MR’s Head of Partnerships on Networking as an Introvert (and Other Advice)

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Whether you want to be a scientist, a stylist, a writer, a professional juggler or you have no idea yet, there’s something cathartic in hearing about the multitude of winding paths. That’s why Man Repeller has launched a series wherein various team members answer your career questions — anything from how they got to where they are to what they wish they’d done differently or what they still hope to do one day. There’s always a lesson to be learned somewhere or, at the very least, relief in knowing that it’s more than okay if you’re still figuring it out. First up was Head of Creative Amelia Diamond; next  was Haley Nahman, Man Repeller’s Deputy Editor. This time around we hear from Patty Carnevale, Man Repeller’s Head of Partnerships, stay tuned as she answers 10 of the questions (plus a bonus q) recently posed to her on Instagram.

What does a Head of Partnerships do? What’s the part you like most and the part you like least?

I work with Jasmin and Simedar on the partnerships team to set the goals, vision, and operating strategy for running and growing a healthy media business through brand collaborations. Ultimately the partnerships team ensures that Man Repeller has enough money in the bank to pay salaries and benefits and otherwise fund resources that help us all do our best work.

The best part of the job is getting to collaborate with and learn from my incredibly smart, hilarious, kind, hard-working colleagues. A challenging part of the role is the required extroversion; I tend to psych myself up because I walk a fine line on the Myers Brigg border. But as soon as I’m in the meeting, or on the call, or having the coffee, that all kind of falls away and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting wonderful people. Just have to make sure I find time for myself in the off hours to recharge.

I look so black and white on my resume which doesn’t bode well for free-thinking positions in journalism or startups. What do you think is the most important part of someone’s resume or job application, and what do you look for specifically in a candidate for a creative position? What advice would you give someone who wants to make a career change to partnerships from another industry?

A background in business can be extremely attractive for creative companies — Nike is a game-changing creative brand and its founding team was largely comprised of accountants and lawyers! When I’m looking at a resume and evaluating creative business potential, the most important detail to me is if a candidate has taken the time to communicate the tangible results achieved in each bullet. That kind of mapping of measurable results indicates to me that this person is solutions-driven, a strategic thinker, and a clear communicator.

How do you network/form relationships with people or businesses without feeling inauthentic or like you are using them? Can you speak to the drivers—general and specific to the digital space—that motivate brands to seek partnership with MR and then conversely for MR to brands?

I love this question. We’re operating at a time when success is analytically driven, and sure, we can deliver on that: We have the numbers to back up the value Man Repeller brings to the table, and we understand the importance of a media plan and the value of tangible results — I said it myself in the resume question! But the execution side is where the real magic happens. What brand study out there can capture what it’s like to experience full body shivers at the Man Repeller x AG Story Slam? Our integrated editorials are as visually stunning as they are intellectually stimulating, with opening sentences like “I’m walking down Hester street looking for a sweet potato that is neither too big nor too small.” And that’s a story about shoes! I deeply believe in our work with partners, so I never feel inauthentic representing Man Repeller. This weird and wonderful team is able to dream up and produce the most imaginative, goal-driving, community-serving collaboration work that I’ve ever experienced in the most effective, efficient, and joyful way. We deserve every shot we can get to bring more of that to the world.

Where are you networking these days?

I’ve found that the top three places for delightful networking are weddings (so serious about that), community activism (true story: I met my mentor for life on a bus canvassing for the 2016 election), and any/all opportunities to show up in person to support the work and passions of dear friends. I really believe that peers are the ultimate network.

How do you manage your time?

Short of showering and sleeping, EVERYTHING goes in my Google calendar. This helps me stay organized for sure, but also to have a high level of visibility with my colleagues. The team is super accountable and often collaborating across different time zones for partnerships, so keeping calendars up to date, along with having key standing meetings, is pretty critical.

What do you look for in a brand that you want to partner with?

The team works really well with a challenge, so we don’t mind developing a proposal with strict media parameters and explicit deliverables, but we get downright giddy when a brand approaches us with strong guiding principles, a lot of creative freedom, and a willingness to shake things up. That kind of trust leads to partnerships like our Black Tie Sneaker Party with Adidas or Hotel MR!

What kinds of things should you like doing if you want a career in partnerships?

The partnerships process, in a nutshell, entails 1) identifying what a business you are passionate about does uniquely well in a given market, 2) structuring those strengths into products and services, 3) listening to and understanding a potential client’s needs and goals, and 4) working across internal and external teams to make something great. If you’re someone who is super curious about what makes people and companies tick, are excited to talk about and share your passions, have a genuine love for creative collaboration, and enjoy setting goals and tracking your progress, I definitely encourage you to explore a career in partnerships.

How important is your brand’s social media presence when trying to pitch a collaboration with other brands?

Community is at the heart of what we do and why we do it, since social is an important place for community connection it is a key part of any partner program whether it’s digital-only or an offline event/activation.

Is there any such thing as reaching out too often? Do you ever take the squeaky wheel approach?

There is such a thing as being too aggressive. One follow-up is understandable and often appreciated, but no answer is still an answer. If I do get in touch again down the road it’s because I have something different to offer or fresh news to share.

What career advice would you give yourself 10 years ago? 5 years ago?

Ten years ago I would advise myself to commit to the first couple of years as an information-gathering period, and to try not to put too much pressure on figuring out if a job is the “right thing.” I would encourage fresh-to-the-workforce me to pay attention, work hard, and keep finding your people. Five years ago was when I did the work of identifying what truly matters to me in a job, and sought a position that fulfilled those must-haves. It was my first time building and leading a team, and I would have loved to have told myself then the advice a mentor of mine shared this year: that the most delicious thing about being a leader is having your mind changed.

Sorry to go off track but WHAT ARE THOSE PANTS?

Why thank you! I found the ones from Instagram at a sample sale in Sydney! The brand is Tigerlily. These I found at Crossroads, they’re Rebecca Taylor.

Photo by Edith Young. 

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