I recently interviewed Stefan Willimann, President of NewsSimply Corp., an online destination for readers who want local news and information on the go. Collecting news from nearly 50 credible sources throughout the region, NewsSimply packages and presents news in an easy-to-read format via email, smart-phone and web.
Prior to the founding of NewsSimply Corp., Stefan served as Vice President, Strategic Sales and Marketing for CBS in New York City and later was the Executive Director of Interactive and Print Development for MaineToday Media, the owner of 12 websites including three newspaper brands based in Portland, Maine.
With a passion for media and the New Orleans culture, Willimann has great optimism for the future economy, and offers some advice to those navigating it.
Tell me about your business.
Stefan Willimann: I've been in ad-supported media for my entire professional career and I love it! Right now, I'm the president of NewsSimply, Corp., a web based news and information network based in Portland, Maine. Started two years ago this month, our website Mainenewssimply.com has over 30,000 regular visits and we send out over 85,000 e newsletters to Maine readers each week.
What have you loved most about your career?
SW: Hands down, the challenge and the creativity that my profession has allowed me to explore certainly fuels my passion for the media industry. I have been able to work among TV, radio, newspaper, digital, event and wireless mediums, which has given me an expertise in multiple platforms. I've learned so much and feel more energized right now with all of the changes happening. I've been fortunate to stay in the same industry for 20 years.
What made you decide to choose this field?
SW: I graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA and was exposed to one of the greatest venues in the world: the Louisiana Superdome. I did a marketing internship there, which basically meant that I got to follow the VP of Events and Marketing around for 10 hours a week to observe and absorb. During my year-long internship, I was able to have VIP press access to a Superbowl and NCAA Final Four Tournament. It was then that I realized how powerful the media was and was immediately drawn to it.
How did you get to where you are today?
SW: Persistence and initiative. If you don't embody it, you will not realize your potential.
What advice do you have for today's job seekers, generally speaking?
SW: I love to tell younger folks in high school that they need to identify role models and emulate them. I tell college students: "Go do an internship!" Make the investment and volunteer your time in an area that interests you, no matter what it is.
For current professionals in-between opportunities: put yourself in a potential hiring decision maker's shoes and get real on what value you can bring them. If you are unclear, hire a professional to shape your story. This, to me, is one of the most important investments one can make. I did it before my job at CBS in New York and I'm certain it helped me earn much more compensation going in the door than had I not hired a "coach."
What are your job market predictions?
SW: Clearly we have experienced a paradigm shift in the economy and business terrain. There seems to be a new world order with regards to monetary values being "reset." I am an eternal optimist and believe that the resetting of the economy is a good thing. We need to be more creative, get more resourceful and work harder in order to receive the monetary rewards we expect. I don't compare now to then, that's a waste of time. I compare now to where we will go.
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