Tess Estandarte of Rainfactory: “Be able to communicate”

…Be able to communicate. Have those smart conversations to relay and resolve the issue. This is a way wherein you can gain or contribute additional support. Learn to compromise and understand that communication is a two-way street. In this interview series, we are exploring the subject of resilience among successful business leaders. Resilience is one characteristic […]

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…Be able to communicate. Have those smart conversations to relay and resolve the issue. This is a way wherein you can gain or contribute additional support. Learn to compromise and understand that communication is a two-way street.

In this interview series, we are exploring the subject of resilience among successful business leaders. Resilience is one characteristic that many successful leaders share in common, and in many cases it is the most important trait necessary to survive and thrive in today’s complex market.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Tess Estandarte.

Tess Estandarte is a seasoned Senior Product Marketing Manager with a demonstrated 20-year history of working in operations, customer support, software development, information technology, and network management. She believes that Marketing is mainly about effective storytelling and messaging, Tess first worked with a family-owned real estate development company and moved on to new technology and product launches, where she realized she had a knack for storytelling and creating impactful campaigns to help establish strong relationships between consumers and brands. Over the years, Tess has gained extensive experience ranging from working at startups, she worked through the evolution of mobile technology, in all areas of operations, and got the opportunity to work with big companies such as Sony Pictures Entertainment. She also holds an MBA from Pepperdine University. Tess is currently the Director of Product Marketing at Rainfactory, a full-service digital agency that operates as a Marketing Department for growing brands.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?

I am currently the Director of Product Marketing at Rainfactory, a full-service digital agency that operates as a Marketing Department for growing brands. I have worked in the field of crowdfunding and product launches for over five years now, previously I worked for companies that already had a product out commercially. In my early career, I gained experience in the areas of customer service, billing, and software development. Anything that touches the client, I was always involved in. I am blessed to have worked with companies ranging from wireless startups to large entertainment companies such as Sony Pictures. I ended up in marketing when I worked for a family Real Estate Commercial Development as their Vice President of Marketing and Business Development. We worked with a number of marketing agencies to tell the story of their brand. This is where I fell in love with marketing as it is essentially a storytelling journey where you introduce a new company/product to the world. I loved finding creative ways to highlight products and services that made the audience believe in the mission. I was also a Social Media Marketing/Editor for a big publication. Having multiple industries and department experience helped me gain a wider perspective that goes beyond technicalities and performance metrics, it showed me the intricacies of running a company are always complex.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

Many stories come to mind but the Y2K Migration is the one that stands out. It was a 9-month project that focused on the impact of systems on the last day of the year 1999. This was a company-wide effort to construct a plan for business operations not to be disrupted. Each department such as Accounting, Filmmaking, and Production had to have their own specific contingency plans and cross-departmental plans to ensure systems checks on the day of. A lot of resources and budget planning were needed to ensure the mobilization of teams on-site to make sure the job was done right and that on January 1, 2000, all things would run without a hitch or that we would change the way of doing business if the crisis did occur. In this process, we had to identify all the potential crises that may happen and there were many redundancies created. I learned to manage expectations and sustain motivation within myself and my peers. Turbulent times are a test of people’s patience and capability.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Rainfactory stands out as each campaign we launch is a test of resilience. It is a glorious feeling to work with product launches but there will always be setbacks and opportunities to change. The way in which we run campaigns, require steady resiliency. Each campaign is a story of resiliency and adapting to change.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Several people come to mind but in Rainfactory specifically, it would be Janielle Denier. She has provided me with tons of guidance & support and taught me a lot about preparing for possible opportunities for resilience. I think she is an amazing leader and it is seen in the growth of Rainfactory over the last year as we now have a better caliber of clients in a year where we saw so many companies struggle in this aspect.

On a personal note, I have my father to thank. He was a high-level director in a pharmaceutical company based in London and growing up we moved all over the world and this made me a worldly person. He gave me a childhood filled with many lessons on resilience and a life that was comfortable but not cobbled.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?

