Oh What a Night!

"Whiting Consulting", "Chernee Vitello", entrepreneur, "female entrepreneur"

This weekend we had a wonderful time hosting our first ever open house! It was a wonderful evening in our new space and a time to show our colleagues, friends and family all the hard work putting it together.

I have to say I was a little nervous…this is the first time we have had a huge company event. I wanted to make sure the space looked perfect! There was food and of course…wine and beer!!  The set-up took a little longer than I thought it would, and we ended up cutting it a little close before everyone started to arrive.

That day we hung the final sign, which was my Grandfather’s main sign that hung over his cabinet shop. My parents have been storing it in their basement for over 20 years! My mom is quite the saver, and keeps all our papers, notes, etc…over the years, I do have to say last evening I saw the sign in a new perspective. I am so lucky to have over my desk a sign that is over 100 years old, and has been in family ever since! To me it represents how strong the Whiting name is, and the heritage and strength of how entrepreneurship passes down from generation to generation.  Also, this week by chance my mom was cleaning out an old box, and found all my notes and receipts for my first business called, “The Wedding Day.” The box contained everything since I started it, when I was 12.

I have written in previous posts how I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but seeing it on paper and from such a long time ago…it reiterated my passion for being a woman business owner!

More importantly I am so grateful for the turnout the other evening! To have such a great team and to see all the smiles, laughter and excitement about the space and the business as a whole, makes me very excited for what is to come!

Thank you!!!

P.S.- Go to our Facebook page to view additional photos from our event.

The Art of Simplicity

"Keep it Simple"

In business and in life I think we sometimes make a process harder than it has to be. I for one don’t like to reinvent the wheel – I am constantly looking around for ideas or suggestions on how to make a situation or process easier. But there is something I think we have lost with all our cool technology and how we have evolved through commercialization and getting the best deal etc… We have lost sight of the fundamentals and keeping things simple.

We built our house seven years ago. And, of course, all our appliances are starting to get the seven year inch. We bought them at a “Big Box” store which will remain nameless, and when our washing machine and dryer started to go they would not come out and fix it.  Now we bought the appliances there because their price was right (cheap) and they offered extras like not having to pay for a year, no interest, and 10% coupon off for building a house… I could go on and on… But after the transaction was completed, you no longer mattered …It felt a little like “see ya later and good luck with all this stuff you bought!”

Back to the future seven years later; a lot of these appliances have decided that they are not so interested in working properly. I should mention now that my hubby and I are not the handiest of folks. You will not come to my door and have my husband answer it with a wrench in his hand!  I am talking with my Dad about the issues we were having with the appliances and he tells me to call the “guy” on Main Street, and he can probably fix it.

Sure enough after six months of having a leaky washing machine the local store fixed it.

I decided to go pay the repair bill in person. The store has not been updated probably since the 60’s. It was a hand written receipt. There were no fancy promotions or gadgets in the store… You have to pay for the product up front…(with the cost of appliances these days is not easy for everyone). But do you know what they do have? He has been in business for over 50 years, he wears a tie to work every day, he knows his products inside and out, along with what the big chains are selling. He was responsive, he showed up when he said he was going to…and by the way, he fixed our problem that no one else cared to fix!

The guy keeps his process simple…He develops and thrives on customer loyalty. He wants to earn your business and wants you to be a repeat customer. He used to be one of the only games in town for years, but he has been able to survive the “Big Box” invasion because of his ability to focus on his fundamentals and never forget that a delighted customer is a customer for life!

So the lesson here to my fellow business owners is: look for the simplicity in business. Sometimes we make it harder for ourselves than we need to…

Discounts are cool …gadgets are fun…but to me, true fundamentals don’t change!!

 

Startups: The Rising of Women Entrepreneurs

"Rosie the Riveter", "We Can Do It!"More and more women are being called entrepreneurs in today’s marketplace. Last week I was able to attend the NYU ‘Women in Startups’ panel, which featured four NYC based entrepreneurs who shared their experiences and advice with an eager crowd of students. Speakers from startups included: SpotOn, Go Try It On, aut faciam, and Rent the Runway. It was a phenomenal panel, packed with stories, advice, and enthusiasm for the love of entrepreneurship.

Here at Whiting Consulting, we are approaching our 10 year celebration of entrepreneurship as a woman owned business. Along with celebrating our 10th anniversary soon, we are celebrating the ideas and inspirations of female entrepreneurs in the startup space. During college, I never would’ve thought that I would be working in the startup space. Once I fell into working with startups, I had never seen so much passion before for an idea someone has. It’s very refreshing to see and hear everyone’s enthusiasm, especially attending startup events down in New York City. Many of the women within the startup space have inspired me and helped me come to the realization of the difference we can all make in the economy for pursuing a small spark that’s burning inside, eager to make a difference in the tech community.

