Women to Watch profile by the incredibly generous folks at Think Realty. I'm proud to be a part of the real estate investment community.Read More
This is a quick interview with Carole Ellis of the Self Directed Investor Society in anticipation of the AAPL Annual Conference in Vegas coming up. I've placed a lot of emphasis on building relationships and being of service to others. Being of service means being helpful, adding value, and contributing to making other people's lives better. That can be as simple as a courteous smile or as big as making an important business connection for someone. Whatever it is, it stems from a place of authenticity, and a place of wanting to connect with others in a meaningful way.
Carole did a great job of describing the way I think about "networking", which conceptually scares a lot of people, or turns them off. The way I think about it has allowed me to overcome the negative stigma that I once associated with the word. I hope that others will see the value in my perspective and use it to improve their personal and especially their professional careers!
Full transcript of the episode is available on the Self Directed Investor Society website here.
I usually never look forward to a Las Vegas trip. It simply isn't 'my kind of town'. However, I'm looking forward to being there Nov 13 - 15 as part of the AAPL National Conference. As an industry expert in online real estate private lending, crowdfunding and fintech, I'll be on two panels talking about the best regulations for private lenders and brokers to know about, and also discussing how platforms operate.
I'm especially excited about this year's show because the organization so kindly featured me in the current issue of Private Lender magazine. I still feel like a newcomer to the real estate investment industry and I'm grateful to everyone I've met so far; their generosity, openness, curiosity and acumen has made me grown quite fond of this industry, and also of the folks at AAPL who promote ethical and fair lending practices. They put on a fabulous event with the best networking and deal making. This is an industry built on relationships, and AAPL is ensuring that those relationships develop and grow continuously.
Recently I've been doing a lot of virtual presentations - webinars and podcasts - and while mostly these are about real estate crowdfunding and marketplace lending, on this one for Your Mark on the World, I spoke about Mindful Marketing and how we can use this philosophy to connect to customers. Here's a snippet from the interview, and podcast/webinar as well!
My Three Tips for Mindful Marketing
- Live and act with intent: Living and acting with intent is a powerful practice to be successful, and the same is true for marketing especially with social media. Rather than thinking of crossing off a to-do list, and automating everything for the purpose of being efficient, spend actual time even if that’s a few minutes, adding thought and intent to your posts. This will result in more engaging, authentic and felt posts, which in turn will bring better results than automating.
- Put yourself not only into your customer’s shoes, but also their online persona. The way people operate and behave online is different than how they act in real life. We are all multiple personas, so being in tune with this will help to achieve authentic connection and engagement. Act with laser focused intent – which in the online world can simply mean full attention– our full attention to the customer first, which may earn their full attention as a result.
- Create value for your audience. The greatest challenge and opportunity we have today is to create enough value for a potential customer, follower and audience member, to spend dedicated time on what we want to share or communicate. With no barriers to entry for vying for attention, it’s imperative that we focus on quality and spend the time and energy to be highly mindful and attentive–to needs, wants, trends, and desire for authentic connection.”
If you're interested in how technology and data is used by real estate marketplace lending and crowdfunding companies, this is the video for you! And it's a quick 12 minute presentation I gave for Wipro's micro webinar series, "Fueling the Future Lender".
One of the things we learned during this year's Super Bowl is that paying millions of dollars for an ad spot is evidently worth every penny -- if you want to tick people off and start a social brouhaha.
In its first-ever Super Bowl commercial, Detroit-based Quicken Loans created a 60-second TV spot showcasing Rocket Mortgage, its online mortgage platform. Quicken took advantage of the massive audience and executed a commercial with relatively good production value. They had to - it's the Super Bowl, you go big or you don't spend the dough. What Quicken didn't do, however, is think about the message their commercial portrayed. And that massive audience promptly proceeded to shout their outrage from our current, biggest cultural rooftop, Twitter. The claim? Rocket Mortgage's slick but slightly irrational exuberance would re-collapse the American housing market.
Peeved fans and sub-prime trauma survivors alike were joined by Elizabeth Spiers, the CEO of Everup, a digital wellness portal, who launched a counteroffensive on Twitter, who was then joined by Alexandra Mondalek of Time Money who decided Spiers' Tweet was an opening shot. Mondalek proceeded to decry Quicken's ad as the coming of the housing apocalypse and then tossed out that term: "housing bubble."
