Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jackie Bird >

Jackie Bird, CEO, Redbean Society, LLC

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
Heart, guts, vision and purpose.

What did inspire you to start your business?
That I wanted to do more of what I know and like to do best: collaborate with my clients and make a more meaningful contribution to their business. This is not possible in large holding-companies because in a top management position you need to respond more to corporate interests and less to your clients and yourself.

How did you finance it?
In part through personal funding and by establishing a partnership with the private owners of another entity, De la Cruz & Associates in Puerto Rico.

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
Absolutely. Our company, Redbean Society, LLC is specialized in targeting Latina women. By leveraging my cultural background and marketing experience, I was able to create a compelling business proposition that we believe addresses what many marketers are looking for in today’s environment: specialized expertise, strategic depth, great ideas and accountability for performance.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
By being true to my beliefs and business purpose.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
We started our company in the midst of the economic downturn. Some might have thought this was a crazy move. We saw it as a huge opportunity!

If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
We are too young to seek change in our business. I believe we have a strong proposition, the right people to deliver on it and the drive to make things happen. At a more advanced stage of our development as a company, it will be wise to evolve our offering. But right now, we are in a very good place.

What was your childhood ambition?
Frankly, I don’t really remember. I don’t think I was as clear then as I am now. I always liked to write. Short stories and poetry. In high school I thought of being a journalist. That shifted to a degree in liberal arts and psychology major from the University of Puerto Rico. I ended up in marketing at Procter & Gamble where I discovered my true passion in consumer communications. I guess I made my own stew!

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire?
Steve Jobs, he took personal computers and mobile entertainment to a new level, emphasizing the importance of design by understanding the crucial role they play in consumer appeal. Apple also stands out in their ad campaigns, where the product idea and visual design drive the message in a very simple yet impactful manner.

Ed Meyer, the Chairman of Grey Worldwide until it was sold to WPP in 2004 for $1.3 Billion. I admire him as a businessman, perhaps not so much for the way he led his life which was overly focused, with all due respect, on career vs. life. But Ed was a brilliant thinker who built the largest independent global network of agencies from scratch. He focused on clients and excellence in creative work to drive growth. The agency prospered and the money followed.

Don Manuel Morales Dávila, RIP. Don Manuel founded West Indies Advertising in 1937, the first ad agency in Puerto Rico which later became West Indies & Grey and is now Grey Puerto Rico. He was a visionary, a man of integrity and a true ad man. A mentor who taught me many lessons on what it takes to build client relationships based on trust and dedication.

For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
It depends on the nature of the business relationship and the discussion. But I prefer lunch: it’s during business hours so it does not take from my personal life; it has a hard start/stop time; and it’s the one meal of the day that I MUST have.

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
Hard work always takes a toll on how much time you have to enjoy the better and more important things in life. I try to balance these as best as I can because I also live on the philosophy that you have one life to live and you must live it to the max. A balanced life includes family, love, work and play and these are not mutually exclusive.

What is your favorite quote?
By Henry David Thoreau – “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined”.

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Not at all. What’s difficult is managing convention when you want to do something that’s unconventional.

Biggest mistake made?
Maybe, not going on my own before I did. But the fact is that the time is right when it’s right for you and you should never look back. You grow from almost every experience. I had a great career at Grey. The now and the future are much more important today!

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I had a great boss at one point who told me once “Jackie, you thrive on new things”. Yes, I believe I’m an innovator because I always try to look at things from a clean, new perspective in order to catalyze change or evolution. When things don’t evolve, they become static and staid.

About the Company:
Redbean Society, LLC is the only marketing communications company that’s specialized in targeting Latina women. Grounded on consumer insights and creative innovation, we believe that the new cross-cultural reality in the US is changing consumer behavior and influencing brand choice. Our approach is driven to uncover the context of such cultural currents and transforming these insights into brand building ideas that inspire and empower Latina women to make the right brand choices. Redbean Society, LLC was established in New York in 2009 and provides integrated communications solutions for its clients. It represents clients such as Sara Lee Corp., Cortés, Tavern Direct and Tajín International Corp.

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