Your network is more valuable than your net worth: It’s easy to lose sight of this in your first few years of your career. I’m fortunate to have lived in three major cities working at a high profile company which has given me the opportunity of meeting some of the best connections that are still a part of my life to this day. I cannot overstate the value of networking and ongoing nurturing of your network. Treat everyone like they could be your future boss or client.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Elizabeth Pigg.
Elizabeth Pigg is an experienced marketing leader with 20 years’ experience across several disciplines, including: social media, influencer marketing, paid social, sponsored & native content, and video distribution. She has worked with some of the world’s most iconic brands, including: Ben & Jerry’s, Dove, and Sierra Nevada. Pigg is passionate about infusing high-quality creative with an authentic communication strategy across paid, owned and earned channels. She maintains an active presence in the digital industry, and is a frequent speaker at industry events. Pigg is also a judge at several of the top digital marketing shows, including: Webbys, Effies and Shorty Awards.
Today, she is the Vice President of That’s it. Nutrition, where she leads all aspect of the company’s digital, social, influencer, media and public relations efforts.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I was an outspoken kid born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. I learned to talk well before I could walk. I remember wanting to be a famous singer as a little kid. I took singing, viola and acting lessons throughout school. I was also a bit of a class clown, which was a convenient coping mechanism for having an unfortunate last name. I studied music at DePaul University and later switched to broadcast journalist, because I realized that I could talk even better than I could sing.
My first job out of college was at an advertising agency, doing junior copy work and I left that after three years to become the voice of Red Lobster TV commercials and travel with an alternative music band as their lead singer and electric violist. I definitely had a lot of fun exploring my creative endeavors early on.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Theodore Roosevelt.
I have always appreciated this quote because it’s a great reminder that there is always someone, smarter, more ambitious, thinner, richer, and seemingly happier than you — especially if that’s what you are looking for. And at the end of the day, none of these things matter when it comes to true happiness. This is especially relevant in the age of social media, particularly Instagram where people’s lives are perfectly curated through a carefully selected filter.
I try to focus on my own goals and what gives me the most fulfillment. It’s a cliché, but the only person I compare myself to is who I was yesterday and who I can be tomorrow.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
My favorite film of all time is the original “Willy Wonka and Chocolate Factory”. It’s one of those movies that you can watch at different stages of life and always get something different out of it. It’s a such a sweet story about loyalty, honesty, and trust, which are some of the qualities I value the most. Not to mention, the golden ticket element, which PR agencies try to replicate every year, which represents a pure optimism that we are all special and will be lucky enough to live our biggest dreams.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
I spent nearly two decades at the world’s largest PR firm, Edelman, as one of the pioneers of the digital team in Chicago, NYC and eventually Los Angeles. Some of my proudest moments there involved leading the digital business for Ben & Jerry’s when social media was still in its infancy. Lots of brands say that they want to experiment with new media and be the first at something. Most don’t have the guts. Ben & Jerry’s did. They still do, and it was incredible to be a part of it.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
I had already left Edelman by that time and had joined forces with a couple of my former Edelman colleagues at a startup they created called Low Earth Orbit. We worked with some amazing clients and it was energizing to get my hands dirty with all aspects of the business from selling to strategy to execution. We were working remotely before the pandemic, so I was used to doing so when it was required. Simultaneously, I was doing voiceover work for a handful of clients, which is something I am still pursuing as a side hustle.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
While I enjoyed the entrepreneurial spirit of a startup agency, I missed the value of team camaraderie and collaboration. I also realized that my career to that point was comprised mostly of overseeing a massive client portfolio at an extremely high level, but not really going too deep on any one account. I decided I wanted to move to the brand side and learn as much about one industry as possible, and ultimately, have a real impact on its success.
Simultaneously, as the pandemic raged on, we were witnessing the destruction of industries that once felt like pillars of the economy: Travel, restaurants and dining, entertainment, just to name a few. I also knew that agencies were getting hard hit, as many clients began getting nervous about the instability and started pulling back on expenses. Going in-house at That’s it. was an incredible opportunity to join a company that felt pandemic-proof: our products are all healthy, shelf-stable, immune-boosting and individually wrapped. We’ve arguably never been more relevant, and I jumped at the opportunity to join a stable company that had its finger on the pulse of this new world that we’re living in.
How are things going with this new initiative?