Many of us in the industry felt like we were watching an avalanche in real-time. The thread on Twitter rolled on, taking everyone down with it. Even Jacob Brogan, who writes about technology and culture for Slate, opened his coverage quoting April Siese at Bustle, who called Quicken "tone deaf" in her headline, and referred to "several financial experts," none of whom are actually connected to finance. Finally, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau jumped in with a vaguely "after-school special" tweet: "When it comes to #mortgages, take your time, ask questions and #knowbeforeyouowe."
As the dust has settled a bit, Quicken's offending commercial prompted me to reconsider issues raised by Adam Mackay's film, 'The Big Short' and how we at PoL design our marketing communications.
Critics accuse Quicken of ignoring the lessons of 2008 in the same way that 'The Big Short' rubbed salt in old wounds for many. Quicken could have very well aired their spot in 2005 when Americans were flush with the idea of owning as many homes as possible and practicing fiscal irresponsibility with greater flourish.
There's a lot missing from this commercial.
To my mind, Quicken's spot inadvertently insults the vanishing middle-class who haven't seen a rise in average pay since before Elway was actually playing. Quicken's "Super Bowl moment" comes at the cost of ignoring that wages for the middle-class are stagnant. I'd ask Quicken, "Where exactly do you expect these people, now that you have them jazzed, to find the down payment for that house? Does your product actually work for people with less-than perfect credit? Or for people caught in a cycle of contract work, with no easy W2 to upload?"
A Missed Opportunity
One might say Quicken took the quick hand-off and went straight up the middle. In doing so, they missed an opportunity. Quicken went for the long, down-field pass and missed the receiver. The result is that they appear to not have enough respect for the consumer to discuss pain points, value added services and building trust. Quicken should have demonstrated that technology can make a painful, ugly and frustrating process much easier, but instead went for Madison Avenue flash.
Quicken Loan's product, is one powered by technology, one meant to make life easier, to make the "I want to tear my hair out" experience of getting a mortgage simple. Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions a person will make in their lifetime. Financial technology and the transparency and ease online processing can bring to mortgage lending, is indisputable.
Being part of an industry that was created specifically for the creation of jobs, for the perpetuation of small businesses, for the new avenues to access capital -- and all of it happening online -- The JOBS Act was designed to stimulate job creation and some online finance companies have been operating under this new legislation to provide capital and credit to thousands of Americans. Credit - no matter how easy it could be to get on a phone - does not create jobs. And, if given too freely, it creates irresponsible demand for things that we cannot afford, much less need.
We should be talking about ethical practices, neighborhood revitalization, community revival and betterment through responsible lending. At Patch of Land, we talk about how the loans we make to real estate professionals, such as rehabbers, actually create jobs. We speak to lending as a service for hard working professionals, to transparency for all platform customers and for a secure, simple process.
For advertisers and brands alike, the Super Bowl commercials are as important, if not more than, the game itself. Brands build up their campaigns for months leading up to the day of the Big Game-- including broadcast, YouTube and social media assets. Video in particular is considered by some to be the most effective means of engaging with the fragmented attention span of today's consumer. It's also a quick way to communicate a brand's value proposition and message. As marketers, it's difficult not to get caught up in the hype.
However, it's our responsibility to think beyond the superficial engagement of just eyeballs and clicks more than ever, Quicken Loans president and CMO, Jay Farner felt the campaign was a success, stating, "The win was driving folks to the site." Frankly, that barometer for success just doesn't cut it. We should hold ourselves to a higher standard.
This post was originally published on The Huffington Post
I'm very honored to be a speaker, and to be called to hold space for the women who will come to this event in Orange County on November 7th! It means a lot to me, to be in a position where I can speak to other women, to share stories, encourage and empower a new sisterhood; a new community where women come together to help each other succeed!
The Finesse Your Life Tour is the First Live Solutions Engine for Women.
In an age where social media has replaced live conversation and interaction, women crave that classic one-on-one conversation with other women that always seemed to provide the best interaction, comradery and sisterhood. Women are spending more time online, but the reality is that people in general are become more isolated as they become more social via media.