In a recent Fast Company article, Women-Led Startups are the Key to New Job Creation, only 35% of startup business owners are women. Marissa Evans of Go Try It On, stated that more and more women are becoming business owners, and becoming better at what they do.  Rent the Runway’s, Jennifer Fleiss, believes that this percentage will increase to over 50% in the next five years.

In the article, it stated that women don’t have the same network and role models as men do in the steps of starting their own companies. I asked some of the following panelists who their role models were when they were going through the startup process.

Gauri Manglik of SpotOn, said that Art.sy founder, Carter Cleveland, was her role model. She found some inspiration from him, because they are around the same age. Gauri was also looking at Apple and Instagram products as guidance, and how they’ve become established in the marketplace.

Marissa Evans sees any entrepreneur who contributes and gives back to the community by speaking to alumni as a role model. Her top pick is Twitter founder, Jack Dorsey, because of the great success of growth in his company.

Jennifer Fleiss was very fortunate to have great mentors along her journey which include: Carley Roney, founder of TheKnot.com, Dan Rosenweig, CEO at Chegg, and Marc Lore, Co-founder of Crunch Base. What helped made Jennifer’s journey a success was teaming up and having a great partner along the way.

All of these ladies had someone that inspired them. I believe anyone can go where they want to go, as long as they have some sort of inspiration to help them along the way. I also think that having the same network as everyone else isn’t going to make or break your startup. It’s how you leverage your network to get where you need it to go.

At the NYU panel, I asked these ladies what advice they could give to other women who want to start their own courageous path. Everyone’s overlaying message was: Learn everything you possibly can, and just go out there and do it. The best thing is to expose yourself, read blogs, and be open to new ideas.

Alexis Goldstein of aut faciam, told the audience that if you have an idea and see a particular need not being fulfilled by anyone else, give it a shot. It’s okay not to succeed at times, but you have to be able to make a decision to believe in yourself.

Other times you need to make risks, and think how it’ll benefit you in the long-run. Jennifer Fleiss and her co-founder, agreed to never write a business plan, because starting a business should be about tests and risks, then growing from what you’ve learned:

“In my opinion, there are four keys to success that I discovered early on that were fundamental to Rent the Runway’s launch that can easily be applied to other business models: (1) Test the Marketplace, (2) Show by Example, (3) Build a team, and (4) Realize that “No” means “Not Right Now.” …Starting a business is a series of iterative tests. Each test eliminates some of the risks of starting one. It is best to just believe in yourself and jump right into it, test it out, and grow by learning.”

The experiences and advice the ladies on the panel shared were very captivating and inspiring for the audience. The tech scene is a welcoming community, and will be seeing more and more women take the stage in startups. Any woman who has an idea should let their dreams run wild with it. Estee Lauder summed up her experience that can apply to any woman with a spark for an idea to pursue: “I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it.

Photo credit: Wikipedia.com

Post written by Julie Skowronek, Assistant Marketing Manager at Whiting Consulting.

Don’t Become a Wallflower…Use Your Sonar!

Have you ever been to a networking meeting and felt completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of people that are attending and thinking – how I am going to meet the people I NEED to network with?

I have been traveling down to NYC the last couple of months and have been attending the NY Tech Meetup’s which have been awesome. I have loved all the presentations, but there are hundreds of great people to meet and sometimes I don’t know where to begin!

At July’s event I was really impressed with a new start-up called Sonar, which lets you connect your LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook accounts and then allows you to see people you’re connected to who are in the same location radius. How COOL is that…. I thought this was an app that I could leverage greatly at every networking event, because usually I go into a networking event filled with new faces to meet. I immediately downloaded this app right then and there!

Since July I have been experimenting with this new way of connecting. With Sonar by my side at networking events, I can go into a room and feel more at ease knowing industries people work in, what they do, and how I’m connected to them. This is a tool that I wish I had over a year ago, right after I graduated from college and jumped right into attending events alone.

Going into an event, for anyone, can be a bit nerve-racking at times. For me, it was a challenge to find the right people within the same industry to target and connect with. For some events if it was possible, I would research who was going and what they did. Great for small gatherings, but at a large event it was like finding a needle in a stack of needles.

The Sonar app can guide my way through a room, and make it easier with just a few clicks to find industry-related people that I can network with in person. It can also be a great conversation starter by letting the person know what friends you have in common.