Working at That’s it. is rewarding for three main reasons: 1.) The product: I believe in what we are selling. The snack bar category is extremely competitive, and we have a unique proposition in that we win on taste, minimal ingredients, and have no added sugars or secret ingredients. I can proudly stand by that with no clever PR spin needed. We are unapologetically simple and healthy 2.) Student mindset: I get to learn something new every day! Memorable marketing no longer operates in silos. I am diving into all aspects of the business, including: Ecommerce, Retail and International expansion. 3.) Speed: There are no bottlenecks, politics, or ego at That’s it. And everyone is just really fun and cool to work with.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My dear friend Julian Leuthold of GetGlobal, is the one person who identified the opportunity at That’s it. and that introduced me to its CEO. They were not even actively looking for my role at the time, but Julian has a certainly “spidey sense” for knowing what companies need to get to the next level, and I’m grateful he had the vision to match me with this great brand.
In the grand scheme of things, my mom is definitely the most influential person in my life that has helped to guide my best professional decisions. When I have moments of self-doubt or imposter syndrome creeps in, she will be the first one to remind me of all that I have accomplished and the impact that I can make if I do my best and trust my intuition.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
As anyone who has started a new job since the beginning of the pandemic can attest to, the interviewing and onboarding process in the times of COVID are definitely different from what we’ve become accustomed to. That’s it. is a food and nutrition company, so in those early days, as an essential business, we were working in a socially distanced and completely masked-up office. And while these are necessary steps to take to stay safe, it makes, say reading the room during an interview, very difficult.
For my final interview, I came into the office to give an hour-long presentation to the Executive Team on my marketing vision for the company. It felt so surreal to be looking around the room at four people spread out in different corners of the room, their faces completely invisible from their noses down. It really hammered home to me how much our communication styles and systems have had to change during this time. As a team, we now have to work to verbally communicate very clearly to make up for what can be lost when lacking facial expressions, and during video calls, body language. It’s been an adjustment that I believe we’ve adapted to very well as a team.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Your network is more valuable than your net worth: It’s easy to lose site of this in your first few years of your career. I’m fortunate to have lived in three major cities working at a high profile company which has given me the opportunity of meeting some of the best connections that are still a part of my life to this day. I cannot overstate the value of networking and ongoing nurturing of your network. Treat everyone like they could be your future boss or client.
- Learn multiple languages: I wish I had a crystal ball when I was in college that business would be as global as it is. The ability to speak multiple languages is an incredible asset to have in your profession toolbox.
- Your personal brand is not the same as your company’s brand: I am an all or nothing kind of person, but I’ve learned that, if you blur the lines between your work and your life too much, you will lose part of your own identify if and when you leave that company. It’s all about balance.
- Do what you love, not what people tell you that you are good at: This was always confusing to me as a kid. I was always told that I should have been a music teacher or something a little less corporate and more creative. But it never felt completely right to me. I’ve learned to apply my creativity to my business and business to my creativity.
- You can have more than one superpower: Side hustles that you love don’t make you too busy. They make you more energized and productive. My side hustle is being a voiceover artist and I am continuing to refine that skill. I’m fascinated by the power of sound, especially in this digital age of podcasting, streaming music, etc. More content than ever is being consumed in headphones vs on screen.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
- Humor: There’s always something to laugh about. Sometimes I need a little levity and sometimes people around me do. I try to stay elevated and see the humor in everything.
- Setting aside dedicated times to check the news: Coming from a PR background, I’m wired to obsess over the news no matter what. At the start of the pandemic, this was detrimental to my mental health. Now, I deliberately avoid the headlines during working hours and two hours before bedtime.
- Staying active: While I’m not able to go to an indoor gym during the pandemic and get a full workout, I still have my routine at home which I do every day. Sometimes it’s for an hour and sometimes it’s only for 10 minute, but that little rush of natural endorphins can make all the difference.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
A few years ago, I started incorporating one small change that has increased my happiness level exponentially: The first two words I say out loud each morning are: “thank you”. Then, I work to free my mind from any conflict or negativity before I step out of bed. It sounds so simple and perhaps silly, but it’s made me feel so much more peace with myself — so I would love to inspire as many people as possible to give it a try.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
I think this is where I’m supposed to say something like Sheryl Sandberg, Tony Robbins or Bill Gates, but if I’m being totally honest, I would be honored to have lunch with Pitbull. That guy has created an empire of his own that is nothing short of brilliant, inspiring and fun. I also respect the work that he is doing with school kids. So Pitbull, if you’re reading this, let’s meet for lunch over Zoom really soon!
How can our readers follow you online?
You can follow me on LinkedIn
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!