Beth Vendice: “You can’t change people”

You can’t change people: try to find a path to move forward with them. If that is not possible, find a humane way to expediently separate. Similarly, you can’t let the rudeness or crudeness upset you. You must move past it. Know that everyone does not act with good intentions. Assess quickly what people need and […]

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You can’t change people: try to find a path to move forward with them. If that is not possible, find a humane way to expediently separate.

Similarly, you can’t let the rudeness or crudeness upset you. You must move past it.

Know that everyone does not act with good intentions.

Assess quickly what people need and manage expectations and negotiations around that — you will save thousands of hours over your lifetime and lots of brainpower.

High intellect and pedigree are no substitute for passion.

As a part of our series about strong women leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Beth Vendice, President, Broadbeam Media. Beth Vendice has over 20 years of experience partnering with clients in a range of industries, including travel, to successfully extend their marketing scope and strategy and appreciably grow their businesses. She is recognized in the performance media industry for her deep knowledge and turn-key solutions with broadcast that provides outstanding brand response performance.

Prior to launching Broadbeam in 2019, Vendice has overseen account planning on accounts including Untuckit, Waterpik, Financial Engines, and Omaha Steaks.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I came to consumer marketing through the data and finance side. I started with a finance background before I jumped to marketing, specifically for Liberty Mutual and AIG underwriting and leading product and marketing sales. I worked on assessing liability for large companies like FedEx, Pfizer, etc. Underwriting is all about forecasting, analytics and somewhat similar skill sets to marketing and advertising. When I left the finance industry, I did some independent consulting, pitching bigger brokers and agencies. The one similar thread before I joined an ad agency 20 years ago is managing and trying to grow business, as well as pitching products.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

These past few months have been some of the most interesting and challenging of my career. From mobilizing a remote workforce to pivoting to opportunistic categories, 2020 has been a year testing all of us.

The idea of balance has also been stronger than ever this year, from trying not to take advantage of the opportunity in the pandemic, while protecting employees and clients at the same time. It felt more like “sticking fingers in the dyke” than triage.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Working with some crazy and scrappy brands, I learned to never underestimate someone else’s vision — put it in the market and see what comes back. At one point in my ad career, one in four Americans owned a Ped Egg.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. What is it about the position of CEO or executive that most attracted you to it?

I love people and I’m a builder; I’m an avid gardener and I get great satisfaction in growing things. It’s been incredibly satisfying to watch my business, clients, and people grow.

Most of our readers — in fact, most people — think they have a pretty good idea of what a CEO or executive does. But in just a few words can you explain what an executive does that is different from the responsibilities of the other leaders?

Executives try to think forward for the entire organization — stretching into all departments, even if they are not your strength while having a line of sight that’s granular enough to understand signals and red flags that will signal there is a problem and then addressing it.

What is the one thing that you enjoy most about being an executive?

I love dealing with people who inspire me to be better and do more; when paired with a leadership team that does that is high for me. The high of a win is fun, watching our brand and people grow while pushing the agency forward.

What are the downsides of being an executive?

It’s sometimes difficult getting a read on what knowledge and communication should flow down and what shouldn’t — not knowing if I’m over-communicating or under or people want more.

Insulating your team from the typical corporate politics by playing them really well yourself.

Reading the room and altering my communication style to get what I need based upon whom I’m talking to and around.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a CEO or executive? Can you explain what you mean?

It’s ok to cry. We are human beings and saying something is “just business” is a slippery slope that means you are probably not proud of the behavior you’re exhibiting for the sake of “business.”

It’s ok to be kind and allow kindness to underpin your management style. I have experienced too many woman execs who outright bully — it simply sucks the energy out of your people

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

You have to prove yourself more across the board. However, in media, there are a lot of women in leadership positions. In the past, or when dealing with different or adjacent industries, you almost had to act like a male to get their attention and make them know you can contribute at an executive level, but I don’t feel that as much anymore.

What is the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?

There’s very little time for the application of deep craft you’ve built up over decades. Instead, your soft skills and management skills become all of your job.

Certainly, not everyone is cut out to be an executive. In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful executive, and what type of person should avoid aspiring to be an executive?

To be an executive you need thick skin, grit, and long-term thinking. Anyone without the patience and foresight to see into tomorrow would not create a good environment to work in.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

LAUGH. Be totally self-aware. Manage with kindness. Encourage your team to ideate — give them the freedom to be intellectually curious and allow them to fail and then learn from everything they do!

Don’t always rule by proxy — show your team you are a doer and can be right there with them to navigate challenging times. Recognize traits in your staff to help the culture thrive.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful for helping you to get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Support doesn’t just come top-down with women being pulled up from mentorship, it comes from the people you work with and work for you as well. My colleague Kristi has worked with me for over 15 years and both of us know that what we most need to be successful at any point in time might not be the most glamorous, or even professional, request at the moment. But I know if I’m walking into a room with her, I don’t have anything stuck in my hair and I won’t leave my cell phone behind.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

With every company I’ve held a leadership position at, I’ve mentored and grown female leadership, fought for women’s pay, and enacted a full maternity leave for 3-months.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. You can’t change people: try to find a path to move forward with them. If that is not possible, find a humane way to expediently separate.
  2. Similarly, you can’t let the rudeness or crudeness upset you. You must move past it.
  3. Know that everyone does not act with good intentions.
  4. Assess quickly what people need and manage expectations and negotiations around that — you will save thousands of hours over your lifetime and lots of brainpower.
  5. High intellect and pedigree are no substitute for passion.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I work in media and am very concerned with the echo chambers and confirmation bias in how people consume information online today. I’d love to create a movement where people regularly entertain contrary opinions and practice respectful discourse to resolve it.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Complaining about a problem without posing a solution is called whining.”

― Teddy Roosevelt

Don’t come to me with complaints; bring me solutions. It is the most effective attitude in problem situations big or small. It’s a life lesson. If you can inspire staff to embrace this, you are ahead of the game.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them

For me, this person would be Nelson Mandela (knowing that is not possible now)! I spent time in my mid-20s in South Africa during apartheid. Nelson Mandela’s leadership and activism via ANC was prominent. He overcame countless horrendous injustices including torture and just never lost sight or hope for his vision: democracy and social justice for ALL. He ultimately led efforts to end apartheid and accomplished inherent change on a massive scale and became an icon of freedom. To me, this is remarkable.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

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