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FROM THE FORTE

Perspective from Double Forte Public Relations and Marketing

Month

May 2014

Fridays With: Amy Vernetti, Partner, True Capital

What is your elevator pitch when someone asks, “What do you do for a living?”

My job is to match the right talent with the right company so that the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts.

Describe the path that led you to this career.

My first professional job out of college was as a sports writer for the Contra Costa Times. Because I was making only $8.50/hour and because the sports editor was openly sexually harassing the only other female in the sports department, I decided to look for another job after three years of writing sports. I applied for and won a master’s degree fellowship at the Center for California Studies in Sacramento. I moved to the state capital to work for the Fair Political Practices Commission where I did research and published reports on Campaign Finance Reform. After a year in the Fellowship I realized that I didn’t want to remain in state government. My then boyfriend (future father of my children) introduced me to an executive in San Francisco who happened to work for one of the biggest executive search firms in the world. I spent an entire day at the company, met all the managing partners and received an offer right away. The year was 1992 and the technology industry was starting to take off. I focused on technology because everybody else thought it was too hard. That turned out to be the right move and 22 years later, I’m continuing to learn about fascinating technology and work with great entrepreneurs every day.

What are the elements of a successful workplace?

Transparency, enthusiasm, listening skills, camaraderie, direct communication

What is the one piece of technology you cannot live without?

Wi-Fi

What are you reading?

Just finished “The Husband’s Secret” and am now reading “Flash Boys” by Michael Lewis, eagerly anticipating Lee McEnany Caraher’s new book.

If you could, what advice would you give your 20-something self?

I would tell my clueless 20 something self to find a mentor (or two or three), listen to them, emulate the good and avoid the bad. I would tell myself to lean on the experience and advice of older, more experienced people while you build up the pattern recognition necessary to make good decisions on your own. There are no short cuts for success. You have to work hard but do not kill yourself, save money but have a social life, build your network before you need it and bring energy to whatever you do. Energy and enthusiasm can get you through until you are competent enough to truly contribute.

If you could do anything and know you couldn’t fail, what would you do?

I would be a Division 1 women’s basketball coach and I would change the paradigm of collegiate sports. I would turn the D1 sports establishment on its head by focusing on what’s in the best interest of the athlete. I would start a dialogue with my players about life after basketball. I would teach them how they can turn their competitive, hard working nature into career/financial success. I would be able to recruit all of the best players in the country because we would focus on the student athletes and not on the institution. And we would win many, many national championships.

At Double Forte’s San Francisco office, the conference rooms are named Rock and Roll, Motown, Hip Hop, Mambo, Jazz and Disco. Which name best describes you and why?

Hip Hop for sure because it makes my teenage children cringe to think of me and Hip Hop in the same sentence.

What’s in your Netflix queue?

Scandal, House of Cards and super old Cheers episodes.

Fridays With: Willa Seldon, Partner, The Bridgespan Group

What is your elevator pitch when someone asks, “What do you do for a living?”

I’m a partner at The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit organization that is an advisor and resource for mission-driven leaders, organizations, and philanthropists. We help scale their results, build leadership, improve their effectiveness and accelerate learning.

Describe the path that led you to this career.

Throughout my career, I have spent time alternating between being an advisor and a doer – ranging from being a senior executive in the wireless industry, to a venture capitalist, to a nonprofit CEO. I have long-admired Bridgespan, and after a couple of rounds of dating, I decided to go for it.

What are the elements of a successful workplace?

Great people, great people, great people. And enough resources to succeed.

What is the one piece of technology you cannot live without?

My iPhone 5

What are you reading?

“The Lean Startup” and “Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare.”

If you could, what advice would you give your 20-something self?

Build and maintain strong relationships. Recognize the role others play in your success and say thank you.

If you could do anything and know you couldn’t fail, what would you do?

I would start a people-intensive business that achieves financial targets and helps our country’s unemployment situation.

At Double Forte’s San Francisco office, the conference rooms are named Rock and Roll, Motown, Hip Hop, Mambo, Jazz and Disco. Which name best describes you and why?

I’ll pick Motown. I just saw Motown the Musical and loved the mix of fun songs (“Please Mr. Postman”) and the ones that inspire you and make you think (“What’s Going On”). I like to maintain that balance of working on really hard problems and having a really great time.

What’s in your Netflix queue?

Whatever my eleven-year old wants to watch. Fortunately, it’s still age appropriate.

When and How Frequently to Post to Social: the Guidelines

We’ve been doing some research on when and how often to post to social sites. Our recommendations on how frequently to post are based on many different articles on the topic, our own tests, and some old-fashioned common sense.

When to post is a trickier topic. While many claim to have the answers, the solution really depends on who you’re trying to reach. Want to reach a busy, working mother? You’ll probably find her online before work and after the kids go to bed. Looking to reach millennials? Middle of the day is a good time. Want to reach professionals on the West Coast? Then post during lunch if you’re on the East Coast.

The best approach to social is to test your theories and then match your strategy to your target audience. But for some general guidelines we recommend:

Post to Facebook approximately 7 times per week. Share a mix of content about you and your company, if you’re posting on behalf of a brand, as well as useful articles and links to resources that will benefit your customers. And share deals and discounts when appropriate. One of the main reasons people follow brands online is to receive special offers.

Post to Twitter liberally, between 5 and 10 times per day, but do space your tweets. Again, remember to use a mix of personal and professional. People like to do business with other people, so don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.

Post to LinkedIn less frequently than to other sites. Consider sharing a useful article, video or resources once per day. And take advantage of LinkedIn’s new publishing tool at least once per week by posting your opinion on an important business issue.

There are no definitive rules when it comes to sharing via social media. But there are guidelines: be human, authentic, consistent, relevant and useful. Keep your brand and your customers front of mind and have fun.

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