Emerson College - Bachelor's of Science in Speech Communications, Concentration in Integrated Marketing Communications
Brady Kimball is a businesswoman in all senses of the word. Professional, insightful and always with an eye on the bigger picture, she has a track record of following her dreams — no matter what. While studying at Boston University, Brady worked her days at a Fortune 500 biotechnology company, Biogen Idec, and spent her nights promoting a band, The Adam Ezra Group. Through that experience (and many others, including a lot of time spent working abroad) she built her skill set up to become a rock star client marketing manager for ASD Trade Shows, producing B2B trade shows serving four key segments in the merchandise industry: Gifts and toys, style and beauty accessories, jewelry, and value and variety goods. And she dishes out great advice. Read on and you’ll see what I mean.
You have to be OK with trying new things and moving out of your comfort zone in order to achieve a life worth living.
How did you discover your current job?
I discovered my current job using the search engine, Ideeli.com.
What has been your path so far to get you where you are today?
When I was at Boston University, I used their Student Employment Services Job Board to get a job promoting beverages for The American Hard Cider Company, which had me hosting events in bars, nightclubs, liquor stores and at special events all over Boston. That led to a similar job with Power Bar where I traveled to festivals, sporting events and ski resorts all over New England sampling Power Bars and Power Gel. It was incredible. I got to be on “Good Morning America” for an intro on the day of the Boston Marathon in 1997 ... so cool!
Being an event ambassador in college helped shape my work ethic and attitude about “rolling up my sleeves” to get a job done and how to work well with others. With marketing and special events, there are so many details, and these two positions opened my eyes to the long hours, organization and teamwork necessary to pull off an event.
After college, I honed my writing skills to blend special event production with marketing and have parlayed that experience into what I do today. Every single position I’ve held in the past from executive assistant for a public affairs department at a Biotec, to creative director at a newspaper to publicist for a band out of Boston (and others), has had me call upon my copywriting, design and event planning experience. I realized mid-way through my career that if I was not learning something every six months in my current position, I needed to expand my horizons or ask my supervisor for opportunities that could challenge me.
Was there any one situation that helped you along your way?
At one of my jobs, I worked with a recent college grad who did not understand the first thing about professionalism. She liked to start petty fights and essentially treated the job like an extension of her sorority days. Even though our boss knew she was a nightmare to work with, I was told to be the bigger person and lead by example. It was a major learning lesson that personality clashes are just a part of life and you cannot waste time taking things personally, getting emotional or reacting to people like that. It may sound cliché, but taking the high road always is the best path when it comes to dealing with challenging colleagues.
What is your typical day like? Does it ever change?
We produce four major trade shows a year -- two in Las Vegas and two on the East Coast (New York and Philadelphia). My main responsibilities include making sure all sales-related material (booth space contracts, sales brochures, newsletters, marketing e-mails, special events and promotions at the show and our website) are updated and executed according to our marketing plan, which is set up months in advance. I work directly with three sales managers and 13 account executives making sure they have the right tools and information to sell the booth space and pre-show/onsite/online marketing opportunities for exhibitors at the show.
A typical day has me arriving between 8:30 and 9 a.m., checking e-mails and following up on urgent requests from our sales team. They are my priority because the information they need helps them make a sale. Since I’ve come on board, we’ve exceeded most of our booth and advertising/sponsorship goals (even during the Great Recession), which is a great feeling. After I manage my inbox, I focus on creating and editing sales materials, newsletters or making Web updates. If we have newsletters or e-mails going out, I work closely with our art director to make sure I have the creative elements I need to deploy campaigns. There is never downtime!
I also do a lot of strategy and planning for our next shows. I’m always working six to 12 months ahead -- keeping notes and making improvements for the next round.
When we stage our events, absolutely no day is typical! We’re in Las Vegas for five to seven days at a time, and every minute is spent trying to make 3,000 exhibitors and 45,000 retailers happy!
What is the dreamiest part of your job?
The dreamiest part of my job is being able to put all of my past experience with writing, event planning, production and publicity together. It feels so good to be putting my college degree to use every single day. Oh, and getting to spend six days in Las Vegas on the company twice a year is pretty awesome, too!
What is the most challenging part?
The most challenging part is not having an assistant or marketing coordinator to delegate tasks to. I’m not talking about someone going to fetch me a latte; I mean having someone to help me with projects and list-cutting. I’ve had assistants at less demanding jobs, but I understand this is a sign of the times. We’re all doing more with less now.
What is one lesson you’ve learned in your job that sticks with you?
Be a team player! No one can do it alone ... everyone is in it together.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?
Sales carries a very “good ol’boys” club mentality. While I am not making actual sales, I deal with a lot of clients who still hold misconceptions about what women can accomplish in today’s world. Some of the comments I have gotten on the show site have made me realize there still is a very conservative view that pervades the trade show world.
Who are your role models?
My role models are Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep. I grew up thinking I was going to be an actress, so I focused on two women who projected strength and softness, success and creativity, good morals and values and had a wonderful attitude about their chosen profession. Dedication and devotion transcends industry. A person who is passionate and constantly learning or trying out new things is fearless. You have to be OK with trying new things and moving out of your comfort zone in order to achieve a life worth living.
Is there a quote or mantra that you live by?
“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.” -Oscar Wilde
This is probably the best quote I have ever heard because it means in time, perspective will emerge to unveil hidden lessons meant for you to grow and learn from in the future.
What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?
Pay attention in stats class! Marketing is more about numbers and managing budgets than you might imagine.
Marketing also is pretty formulaic. It’s about analyzing behaviors. Identify your audience and how they act and react to messaging. Decide what kind of messaging to use, determine timing and frequency, and that’s half the battle. People are the same across the world (I have lived and worked in Australia and the Caribbean and traveled extensively in Europe) -- but first you really must understand what will engage people and what will keep them coming back for more when you have a product or service to promote.
Other advice: Be professional, dress the part, don’t party when you’re on the job, take the high road, be gracious, send thank you notes, always follow up and follow through, don’t leave anything to question, be organized, make time for you, eat well and get good sleep! Marketing and event production is a physically and emotionally taxing industry, but if you know how to balance your time and needs, it can be extremely rewarding and fun!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Be aggressive when it comes to finding success. You have to be your own advocate in the professional world. You’ll need to create alliances with people other than your supervisor to stay visible with upper management. Having a great attitude and willingness to work with others will take you really far in life in general and can only help further you in your career.
Have clearly defined goals for yourself and constantly evaluate where you want to be working in two, three, four or five years. Getting complacent and apathetic about your job is one of the quickest ways to burn out and lose your passion ... If you aren’t happy, that is pretty obvious to others, so be sure to think about your needs and whether your current job is meeting those desires. If not, reexamine things and make the changes necessary to pursue career satisfaction. You never know ... you might wind up making more money than you ever dreamed of -- or discovering a position that was truly made for you!