A Freelancer Who Went Back to Agency Life

Stephanie Stabulis is the VP, Influencer Marketing US at McCann Content Studios. She is a veteran influencer marketing leader specializing in developing influencer marketing strategies and programs for brands. She’s designed and managed award-winning campaigns for start-ups through Fortune 500 companies including icons such as Southwest Air, ESPN, Budweiser, Nestle, Nickelodeon, McDonalds, TJMaxx and Kellogg’s. Her focus lately has been on creating better efficacy in influencer marketing for brands, while protecting the intimate relationship between influencer-creators and their followers. Stephanie's mission is to shape the next generation influencer marketing in a way that merges technologies with human creativity, authenticity, emotion, impact and purpose.



[00:00:00] Stephanie Stabulis: That’s important to me because I find like when I do make the time to do it and I do talk to good people, they understand it, they get it and they work with you and that’s just overall something that’s going to help our economy, like with an influencer and creator continue to grow and the dollars continue to be invested.

[00:00:23] Jesse Grossman: Hey guys, welcome back to the show. I’m so happy to be here. I’m on the mend, you guys. I’ve been a little under the weather. If I sound a little congested, I apologize to any of you guys who are new. I don’t normally sound like this, uh, but I’m so happy that you’re here if you’re new. So thank you for joining you guys.

[00:00:40] Jesse Grossman: We have been doing such cool events. I don’t know if any of you guys have been to any of them yet, but if you haven’t, you should. We’re posting about it all on our social media because like last year we went to three cities, went to LA, went to New York, and went to Chicago and we held these big bashes and they were fun.

[00:00:59] Jesse Grossman: But this [00:01:00] year we’re doing more events and like more intimate and more fun. I was just on a call just before recording this. We’re talking about what to do in New York and the options are so fun. We’re trying to plan like this. Girls night outs. So we don’t have to just talk business and talk shop 24 seven.

[00:01:19] Jesse Grossman: Like we get it. We all work in influenza marketing. We get it. It’ll inevitably come up in the conversation, but also like, I want to learn about you. I want to learn about you. I want to learn what we have in common and I want us to just connect as women. So that’s what the goal is. That’s what we’re aiming to do here.

[00:01:37] Jesse Grossman: So a couple of weeks ago we held a great happy hour in Miami. Last week we just did Chicago and LA. Oh my God, guys, they’re Galentine’s themed, so awesome. And we have Nashville coming up. Nashville is amazing. Have any of you guys been like, I just went for the first time and I had heard such [00:02:00] good things about it and I was always so curious.

[00:02:01] Jesse Grossman: And I had this like, This voucher, this plane voucher from Delta. If you guys have a Delta Amex, they give you a companion certificate. I always forget about it until the very last minute. So I was like, Oh shoot, I got a free plane ticket. Let’s, let’s just go. And it was, for me, it was between Austin. And Nashville and we landed on Nashville and I’m so happy that we went anyways, if you guys live in Nashville or anywhere nearby, we’re hosting a big event in March that you are going to love.

[00:02:32] Jesse Grossman: Should check it out because we are doing all the in-person meetups this year, baby. It’s going to be so fun. Good. All right. So this week’s episode, though, is an interview episode with a friend of mine, a friend of the show, Stephanie Stabulis. She is also a mentor with us and it was just, she was giving it this episode, so I know that you’re going to enjoy it.

[00:02:56] Jesse Grossman: She’s a VP of influencer marketing at McCann Content [00:03:00] Studios. She’s a veteran influencer marketing leader specializing in developing influencer marketing strategies and programs for brands. designed and managed award-winning campaigns from startups to Fortune 500 companies, including icons such as Southwest Air, ESPN, Budweiser, Nestle, Nickelodeon, McDonald’s, TJ Maxx, and Kellogg’s.

[00:03:24] Jesse Grossman: Her focus lately has been on creating better efficacy in influencer marketing for brands while protecting the Intimate relationship between influencer creators and their followers. Her mission is to shape the next generation of influencer marketing in a way that merges technologies with human creativity, authenticity, emotion, impact, and purpose.

[00:03:50] Jesse Grossman: I mean, I co-sign that. So we talk about a lot of that during this week’s episode. I think you’re really going to enjoy it. And shoot her a follow. She’ll, [00:04:00] she’ll be providing you with her information at the end. She’s someone to connect with. We list all that stuff all the time in the show notes as well.

[00:04:08] Jesse Grossman: So take a peek there. And without further ado, this is Stephanie Stubulis.

[00:04:15] Jesse Grossman: This show is sponsored by Women in Influencer Marketing, better known as WIIM, the best online community for the creator economy. You will meet fellow influencer marketers, you’ll meet brands, you’ll meet talent agencies Take a shot, get hired, and even find a mentor. When you become a member, do not forget to check out all of our incredible resources.

