Meet Amy Stanton, Founder & CEO, Stanton & Company, LLC, she has received accolades and awards from the Sports Business Journal, Women in Sports and Events (WISE) LA, and BlogHer, and Stanton & Company has been recognized as an industry leader, she is co-author of the book The Feminine Revolution.
"So it’s important to have goals and a vision, but also to remain open to surprises and serendipity"
Who is Amy Stanton? define yourself
Personally, I’m a California girl with a large dose of New Yorker. I throw myself into whatever I’m doing fully. My grandfather always said, “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right” and those have been words I live by. I’m very close to my family, most of whom live in Los Angeles. I sometimes ask myself where my drive came from: I think I always wanted to make my grandparents proud. I am very active: running, yoga, you name it. And I love to dance.
Professionally, I have been entrepreneurial from a young age and have been building my business, Stanton & Company, for almost 14 years. I’m a marketer. I get excited about building brands, especially brands that have a point of view or a broader purpose – I call them philosophy-driven brands. The agency focuses on brands and people in the healthy active living space: natural foods, health and wellness, beauty, sports, fitness…these categories directly I like to think I’m helping people by promoting brands and people that are helping people live healthier lives.
How were you as a kid?
I grew up in Los Angeles, always thinking I was supposed to be from somewhere else. I went to a small private high school… college preparatory. In the end, I think my high school was harder than college. I learned to work hard from a young age and that has been a theme throughout my career.
You have a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program in Communications, why did you study that?
I actually started in the Engineering program at Penn. I was great at math and science (or so I thought) and at the time had no idea what I wanted to do. After staring blankly at the professor of my advanced calculous class in my first semester and feeling my heart racing for fear that I was going brain dead, I quickly transferred out of the Engineering program into the College of Arts & Sciences. Communications was a great major at Penn because I could do a marketing concentration at Wharton. And I figured it would give me a good, well-rounded liberal arts foundation with some business education as well. And it did!
You served as the first-ever chief marketing officer (CMO) for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and were the head of marketing and communications for NYC2012, New York’s Olympic bid, where you developed and executed both the local and international campaigns for this first-ever endeavor. You handled Fortune 500 accounts in advertising etc. What were the learnings you got for working for such important companies?
The Olympic Bid was a game changer. We were working on the bid soon after 9/11, so it was a very dark time in New York City. The Olympic bid created some light, some hope, for something positive and a reinvigorated NYC. It turned the city into a playground. Everyone who was anyone in the city was involved and committed to the cause. It was the first time I realized that your work can feel meaningful and make an impact. That laid the groundwork for my career because from that point on, it was important for me to feel that I could do good through my work.
Working as the first-ever Chief Marketing Officer at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia was a totally unique experience. Challenging in many ways because the marketing efforts and resources were decentralized and limited – that made it hard for me to make any meaningful change. That said, Martha herself was a tremendous inspiration. First of all, I may be the only one that credits her for this, but her “omnimedia” concept actually set the stage for ALL companies to function as multi-channel operators. Her vision and foresight was incredible. And, what amazed me most about Martha was her boundless curiosity. We would go anywhere – from a flea market to Costco – and Martha was studying things closely, delighted by the details, seeing things through fresh eyes. We should all be more like Martha in this way!
"Believe it or not, the best and most challenging part of being CEO are one and the same: that I’m ultimately responsible. I’m responsible for the good stuff that happens and for the bad stuff that happens. If someone on my team makes a mistake, it’s ultimately my responsibility"
Why did you start your PR agency Stanton & Company? what does it make unique in the market?
I always wanted to start my own business. I come from a family of entrepreneurs and knew it was possible. When I started the business in 2006, I wanted to build a mini-IMG, focused on women’s sports – the agency would include representation, consulting, events, content development, public relations and more. Nobody was focused on the women’s side of sports. People would constantly tell me “there’s no money in women’s sports” – that only made me want to do it more! I had a business partner in the beginning and we quickly built a roster of fantastic female athletes across sports. After the first two years, I moved back to LA, split up with my business partner, and went out on my own. The agency quickly evolved to be focused on the healthy, active living space. We now still represent a number of remarkable athletes and lifestyle experts, as well as a variety of philosophy-driven brands in natural foods, beauty, health and wellness, fitness and more. In addition to our deep experience in the natural products space, we are differentiated by a large focus on brands built by and targeted to women.
Tell us more about the book you recently launched The Feminine Revolution?
Based on my personal experience and story, I was struck by lightening to write a book. I always wanted to start a company, but never desired to write a book! I felt there was a need to start a conversation about femininity. So many important conversations are happening for women right now around feminism, female empowerment, equal rights, but nobody was talking about this other f-word…femininity! So my writing partner, Catherine Connors, and I started this conversation. Our book takes the concept that femininity and feminine qualities are weak and turns that on its head. We identify 21 qualities, show why they have historically been considered and coded as feminine, show why they’ve been perceived as weak, and turn those ideas on their head to show that our feminine qualities (e.g., emotionality, sensitivity, even crying easily) are actually our superpowers.
You are the CEO & Founder of Stanton & Company, Co-Author of The Feminine Revolution and you have received accolades and awards from the Sports Business Journal, Women in Sports and Events (WISE) LA, and BlogHer, and Stanton & Company have been recognized as an industry leader, speaker about femininity, marketing, and representation, women in sports, and women’s leadership. What´s the recipe for your success?
