POSE & FOCUS: WOMEN IN ADVERTISING - DANIELLE CRAVATT
Danielle has a very demanding position, and with that comes a lot of travel, balancing work and family and getting a workout in on the weekends. With her ~10-year tenure at her current company, she acquired strong skills focused on client services, her team’s growth and retention, and the ability to say no. Danielle is not only super funny, but she has a diverse vocabulary and is truly invested in her clients and team. So with that lets get to know Danielle some more below…I promise you’ll get in some good laughs as you read.
For those that are not familiar with the industry, please provide a description of what you do. I connect people to match-worthy brands online compelling consumers to know, buy, and love advertisers’ brands.
What made you want to pursue a career in sales? I began my post collegiate journey in journalism, which proves a fiercely competitive field. Stemming from a family of athletes and academics, I had a tall order to fill as the youngest striving to replicate my brothers’ achievements. I realized in my career infancy I could stoke my competitive fire in sales sans the subjectivity often experienced in journalism. A big advocate of cause and effect, I like how sales and the out-put you exert directly influences your success. Coupled with an ability to listen, provide excellent customer service, and produce results for your partners, sales fuels my desire to help make my clients life a little easier while simultaneously rewarding diligence.
What is one unexpected expectation/duty of your job that most wouldn’t know? Abetting a teams’ erudite growth can prove more rewarding than direct selling, but management can also prove mentally draining. As a safe vehicle for venting, I digest a considerable amount of daily grievances and need to remain positive to uplift and problem solve. I must consistently remind myself to check any negativity at the door to sustain a good work life balance and pave the way for productivity. Also, I now understand why most US Head of Sales positions reside in NY. The time change travel proves kinder to those heading West.
What does a typical day look like for you? Does it include any daily rituals? Mornings are a bit of a three-ring circus with two kids, and a two-parent working household. I’d love to say I wake up with a yoga mat beside my bed and my meditation app in tow, but that resembles my pre kid lifestyle. If I’m not traveling, I pack lunches the night before, so I can spend morning time with my little ones. I typically take one of them to school before heading to the office for a surfeit of meetings and elected power down time I reserve for myself to accomplish tasks uninterrupted. Since assuming my current head of US position, I’m far more internal project focused than my former position. I then head home battling the LA traffic to spend time with the kids, work on reading and match with my son, and as soon as their heads hit the pillow, I enjoy hashing out work action items to the tune of white noise Netflix or Real Housewives in the background. If traveling, which usually occurs every other week, life’s proverbially up in the air. I try to always pack the night before or take red eyes to spend more time with my son and daughter. In terms of rituals, Tues and Sat remain my writ script work out days, and my husband and I attempt to do date night or lunch once a week to catch up, laugh, and exhale. We happen to work a block from each other, which makes revving up the romance engines easier to ignite.
What are the top pressures in your position? Sales leaders are like head football coaches. You receive too much praise when the team is doing well and too much blame when losses occur. I withstand bi-partite pressure both from my C-level team I report to and self-induced pressure to arm our sales team with products and training that equips their success. I can only sleep at night if I know I’ve done everything in my power to create avenues for sales executive growth both in the company and in the field.
What personal traits do you contribute to your success? My competitiveness drives my worth ethic, but equally important, a knack for discernment helps. Too many sales people try to sell themselves when really it means more what the other people in the room need, what inspires your partners to succeed, and what can you do to make it that much easier. I often see people try to ask questions in meetings, but the sales person misses the cue and cuts a person off. Whether it’s your supervisor, a client, or an employee, try to understand what makes them tick and feel comfortable and adjust to their needs instead of serving your own. Success will follow suit.
What is a big success stories that stands out the most when looking back at your career thus far? I’ve had the fortune of working for Exponential for almost a decade in an otherwise fugacious industry. My tenure allows me the privilege of working for the same extent of time with some of the most brilliant minds in the industry and now cherished friends. Longevity in problem solving marketing challenges together can lead to rewarding partnership innovation because established trust mitigates risk. One of our closest agency partners conducted a media day clearly underscoring their OEM’s (Auto industry term: Original Equipment Manufacturer) business challenge. From that moment spawned several strategic months of us generating ideas and formulating an original solution together, which resulted in a break through program to draw in new customers and curry incredible favor for this brand. The client loved it, and we all enjoyed our Mad Woman moment of breeding success from concept to finish.
What was your professional highlight within the last year? Being featured in Pose and Focus! And I’ve also enjoyed getting to know the sales teams across the country and tying together motifs and emerging tech topics to elevate our industry acumen. I truly enjoy our bi-weekly sales rallies where we share customer success stories and obstacles to surmount. Every region harbors a bright, ruggedly individualistic office culture, but we share common trends and problem-solving methodologies that unify us together and breed enthusiasm.
