We recently had the opportunity to speak with Stacy DeBroff, founder and CEO of Influence Central. A frequent national and international speaker, she consults with brands on consumer and social media trends. This social media strategist, attorney, and best-selling parenting author, she has a lot of insight to offer her fellow Mogul Moms.
What led you start to switch careers and start your own business?
I took a very circuitous journey to launching Influence Central. As an attorney, I founded the Office of Public Interest Advising at Harvard Law School and worked there for nearly a decade — but I eventually left to spend more time with my family and began writing parenting books for Simon & Schuster.
After three best-selling books, I moved into brand spokesperson work, which led to consulting projects for brands looking to reach the Mom market. Ultimately, brands began asking us to reach influencers in other sectors — including Millennials, Women, Dads, and more — so last year we developed Influence Central as our umbrella brand, which better reflected our company’s dramatic growth and evolution. Despite beginning my career on a totally different path, it’s been an incredibly rewarding journey!
Tell us about Influence Central.
Influence Central delivers cutting-edge social media and digital influencer marketing campaigns that create powerful, meaningful results for the nation’s top consumer brands.
Through specialty divisions that include Mom Central Consulting, Millennial Central, Influence Central Canada, and Dad Central Consulting, we reach brand advocates in sectors that include Moms, Millennials, Women, Dads, Canadian Moms/Women, Empty-Nesters, and Military Families, as well as influencers with a specialty content focus such as food, fashion, beauty, fitness, and travel. We have offices in Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Toronto, Canada, and Inc. Magazine just named us — for the fifth consecutive year — to its list of the nation’s fastest-growing privately held companies.
What was the secret to growing your business from small start up to multi-city company?
For us, “influence” lies at the core of what we believe in as a marketing consultancy, and over the years, we’ve grown by delivering strong marketing results that harness the power of influence. We work with brands and agencies to develop strategic influencer programs that demonstrate that passionate, first-person recommendations can transform consumer behavior — no matter the demographic group.
How does being a woman influence the way you run your company?
I think being a woman CEO has profoundly impacted the way I run my business. From launching and operating debt-free to remaining a lifestyle business to embracing flexibility to concentrating on relationships as our primary business development tool, I’ve worked hard to make sure my company reflects my values.
So often entrepreneurs create their businesses using the latest marketplace trends or industry models, but I believe strong leaders build organizations that echo their vision and principles, fusing the best of their past experiences.
What was the best advice you were given?
I’m fortunate to have a longtime group of close women friends, and we’ve all become a great source of advice and counsel for one another. I’ve gained so much over the years from their collective wisdom, compassion, and insights that I find it tough to pinpoint what I consider the “best” piece of advice I ever received from them.
Overall, I believe passionately in mentorship, and I think it’s so important for women entrepreneurs to have one or more mentors who can act as a sounding board, a brainstorming partner — or to simply just listen.
What are three tips you’d give to other women who might be thinking about changing careers or launching a new business?
First, be open to discovering your passion and changing up the status quo — I might still work in the legal field had I not taken steps to upend my work life and become a parenting author, which had become a passionate new area of interest for me.
Second, don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself — just because you’ve worked in one area doesn’t mean you can’t branch out into a totally new world. I realized a long time ago that I had to move past career-defining labels, such as “attorney” or “parenting author” in order to embrace the next phase in my career journey — becoming an entrepreneur.
Finally, you may wait a lifetime searching for the right time to make a career change or kick-off a new business venture. In reality, you’ll discover that there’s never an ideal time — you’ll always want a larger nest egg, more contacts, or a stronger economy before taking a new career plunge. But you know what? Sometimes, you just have to dive in!
Got more questions? You can get in touch with her at [email protected]
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