Congratulations on your recent promotion to iHeart Radio’s General Sales Manager for Urban WGCI and Top 40 WKSC (KISS FM). What is your secret to success?
Not taking the short cut on anything career related. I wanted to learn every part of the process, as I worked my way up through sales.
What is your favorite new responsibility?
Working on two of the biggest radio brands in Chicago, simultaneously!
What do you enjoy most about being a sales manager versus an account executive?
Getting to help people elevate their game.
What do you consider to be your biggest professional achievement?
Definitely being promoted to GSM and being trusted with two of Chicago’s biggest brands: 103.5 KISS-FM & 107.5 WGCI-FM.
It looks like you’ve spent most of your career in radio, what do you like the most about working with this advertising medium?
Radio is constant, it’s mobile and it’s evolved with the times. The sound business is exploding - and iHeart is the audio platform leader.
Who was your biggest mentor?
Tom Brady - he doesn’t let any factors get in the way of him being the best.
Having lived in multiple states surrounding Lake Michigan, which is your favorite and why?
I have to say that Michigan was an amazing place to be raised, but Illinois has been incredible to me in my adult years. Both my home life and my career have prospered here in Chicago!
You also got engaged this year – 2018 seems to be your year - were you surprised, or did you know Faisal was going to propose?
I knew he was going to propose, I just didn’t know when.
Sadly, the end of summer is quickly approaching, what was your favorite memory?
Getting married :)
West Palm Beach was definitely my favorite place to live. Being able to go to the beach and/or pool anytime was a big plus!
I wanted to learn about advertising, and media was my way in. After taking a few college classes, I was impressed by the industry creativity, and thought it was a super innovative place to be. Media constantly changes, which keeps me on my toes and makes me curious about what’s coming next.
My best advice for a recent college graduate would be to keep an open mind, and focus. You may not know what to do next, but you’ll find it.
I love that every day is different. Variety is the key to continuous growing and learning.
I love to work out, since I feel my best after I get my body moving. Working out has also been my saving grace during stressful times.
People chewing with their mouth open is definitely up there .
My best vacation was to Budapest in October 2015. Budapest is a hidden treasure, with so much to see and explore.
I love hanging out somewhere by the water with family and friends.
You have been at Univision for 20+ years. How/when did you realize this was the place for you?
It was almost immediately 'love at first sight' because it wasn’t just a media sales job. I found my work at Univision gratifying because it is a very mission driven company. We aren’t just trying to solve marketing problems for our clients, we’re engaging with an under served audience. I love the value we have with both of those constituents; it makes the work so much more meaningful.
Which came first, being bilingual in Spanish/English, or working at Univision?
I initially pursued a job at a Spanish radio station because I had acquired the skill of speaking Spanish while I backpacked through South America like a hippie for a year. I wanted to retain my dual language skills, and I knew if I didn’t have a reason to keep speaking Spanish, it would slowly fade from my mind. I really fell in love with being bi cultural, and working at Univision afforded me the opportunity to explore that duality.
What is your favorite responsibility, or favorite perk, of your current job?
It may sound like a canned answer but I swear it’s the truth. I love that I get to work with so many smart people. I get to learn every day. I am very lucky to be a part of a team that is fiercely dedicated to an idealistic mission to serve an audience that depends on us. I also love it when our clients succeed and renew their investment. That, feels really good.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
I think my biggest accomplishment is unifying the once separate operations of Univision Radio and TV. The company decided in 2014 that we would 'go to market' as an integrated solutions provider that assembled our assets for the benefit of our clients, and that one single leader in each local market would oversee the whole thing. I was fortunate to be given the responsibility of combining the two different teams into one single entity, under one roof. I had to lead people from two different worlds operating two different mediums, and form one new company culture where everyone felt respected and valued. That, might be my legacy accomplishment.
With so many responsibilities, what is your secret for staying organized?
