Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Karen Davis >

Karen Davis, Owner and Founder, QVentures.TV

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
Three "P's": Passion, perseverance and a pot-full of money( or at least the patience and diligence to go out and find it.) Plus I think you need a sense of humor and an ability to be your own best cheerleader.

What did inspire you to start your business?
Being laid off or going through a massive corporate restructuring has the effect on people of either making themselves doubt or self-motivate. I took the latter position. I am motivated by nay-sayers. Tell me it can't be done or has never been done and I am your gal.

How did you finance it?
Self-financed along with advertising sales & licensing revenues.

Being Hispanic, does it have any influence on your business?
I am not Hispanic, but have "un alma latina." For over twenty years I have been at the forefront of the Latin American and US Hispanic media industry, helping employ hundreds of people, launching new businesses and raising millions of dollars in revenues. Comes from an early passion with all things "en español."

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
Eternal optimism and hope. And looking at my six-year old son.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
Small minded people who don't understand big ideas. And running out of money.

If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
In my business, I'd like to have easier access to capital for start-ups.
In the industry, I'd love to see the day when more Board members and key decision-makers in Hispanic broadcasting, Internet and Mobile were women.

What was your childhood ambition?
To be a pilot or a "lexicographer."

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire
Bill Gates- not just for the obvious reasons. More so for his decision to leave Microsoft and dedicate his time and fortune to his foundation and humanitarian work.
Fernando Espuelas- an eternal optimist who not only made and lost a $500 million fortune but has rebounded, re-made himself and is truly a great, generous guy.
My husband, Nick Athanassiadis, who is probably the smartest man I know.

For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Breakfast but not before 8am or lunch.

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
When most of my friends and colleagues were marrying and starting families, I was on planes, in hotels or in foreign countries launching new businesses, first in Eastern Europe, then in Latin America.
For me, there were times that felt like I was sacrificing a "way of life" but, in truth, it was more exhilarating and gratifying than sacrificial. My health was probably the one thing I really consider a "sacrifice"as I neglected to incorporate good eating, exercise and sleeping habits into my daily routine and instead was always on the go.
It took its toll on me a few times and has convinced me that health, spirituality, family must be included with work to have a complete and fulfilling life. Otherwise one’s "center" is just too far away and challenges become daunting.

What is your favorite quote?
"El mundo es un pañuelo."

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Compared to being conventional? I wouldn't know.

Biggest mistake made?
I think if I've made mistakes in business it was in hiring the wrong people for particular positions. I can think of two instances where that was the case and I knew they were wrong for the job in my gut both times and still hired them.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
Absolutely. My career has been one of many "firsts" and to me that is the definition of an innovator: someone who dreams up an idea or is faced with a new situation and makes it a reality, first.
First Creative Director for HBO's International ventures. First Exec Producer, launching MTV in Spanish language in US and Latin America. First to sign a major US sports league deal with a Spanish TV network.
Convincing consumers in Hungary to purchase a brand called "H-B-O" when the letter "H" doesn't exist in their language . What I do well is seize upon an idea and bring it to life in a way that works for all its share- and stakeholders.
If there's a need, I work hard to find a solution.

About the Company:
Ventures is a new kind of company dedicated to the concept of sustainable media
Developing programs and applications that, from inception, are created using a three -screen strategy: to reach consumers where, when and how they consume on-air, online and on hand-held devices:

Programs that give back to society
Enhance consumer’s ability to be entertained and empowered while increasing advertisers' reach
Ensure that those involved SUSTAIN their businesses during these tough times

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