Welcome to Talk Nerdy to Me, a series of fireside Slack-Chats where Pound & Grain’s resident tech geniuses and other smarty pants explain complex development systems and best practices that they love to nerd out about to a creative person.
In today’s edition, we’re sitting down with Kaisha De La Mare, our newest Account Lead. As we welcome Kaisha into the Pound & Grain family, we’re aiming to find out what drives her, what she’s pumped for in 2019 and her thoughts on what it takes to be an amazing Account Lead.
NICK – So you’re an Account Lead. What does that role entail?
KAISHA – To me that means, I am not only responsible for making sure that everyone on our team is happy and doing work but that our clients are happy and that we are able to deliver to them things that they need, things that they ask for and things that they might not know they need yet. It’s helping provide structure, organization and thought leadership where it’s needed.
NICK – From a gander at your Linkedin would lead me to believe that you’re American. How did you end up in Toronto?
KAISHA – My husband got a job transfer here and I said, ok, let’s go! I was in the process of potentially looking for a new job so I said let’s give a new city a shot. I’ve been loving it here so far!
NICK – Where were you before Toronto.
KAISHA – We were in San Francisco, in the Bay Area, and before that, I was in New York City for 8 years.
NICK – Very cool. So, what attracted you to marketing life?
KAISHA – When I was in university I was looking for something that was, sort of, a mashup of psychology, creativity, sociology, all of these different things that would allow me to think strategically but still have a creative side. Somebody suggested advertising. I was actually in the process of going through applications for my university’s business school but I decided to take an intro to advertising class. And I was hooked immediately. So I switched my focus and haven’t looked back!
NICK – Do you feel like you get to exercise your creative bent in your role as an Account Lead?
KAISHA – Yeah, I do, especially when you’re on a team that works very collaboratively, you get to flex those creative muscles. I will say though that some accounts allow for this more than others–every one of them is unique. I adjust my style based on what the account demands.
NICK – So, you’re still relatively new here so you haven’t had to deal with us too much yet but how do you deal with unruly creative types?
KAISHA – (laughs) You mean how do I crack the whip?
NICK – (laughs) Yeah, pretty much. How do you keep us in line?
KAISHA – I talk to everyone, I listen to everyone. I make sure that everyone is good to go. I mean, a big part of this relationship is trust–I have to trust that people are going to get their work done when they say going to and they have to trust that I’m acting as a reliable liaison to the client. Our biggest thing is that we need to hit our deadlines–I’m not gonna pester anyone, people need breathing room to work–but sometimes people need a bit of a nudge (laughs).
NICK – Why did you choose to be on the accounts side of the action?
KAISHA – Well, I’m still naturally more inclined to the business side of things. I have been told, on occasion, that I have a type A personality. (laughs)
NICK – Do you think that’s true?
KAISHA – On occasion. (laughs) Not always. I mean, I’m the oldest of three kids so I think that may account for some of it.
NICK – Well, we’re super happy that you’re here. What put Pound & Grain on your radar? How’d you end up here?
KAISHA – Honestly, it was a job board that put Pound & Grain on my radar. Then, of course, I read up on the agency. It’s still relatively new to the Toronto area–which I thought was pretty cool–and since I’ve been focused largely on the social media space in my recent history I thought that it was a great fit since that’s a Pound & Grain focus as well. Plus, I like the idea of being at a smaller agency. You develop a closer relationship with your co-workers and you have a closer connection to the work than at bigger shops.
NICK – Agreed. You’re not just a number here.
KAISHA – Totally. I love that.
NICK – So your history has mostly been social media work?
KAISHA – For the last couple of years, yeah. Before that, it was more websites, apps, CRM’s and email campaigns. I’ve kind of run the gamut of the digital space.
NICK – Nice. Do you use any tools/software/programs to stay ahead of the game in your role? If so, what are they?
KAISHA – For me, with the types of clients that I’ve worked with, it’s more about keeping a handle on what’s happening in pop culture. So I use all of the standard social and news outlets for that. (laughs) I also make sure that I check in on Adage, Mashable, Digital Trends and Adweek to make sure that I know about new trends. Aside from checking in I’m constantly looking for new ways to learn–right now I’m working on a masters degree in marketing and I’ve already found ways to apply what I’ve learned to my work.
NICK – Nice! How do you find the time?
Kaisha: I do it online so when I leave work, I use my spare time to focus on that.
NICK – Wow. Good for you, that must be tough. So, what is the most challenging aspect of your role?
KAISHA – The most challenging is always delivering bad news. Or, even worse is delivering bad news and asking for more money. (laughs) At that point you really have to have a good relationship with the client, you have to know who you should be talking to, how you should be talking to them and every other important detail when you go into a conversation like that.
Nick: What is some advice for maintaining great client relationships?
KAISHA – A big one for me has always just been to listen. Not just to what’s going on in the office or what’s going on with the project but what’s going on in their lives. Your clients are people and they have their own problems, so if you have a relationship with them that will allow you to have open, candid conversations, that’s the ideal place to be.
NICK – What are your 2019 goals?
KAISHA – From a personal standpoint, one of them has been to read more. I try to get through a couple of books a month, both fiction and non-fiction. Also, I’d like to meditate more, even if it’s only ten minutes a day, just to hit the reset button. I find that it really helps me align my priorities in life.
Thanks for chatting with us, Kaisha, and welcome to the team!