Sonar, Sonarme, Mobile App

When I was at a recent NYU Women in Startups panel, I got a Twitter shout out from another Sonar user, stating that we had 85 similar connections. He was sitting in the same event as me, and looking to network. (Unfortunately my phone has its own mind, and decides which Twitter messages should appear on my home screen!) If I had seen his Twitter response sooner, we would’ve had a great conversation about startups at the panel…We are looking to connect at the next NY Tech Meetup. I’m excited to go into the next meetup and have a connection already introduced, out of a large roomful of 700+ new connections waiting to be found by Sonar.

It’s amazing what technology can do now! Sonar is an app that helps you make introductions to people who are connected to you in all different degrees. Now you have no excuse becoming a wallflower at events! Sonar is a dynamic tool that I’ve used to leverage all of my connections on social media in specific locations looking for new people to network with. How will Sonar build your network?

Post written by Julie Skowronek, Assistant Marketing Manager at Whiting Consulting.

Decorating a New Office on a Budget

We all have hobbies…one of mine is decorating. I love fabric and color and putting ideas and concepts together. I would say my sense of style is traditional.  For those of you who don’t know what that is, I would like anything out of the Pottery Barn catalog.  🙂

I decided to give the office a different look and feel and bring out the pink girly-girl in me. The design concept for the office first came from the space itself…I was going to have a ton of natural light and high ceilings.  The building was built in the 1880’s and it has a lot of dark wood and character.  It is an open space, but with a lot of “defined” areas where I knew I would be able to differentiate them with different uses of color.

I bought this fabric about 6 years ago for one of the first pieces of furniture that I recovered.  It was a little stool my kids used to stand on to wash their hands in our powder room.  In our old office the walls were grey…and I am not a grey kind of person.  I love color and light and need that to feel productive. So I knew right off the bat I wanted the walls to have a bright color palette. I decided to pull greens, blues, and pinks for the space…similar to the colors in our logo. I also used a green hue – Laura Ashley Sage Green that I used in my dining room at home – I think it is good if you can to leverage color that you live with all the time in other spaces…it looks different at the office than my house because of the light. I also painted the inner walls a yellow green to make the green pop and to feel like sunshine.

I also decided I wanted the office not to look like an office but more of a comfortable sitting room – so I went with a French Country theme… and started shopping – another one of my favorite hobbies!  I also decided to buy local, so I hit the area Antique stores, thrift stores and Craigslist….

I got such joy in buying an ugly, beat up of piece of furniture for 10 to 50 dollars and making it beautiful with paint and fabric…

So where do you start?  I started with the fabric and style…I knew I wanted a farmhouse table for our conference room ($45.00)…I also knew I wanted a floral fabric for the chairs…I wanted a turn of the century camel back couch (which I found in a local antique store for $150 dollars – that was the deal of the century). Instead of office furniture I utilized dressers and credenzas for storage and places to put printers…

It took me about 5 months to buy all the pieces and my garage and my mother in law’s garage looked like a used furniture store. We started at the beginning of the summer refinishing furniture and painting…my big splurge was having two chairs reupholstered, a trade that I wish I new…but boy was it worth it and I love the chair in my office – it is one of my favorite corners in the new space.

All in all I spent less than $2000.00 on furnishing a 1,600 square foot office.  It was a very exciting process…I am going to have fun picking pieces of art and little odds and ends for the space…I love having a place that is pink and has shades of green and patterns that I can’t use in my own home. If you are a business owner have your office be like a second home – it sure does feel like it sometime…look for pieces and color palettes that will inspire your staff and get them excited about coming into work each day.  I think decor really does matter and makes a first impression when you have a candidate walk into your space…If your employees feel comfortable in their surroundings they will want to come to work and feel motivated to do a great job for the business….

Don’t go to your regular OfficeMax; think outside the box…think about your brand and who your company is and what story does your space tell…Use your creative side…for me it was so fun to see what had been in my mind for a long time become a reality.

We Have Exciting News- We Have Moved to a New Office…

So if you haven’t noticed we have not written a blog in over two months – we apologize for that ….however, we have been busy getting ready for our office move.

The adventure started some 7 months ago when we realized we had out grown our current space (which was a two room office suite).  Even though we loved being part of a traditional old town main street – we were growing and needed to spread our wings. I was not looking for the typical office space. Since we spend a lot of time at the office I wanted a unique space that had character and that I could decorate…..

I heard about a couple of historical buildings that were being taken over and made into office space. When I first looked at the new space it was down to the bare studs and lath (something that I have not seen since my parents redid there 1828 house)…I was not sure – I could not figure out how this building was going to come together…

Greg O’Connell, a local businessman that restores old buildings and has been very successful in the revitalization of the neighboring town Mt Morris, purchased the building. Greg was awesome throughout this process…he really let me design and customize the space to my needs.  He knows that a happy tenant is one who will stay for a while.