[00:04:38] Jesse Grossman: For example, we have dozens of masterclasses from the top voices of TikTok, YouTube, award-winning agencies, and women who are paving the way for us all. So if you want the chance to network with FooSoo and influencer marketing, check out what it takes to become a member. Make more money and have fun doing it.[00:05:00] 

[00:05:00] Jesse Grossman: Visit iamwiim. com slash joins, that’s I A M W I I M dot com slash join today, and I so look forward to seeing you more around the community. So you guys are lucky because you have an awesome guest that we’re going to be chatting with, who’s my friend, Stephanie Stubulis. So welcome to the show and 

[00:05:23] Stephanie Stabulis: how are you?

[00:05:25] Stephanie Stabulis: Uh, thank you for having me. I’ve, this is a long time overdue, so. 

[00:05:29] Jesse Grossman: Very excited to have you. Steph is one of our mentors, been in the organization for a long time. You have recently back on the East Coast, so I wanted to wait until you settled in a little bit, you know, before having 

[00:05:43] Stephanie Stabulis: you on. I appreciate that, and I was like, make sure I unpack my podcast mic for you first.

[00:05:48] Stephanie Stabulis: I made sure I found the box that was in and put it in a nice space so that I knew where it was when I had to go get it. 

[00:05:54] Jesse Grossman: Was it, like, something that was packed, like, deep in a box that you hid away? Or you’re [00:06:00] like, no, these are, like, an essential thing that I need to have at the top because I need to 

[00:06:03] Stephanie Stabulis: know where it is?

[00:06:03] Stephanie Stabulis: Well, I unpacked my office first because obviously, that’s a priority for me. Like, even when I was, like, in between houses, I had to, like, pack and unpack, like, my office first. So every box in my office came out first so it was, like, I knew exactly where everything 

[00:06:16] Jesse Grossman: was. And are you settling in? I feel like a lot of people, like, post-pandemic, like, everyone’s moving all over the place, like, what was, like, the move like?

[00:06:24] Jesse Grossman: Like, was it relatively easy considering, like, how you organized yourself? Or, like, any tips for anybody who’s moving? 

[00:06:31] Stephanie Stabulis: That’s such a good question. I feel like I sped it up because the anticipation of, like, waiting would have Stunk. So the place that I’m in had like a 60-day lead time. And when I came into this apartment, they had to give me 60 days notice.

[00:06:46] Stephanie Stabulis: Then I had to give my apartment 30 days notice. And it was right around Christmas time was like the halfway mark. And I was coming in on January 19th and I was home for three weeks during the holidays in New Jersey. So like I was trying to pack starting in November, [00:07:00] but like it just gets to the point where there’s certain things you can’t pack to the last minute anyway, and like you start packing your life up in boxes where it’s like a few times I had to go and like reopen a box and be like, where did I put this?

[00:07:10] Stephanie Stabulis: I need it right now. So I hated the strenuousness of it being such a quick timeline, but I also appreciated it because it’s like, well, I can do everything at once. So my body was exhausted, but I think once you like start, you get it over with, like, that was kind of how I felt about everything. 

[00:07:26] Jesse Grossman: Yeah, no, it’s good.

[00:07:27] Jesse Grossman: I feel just like just settling in. I feel like it always takes longer than we want it to. We were chatting before we started recording. And I was just thinking I was like, and I didn’t mention this to you yet. But I was like, we’ve lived in we moved to and like a couple years ago, a little over two years ago.

[00:07:44] Jesse Grossman: And like, oh my god, we still have so much furniture to buy. As for us, we went from an apartment to a house. And so like we had some stuff. But anytime you’re in like a new space, whatever it is, if it’s bigger, it’s just different. Like the stuff that you had before doesn’t necessarily fit [00:08:00] that new 

[00:08:00] Stephanie Stabulis: space, right?

[00:08:01] Stephanie Stabulis: Yeah. And then I had to be smart about that because I’m moving cross country. So like, I had to think about like, is this going to fit in my new space or is this not? What should I get rid of? What shouldn’t I? And then the waiting game of like, On the other side, waiting for all your stuff from the cross-country move takes like two to three weeks.

[00:08:17] Stephanie Stabulis: Like I had no idea how long that took. So that anticipation killed me, which also stunk because I wanted to buy furniture in the meantime. But I’d be like, I really should put the rest of my stuff in before I start buying things. Probably don’t need it. 

[00:08:31] Jesse Grossman: So I’m like, I feel like if I were you, I’d be like, I want to time it with like a Black Friday sale.

[00:08:37] Jesse Grossman: So I get like a deal 

[00:08:37] Stephanie Stabulis: or something. Presidency weekend. So like I was told like, wait on all my furniture till February. Didn’t do that. It’s not President’s Day weekend yet when we’re recording, but I was told to wait. I just did 

[00:08:51] Jesse Grossman: not. It’s like, I hope you enjoy the process. Like some people, it’s like their thing.

[00:08:56] Jesse Grossman: It’s not me, I thought, I used to think it was my thing, like [00:09:00] interior design. And then I slowly realized that, like, it’s not. But I still enjoy the. process. I just have to like to wrap my head around that. I’m like, not that good at it and I just have to approach it differently. Like I need trial and error.