The Finesse Your Life Tour ushers in the return of community and sisterhood. By creating a “live solutions engine”, we create a platform for girl talk on another level. Girl Talk with the purpose to encourage and inspire. This is achieved by attendees acting as ” live solution manuals” for one another. www.finesseyourlife.com.
I feel very blessed to have many Women's sites, media outlets and organizations reach out and want to speak with me about various parts of my life. This is the interview I did for "I Want Her Job", which is a community built to inspire by sharing thoughtful, relevant information highlighting both members and the issues that concern them. Their mission is to encourage the individual growth of career-minded women by fostering a love of learning, curiosity and a desire to help others. Below is the interview, and please also go to the site where the original was published and show it some love!
Chief Marketing Officer, Patch of Land
AdaPia d’Errico admits that she’s “innately restless.” But that’s not a bad thing. Cutting her teeth in business the hard way during the financial crisis of 2008, AdaPia’s adaptive nature, entrepreneurial spirit and buck convention attitude were critical components that led her from a European exchange program to CMO. “It’s been a wild ride,” she says.
With a career that’s included owning her own business, developing intellectual properties for big brands and advising startups on brand development, it might be surprising to learn that AdaPia admits she’s been her own worst enemy. In fact, learning to not underestimate herself and own her success has been critical to landing her position at Patch of Land, a startup that connects real estate investors and borrowers through online crowdfunding.
“I truly feel I’ve found peace with my never-ending quest for growth [at Patch of Land],” admits AdaPia. “This position … feeds my need for personal career achievement … because I feel like it’s mine.”
“There’s more to life than a singular focus. Success is about feeling good about life – every part of it; not just one thing.”
Q: We’d love to hear more about your career path. How did you go from college graduate to chief marketing officer?
In a very unconventional and non-linear way! There are days when I think to myself, “How did I get here?!” I’ll start by saying that I’m very fortunate because of all the incredible experiences I’ve had that have brought me here. My innate restlessness and need to better myself have pushed me very far.
When I was still in college, I decided to undertake an exchange program to a European university, which led to me living in Switzerland and working for a hedge fund during the financial crisis of 2008. At the time I didn’t know it, but I had a very strong entrepreneurial spirit, which had been manifesting my entire career as intrapreneurialism — and that would often get me in trouble because I was perceived as a threat instead of a “good, obey-the-rules, do-only-what-you’re-told” employee.
After the fund cleared the most dangerous period after the initial crisis, I went rogue! I embraced my inner entrepreneur and started a business with my sister. In my 7 years as an entrepreneur, I charged headlong into the entertainment, publishing, licensing, gaming and consumer brands industries. Along the way, I learned that I had an innate ability to understand and ‘feel’ trends.
After moving through Vancouver, I landed in LA three years ago to help large consumer brands develop new intellectual properties. There, I got into the Silicon Beach scene, where I met many startups and advised on growth strategy and brand development. I came across news of equity crowdfunding and my research led me to real estate crowdfunding.
I went to a conference and met the founders of Patch of Land. We immediately clicked, and I was thrilled that such a young company would see the value in bringing on a strategist in brand and marketing.
It’s been a wild ride (the stuff startup stories are made of!) and I truly feel I’ve found peace with my never-ending quest for growth. This position allows me to make a massive contribution, which also feeds my need for personal career achievement.
Q: What does a day in your life entail? How do you organize your day?
My daily life is organized around goals, big and small. After my daily morning exercise, I’ll review email priorities — I do not check email first thing when I wake up — and my daily calendar so I know what kind of work I can get done that day (forget concentrated writing or strategy on a day full of meetings). Then I set goals for that day. I ask everyone on my team to send me their daily to-do goal list, as well as a weekly Big Five, which we recap on Fridays.
I’m usually in the office late, since I like to take my time getting my head together in the morning. I work at a standing desk and have a gym ball as a chair. I will literally get antsy if I sit in a normal chair for more than 20 minutes! The office is very vibrant with lots going on, so if I have to do any form of concentrated work, I’ll do that from home or on the weekends.
The days can easily be taken up by calls, meetings and various strategy sessions and planning with my in-house team. I love to cook, so I do that every night, as it relaxes me. Currently I’m planning a remodel of my house, so I’m spending a lot of time on Pinterest!
Q: What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?