We decided to open up the space as much as possible – making the doors wider and adding glass and keeping the old finishings to keep the building in its native state….We ended up with an office for me (24 foot ceilings), an open environment for our recruiting and sourcing center that could fit 4 desks, a sitting area, a conference room, break area and kitchen – we more that quadruple our space….



Over the last several months as Gregg’s restoration team went to work it really all came to life.  First, the lathe was covered up and we had walls!  Amazing!  Then, color on those walls that really helped define the space.  Finally, the original floors were refurbished to their natural beauty and the space all came together!

When redoing a space you need to think about flow….as a business owner I needed to think about what I really needed – how did I want communication and energy to flow throughout the space….I wanted an open office concept…our business thrives on energy – I wanted big windows, natural light – no more fluorescent light bulbs for me….I wanted normal looking furniture….I did not want to be surrounded by everything looking like an office…I wanted a space that would encourage productivity and an environment where people wanted to come to everyday and be their best.

We have now been in our new space a week…still have a couple of things to iron out – not used to walking in high heels on the hardwood floors – but to be surround by great colors, beautiful sunlight (natural light on those grey days) and pieces of furniture that have a story to tell have been awesome. I look forward to our next blog where I will talk about how I decorated the space on a budget by utilizing many of our local antique stores and consignment shops.

Marketing Manager (New York, NY)

Whiting Consulting is looking for a Marketing Manager for our client in the New York City area. They will be primarily responsible for developing and executing innovative B2B demand generation campaigns utilizing a mix of email, online marketing, content, webinars and event-based campaigns to generate new sales leads, engage existing customers and promote awareness of the products and services. Principal communication will be through email, online, social media, SEO/search, events and other channels. In addition, measuring, optimizing, testing and reporting on the results of the programs/campaigns will be critical. The objective is to generate new leads through inbound activities as well as convert leads and aid in the progression through the sales cycle. This role will support other marketing initiatives including public relations, trade show marketing and collateral development, as well as helping in marketing efforts related to the affiliate sales channels.

Responsibilities Include

  • Identify customer needs as required to ensure the right programs and campaigns to gain market share.
  • Develop multi-channel demand generation campaigns, objectives, targets, tactics, and metrics to drive customer
  • Acquisition success may include asset down load, online events, promotions, search, newsletters and online content.
  • Initiate and manage lead nurturing programs to accelerate prospect movement through the demand generation funnel.
  • Develop and execute email campaigns for lead generation and lead-nurturing activities.
  • Drive attendance and track success metrics for webinar programs.
  • Manage web content for products and services — search engine optimization efforts, paid search activity, landing pages and web-based lead generation and tracking.
  • Work with events team to ensure brand/product messaging and optimized demand generation tactics and measurement.
  • Manage, track and optimize online marketing campaigns including email, social media, partners.
    • Analyze and interpret key metrics/reports; recommends corrective action; ensures continuous improvement and effectiveness.
  • Ensure critical campaign elements (promotional code, tracking setup) are created for lead flow and reporting.
  • Support overall company branding and awareness as part of the overall marketing initiatives and lead generation programs.

Requirements

• 5 years of experience working in a results driven marketing environment
• 2+ years lead generation experience responsible for analyzing and executing campaigns in a business-to-business environment
• Experience marketing B2B products and services preferred
• Must have a proven track record of managing and delivering successful integrated lead generation campaigns
• Experience developing cross marketing channel campaigns
• Demonstrated results in improving sales pipeline/funnel close ratios
• Experience with Salesforce
• Experience using email campaign management tools to create, send, and track emails
• Experience with content management tools a plus
• Experience developing key messaging throughout the sales process a plus
• Organized, detail oriented and strong at attacking challenges
• Ability to establish and manage priorities and drive projects to completion
• Strong interpersonal skills; ability to influence others without formal authority
• Ability to communicate ideas and collaborate to execute and problem solve
• Excellent written and oral communications skills
• Proven excellence in managing multiple projects and deadlines
• Must be able to multi-task in a fast-paced environment with strong attention to detail
• Skilled at working with cross functional teams

Apply by sending your resume to resumes@whitingconsulting.com.

Whiting Consulting is a recruiting firm specializing in placing highly-qualified candidates for: Executive-Level Roles, Marketing / Sales Engineering / Inside Sales, Product Management / Product Marketing, Software Development & Engineering / QA, Implementation Consultants, Production Support, and High-Tech Public Relations.

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