[00:09:11] Jesse Grossman: I am like, I’d rather buy it in another store, but I choose the ones I do if they have good return policies. Because like for me, I don’t have the eye that could just like visualize it from like my phone or my computer and visualize what it’ll be in my space. I sort of need to see it in the space and that limits you when it comes to the ability to return giant return.

[00:09:33] Jesse Grossman: Furniture. Do you feel like you’re working on social media? And like, also, I mean, we’ll talk about two legs. You create content, like you have this whole background also, that’s like really, really interesting that we’re gonna get into. But like, I would imagine you’re like a visual person. Are 

[00:09:49] Stephanie Stabulis: you?

[00:09:50] Stephanie Stabulis: Yeah, I think I am. I’m more creative than I give myself credit for. And I’m a strategist, like every like my brain just works very analytically. But there’s this creative side to [00:10:00] me. So I would say my wallet very much suffers from being in influencer marketing. Being like around that type of content all day, like, I just want, like, I want to live in that space.

[00:10:10] Stephanie Stabulis: So I do try to go after that lifestyle sometimes, and I have to like bring myself back down to reality and be like, we don’t need to do this right now. But the one tip, that I did find that I think has worked well is you do one room at a time and you do it all together. And you buy everything to match and it gets super expensive.

[00:10:29] Stephanie Stabulis: Like, it’s not the best way to do things, but at least, you know, if you do everything together, the furniture matches, as the colors match, the artwork matches, like everything kind of matches versus like over the past five or six years when I’ve been doing things, I’ve been trying to like to buy things piecemeal and then things don’t match.

[00:10:47] Stephanie Stabulis: So then you end up getting rid of it and it’s a waste of money. And it’s not like the most. Um, economical way of doing it. So it’s one of those done a lot of money in the short run to save money in the long run kind of deals with interior design. 

[00:10:59] Jesse Grossman: No, I [00:11:00] love that so much. And you’re talking about also like just your wallet suffering because you know, you work in sponsor marketing and around like cool products all the time, or just like scrolling and seeing interesting products.

[00:11:09] Jesse Grossman: Like what’s gotten you if like a recent ad that you’re like, Oh man, I got to get that. Or I got to try 

[00:11:15] Stephanie Stabulis: that. I mean, I’m a sucker for Amazon influencers. I will like, cause Amazon’s so small and it’s like, here’s this 20 thing that will improve your life. And I’m like sold to give it to me, you know?

[00:11:28] Jesse Grossman: So where do you find those Amazon influencers? What platform is 

[00:11:32] Stephanie Stabulis: it? Amazon, like within the thing where they have those pretty mood boards and it’s like Amazon influencer pics. And I’m like, Ooh, and then you link me right to the product. Like, I love this. It’s great. Literally 

[00:11:44] Jesse Grossman: last night, because that’s my doom scrawl.

[00:11:48] Jesse Grossman: Like when I can’t sleep and I’m just like, I’m going to go on Amazon and like look at stuff. Last night, I don’t usually do this, but I was looking, it’s like at the bottom of the tabs, [00:12:00] there’s like the one tab where it’s like all the influencer stuff. And I was like looking through it. I usually find you should also look on like TikTok, YouTube shorts, like just there’s, I mean, you know this obviously, but like there are just so many Amazon influencers and like.

[00:12:16] Jesse Grossman: I’m right there with you. It’s just like an easy purchase. It’s sort of like, eh, thanks. I’ll get that. It’s like not, you don’t have to think too much about it because it’s like not that expensive. 

[00:12:24] Stephanie Stabulis: I know. And it’s like, you know, it gets me the like neutral aesthetic, like pet stuff. Like, wait, your home has a neutral aesthetic, but now you expand it into your pet, and let me show you how to do it.

[00:12:35] Stephanie Stabulis: And I’m like, sign me up. I’m all excited about pet stuff. I had an entire when I unpacked, Aspen has like now an entire cabinet to himself that used to be my bathroom cabinet. And I’m like really designing the pet stuff now within my color scheme. So that’s 

[00:12:51] Jesse Grossman: so good. Are you able to tie any of those passions or like interests into work yet?

[00:12:59] Jesse Grossman: Like, have you [00:13:00] been able to work on any like pet campaigns or like? Amazon-related campaigns, like anything like that so far? 

[00:13:07] Stephanie Stabulis: No, I don’t think from like a brand perspective. No, but I think that what always helped me succeed is the ability to pattern recognize what’s happening within these spaces and how people’s behavior, like even my self behavior, like how it is that we react to it.

[00:13:22] Stephanie Stabulis: Like those little behavioral things I was able to pick up on that’s what’s helped me as a strategist. Like I understand human behavior about influencers. And when I go to design things with brands, it’s capitalizing on what that human behavior is. I have to research Gen Z, because like, you know, it’s been mind-blowing.

