Name: Jennifer LoBianco
Title: Partner/CSO at 8fold LLC
One sentence description of your work/job: I am a marketing strategist, or I like to say in other words, a strategic pragmatist.
Education: BA in English, BS in Pre-Law, MBA in Marketing
Twitter: @8foldtweets and @momswhoblog
How did you choose your career?
Jennifer LoBianco: I always loved to write and think creatively, but I wasn’t an artist or designer, never the hands-on side of things; I always loved to marry business and creativity, so marketing was a natural fit.
What’s a typical workday like for you?
JL: Atypical, everyday. I go from making business owner decisions about money, staff and operations to working with clients to develop the most strategic and creative marketing plans that fit their business objectives. I have always been a juggler and I like that everyday is different.
What are some obstacles you’ve faced in getting to where you are right now?
JL: It’s so easy to give up when you don’t know where your next project is coming from, but once you start rolling, meeting people, spreading the word about your business, you get more. Success is inevitable if you have a great product/service and ability to listen, learn and solve problems.
What role have other women played in helping you get to where you are?
JL: Seeing strong women move ahead in business without acting like men is motivating. I don’t like women in high positions who think they have to act just like men to get ahead; it’s disingenuous and unnatural. I grew up playing sports, competing against guys all the time, not being afraid to compete and get better playing against better players, being a team player made me understand how men operate on the filed and in the business world. You get respect as a woman, not as a woman trying to be a man. I love seeing how women can juggle amazing careers and raising children, I’m still working on it
Almost every path in life has its roadblocks, what were some of the things (and who were some of the people) that motivated you during difficult times?
JL: 1.) Of course my family and my husband, especially during the past year when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, everything was put into perspective, the only thing I worried about were my kids, not work, not myself at the beginning, but them, life is so precious.
2.) My business partner, he is always optimistic and puts things into perspective daily, you can’t have too nervous nellies all the time, we balance each other out; he always has confidence in our business, in me; our partnership is our business and our success.
3.) My colleagues/vendors, we share war stories and best practices, rather than competing, it makes us all better at what we do.
What advice would you give to other women in your career, or women in general, aiming to establish a successful career?
JL: You can never get back your integrity once you lose it. You don’t have to sell out to be successful, sure other people will get ahead of you by doing not so above board things, but in the end, you have your integrity and it will get you a lot further. Be honest with yourself and others, always.
Did/do you have a mentor? What suggestions do you have for other women hoping to find professional mentors?
JL: I had a couple along the way, some men, some women… you can’t expect someone to seek you out to mentor you, you have to go to them and tell them what your goals are, why you think you can learn from them, not just because they make a lot of money. One of my first jobs was in publishing and I wanted to be in the marketing department but there wasn’t a job available, so I took one in another department and then volunteered my time in all other departments just to learn the inter-workings of the industry. It eventually lead to a marketing gig and to those I was interviewing with it showed initiative, I didn’t sit around waiting for opportunity to come to me.
What keeps you motivated to excel in your career?
JL: I have this continuous desire to learn new things and be motivated by others, that’s what keeps me going. I really enjoy challenges and solving problems.
What’s one thing you wish you knew when you were first starting out?
JL: There isn’t one direct path to professional success, there are amazing companies out there that you’ve never heard of where you can learn just as much from a Fortune 500 one, so always look for opportunities for growth even in unexpected places.
How important do you think ambition was in helping you get where you are today?
JL: 100%. My high school yearbook quote read, “the only boundaries are those you choose to live within,” one of my coaches gave it to me and I wore it in my sock every practice and game my senior year, it was a continuous reminder that if you are ambitious you can go anywhere.