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Spotlight On: Kristen Held

December 17, 2015

Name: Kristen Held

Title: Senior Media Director

Joined MBuy: 2010

College: DePaul University

Tell us about your journey. Why advertising and technology?

I grew up in Chicago and attended De Paul University/Lincoln Park campus.   I was an English/Marketing major in college, so naturally I was always interested in Journalism and Public Relations. Financially, as a college grad, I needed to quickly find a way to apply my English degree to a practical career.  I consider myself extremely fortunate to have grown up with a father in the TV business, who’s highly respected in the business and continues to inspire and teach me invaluable negotiation tactics. I began my career at Universal McCann in Detroit where I bought spot TV/Radio/Cable for all General Motors brands, Lowes, Kohl’s, Nestle, and Aflac. I then moved back to Chicago and worked on the vendor side for NCC.  After NCC, I started at Mediabank as a Software Engineer, during a time where traditional and digital media was planned/purchased out of different DMA’s and funded by separate budgets. Now, as Senior Media Director at MBuy, I am committed to bringing talent and technology together to optimize digital and traditional. 

What are a few of your strengths and passions? How has working at MBuy enabled you to flex some of these muscles?

I’ve always enjoyed interacting with people and building long lasting vendor and client partnerships.  In this industry, I believe it’s a combination of both research and relationships that produce the best results for our clients.   No matter how automated media becomes, it is the sincere human element of data driven negotiations that will always deliver the most successful campaigns.  At MBuy, I’ve been able to build relationships with clients, vendors, and creative partners. 

In what ways has working at MBuy challenged you and enabled you to grow?

In past positions, I have had very large budgets – which often equates to easier goals/CPP’s to achieve. At MBuy, I have been challenged with clients’ tighter budgets, shorter flight, and greater KPI’s.  As a result, I have learned to optimize on a daily basis across all channels, constantly crunching numbers to achieve a greater ROI and a more efficient bottom line.  With the level of audience data available today, I take pride in evaluating campaigns in real-time, and reallocating/eliminating wasteful media spend.  
What do you enjoy most about working at MBuy?

Being able to bring the value of traditional media to our clients. I also enjoy watching both traditional and digital media work in tandem together, rather than siloed.  MBuy’s cross-channel hybrid structure enables us to track the impact of how offline media drives online inquiry -- this is something I have never experienced in any of my past agency/vendor positions.  

Coffee or tea?

Neither.  Caffeine free. 

Cats or dogs?

I have 21-year old cat named Smokey – I feel obligated to devote this answer to him 

Give 3 tips for someone looking to land a job like yours.

Work ethic is crucial. Everyone values a hard worker. 
Be able to adapt to change. The systems and processes you use will change over time and you need to adjust and move forward.
Never forget that no matter how old or how many years under your belt, you still have so much to learn.