Collectively - Ryan Stern, CEO + Founder
Company Description: Collectively orchestrates influencer marketing initiatives designed to generate engagement and awareness for consumer brands.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Female Entrepreneur of the Year – Business Services –11 to 2,500 Employees
Nomination Title: Ryan Stern, CEO + Founder
Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated entrepreneur since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):
If you had asked Ryan Stern back in 2006, when she left her post as an Assistant Editor at Architectural Digest for a risky food media startup, “where do you see yourself in 10 years?” she most certainly would have not replied, “Running a 40-person marketing agency.”
That risky startup, Foodubzz, however, proved successful and an entrepreneurial path was set. Her boss at Foodbuzz was the CEO—a Standford MBA grad with 20 years experience running business, who gave her a front row seat to all things business. After a three-year run together, Foodbuzz was the third-largest food media property second only to All Recipes and FoodNetwork. This led to an acquisition by Federated Media in 2010, after which Ryan spent the next 3 years building out integrated content marketing programs at Federated competitor Glam Media (now Mode Media). Upon returning from maternity leave in the spring of 2013, she new the time had come to be her own boss.
Around that time, she saw a sea change in the media landscape and influencer marketing, and believed the time had come to change the way brands and influencers partnered. She’d been working with friend and colleague Alexa Tonner since 2008; the two of them in lock step running content strategy and campaign management for hundreds of influencer marketing programs at Glam Media and Federated Media.
The duo put their heads together, and in July of 2013, they launched Collectively, using their experience and insights to create an entirely new agency model. Since July of 2014, Ryan has grown Collectively to a 40-employee agency and successfully completed more than 120 influencer marketing initiatives for a growing roster of blue-chip clients including: Hewlett-Packard, Jawbone, Old Navy, Zappos, Method, Estee Lauder, Ford, and GMC. Their lastest campaign with HP won them an OMMA for Best Integrated Marketing Campaign in the Tech Category.
Headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Los Angeles and soon to open in NYC, the company has proven its new model offers something brands increasingly find essential to the marketing mix. By combining creativity and proprietary software, Ryan and her team have reinvented the way brands create content and communicate through social media.
The creative strategy and process are designed to bring brands and influencers together to work toward a common goal. It’s not just an influencer working for the brand or the brand working for an influencer—Collectively is ultimately working for each other and bringing tremendous value to the partnership. When you collaborate this way, the results are awesome.
Beyond the success of the business itself, what most excites Ryan the most is going to work every morning with an incredible team of young women and men who she believes are thriving in a women-led work environment in a way she’s never experienced.
“Our revenue grew from 650K in 2013, to 2.2MM in 2014 and we’ll do 15MM this yea. That growth that is a combination of two things: vision and exceptional leadership,” says Ryan. “I’m proud to be creating an environment that is laser focused on both, because everyone is thriving as a result. The energy at work is infectious.”
Provide a brief biography of the nominated entrepreneur (up to 125 words):
Ryan Stern is the Founder and CEO of Collectively--an agency that orchestrates influencer marketing initiatives designed to generate engagement and awareness for consumer brands. Stern is a fearless and visionary entrepreneur, leveraging her extensive background in editorial, social and integrated content marketing to reinvent how brands communicate to consumers on social media. Stern began her career working at Conde Nast and Tribune, pivoting into digital content and business roles first at Foodbuzz, where she developed the largest online food property third to Food Network and All Recipes. At Mode Media, she oversaw owned & operated content properties and ran integrated content marketing programs globally. She’s built Collectively into a 40-person agency in 2 years and believes in creating empowering work environments built on risk-taking.