[00:13:42] Stephanie Stabulis: That’s not me. But understanding human behavior has been one of the things that succeed. And also it’s just so interesting to me. Like, if there’s one thing I think that gets me up out of bed in the morning that I get interested in. It’s how people relate to each other, how people behave [00:14:00], and how people think.

[00:14:01] Stephanie Stabulis: So I can boil my job and influencer marketing down to the psychology of it all, I get excited by it because. I have to tell myself it’s not manipulation, it’s just, you know, working within people’s behavior, like making their lives better. 

[00:14:16] Jesse Grossman: I mean, I believe it. I don’t think that’s like bullshit.

[00:14:19] Jesse Grossman: Like I can see how it can maybe err in that direction, but like I am the type of person that you are looking to reach, right? Like if I, like I will, I love to be influenced. Like I’m like, show me what I need to buy without me having to spend hours looking for it. And like a thousand percent, I’ll buy it.

[00:14:35] Jesse Grossman: Everyone’s different. Like. But I love that you approach it in that way. Just like the psychology of it all. That’s like really interesting. It’s really interesting. 

[00:14:42] Stephanie Stabulis: Did you ever hear the story about how I got into this whole scheme to begin with? It’s usually something I tell in mentorship sessions, like, um, that when I graduated college, we’re talking about, I was like 22 years old.

[00:14:55] Stephanie Stabulis: I had freshly graduated. Facebook had just become open to brands. That’s how [00:15:00] long ago it was. You have probably been there. Like you were there at the same time. But when everything happened, I started in public relations and I started public relations for a protein powder company that like, I had no idea anything about the health or wellness space at the time.

[00:15:15] Stephanie Stabulis: Like I didn’t even know what protein powder was. I thought it was just something like boys drink to get big muscles. Like I had no idea what any of this stuff was. So for me too. Learn about what this protein powder and wellness community looked like I used Instagram at the time and Facebook at the time to learn all of that because that community Specifically was like one of the founding communities within Instagram so everything in that health and wellness space the gym rats like back in the What was this early 2010s, like the gym rat stuff, like everything that we, everything that was building and bubbling up was what taught me like my industry.

[00:15:54] Stephanie Stabulis: And then that ended up translating into magazines at that time were dying. Blogs were [00:16:00] kind of growing in popularity. And so was the social media community and these social media influencers are these people that have big accounts. So I was tasked with trying to figure out how it is that, we tap into that community.

[00:16:13] Stephanie Stabulis: How do we tap into influencers? That was the first task I had as a public relations thing. And no one older than me knew what was going on. Like they’re still pitching magazines and I’m here, the kid trying to figure out like how do we tap into this burgeoning community online? That’s when I got my start as an influencer.

[00:16:30] Stephanie Stabulis: And it only grew from there because the communities only continue to grow and the social media networks only continue to grow. So I’ve been doing this since the very start and I was influenced by this community, which is kind of what made me believe that this whole influencer marketing thing when it was bubbling up was something to believe 

[00:16:48] Jesse Grossman: in.

[00:16:49] Jesse Grossman: Totally. That’s such a cool story. I never knew that about it. So I love that you shared that and I think it would be cool also to learn more about a little [00:17:00] bit. Further back before your current role, where I’m aware of how I observed how you built this incredible personal brand also, and like a freelancer business before then you decided to go in-house at an agency.

[00:17:17] Jesse Grossman: And so. I’m curious, sitting where you are now, having been with your agency for a while, how have both experiences made you a better marketer? Cause I feel like they’re using different skill sets. 

[00:17:31] Stephanie Stabulis: Yeah. I guess I have a story for this too. Let’s tell a story. Stories kind of guide my life, I guess. But when I was with a smaller agency back really right before the pandemic, I had like this moment where I wanted to quit my job.

[00:17:45] Stephanie Stabulis: It was like back at this advent where people were faking going to Coachella to be cool and influencers kind of got this bad rap as like these people who are faking their whole lives and being commercial. You know, it was a weird time for [00:18:00] influencers, and I felt guilty about being a part of it.

[00:18:03] Stephanie Stabulis: Like, I felt like I was manipulating people, the consumers, through influencers, through additional people, um, just to sell a product that sometimes I believed in, but sometimes I didn’t, because that’s the nature of the game. So I had to go on this, like, deep dive journey to figure out, like, what gets me out of bed in the morning, and, like, What do I want out of this industry?

[00:18:25] Stephanie Stabulis: I thought about going back into medicine. Like I printed out a first aid book. I was like, do I go back and like become a doctor? Cause that was my lifelong dream. Do I go back to something else? I completely move out of social media and an influencer in general and find a different career path before it’s too late.

[00:18:40] Stephanie Stabulis: And I put a lot of thought into it and it boiled down to what gets me out of the bed in the morning is like, I was so frustrated with influencer marketing at the time. But sometimes that frustration is needed in influencers to change things. And as corny as it sounds, like my whole slogan for everything is to be the change you [00:19:00] want to see.

