the same.

So that's one thing I would say. But I think that when you think about the sponsor, I think integration is key and figuring out the right touch points for your sponsor in a way that doesn't necessarily blur editorial lines depending on how you kind of see those lines, but figuring out the right ways to integrate the sponsor to make them feel like they're part of the experience from top to bottom, is absolutely key and understanding right off the bat what their objectives are.

So if they're looking for lead gen as an example, really making sure that you're building that sponsor experience to end in lead gen is key. It's a communication thing. I always find having one, I always say, who is the one contact at the sponsor brand that I can talk to on a daily basis? Not 10 people, one person. Who's the one person who is going to tell me exactly what you're looking for, who I can make sure that I'm delivering what you're asking for, week after week, after week leading up to the event, at the event and after the event and making sure that you're in constant communication about everything.

So that on the day of, there are no surprises. You know the objectives, you know exactly how the experience is going to be integrated to meet those objectives. You signed off on that with anyone else that needs to be involved both on your end as well as on their end and then things hopefully will work smoothly.

BRANDON:

So could you give me a specific example of an event or an opportunity or a specific integration that was successful?

KIRA:

Oh yes, I can do my I my absolute favorite one. And I will say that the sponsor themselves had such incredible ideas about activation that the work on our end was more the production. And sometimes that doesn't happen, right? Sometimes it's up to us to really be creative and figure out how what... Most of the time I would say it's up to us to kind of figure out what this activation is going to look like and will it be super interesting for them? But in this case, the sponsor is a private aviation sponsor and they're just, they're super savvy. They do a lot of big, large scale activations. So what they wanted to achieve is legion, right? So for them, they're private aviation, all they care about is getting the right people signed up for their services.

Makes sense. And they also wanted to do something that felt sort of really personalized. And this was at the relaunch of the Penta brand. So when Penta was relaunched about a year and a half ago, we had this big event to sort of reintroduce the brand to the market like I was saying. And one of the main pillars of the brand is the idea of real personalization and this idea that we wanted Penta readers to feel like we were really connected to them. It's a wealth management and luxury magazine that provides a lot of inspiration around how to spend your money but with passion and purpose. So the personality piece is key and we do it through telling a lot of stories about personalities and people who you know and look up to who have done really interesting things with money. So that's sort of the background of why personalization was so important.

And so this activation was sort of, it really brought together some of Penta's personal goals as well as the sponsor's personal those in a really seamless way. We created this incredible luggage tree, so you imagine like a nine-foot tree with all of these intricate branches and on each branch was a luggage tag, branded luggage tag. And then next to the tree we had this little kiosk of chocolate and each chocolate had a number on it and the number corresponding to one of the luggage tags on the tree. And when you opened the luggage tag on the tree, you got a personal experience and they ranged from like a gift certificate to Lululemon, dinner for two at a restaurant downtown. Some were small gifts, some were really big gifts, but it was this way for them to sort of also pinpoint people that they wanted to receive specific experiences and to, they were able to sort of look at the attendee list and kind of figure out how can we sort of plant these things properly?

It was so personal, so inventive I thought, looked amazing. And it just was one of my favorite activations. And it's interesting because I can't really take credit for it because we did it, I believe someone on my team had the idea for the tree, but for the most part this was all them.

BRANDON:

Wow. It's interactive, it's fun, it's a rewarding experience and it helps with that lead gen.

KIRA:

Exactly. Exactly.

BRANDON:

Very cool. What is one thing that event marketers can learn from sales?

KIRA:

I think that sometimes there's a bit of a disconnect and this doesn't actually happen in my world and in my team and I think part of that is because we're pretty small, but there's often a disconnect between people that are really focused on marketing the event to attendees and people that are really focused on the sponsors. And I think sometimes we lose sight of the fact that very often a sponsor is aligning with an event because they feel some sort of connection to either... They certainly feel a connection to the brand, we know that, but they feel a connection to the content. They even actually probably have very good insights into that content. And one of the things that I've been trying to do more of is built in opportunities for these sponsors to speak and to really talk about their take on particular topics.

It's not a promotional pitch, it's not like, "Hey, use my product." But it's about if we're talking about impact investing or if we're talking about climate change, the sponsor that's going to align with that has an actual take on that topic and you want to hear that or I think attendees want to hear that. So I think it's changing the dialogue a little bit between what a sponsor's role is. It's not just about the logo at the bottom of the invite that they've contributed some money. It's a much bigger contribution and it's much more of a partnership and I think sometimes there's a disconnect in how we look at sponsors now. When your team, in my case is doing event marketing and activation for sponsorships, that doesn't happen because we have to think with both sides of our head. In a way, I actually think that's a really good thing.

BRANDON:

Looking back at your career, obviously, we went into detail and really discussed it from Undergrad all the way to where you are today, but looking back at your career, what was a really formative moment for you?

