How do you explain your profession to people outside of the industry? What do you find most exciting and/or rewarding about this work?

What are the core requirements of your job and how do you measure success?

My day to day involves leading our in-house marketing team, working with our cross-functional departments, all local city teams, spearheading our agency task force and driving external affairs with all brand partners. We’re a rapidly growing brand that has a deeply intimate story behind it. Treating our brand story with care and vigor is a daily balance. Success is all about impact and results — we have robust systems in place that we are actively perfecting.

What is one notable professional achievement you've made over the past year that you are most proud of?

The last year has been busy! We tripled the size of the business and took it from a single NYC pop-up to a nationwide brand with three flagship venues and significant year-over-year growth from the year prior. In Q1 of 2023 alone, we were 40% over business projections nationwide, which was remarkable given that January is historically the slowest time for sales! Our foot traffic is upwards of 2,000 visitors in each market per day — beating pre-pandemic traffic — with visitors averaging 90- to 120-minute stays. These numbers reflect that our dynamic marketing and customer acquisition strategy is working and there’s a lot to be proud of.

Metrics aside, I’m also really proud of the relationship building that has developed over the last year with our customers and teams, as well as current and prospective partners. We’ve retained and expanded our brand collaboration with Elmer’s and Kinetic Sand, added new collaborations with Google, Blue Man Group, Hershey, Shake Shack and more. Our internal team has expanded to cover digital expertise, social community management, influencer collaborations and additional creative services. We’re also deeply proud of our hyper local ties in each market with cultural institutions and beloved organizations such as The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the Human and Civil Rights Museum in Atlanta and the Empire State Building in New York City.

What professional challenge or failure has stuck with you, and how did you embrace it?

No one is perfect — we are all always learning and growing. You will make mistakes throughout your life — it’s inevitable. It’s how you recover that matters. Taking ownership and accountability is critical.

A career-long challenge for me has been time management — ensuring moment to moment, day to day, week to week priorities are being balanced. Early-on in my career, it was my personal time management; these days, it’s about keeping myself, our team and our partners in lockstep towards shared goals so we move as a unified group. I embrace this as a challenge that may never have a perfect solution, but I firmly believe that if you approach challenges with curiosity, you are far more likely to devise creative solutions and enjoy the process.

What trend or technology do you believe will have the most profound impact on your work (and the work of your peers) over the next year?

AI. We’re actively playing with the range of options available across all departments, functions and seniority levels. Copywriting, predictive analytics, market insights and so much more. It’s also such a touchy space with creative integrity, the blurred line of ownership of rights, legal protections and much more. The compounding acceleration of development progress is equally fascinating and terrifying.

If you could say one thing to your younger self, what would it be?

Lead with grace — for yourself and others.