[00:19:00] Stephanie Stabulis: So while I did kind of like originally think that path for me of being a change lied in my brand. And I was able to develop my thoughts, my values, like, and be loud about that. When I had my podcast, when we first met, like when we kind of went through that period of me trying to help educate talent managers, I met people like Johanna and Molly and all of the friends I have in WIM.

[00:19:24] Stephanie Stabulis: That really, I thought that path for me was freelancing. But what I realized was that going into an agency. Gives you way more power to create more change because you’re working with bigger brands who, as long as you can sell them, which isn’t always easy, but as long as you can sell them on your beliefs and your values, you can create even bigger change.

[00:19:44] Stephanie Stabulis: And also other people within that industry. As a freelancer, I tend to be by myself. But with other people, like my counterparts that I have now at these agencies, they share my beliefs and we become even more powerful and we’re able to push for even more change, which is what I like about [00:20:00] being in an agency.

[00:20:01] Stephanie Stabulis: It has its ups and downs it’s stress that comes with that agency tag, but I have to like to keep telling myself, like, we’re here to Create change and be the change we want to see in the industry. And we have the power to do that as a collective group with this agency, with the notoriety of who the agency is and the people around you.

[00:20:20] Stephanie Stabulis: And so I’ve kind of, that’s helped me evolve as a marketer and an influencer have more of that power to be, to make change and to be able to further the ideas and beliefs that I have. And 

[00:20:33] Jesse Grossman: that’s sort of like, that’s helpful for me to just open up my mind to be honest, because I was like, we’re, I was just talking to somebody yesterday who’s going to be on the podcast soon, who is like, just started, she’s like a year into her freelancer journey.

[00:20:47] Jesse Grossman: And we’re talking about like, Oh, there’s so much opportunity and this, and the sky’s the limit and blah, blah, blah. But like, it’s important to have the self-awareness of like what is most important to you. And like some people, it might be that [00:21:00] freedom and the sky’s the limit mentality in terms of how much you can earn, et cetera, et cetera.

[00:21:04] Jesse Grossman: But for you, it sounds like it was like impact and the resources that could help you make the biggest impact. And so like, I love that about you that you’re just so self-aware. How long were you? at the freelance work for like, how long were you at that for? 

[00:21:22] Stephanie Stabulis: I’ve been back and forth between freelance and an agency probably four times.

[00:21:27] Stephanie Stabulis: Like when I started college, I was a contractor, like just trying to get a job. And then they hired me. And then when I quit there, I Was a freelancer and then I went back to agency again, like I’ve always flipped-flopped in between and that’s always been empowering to be able to believe in yourself enough as a person and know that your drive is there so that if you ever do lose your job, you’re not.

[00:21:52] Stephanie Stabulis: You’re, you, you can make it for yourself. And that’s what freelancing has always given to me. It’s been giving me that power to know that like, I can be proactive. I can [00:22:00] control this and I’m going to be okay if I get let go of this big agency. But the big agencies always, again, call me back in for the impact too.

[00:22:08] Stephanie Stabulis: But I always tell people too, there are different phases of your life where things make more sense than others. And freelancing was great when I was single and I was younger and I had the stamina to do it. And then. When I had to start thinking about relationships and family and things like that and benefits and you look at your partner and what they do and what their work situation is and what’s best for you as a unit, some of that changes too.

[00:22:32] Stephanie Stabulis: And I think when I did join the agency, I was also at that part of my life where it was the impact, but it was also where I was at in my life where I wanted the stability. I wanted to be able to not relax in an agency because that’s like an oxymoron, but I wanted to be able to always rely on having that job and that salary there because that was important to where my future was going at the time.

[00:22:55] Jesse Grossman: And everything is like. Things aren’t permanent in terms of [00:23:00] work. Right. So like, I love that you bring that up and also like different phases of life. And so like, maybe for this phase of life, this is the best scenario for you. And so this is what you’re doing, but like to know that you can. Go back to freelancing and then it can fill you up and sustain you and all of those things.

[00:23:20] Jesse Grossman: Like that’s gotta feel empowering because that eliminates the fear that a lot of other people have, which is like, Oh my gosh, like this, a crazy economy that we’re in. People are getting let go left and right. Like, could I hack it as if I had to go out on my own? And I can imagine That doesn’t worry you or scare you because you’ve 

[00:23:40] Stephanie Stabulis: done it.

[00:23:41] Stephanie Stabulis: No, that’s one of the good things about being in an agency to even like with things I don’t believe in. My philosophy is I’m not afraid to speak up if this doesn’t work for me because the worst thing that happens is I lose my job and that’s. fine with me because if like, I want, I know I can fall back on freelancing or I know I can find another [00:24:00] agency.

[00:24:00] Stephanie Stabulis: Like, I think it’s skyrocketed my self-value and my self-worth to really like be able to know that I have these places like that. I’m good enough to work in an agency, but I’m also proactive enough to work for myself. And it gives you a lot of power, and not have to put up with things that you don’t believe in.

