Photo by Thomas Skernivitz
Q: Where does your passion for marketing come from?
My father started a direct marketing business the year I was born. Every summer I worked there, learning every aspect of the business. Eventually, in the latter ’90s, my brother and I took it over and ran the business until we sold it in 2005. He ran the operations, and I ran sales and marketing. That said, I got the bug very early in life. It has been a lifelong passion.
Q: How has working in and running a family business benefitted your career?
I think it makes you more tolerant. No matter how much you love your family, they are, at times, the hardest to work with because you have such a deep emotional connection. That doesn’t just go away during the workday. It has also benefitted me working at BlueBridge because it, too, is a family-run business, so I relate to the dynamic. And working in a close-knit company, it feels more like a family because you are all working deliberately to grow the business together. You care for it more, like it is your own.
Q: Your title, client services director, what does that entail?
Working in a facility-based IT-managed service company, we all have multiple roles. It is just the nature of the beast. So, although much of my day consists of marketing strategy and execution, I also work with our customers to make sure their needs are being met. Because we have a 10-year track record of no downtime in our data center, we do not have the opportunity other companies do to get in front of their customers. It is often a “fire it up and forget it” scenario. So while our competitors are knocking on our customer’s door, we are continuing to strive for and focus on operational excellence. That is where I come in. I am the touch point, the liaison. I stay in front of them to update them on new services, any announcements, events we are hosting; or it may be a simple check in. My door is always open to make sure their experience is first class. It is all part of what we call the BlueBridge Difference. Technology does not have to be impersonal, and we hang our hat on that.
Q: How has your role at BlueBridge made a difference in growing the company?
BlueBridge didn’t have a dedicated marketing professional on staff when I arrived three years ago. I spent the better part of two years rebranding, creating consistency in, not only the look and feel, but also the messaging. Kevin Goodman, managing director, and I work on the go-to-market strategy together. We now host several industry-related events throughout the year, push out a steady stream of social media and traditional marketing touches, and have regular correspondence with our customers via a quarterly newsletter and our “Did You Know” campaign, which has received a great deal of notice and praise from customers and prospects. It has been a labor of love, but seeing it all come together and having the regional business community recognize us feels amazing. As we celebrate our 10th year in business this year, it is remarkable to see how far we have come and the role I was able to play in that journey.
Q: What challenges have you faced?
From a marketing perspective, we walk a fine line because we have to appeal to technology practitioners and non-tech professionals. For example, a company looking to move into our collocation facility will oftentimes have a cross-organization due diligence process in making that decision. We will have to speak to the CIO, CEO, CFO, CMO, and so on. Our marketing has to speak on so many levels to so many people. We had to find our voice as a tech company that speaks to both tech folks and the layperson. That is not always an easy thing.
Q: What other ways do you create awareness for BlueBridge?
Corporate and social responsibility is paramount to the BlueBridge team. I serve as a board member of the Ohio RITE (Regional Information Technology Engagement). The board is a collaboration of senior IT executives who are committed to advancing the regional IT industry by facilitating robust interaction among employer, education, and community stakeholders. We work to educate and grow the IT workforce of tomorrow by engaging high school and college students in all facets of the IT field. Northeast Ohio has a deficit of IT practitioners. There are more tech jobs being created every day in this region. We want to attract and retain local talent to support our local economy and community.
Q: Has your career taken you outside of Cleveland?
I actually started my career as a creative assistant at a small advertising agency in Houston. From there I moved on to work at a consulting firm focused on the oil and gas industry. I learned so much during that time, working with a Fortune 100 company as my main client. I have taken those lessons through my entire career. I moved back to take over the aforementioned family business. Upon its sale, I accepted a position as the North American marketing manager for KTM, an Austrian motorcycle manufacturer. That provided me the opportunity to work for a global organization and allowed me to spend time in Austria at the company headquarters. That was a special time for me as my family comes from Austria.
Q: How has professional networking helped?
I made the conscious decision three years ago to move into the technology industry because it is only going to continue to grow. Part of that reinvention has been to build a name for myself within the industry. I attend many events on behalf of BlueBridge. I am very active in NEOSA, the technology arm of COSE. Not only do I attend many of their networking events, we also sponsor several of their events throughout the year. I am also a member of the Ohio CPO (Contingency Planners Organization) and attend their regular meetings and events. It is never easy starting over in a new industry, but I feel I have come a long way over the past three years. Getting out, meeting people in the industry, and allowing them to put a face with a name have made all the difference in my success in tech.
For more information: bluebridgenetworks.com/bluebridge-diff