Stephanie Nadi Olson’s open agency, We Are Rosie, is changing the status quo.
Social Stylate is thrilled to be working with We Are Rosie, an Atlanta-based agency that helps businesses with their traditional and digital marketing, strategy, advertising, media, and more, with an employee-first focus. We Are Rosie‘s owner and founder, Stephanie Nadi Olson, launched the company to connect people looking to work in non-traditional ways with meaningful work. Based on a client’s objectives, Stephanie assembles powerhouse teams of diverse, talented individuals who all work remotely. Why? Because she believes that work in a way which provides work-life harmony, will deliver superior results.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your career.
Professionally, I am the owner and founder of We Are Rosie, a digital marketing agency that connects companies to expert talent. Previously I worked for media companies like Microsoft and OATH (formerly AOL). Personally, I am a wife and mother of two children and two rescue pups. As the daughter of a refugee, I whole-heartedly believe in giving back and am passionate about human and women’s rights, domestically and globally. I am heavily involved with the Atlanta Birth Center, Atlanta Humane Society, and am the founder of the Atlanta Refugee Supper Club, an organization that pairs recently resettled refugee families with American hosts for a supper club, benefiting refugees.
2. What prompted you to launch We Are Rosie (WAR)?
I was hearing from a lot of people who had absolutely incredible talent and experience, and who wanted to work in non-traditional ways. I thought that I could be the person to make this happen. I created WAR to offer our clients and consultants a human-centered way of connecting with the right teams of talent to move their business forward.
3. You went to Georgia Tech to be an engineer. When and how you did you fall in love with digital media?
Funny story actually. I went to GT to become a Biomedical Engineer. I didn’t even know what that was when I signed up for it, but it sounded mildly more appealing to me than Electrical or Mechanical Engineering. After I received two D’s during my first semester in Calculus 2 and Computer Science, I was horrified. I went to my professors and convinced both of them to change my grade to a C. Then, I promptly changed my major to Business Management to avoid those types of classes in the future. This turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.
When I graduated from school, I was selected as the first person to go through Microsoft’s College Hire Program for their digital sales team. It was such an honor and I had the privilege of working alongside some rockstars. I never looked back.
4. Were there any challenges when starting WAR?
Only a million. There was the really basic stuff that I had no clue how to do: incorporating a company and registering it with the state, getting business insurance, registering as a certified women-owned business, negotiating a lease, marketing, hiring, sales, accounting, setting up business accounts for everything from Slack to Google to DocuSign, deciding where and when to invest money for growth, positioning, and on and on.
I tell people that I feel like I earned an unofficial MBA in my first 6 months.
I don’t say this to scare anyone away. Every single challenge was worth it and has made me stronger, faster, and smarter. Throughout all of these challenges, I have built the most incredible network of supporters, mentors, and brand advocates. Asking for help is the single most important skill any entrepreneur can have and I certainly didn’t do any of this alone.
5. How has the advertising/marketing world changed since you started in the industry?
When I first started in the industry, everything was managed service (no self-service platforms to be found) and digital teams were still working to prove their value within marketing organizations focused on traditional media. I remember meeting with an SVP of one of the largest hoteliers in the world and telling him how important remarketing would be to driving conversions. He looked me square in the face and told me he would never allow remarketing. This was in 2007. Today, he has an entire team within his organization focused on retargeting, audience segmentation, and data management.
This story illustrates the massive shift in mindset to digital. It also highlights the way data has transformed our business. With the rise of digital, we are able to learn more about consumer behavior and patterns than ever before. Marketing teams are able to harness this data to build better connections.
6. Describe a typical workday.
I don’t think I really have a typical workday. It can vary wildly from one hour to the next and certainly from day to day. For the sake of illustration, I will run down my to-do list today:
– Wake up with 5 year old’s feet all up in my face. Then our rescue mutt, Christmas, climbs up and begs for belly pets.
– Shower and get dressed while my amazing husband gets the kids fed and ready for school.
– Drop off my 2 year old at school. Read her a story before hitting the road. She cried today when I left. I almost did too.
– Call consultants who have started projects this week and see how everything is going from the car. I am always on the phone in the car, trying to tackle pieces of my to-do list.
– Breakfast with CSO and President of agency holding company. We discussed a larger partnership. Exciting!
– Meet with my Marketing team leaders to discuss updates to our strategy across all platforms.
– Review our social strategy and provide feedback.
– Begin scoping 3 new projects for new partners.
– Interview consultants wanting to enter our network on the phone.
– RSVP to my brother’s 40th birthday party.
– Introduce some people to each other who I think can do some cool shit together.
– Talk to Women In Wireless about an upcoming speaking engagement. I can’t make the date. Introduce them to one of my badass friends.
– Run to pick up my 2 year old from school as we don’t have childcare today.
– Call my Assistant from the car to discuss travel arrangements for the 3% Conference.
– Collect my 2 year old, review her art creations, drop her off with grandma. Spend 5 mins cuddling my 5 year old before heading back to the office.
– Meeting with my Operations lead and Account Management lead to discuss process improvements.
– Review research provided about Salesforce vs Bitrix24 as a pipeline management tool
WTF is this wheel of death on my computer?!? Call my husband in a panic.
– Call with friend to help her negotiate a fair rate for consulting.
– Reboot computer; wheel of death resolved.
– Internal team call for our largest client.
– Respond to inbound emails from prospective clients and consultants
– Call with one of our tech partners to share feedback for system upgrades we need to continue using their platform.
– Spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get our logo to the right size in my email signature- GAH!
– Back and forth negotiation on MSA terms for a new client.
– Planning meeting for our neighborhood Halloween Parade.
– Complete this interview
– Handwritten thank you notes to some people that really helped me out in a big way today.
– Sign up for something to bring to 5 year old’s school Halloween party.
– Catch up on 30 texts I’ve neglected throughout the day.
– Phone turned to silent.
7. What are your favorite work tools, websites, apps, etc.?
We love Slack and Sococo for workplace communication. I love this website Maisonette for the kiddos, I read The Hustle to keep up with the world and CNN to keep up with the news, when I can emotionally handle it. Netflix is my go-to for unwinding at the end of the day.
8. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
I am inspired by the boundless possibilities of how many lives we can touch with this business. Simply put, I want to change the world and the way people work. We’ve had so much traction since we launched and it’s really pushed me to imagine what is possible. And it’s really f*cking exciting.
9. What advice do you have for those looking to go from employee to entrepreneur?
Take time to think about your core values as a person and ensure they are aligned with your business goals and objectives. Get advice from people smarter and more experienced than you, and then follow your gut. Ask for help.
10. Who is a #BossLady that you admire and why?
My mom, Patricia Nadi. She skipped college and jumped right into the workforce. She raised 3 kids while hustling her way up a corporate ladder that was even less friendly to female leaders than the one we experience today. She never complained and, to this day, is one of the hardest working women I know. On top of her incredible accomplishment in business, she is devoted to her children and 10 grandchildren. She’s the true definition of a boss
Just for fun…
1. I love it when Hypnotize by Notorious BIG comes on the radio.
2. Favorite thing to do in the fall: Watch football, be outside in the amazing fall ATL weather.
3. I could read Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur over and over again.
4. Longest I’ve gone without checking my email: I don’t want to answer this.