[00:24:16] Stephanie Stabulis: So like, if I do run into a situation where the ad agency life is ruining. In my personal life where I don’t have the balance that I want. I always have the philosophy of saying, well, the worst thing that I can do is get fired. So I may as well speak up and say something. And I found in some agencies, they don’t like when you speak up and that’s just maybe not the right agency for me.

[00:24:36] Stephanie Stabulis: And in other agencies, I find they adapt and they like to hear that and that things are changing even in agency life as we’re in a post-pandemic world now. People have a lot more respect for your mental health and your burnout. Like, I think they start to value your contributions more as an employee, and they look out a little bit more for what it is you need to thrive and give them the best work.

[00:24:58] Stephanie Stabulis: Because they’re starting to realize, like, if we [00:25:00] burn people out and constantly go through the churn that agencies are used to, it’s not great for us. So, good agencies will listen and good agencies will work with you on, by, um, building a good culture. And I think I’ve been. And I’ve been fortunate to have been part of agencies who, like, who will work with me on that, and so I’ve been able to have what it is that I’m looking for and be able to find that balance of, like, what it is that I need.

[00:25:23] Stephanie Stabulis: And that’s huge. 

[00:25:25] Jesse Grossman: And, like, not all agencies are created equal. It’s definitely about interviewing them just as much as they’re interviewing you, probably asking people who’ve been there, like what their experience is like, cause I don’t know, everyone always says the right things during an interview, like the perfect answers during an interview, like on all sides, of course, but like, it’s good to do some research.

[00:25:46] Jesse Grossman: on that. I just heard of someone who I feel like every day I’m hearing of somebody who’s let go like it’s a really heavy time. So but I just heard of somebody like yesterday, the day before who was let go because they’re requiring all their people to go back [00:26:00] into the office talking about like culture and like work life.

[00:26:03] Jesse Grossman: Balance. Like that is an interesting choice. And I’m curious, like, what is your philosophy on work-life balance? And also just like what’s realistic and possible and agency. And again, like they’re not all created equal, of course, but I hear these things, how, you know, agencies can feel a little manic and agencies can, you know, you have so many clients.

[00:26:26] Jesse Grossman: So like what’s possible, what’s realistic, and also like, what’s your philosophy on 

[00:26:30] Stephanie Stabulis: it? So when the first like six to seven years of my career, it’s so funny, I think you had this conversation with Amanda Edelman, where she’s like, I climbed the ladder. I climbed the ladder. I climbed the ladder. And that was the first six, seven years of my life to was like, I climbed that ladder.

[00:26:46] Stephanie Stabulis: I was chasing the money to be able to move out and have that independence that I wanted. And that came with sacrifice. Obviously, yeah. Um, and so my philosophy is like, I don’t want to sacrifice other things around my life, like [00:27:00] relationships and friendships for my social life. My health is also a big kind of piece of that.

[00:27:05] Stephanie Stabulis: I don’t want to have to sacrifice any of that for my career. Like, I kind of figured out where my career lands for me. It’s really important, but it also isn’t the only thing. So I value work-life balance, and I don’t want to. I’m not, you know, saying I don’t work long hours. I’m not willing to work long hours.

[00:27:22] Stephanie Stabulis: I’m not willing to work the flexibility, but my philosophy has always been, that there’s a difference between someone being consistently understaffed and not staffed correctly on work and the, the balance equation like it has to be a balance. So if I see myself working 50, 60 hour weeks consistently to me for three months at a time.

[00:27:42] Stephanie Stabulis: That’s a flag. Versus if I could see the light in the tunnel and be like, it’s just for this pitch that we’re trying to get through. There’s just this period that’s going to get heavy because we’re leading into the holidays and everything is due. When there’s light at the end of the tunnel, that’s understandable.

[00:27:56] Stephanie Stabulis: When there’s a deadline and there’s another side, that’s understandable. So I [00:28:00] kind of like really figured out my boundaries. And then also going back to the conversation we had about self-worth, like Knowing that I’m valuable and knowing that if I can show up for only eight hours today, like I’ll bring my best self.

[00:28:12] Stephanie Stabulis: And I think the company should also care about those things that put me at my best self because ultimately that’s how you’re going to get the best out of me. And if I come in burnt out or I don’t come in with the right energy like you’re not getting the best out of me. You’re not getting the best out of anyone if you do that.

[00:28:28] Stephanie Stabulis: So I do care about like looking at my energy and having this. philosophy that like, I have that self-worth to go in and say, this is what I need for me to thrive and create good work for you. And I find most people are very receptive to that conversation of like, this is what I need for me to thrive and do good work for you.

[00:28:46] Stephanie Stabulis: And like, 

[00:28:46] Jesse Grossman: you know, I’ll be super personal. I’ve kind of shared it a little bit, I guess, on the podcast. Like I had like a hell of a 2023 and I don’t think I was alone. Like a lot of people had really. tough 23s. And I don’t know what was in the [00:29:00] air, but like a lot of, there was just a lot of heaviness. And I feel like all of us were sort of scrambling to just like take care of ourselves and to do what we had to do to like heal, to survive in some instances, like just crazy stuff.