How did you end up working in Los Angeles? I am a born and bred Los Angeles native. Why would you ever leave a city named after angels!
What was your first gig in the industry and what were the steps you took to get hired? I transitioned from radio to digital in 2006, and I had never heard of a CPM (cost per thousand) or any digital impression beyond a photo. My brother worked for a competing network and made the introduction to Specific Media. I studied cue cards night and day heavying up on company and industry research. I came prepared to talk about Blue Lithium and the advent of behavioral targeting. Granted, I didn’t know half of what I discussed, but I was determined to fake it till I made it. I will always harbor immense gratitude to Specific for extending the account management opportunity, which allowed me to learn the backbone of the business and garner my operational prowess before entering sales. Of course, I was furtively taking excel classes on the side and learning that a pivot table was not a fancy name for folding furniture.
What advice would you give women who are thinking of working in the industry? Choose your company wisely considering the top down culture and the ability to grow your career based on merit. I’ve had the privilege of working for companies that create paths for promotion to retain the best talent irrespective of gender.
What has changed in the industry from when you first started out? I’ve witnessed unprecedented company CONSOLIDATION, which are both bad and good. I state “bad” because the Google/Facebook market share monopoly leaves little room for new forces of innovation to gain visibility and succeed leaving marketing ingenuity and decision making in the hands of a few. On the flip side of the coin, lady capitalism proves merciless and subsequent good emerges as the excessive VC funding well has dried and no longer support unprofitable tech businesses that would otherwise be out of business. As such, a company and an individual must be better than their competitors, provide extraordinary results, and exceed expectations. Mediocrity falls by the wayside and merit rises to the top as a result.
When starting out, any mistakes you learned from that you would like to share? Stop talking and listen. You will learn so much more if you do! It’s also better to be effective, then to be right. This was one of my hardest learned lessons. I’m a bit stubborn, but being right serves no purpose, if it doesn’t help you do your job more effectively.
In moments of self-doubt, how do you pick up and keep moving forward? My family provides perspective. I feel unwavering passion and throw myself into anything I do with excessive execution. With that said, we’re not thwarting global warming or performing death defying surgery. Health and happiness supersede work insecurities. Plus, every mistake manifests into a learning opportunity.
With just three adjectives, describe yourself. Enthusiastic, Adventurous, and Impatient
What is one interesting thing about you that most people don’t know? I was a rhythmic gymnast on the US National Team and competed globally at a young age. I was like Will Ferrell from Old School, minus the chest hair.
What does the word “success“ mean to you? Raising two compassionate, happy children, putting my husband before myself, and always evolving and learning as a person.
As women we tend to have a lot of roles between home and work. How do you manage a healthy routine between personal and work responsibilities? It’s a balancing act, but I have to constantly remind myself how important it is to prioritize time with those you love. Before I travel, I always ask myself if I’m truly needed and if the answer’s no, I pass.
What are your go to resources for inspiration? Simon Sinek (Start with Why), Adrian Gorelik (the Carrot Principle), Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People). I also relish any of Malcom Gladwell’s books, David and Goliath in particular.
In sales you get exposure to a lot of really great restaurants. What is your #1 recommended restaurant in Los Angeles right now? And what menu items are a must? I am a traditionalist OG at heart and will forever adore the old Hollywood service, steaks, and butter cake at Mastro’s. if there’s a black linen napkin, I’m in! I’m also a big fan of Nobu in Malibu, and if I won the lottery would live off their blue fin tuna sashimi and black cod.
What is one thing in Los Angeles you have been dying to do/try, but haven’t had the chance to yet? Museum of Ice Cream. I signed up months ago but have yet to receive an e-mail that will allow me the privilege of buying a ticket!
Los Angeles Rapid Fire Qs: Top Pick
1. UCLA or USC? UCLA-EIGHT CLAP my alma mater!
2. 405 or the 101?- Dante’s inferno instead?
3. Fast Track or Carpool? Fast Track
4. Rodeo Drive or Melrose Ave? Rodeo, but I’d rather be Melrose cool
5. Shutters or Terranea? I’m a PV Resident- Terranea
6. Disneyland or Universal Studios? A Mouse loyalist
7. Museum of Ice Cream or Getty Museum? Getty Museum. They let me in!
Thank you for your support in reading this post! Pose&Focus: Women in Advertising is my personal passion project dedicated to highlights women in the advertising industry through interviews and creative expression. Having been in the business myself for over a decade, I found it very important for women (and men) to support female leadership in our community & industry. Especially with our current political climate this mission is more important to me than ever before. I want our female readers to know when they come here they will get solid advice and actionable steps that they can use to elevate their own careers. To learn more about upcoming posts or when nominations for future volumes will open, follow me on Instagram or Linkedin for the latest news.
Thank you and be cool.