I’m excited to share that I have joined York IE as vice president, where I’ll be responsible for providing ongoing strategy and program insights with consulting clients and overseeing the daily operation of the firm’s startup services practice. Having known Kyle York and Adam Coughlin for years, I’m so grateful for this exciting once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do what I love — work closely with startups and entrepreneurs, be at the cutting edge of emerging and innovative technology, continue to develop integrated PR and marketing strategies and help to reshape how startups are built while sharing their exciting stories.
One event can change your life
As a person who enjoys connecting people to each other, networking is in my blood. With more than a dozen years in agency life, I’ve organized networking events, attended hundreds and have helped many to find the person, job or resource they were looking for. I’m always happy to attend an event, strike up a conversation with a stranger and immediately connect on common interests and mutual contacts. When writing this blog post, I can’t help but think of the entire journey to York IE and how it actually started with one event many years ago.
In 2014, I went to an event hosted by the then popular blog GigaOM with top tech reporter Barb Darrow. As a young PR pro, I jumped at the chance of an exclusive invite. Since Barb was attending and I worked with all technology clients at a B2B tech agency, I knew I wanted to go, meet her in-person and foster a relationship for my clients and myself.
In particular, on that night, having met Barb and many other folks, I struck up a chat with the friendliest person in the room, Dyn’s CTO, Cory von Wallenstein. In that conversation, I quickly learned and was fascinated behind the potential of a New Hampshire company that the entire Internet goes through.
As a good networker and connector knows, follow-up is essential. I exchanged business cards and accepted/sent LinkedIn requests, making sure to check out Dyn’s website and connect with Cory. His immediate response was for me to meet with Adam.
“You should come up to Dyn at some point and grab lunch with Adam who currently heads our corporate communications. Would be great to meet some folks, and you never know what the future holds! -Cory”
That lunch was held quickly after at Dyn’s own farm-to-table restaurant with Adam. We talked about marketing, PR, technology, reporters, careers, family and more. Shortly after, Dyn became a PAN Communications client and I got the chance to work directly with Dyn’s dedicated team as the company grew and took on the world of Internet Performance Management.
As a storyteller for B2B tech clients, I especially loved Dyn’s technology and the story of how the company was built — bootstrapped for more than 10 years and scaled to $30M ARR without a dollar of funding. With famous brands on the wall in the Manchester office, I knew how much customers loved the company and leveraged the technology. It was the backbone of the Internet. More importantly, I connected with and trusted the team at Dyn and the values they held as people. It was an everlasting agency/client experience that stayed with me beyond the relationship. I’m also happy to say that Adam’s choices in lunch spots have been great through the years that we’ve stayed in touch.
From DOS to DevOps, technology and storytelling
The reason I loved working with Dyn and in tech PR for so long, is that technology has always been part of my own history. As a child, I enjoyed playing games by typing DOS on a computer in the 1990s to my first internship in high school as an IT department for the MWRA to picking a minor in IT at Bentley University, technology has always come naturally to me and fit my passion of telling stories.
For the past decade, I worked at PAN Communications with multiple clients from startups to mid-market and emerging growth companies to the large global publicly traded and well established companies. I specialized in telling complex technology stories to raise brand visibility and execute on integrated marketing campaigns. This let me have a front seat to enterprise technology trends, gaining experience with clients in the industry including DevOps, open source, app development, marketing technology, mobile and cybersecurity.
The most exciting part of my career has been working with startups and entrepreneurs to drive their stories. It is the ability to break down a technology and have it resonate with an audience, teach its value, evoke emotion and make that connection. To do so, you need to dig in, be curious, and ask the tough questions to understand the message they want to tell to the world and why it’s different. Then using research and data, work together to develop that captivating story that encompasses both their technology and value to the market.
Only startups with a compelling message that drives immediate value have a chance to make it out of the crowd. It’s the only way to break through the clutter and connect directly with customers. And then they must bring that message to market – over and over again through a steady drumbeat of value-added content and storytelling.
Why that matters even more today
In these unprecedented times, startups have to look at the new challenges ahead of them and determine many difficult decisions for the future. That includes how to be part of the solutions that are needed in this ever changing world and how best to communicate with the appropriate balance and timing. The world has changed in the 30 days and what we today will impact tomorrow.
In Kyle’s post yesterday, now is the time to invest in brand and thought leadership, and harden the foundational strategy for the long-term. Today’s events will reshape how startups are built and how they must operate and engage with their customers. Being consistent with messaging and adapting to the uniqueness of our challenging times allows for these stories to rise above the fold and stand out.
You never know what the future holds
The connection comes full circle this week as I join York IE, many years after that initial lunch with Adam. My colleague Mike stated when he joined, it was one of the biggest bets on himself that he’s ever made and I couldn’t agree more, especially on betting on this team and the vision of York IE. I was inspired by the vision from the moment when I first heard it and knew I needed to be part of the team. I’m excited to get started, collaborate and listen with startups and entrepreneurs to tell their stories and be part of the team at York IE. Be sure to stay tuned for more!