Ladders Vice President of Marketing Stephanie Chan says she is a marketer at heart. Joining the online career resource for professionals in September of last year, Chan manages all aspects of the website’s marketing strategy.
“I oversee everything related to consumer, as well as B2B, marketing and sales at Ladders — a big, fun role,” says Chan. This month, Chan’s team is focused on a campaign that will launch on Sirius and eventually be tested on podcasts.
“Most of our marketing is concentrated online, so I’m excited about testing into offline channels and reaching a new audience,” says Chan, “At the heart of it, I’d like it to get our name out there in new and effective ways.”
Before joining Ladders, Chan founded Please and Carrots, a subscription service for learning and development. Prior to starting her own company, Chan led consumer marketing for Time Inc.’s “InStyle” magazine. She earned a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University and received her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management.
What mobile device can you not live without?
Which apps do you use most often for work?
Slack — we use this as our main communication tool at the company.
What social media network or website do you frequent most when you’re not working?
Facebook — probably a couple of times a day. It’s a nice mix of personal and news.
What’s the first thing you check on your phone in the morning?
Take me through your typical workday.
My work day starts with having breakfast with my twin 4-year-old girls. Many people like to have dinner, but I’m most productive in the evening, so we do our family meal in the morning.
I’m usually catching up on emails and Slack on my subway ride in. Once at the office, it’s pretty full of meetings. I oversee all of marketing and sales, so each meeting is different and a mix of internal and external.
I’m often in meetings through 6:00 p.m., at which point I can actually do some work!
What has been the most exciting work development during the past year?
I joined Ladders in September of 2016, and I’m loving the breadth of my job (PR, Brand, Digital, Enterprise, Audience growth, SEO) and the chance to work on a product (job change and career management) that has such a big impact on an individual’s life.
What does your work space look like?
My desk is always “organized mess.” I know exactly where everything is, but it’s cluttered.
I’m a highly organized person, but it’s my own system and doesn’t manifest itself into your typical list keeping, folders for everything, nothing on your desk.
How many miles have you traveled in the last 12 months?
I’m not a road warrior, and haven’t been since my consulting days, but I enjoy a trip and am a big believer in face-to-face meetings. Next, I’m headed to San Francisco this month for a Google conference.
What work challenge keeps you up at night?
I worry most about people aspects. I’m conscious about management, and take pride in that. I worry about whether they are challenged enough/too much, do they have the support to succeed, am I giving them enough room to grow, and how to motivate each individual.
Can you tell us about a campaign or work project you’d like to do over?
Years back, when I worked on the newsstand business at Time Inc., we launched a new special issue, and our wholesaler shredded 40,000 copies of it before it even went out on sale because of improper paperwork. I remember asking my rep, “Is everything set? All ready to go?” and the answer was “Yes.”
I learned that asking detailed questions prior, during and after is critical. Obviously, there were larger problems there, but it made me never take for granted that my definition of “A-okay!” might be totally different than someone else’s.
Also, I learned, for important initiatives, it’s important to double and triple-check that everything is in fact okay — even if others find it annoying.
Tell me about the people who have been most influential in your career.
I’ve had a number of mentors and sponsors (several from my Time Inc. days) throughout my career who have been instrumental in how I lead and manage.
My late father was also a huge influence, and where I get my entrepreneurial streak.
What traits does a person need to succeed in your position?
Curiosity, tenacity, positive attitude, toughness, strategic view.
Can you tell us something about yourself that your team would be surprised to know?
Good question. I’m stumped. They know I’m Canadian — that secret’s gotten out already…
Why did you go into marketing?
I took a consumer behavior course undergrad and it really stuck with me. I love the human aspect of marketing and the emotional/subconscious decision-making that happens because we are human.
It’s a constant challenge. I love the mix of science and the art of it.
What other career would you like to try, and why?
I think I would have been a good doctor. There’s a very big human component, obviously, that mixes with the science piece that I’ve mentioned I like about my current role.
I think to work on something truly meaningful, life-saving, life-improving, lends meaning to your own life.
What’s the last business book you read, and what did you think of it?
I last read “Founders at Work” by Jessica Livingston. I thought some parts were better than others, personalities definitely showed through, and I would have loved to see more female-founder stories.
Outside of your company’s efforts, what ad campaign caught your eye recently?
There was a PSA — the Sandy Hook Promise — that was one of the most powerful and chilling videos I’ve seen that demonstrated the subtle signs to look for – it was incredible.
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