[00:29:14] Jesse Grossman: So I’m like, and I don’t know, I find that like, while I would say like, Oh, My self-care routine is XYZ. I feel like when shit hits the fan, really pressure tests that. It’s like, is that what I say? What helps me? Or does that help me? And I found that I was sort of scrounging to just find things to truly.

[00:29:36] Jesse Grossman: Help my, like, get through some, some heavy stuff. So I’m curious, just like your wellness routine and like when stuff has been challenging for you, like what has helped you get through those moments? 

[00:29:48] Stephanie Stabulis: Yeah. Well, we don’t have to have an elephant in the room about how challenging 2023 was for me. It was challenging.

[00:29:55] Stephanie Stabulis: And I’m, I’m comfortable right now talking about the fact that I lost my partner this year [00:30:00] of 10 years. And when I go back to saying, there are good companies, there are bad companies and the people around you matter the past six months of my life, the relationships I had established in the company that I was in were more than absolutely accommodating to everything it is that I needed to get me past that.

[00:30:17] Stephanie Stabulis: And. I always look at this as a cyclical relationship, like the fact that they gave that to me when I needed that most was, it was the reason I can give back to them when they need it from me the most. So having a good culture and having the right relationships is paramount, I think, to be able to get through those tough times.

[00:30:34] Stephanie Stabulis: I had bosses who’d take me aside and be like Stephanie, you need to ask for help. You cannot do this all because she saw me burning out, like trying to do all this stuff I was so used to doing that I just, for whatever reason, couldn’t. They’ve been great about allowing me to do my therapy sessions when I’ve needed to take therapy with the bereavement that I’ve needed to have.

[00:30:53] Stephanie Stabulis: Like they were always great about really understanding. I’m not myself right now. I’m not going to get there. [00:31:00] And having that kind of support around you made a. Huge differences and understanding how to get through those hard times. But I always like to say that there’s, there are certain things I do to take care of myself.

[00:31:09] Stephanie Stabulis: Like. I do again, watch my energy, and use that with my workflow. Like I’m someone who gets in flow and I can do a 10-hour day, but then I may burn out and do a seven-hour day the next day. But like, I know that about myself. So instead of trying to fit myself into a box of eight hours, I work within my energy levels.

[00:31:29] Stephanie Stabulis: Um, and that means sometimes I like front stack my week where like, I’ll like work my hardest Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, because I know by Thursday and Friday, I’m kind of like burning out and looking forward to the weekend. Um, I stay hyper-organized. I pay for my project management so that I know what I have to do when I have to do it.

[00:31:47] Stephanie Stabulis: But what’s nice about that is it also empowers me to be able to say no when I need to say no. Both the personal things, knowing that I’ve got a big work thing coming up, or a professional thing, knowing that I have a personal thing coming up. Being able [00:32:00] to, like, track your work, what it is that you’re doing, empowers you to be able to say no and set the right boundaries, both with work and personal life, so you can get.

[00:32:07] Stephanie Stabulis: doing the important things you need to get done. I also spend on convenience, which has been, it’s something I’ve been grappling with from like a money perspective, but something I’m sitting nicely with right now is like, I’m not ashamed to say that I will spend money on convenience. I paid for healthy meal delivery because I found myself working in an ad agency.

[00:32:26] Stephanie Stabulis: There’d be times when I just couldn’t get around to cooking. And I was snacking like incessantly from the fridge because I just didn’t have time to cook or I’d be eating Grubhub, which is like. You’ve seen me expensive that don’t you don’t want to do that often. So investing in healthy meal delivery gave me a sense of calmness that I like, or having a healthy meal in the freezer.

[00:32:44] Stephanie Stabulis: I can just like to take and do when I need to. I bought a Peloton, which was a really big thing for me. And I grappled with it for a long time. It’s not a cheap purchase, but the ability to hop on a bike, if you have half an hour free during the day or not have to change and go [00:33:00] to the gym or care what I look like to go to a gym or take the drive to a gym or even In an apartment complex, take a walk to the gym has been huge and game-changing for me.

[00:33:09] Stephanie Stabulis: So, like, little weird things like that, like, have helped me understand that if I spend on convenience, it helps me to thrive in the, you know, in an agency setting where I have to kind of create that better work-life balance. No, I love that 

[00:33:25] Jesse Grossman: those are all good, like just having good relationships with people around you and like building a circle of people, like investing in yourself and all those different ways.

[00:33:34] Jesse Grossman: Those are not little things. Those are huge things. 

[00:33:37] Stephanie Stabulis: No, little things are like pre-cut vegetables. Like I was like, pre-cut vegetables are a game changer and people realize what a game changer pre-cut vegetables are. I used some last night. 

[00:33:48] Jesse Grossman: It’s like, sometimes it’s, it’s like some of those things were like, You save a few, you get a few minutes back, those minutes add up and just like them, if it’s something that just [00:34:00] frustrates the crap out of you anyway like it’s, then it’s more than just those few minutes.