A lot of influencers and writers have written about this and I believe resilience is defined as the ability to adapt well and change. It is the ability to keep going despite setbacks and understanding that change is needed. In the workplace, a true test of resilience is when the team members are performing during times of downturns and unpredictability and these employees stand up for themselves by going above and beyond the job description. Resiliency is also about achieving a balance in their life, knowing that work has to be done and there are certain expectations on performance.

Relating to the hiring process, you should be looking for traits of a resilient individual which are self-reliance, confidence, passion for life/business/personal interests, self-belief, good listener, and excellent communication skills.

When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?

I believe that Elon Musk could be a person who is resilient in terms of himself. He seems very self-disciplined and quick to adapt. He proved people wrong on his ideas and this could be because of self-reliance. He managed to build and grow Tesla despite many challenges and now he also runs the forefront in solar technology with SpaceX. This doesn’t mean I agree with him but the fact that he is now the richest man in the world, he had to work really hard and in the face of adversity professionally and personally he hung in there and didn’t let anything in the world deter him.

Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?

Way back in my earlier career, I was tasked with a project where the end goal was to create a billing system equal to AT&T. Meaning constructing the whole data and program down to the customer-friendly database from scratch. The end goal was mainly to bill end users that looked user-friendly and accurate. The challenging part was we didn’t have access to that data, manpower, or resources. We had to really dig deep in tapping into resources and get the best people to support the project.

Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?

The death of a parent may be a huge personal setback for any individual. The death of my father happened when I was just 20 years old. I classified this as a setback because I looked up to him as a mentor personally and professionally. He was a very successful businessman and an amazing father, he provided me with guidance in terms of managing a team, working with a team, dealing with my boss, fighting for what I want, and how to perform. Something he passed on to me was to be the first to work and last to leave.

Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?

There’s no tougher job than being a mother. Having my 3 children, I was a young mother, had a full-time career, and went to school to complete my MBA. It was challenging running a household and you can’t do that if you don’t have resiliency. So many things, which could set you back, can happen. As a mother, there is an endless list of unexpected things and it boils down to what you do to balance your work and personal life. I would advise planning to always be present, perform and that scheduling your time is key. Being a mother requires resourcefulness, flexibility, and self-discipline.

Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Be able to communicate. Have those smart conversations to relay and resolve the issue. This is a way wherein you can gain or contribute additional support. Learn to compromise and understand that communication is a two-way street.
  2. Not only ask for help, but also be helpful to others. Understand that everyone is just trying to do their job. If you see an opportunity to be of support, be that, because you’d want that for yourself. May it be in the form of a cheerleader, support, or guide.
  3. Be positive. You can’t have a resilient team if you have doomsayers. Identify the roadblocks and find a way around them. Stay open to opportunities for change. Stay positive with your contributions. Be a positive person in the time needing resilience.
  4. Be knowledgeable. Be hopeful and know your stuff. Get the experience, training, and information you need. Stay curious.
  5. Define your why and what for. Find reason and meaning. Resilient people have their actions defined. Impart that same wisdom in all aspects of your life. This can be your motivation or the reasons why you live. What are you living for/working for? It should go beyond the reason of putting food on the table or paying your bills. Look for how you benefit from this.

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? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

One thing I want to practice for myself but can I believe can benefit the world would be knowing that you don’t always have to be right or successful but you can always be kind. In business, you don’t get to see or feel much about kindness.

We are blessed that some very prominent leaders 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 with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂

I would love to spend some time with Donald Miller. His book “Storybrand” got me in love with marketing. This was a tool that helped me understand the fundamentals of sales and marketing.

He has very rich advice for people’s personal lives and not only business. Donald Miller is a great tactician for marketing and I believe he is a good life mentor. One of his memorable philosophies would be to always be the guide, never be the hero. The other people can be the heroes and they are heroes because of your support. That is a manager.

I’d also love to pick the brain of Jack Welch as he also has a memorable philosophy which would be to hire the best people and get out of their way.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can connect with me via LinkedIn and Facebook.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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