Am I allowed to say that it’s everything? It’s a fit because I feel like it’s mine — not just my job, but the company as well. Having come in as the first employee, I’ve given my heart and soul to Patch of Land. Building it and seeing it grow has been one of the most satisfying experiences of my life.
Now, as I shift from gritty do-everything-and-anything to managing a team and prioritizing organized, large-scale efforts and campaigns, I’m learning a lot about myself as a leader and manager. I love the mix of entrepreneurship, finance and brand/marketing work that I get to do on a daily basis. I’m honored to work among a still-small group of professionals who are literally creating an industry every single day. There are some rules, but for the most part, it’s carte blanche.
Q: What challenges keep you awake at night?
Overall challenges that keep me up relate to the company. Even though we’ve raised a Series A, we still have so much work to do and so much to build. I wonder and worry about regulatory and business hurdles, or one of our competitors failing (as that would be no good for us).
On a personal level, though, it doesn’t keep me up. I find myself wondering whether I know what I’m doing; whether I’m good enough, know enough and am doing enough to get us where we need to be. I try to keep the OCD in check, but with so much to do, and so many activities happening simultaneously, I worry I may not have it all covered at all times.
Q: As a CMO, is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
I tend to have an obsessive personality, so I’ve learned the hard way that balance is about being okay with things and that perfection is not the goal. Dedicating or focusing 200% on any one thing, no matter what, is not the way to success. There’s more to life than a singular focus. Success is about feeling good about life — every part of it; not just one thing.
Health is very important to me, as I have been near anorexic, but I also manage a chronic illness, Crohn’s Disease. That makes me the resident health-nut at the office, eating celery sticks while everyone else eats chips! I prioritize my health, both physical and mental, by eating right, exercising and doing yoga every day. That sets the tone for my entire day. Giving myself a no-nonsense but not too rigorous schedule each morning, I feel good about tackling the rest of my day at work — no matter how many hours that may be — and allowing myself to rest in the evenings and have a fulfilled personal life.
Through a mindfulness-centered philosophy, I’ve learned to accept my shortcomings and be nicer to myself. I’m still working on the ‘loving myself’ part, but I’ll get there; it’s on my journey to achieving true balance.
Q: What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned in your career?
The biggest lesson in my career is directly related to self-love. I’ve always been competitive, overly critical and harsh with myself. Though that pushed me to strive, it also made me doubt myself. A lot.
The result was that I underestimated what I was able to bring to the table and was unable to sell myself properly. I always ended up unhappy with either my pay or my position, because I knew somewhere inside myself that I could do more and was worth more. I often thought everyone else was better or smarter than me, so I didn’t make the right moves to get ahead. It wasn’t until I started my own businesses that I began to come into my own power and understanding.
Aside from that personal struggle, I’ve learned that no matter what you know, the most important factor to success is how you deal with people. Emotional intelligence and people skills transcend technical knowledge; they are the way to lasting success.
Q: For someone who is interested in a career in marketing, what do you think it takes to stand out in the workforce?
It takes a genuine willingness to dive into things and learn. Marketing is everything these days — it’s strategy, creative, tech, trends, product, channel, social, advertising, video, message … Unless you have a thorough understanding of your underlying value proposition, it can go to waste.
Taking a holistic approach to marketing will make you stand out, because marketing is not a silo; it’s woven into every part of a business. Additionally, curiosity for trends, anthropology, society, culture, behavioral psychology and tech will give you an edge in creativity and allow you to hit those moving targets.
Q: What are some of the rules you live by?
-Admit when you don’t know something.
-Be nice and be humble.
-Be curious and seek to learn.
-Be nice(r) to yourself.
-Don’t ever forget family or where you come from.
Q: What advice would you give someone transitioning careers, or looking to move into a new industry?
Be smart and be flexible. When making any kind of transition, professional or personal, it’s important that you learn to adapt to new environments quickly. When I moved to Europe, I was not prepared for the culture shock. I had to teach myself how to adapt to completely different attitudes and ways of life.
When you’re making a professional transition into a new industry, be sure to do your research before making the move. Make sure you fully understand what you’re getting yourself into and that it’s something you truly want. Other than that, I’d say go for it! Do what makes you happy and always try your hardest.
-Interview by Becca Mulhil