Sometimes, it’s like drinking from a fire hose. There is so much coming at me simultaneously, that it can be overwhelming. I have learned to edit the things that I need to focus on, and let some of the other 'noise' fly by me. I have also learned to give away my power and authority to the talented people that surround me. I am so lucky to work with great department leaders, who all know what to do. My job is to support them so they can be their best.
What is your business philosophy?
My business philosophy is rooted around having a healthy culture. I have worked in toxic environments, and I don’t believe people perform well in them. Good leaders protect their people from above, so that they can take care of themselves.
What is your favorite MAC memory?
My favorite MAC memory is my first ever holiday party. Smokey Robinson and The Miracles played. I was an intern at WCKG and I was responsible for going to a liquor warehouse to stock our table with adult beverages. I had a manila folder tucked in my sport coat filled with resumes so I could hand them out to people who might be able to hire me. I had a riot.
You have worn a lot of hats during your career – any favorites?
That’s easy. While I have learned so much about sales, management and operations, my on air career was the most fun. Being on the air staff at XRT was easily the most fun I ever had. It was all I ever wanted to do. My life’s dream came true when the great Norm Winer gave me my big break, and gave me 15 years as a DJ on Sunday mornings at 93.1FM. I got to meet all of my heroes, and I got to go back stage to meet rock stars with Johnny Mars and Tom Marker. I collected toys for kids with Frank E. Lee. I saw multiple rock shows at Cabaret Metro with Richard Milner and Marty Lennartz. What a thrill it was to hand off my show to Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Teri Hemmert. I also got to fill in for my 'best friend in the whole world,' Lin Brehmer! Being even just a tiny part of that legendary staff is my favorite job of all time.
Media is constantly changing. How do you continue to adapt, and what do you think the next big change will be?
Staying current on the ever evolving digital tools is daunting. Letting go of the things that we used to think we needed, and accepting that change is a constant. Keeping up with the changes is the only way to survive. The entire industry is being disrupted by technology, creating some very strong headwinds for companies that depend on advertising revenue for their top line revenue. I think companies are going to find new business models that use resources differently; which is code for fewer people doing more things. I do think that broadcast media has a long shelf life remaining, but it has to become more client centric. It needs to provide advertisers an attribution tool that allows advertisers to get real time feedback about their campaigns, so they can optimize messaging along the way, and achieve a better return on their investment.
What advice would you give to someone just starting their media career?
I would tell them that their success depends on their ability to master a diverse set of skills. Today, nobody can truly be successful unless they have expertise across multiple media platforms. Being able to craft marketing solutions for clients using more than one medium is key. Broadcast media is still a very powerful tool for advertisers, but pairing those capabilities with dynamic digital solutions or unique promotional and experiential activation is the best way to generate results for clients. You must be a jack of all trades.
Established in 1954 as the Broadcast Advertising Club of Chicago (the BAC), the Media Advertising Club of Chicago continues to grow and change to meet today’s definition of media. Drawing its membership from broadcast, cable, radio, out of home, and digital, the MAC brings together the best of the best in Chicago’s media industry and related industries as well.
With annual social events and educational seminars, the MAC aims to advance the media industry by providing opportunities for both networking and learning. The MAC’s annual social events include St Paddy’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Summer Bash, and Gutter Bowl as well as the two annual signature events – the MAC Open and the MAC Holiday Party.
The MAC partners with various charitable organizations throughout the year. As part of a long standing partnership with the Lions Club, the MAC donates a portion of the proceeds from its Holiday Party to the organization as well as holds a toy drive at the event itself.
Whether you are trying to break into the industry, looking to advance your career in the industry, or just looking to network with and learn about the industry from the people who live and breathe it every day – the MAC is the club for you!
Members receive discounted tickets to events as well as discounts in and around Chicago from various businesses. Individual and corporate annual memberships are available. Reach out to any of the MAC’s Board Members for more information. We look forward to seeing you at the next MAC event!
-The MAC Board