KIRA:

100% launching Mansion Global. It was I think the turning point in my career, to be perfectly honest with you. I look back at that with so much pride. It was when you're part of a startup for the most part you get hired kind of because of your skill set. But it's a startup so it's more like, "Okay, we think you can do this." But no one can actually know how to do it unless even if they've worked at another startup, this is a different startup, right? So startups are funny that way and I think it pushed me in a such a direction to try and kind of solidify my skills, it was the first time I had to build a marketing plan from scratch. I had no help. I mean obviously I had the help of my teammates, but when you're dealing with a startup, it's like you are marketing somebody else's sales, somebody else's product.

You're not this robust team of 50 people that you can bounce ideas off of. So a lot of it was like, "Swim with the sharks and let's see what you can do." And that it was really formative and I felt like I did a lot without a safety net, but I also pushed myself in a way that I never realized that I could be pushed. And I did it and I look back at it and I'm like, "Wow, we actually did that. That was amazing." And now the fact that the brand lives and breathes and I get to work on it every day is amazing. But that first year of 45 meetings a day where you're stuck in a conference room with the same seven people, discussing your go to market plan. I mean, that was an amazing, amazing experience.

BRANDON:

Wow. Yeah. That really is something, I mean as we mentioned, it was this brand that you launched and it's still around today and you're working at other projects and this is just one of them now and it's very cool.

KIRA:

Exactly.

BRANDON:

Okay. If you could go back earlier in your career and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

KIRA:

Ooh man, man. Oh man. I think I should have trusted myself a little more. I think I could have had a bit more confidence. When I was younger, I think I always was a little bit afraid to sort of raise my hand in the big room, ask the dumb question or what I thought was the dumb question, put myself out there a little bit. And I think part of that is just experience, right? When you're the most junior person in the room, you want to keep your mouth shut because... Some people don't, but I did. And I think I could have pushed the barriers a little bit on that because I think generally I had good gut instincts and a lot of times I wouldn't say something and then somebody would say what I wanted to say.

I'd be like, "Man, I really should have said that." And so I think I could have put myself out there a little bit more, but I also look back at that and say, "You know what? I wasn't ready then and that's okay." And now I'm much more able to do that and that's great, but I definitely think that you don't need to be the loudest person in the room. I don't ever believe in that, but I think it's always good to say something. It's always good to show some sort of engagement and that's something that I kind of take with me today, every meeting I try and make sure I say something. I never like to leave a meeting completely silent.

BRANDON:

That's great. I love that. What's something in event marketing that you don't think is discussed often?

KIRA:

I think we don't talk about how hard it is to generate audience because even though everyone has sort of, or publishers let's say have built-in subscriber basis, I think audience generation is a skill unto itself and I think we underestimate how difficult that is sometimes, especially when you're dealing with large numbers who are very, very niche concepts, niche subject matter. I think it's a skill. I think learning how to prospect is a skill and I think even a lot of places, you see it a lot in like in B2B companies there's like someone that handles lead generation, but in event marketing especially think on the publisher side, you really usually rely on your subscriber basis and actually that's great. But it's also an opportunity to find prospects and figure out how you start prospecting and building partnerships. And it's such an intersection of so many different pieces, but I actually don't think as a role it gets enough credit.

BRANDON:

For sure. Let's see who is in influential marketing or events executive who you really think is a leader in the field?

KIRA:

I mean, I look up, to be honest with you, I look up to all of the executives that I work with. I mean my boss is not necessarily in event executive per se, but I totally look up to her and I totally look at her as a leader in the field and she's always my gut check. And it's funny because her job is to oversee, she's the general manager for the two products that I work on. And when it comes to events, she's sort of like a consultant. But she is that person that if I had any doubt, anything, whether it's as silly as like, is our welcome sign high enough or is the layout of this room okay to, how should we approach audience generation for this? To, what do you think of this sponsorship activation and anything, she is my go to on everything.

And usually, her opinion is always the one that I'm like, "Oh yeah, that makes so much sense." And so I know it's not very creative, but I feel extremely lucky to have someone like that in my life who I've been working with now for almost three and a half years, three years. And she's incredible. And actually, she's really kind of that person that has made me also have the confidence to be able to do the things that I do.

BRANDON:

That's great. Okay. So final question. How do you stay inspired and keep your creative instincts fresh?

KIRA:

Staying inspired is not that difficult I think when you are around smart people, you like where you work, you enjoy, I mean, I'm a consumer, I love media, so that's helpful. I read a lot of media, I go on a lot of social media, I watch really bad TV. I'm definitely meant to be in the media industry, if that makes sense. And so and then in terms of inspiration I just moved to Westchester about a month ago and so I spend and I also I'm working from home right now, much of the time and so I spend as much time as I possibly can outside, which I think is essential for anyone's brain to not be cooped up in your office 100% of the time. I think you need to get perspective and take walks and exercise and do all those things. And then really truthfully, there's no shortage of inspiration if you do all those things. And then also learning how to take breaks and if you've been at your computer for seven hours, there's no way you're going to be inspired by anything.

BRANDON:

That's great. I want to get that quote written up, put up in the office. If you're at your computer all day, you won't be inspired by anything. I totally agree with that. Well, that's it for today. Thank you so much Kira for being on the show. It was really great getting to speak to you about what's going on at Barron's Group, your career from way back when studying French to where you are today and everything in between.

KIRA:

Yeah. Thank you so much. It was great to be here.