21 Career Questions With Victoria Barnaby, Startup Marketing Director, Sports Radio Co-Host, Competitive Runner + Blogger
Victoria is a mover + shaker in the Boston innovation economy who seemingly never sleeps.
Apart from her role as Director of Brand Communications with CoachUp (disclosure: they're a Breakaway portfolio company), she's also a morning sports radio host on 1510 AM's Zook + Tower Morning Show and runs for Greater Boston Track Club when she's not blogging or being photographed for the cover of magazines. Prior to joining CoachUp, Victoria worked as a digital marketing manager at PUMA and Wayfair, and graduated from Boston University.
I first met Victoria when interviewing candidates for CoachUp and was inspired by her energy, attitude and inquisitive spirit. Follow her on Twitter and check out her blog. Maybe she'll tell you what's really inside of Victoria's Closet...
1. What would the headline of your biography be?
"Run Where Lights Won’t Chase Us". It’s a lyric from a song that I’ve had stuck in my head lately ("Spectrum" by Zedd). The song isn’t particularly deep nor does it have a message that resonates with me. However when I hear the lyric I get a visual of someone running away from a spotlight - not a felon, but rather a silly teenager, or teenagers, outrunning the flashlight of a cop. They’re running away from a light in the dark, not sure of where their going but are having nervous fun trying to find their way away from the light. Feels somewhat like life.
2. What is your mission / goal in life?
My goal is to find some hybrid between a career and my various hobbies. Some project, job or greater cause that I can contribute to that keeps me entertained and fulfilled most of my days.
3. What do you love to do?
I love to do a little bit of everything and the degree of which I love some particular “thing” varies by the day. I love to run, sing, cook, read, write, talk and laugh. I love to be on my feet and moving. I love to perform and interact with people.
4. What were your “aha” moments - when you realized you were exceptional at something?
I realized I was good at running when I broke a 6 minute mile, about a year after I started running. I realized I was good at singing when I made the “Chosen Few”, a select choir at my high school, my freshman year. I realized I was good at “performing” in business, when after I presented a project recap to the Global Director of Marketing at PUMA he had no questions.
5. What keeps you up at night?
Unpaid bills, unchecked “to-do” lists and unclear directives. Lately though it’s people that send emails at un-godly hours. They need to stop doing that.
6. What historical / business figure do you most identify with?
No one comes to mind.
7. What is the trait you most want to improve in yourself?
I wish I were braver and more willing to take risks. I wish I wasn't afraid of an unstable future or unanswered questions.
8. What are your unique talents?
I’m a faster learner and a hard worker. I’m a good singer and runner. I’m good at getting gifts for other people.
9. Have you had to the change the road you were on?
Yes, of course. Each adjustment or change feels much larger than it actually is because I’m a creature of habit and thrive on consistency. However, I get bored easily. I need to be challenged and constantly stimulated. That’s ultimately the main motivation behind all my career changes. Each road change feels big, but when looking at the map as whole, they’re all really just small winds or turns.
10. Which brands / businesses do you admire the most?
I admire the Apple brand because their products are beautiful and simple. I admire what PUMA aims to achieve as a sportslifestyle brand, to be a brand that offers consumers both fashion wear and sport gear. The brand is quirky and joyful, I like those qualities. I admire Toms business model because it helps others in need, although I do not think the shoes are cute.
11. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I say “yes” and “absolutely” a lot. That’s intentional. People like and want to hear the word “yes.” I rarely say “no.”
12. What is your greatest career regret?
Most of my career regret lies with how I navigated college. I wish I had majored in communications and continued my music studies. I wish I had spent less time waiting tables and spent more time enjoying my classmates, campus life and trying out for different groups or clubs. I wish I didn’t pick a major that I thought would get me a job. Instead, I wish I took courses in areas in which I was completely unfamiliar because, in the end, my major has not helped me get any of my jobs.
13. When or where were you happiest in life?
I think I was most happy when I was 23-24, still here in Boston. I had just moved into a small but lovely apartment in Back Bay. I was one of the youngest managers at PUMA, was promoted, and felt I had a handle on what I was doing at work. The big company name made me feel as though I had achieved something that others coveted. I was running really well and doing lots of yoga. I was cooking and spending time outdoors. I traveled to Austin, LA, NYC and Puerto Rico in those years. I was dating an accomplished and fascinating young man who made me laugh and made me feel smart, talented and special. He sent me flowers at work, challenged me intellectually and could just barely beat me in a 5k race. My sister, mother, and father, were all busy and mostly happy. It was during these 2 years that I started to believe I was smart and talented, and it was when I became confident in myself and my abilities.
14. Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I could play guitar and I wish could both write and memorize music. (I’m greedy, I want more than one talent)
15. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Thus far I consider my greatest achievement building my career on my own without having any breaks from family, friends or any special privileges / connections.
16. What is your most treasured business memento?
I don’t keep business mementos. I only hold on to pictures and hand-written notes.
17. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
An office job with no travel. Days spent in front of a computer, with minimal human interaction and no ability to exercise. Having no friends or no family to talk to or spend time with.
18. Do you care about money?
Yes. I wish I didn’t, but I do. Money helps open doors and leads to opportunities. Money can help ease a lot of anxiety.
19. What is your defining characteristic?
My work ethic. I’ve never been inherently talented or exceptional at any given thing. I’m stubborn and competitive; as a result, I work hard to get what I don’t have, to master certain skills or to accomplish daunting tasks.
20. Who are your favorite business writers / bloggers / people?
Lauren Fleshman. Jennifer Lopez. Bill Clinton. Daniel Tosh, Joel McHale, David Sedaris , Tina Fey and Chelsea Handler make me laugh.
21. Who is your hero in real life?
There are many people who have done heroic things that I could list here, but instead I’m going to say that my hero/heroes are my parents. My parents are elementary and middle school teachers. They've worked hard for years and have sacrificed to provide me and my sister with endless opportunities. They’ve driven us countless miles to various activities, answered many sobbing phone calls and have helped replaced many broken/lost iPhones.