I give it my all. I wake up every day with a fresh start, eager to do my best. It’s not always easy…in fact, it’s hard in many ways most of the time. One of the things that has helped me is during challenging times to remind myself that I’m choosing this. I’m choosing to focus my efforts on my company. I’m choosing to work with these clients. I’ve chosen to hire these employees and to keep them employed. It reminds me that I have agency over my future. And when things are going well or not, I can choose to make a change.
What is the reality of your day-to-day?
Every day is totally unique. That’s part of what I love about running an agency. Sometimes we’re in client presentations, meetings, calls. Sometimes I’m out meeting with prospective clients or learning about the latest and greatest health and wellness trends. Sometimes we’re onsite with our athletes for photoshoots, competition or sponsor commitments. And naturally, we have lots of internal meetings with the team and I spend a lot of time writing emails and documents. Never a dull moment.
"Persistence, persistence, persistence. Knowing that challenges are part of the game. Remembering why I’m doing it. And then sticking it out through the tough times. If you’re looking for easy, entrepreneurship is not for you "
Do you have any particular philosophy that guides your career decisions?
In my career (and in life), I have learned to follow my instincts. As much as I’m an ultra-planner, I’m open to possibilities and that has been a gift. So many of my career opportunities, for example New York’s Olympic bid, could never have been predicted – I would never have known a bid for the Olympics existed. And this ended up being one of the most incredible parts of my career. So it’s important to have goals and a vision, but also to remain open to surprises and serendipity.
What do you love most about your job as CEO? & what is the most difficult part?
Believe it or not, the best and most challenging part of being CEO are one and the same: that I’m ultimately responsible. I’m responsible for the good stuff that happens and for the bad stuff that happens. If someone on my team makes a mistake, it’s ultimately my responsibility. My name is on the door and I manage that person. As you are probably sensing by now, I like feeling like I am the decision-maker (again, a bit of a control freak!) and being the boss means that I have the final say. Sometimes that is extremely tough, like when we have a challenging situation with a client, an employee or can’t solve a problem. But more times than not, it’s a great thing and I’m up for the challenge.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else does?
It’s important to remain curious. I’m constantly in a state of learning and growing. The moment I think I’ve figured something out I’m quickly reminded that I haven’t. There’s so much to learn: about running a business, about how to best work with and motivate people, about what’s important… I’m always looking at ways to be better and smarter and kinder. (This can be exhausting, by the way! So I’m also constantly reminding myself that “all will be OK in the end, if it’s not OK, it’s not the end” (my grandfather used to say this!)
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Persistence, persistence, persistence. Knowing that challenges are part of the game. Remembering why I’m doing it. And then sticking it out through the tough times. If you’re looking for easy, entrepreneurship is not for you!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Dance class! Yoga, beach runs, hanging with my dog Bernard. I love movies and reading good books (one of my 2020 resolutions is to carve out more time for this). Lots of quality time with friends and family. I’m taking singing lessons. And naps.
"Wake up every morning with a good attitude and a desire to give it your best. No matter what you’re doing. And don’t beat yourself up over failures. Mistakes are often our best teachers. Keep getting back on the horse and take moments to recognize your progress"
Many authors say women can and must strive to have everything a shining career, blossoming family life, and a perfectly balanced lifestyle all at once, others point out that– then women are placing unrealistic expectations on themselves if they believe they can have it all, you are single with no kids, so according to your experience, what do you think about these statements?
I’m single, still waiting for my guy. I think it’s all about perspective. Sometimes I feel like my life is out of balance because so much of my focus has been on my career. That said, I have such an amazing and full life. And I wouldn’t trade any of it. So when I’m reminded of this, it’s hard to feel sorry for myself or to feel like “we can’t have it all.” It seems like the key is to recognize that we do have it all. We should be defining “all” based on what we do have.
What are your plans for the future?
To find more space in my life, more quiet time. To create an agency that is sustainable and strong. To meet my guy and have a kid. And to be on the new reality show, Flirty Dancing. (goals!!)
There is still the glass ceiling for women in the world: Fewer opportunities, jobs underpaid just for that fact of being a woman, etc. Have you experimented with the glass ceiling? if yes, what are the biggest challenges you have faced and how have you overcome them?
I’ve been really lucky. I’ve never felt held back by being a woman. If anything, I recognize my unique strengths (thus The Feminine Revolution). That said, I know many fearless women have fought the good fight to make it possible for me to feel this way, so I feel enormous gratitude towards them.
What tips, can you give to young girls who want to become an entrepreneur like you?
Wake up every morning with a good attitude and a desire to give it your best. No matter what you’re doing. And don’t beat yourself up over failures. Mistakes are often our best teachers. Keep getting back on the horse and take moments to recognize your progress.
I think in your position, many people may have the wrong idea of who you are (personally), and what do you (professionally), with this idea in mind, what is being Amy and what's not?
People inevitably make assumptions about each other and I’ve learned (and continue learning!) to put those things aside and focus on showing up every day as the best version of myself. Some days I succeed at that and others, not so much. That said, I hope that anyone who knows me personally has a sense of me, what I care about and perceives me as a person with integrity. As much as I like to control things, I am 100 percent clear that we can’t control what others think!
Who is the woman you admire the most and why?
I admire so many women. Of course my mom, grandmother and dearest girlfriends are all at the top of the list because they have influenced me the most. One woman that I have tremendous admiration for is Jane Goodall. Her commitment to wildlife conservation and animal welfare issues was unprecedented. This quote of hers resonates for me deeply: “The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
Name: Amy Stanton
Sector: Marketing & Public Relations
Company: Stanton & Company
Designation: Founder & CEO
Social media: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amykstanton/