[00:34:05] Jesse Grossman: Like, I don’t know if I’ve said it on the podcast before, whatever, but like we hired the most, we have the most incredible housekeeper and like, sure. She’s like a set amount a month, like an extra expense, but like my. Beyonce and I, like to love and appreciate and feel calm in a clean, tidy environment, but we hate doing the chores.

[00:34:32] Jesse Grossman: We just hate it. And so to be able to just have that extra expense, like it is so worth it to just have that taken care of. I know someone who like has, uh, I mean, I guess like a, like a sitter come into her home, you know, and just be, she’s like a single mom. And so she has a sitter who comes in and like, it’s not just while she’s not available to watch the [00:35:00] kids.

[00:35:00] Jesse Grossman: It’s like with her to just help her with the kids, you know, and sometimes it’s like, you know, I don’t know. There’s like judgment. There’s so much judgment around some things like this that are just like taking care of ourselves. I’m like fricking, if that works for you, like. Do it. Who cares what other people think, you know, it’s like, oh, what?

[00:35:19] Jesse Grossman: It’s especially 

[00:35:19] Stephanie Stabulis: for women like that, doesn’t it? Like it’s, you know, you have, what do you mean you have a housekeeper? What do you mean you have a nanny? Like when you could like work from home. Why do you need that? Like, I went through a lot of that in, in my relationship where like you, you don’t watch how hard it is on someone to like balance a thriving career and a child or.

[00:35:39] Stephanie Stabulis: Even a dog like my dog is really hard for me to balance to and I can’t imagine what a kid is like But I’ve seen like, you know, my partner grew through that with a kid and when you see it firsthand, you’re like shocking like You know, this person needs help. Why are people so embarrassed to ask for help?

[00:35:55] Stephanie Stabulis: If I’m, like, you know, not doing well with a dog, like, I can’t imagine how people are doing with a [00:36:00] kid. And, like, you know, 

[00:36:01] Jesse Grossman: not all dogs are created equal. I don’t judge it at all. Like, I’ve fought, like, I’ve, you know, used to foster so much. And, like, You know, even the dog that I, that I have full time, like we were talking about this earlier like she had major separation anxiety for two fricking years.

[00:36:15] Jesse Grossman: Like they’re just, you know, it’s a beautiful thing when you rescue a dog. Unfortunately, a lot of those dogs come with a lot of issues and it’s not just an easy thing. So also to like to give you credit, cause I, like, I understand that world a little bit. Like having a dog isn’t always so easy. You gotta like coordinate a lot of things anyways, like who the fuck.

[00:36:37] Jesse Grossman: Cares. Like if people judge you, like, Oh my God, they’re not the people that you want in your life anyway, you know what I mean? So I just feel like a lot of people avoid doing certain things that are helpful because there’s this fear of like, what would people think if they knew, fuck those people, like literally fuck those people.

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[00:38:15] Jesse Grossman: favorite. So head to our website. It’s iamwim. com slash caveat for a completely free trial. That’s I A M W I I M. com slash K A V E A T. I hope you guys love it as much as I do. So the newest Today’s sponsor of the WHIM Podcast is Zealot. So Zealot is still in beta and you guys know that I love seeing great new tools come to life and you can tell I’ll be a part of this one.

[00:38:45] Jesse Grossman: So Zealot helps turn brand ambassadors into a scalable channel for customer acquisition. What they do differently is they gamify ambassadors, which I think is super smart. They give points [00:39:00] instead, which equates to dollars, and they frame the ambassadorship in a really fun way. The platform makes it simple and easy to send what they call missions to ambassadors.

[00:39:12] Jesse Grossman: And they also make it simple to acquire new ambassadors as well. So with Zealot, you’ll get thousands of ambassadors driving sales and or UGC at scale, all in one place. And they’re also running an exclusive offer just for the Wim community. All you have to do is head over to their website, and joinzealot.

[00:39:33] Jesse Grossman: com and mention Wim. That’s join zealot. com and mention Wim. I think you guys are going to love this one. Okay, so I want to talk a little bit more. about just like the work that you’re doing at your agency. Presently, there are a lot of different types of people who listen to the show and watch it on YouTube, right?

[00:39:53] Jesse Grossman: Like some people are creators. I was just talking to a creator who I used to manage. She’s like, Oh, I was listening to the podcast yesterday. And I was like, that’s [00:40:00] interesting. Good to know. And then, you know, of course, they have like all these members of WIM who work on the. You know, on the industry side, the other side of things who are listening.

[00:40:08] Jesse Grossman: And so everyone’s got different perspectives and want to hear from you from your perspective. So I’m curious, like, well, on the campaigns that you’re working on or have been working on in recent months, how do you challenge? Influencers that are on those campaigns, and how do you challenge the campaigns and maybe like the brands that are part of them that you’re currently working 

[00:40:31] Stephanie Stabulis: on?

[00:40:32] Stephanie Stabulis: This is such a good question. So it’s like, literally my job as the strategist to do is to figure this out. And it’s also why I have such good relationships with some of the talent managers and when that I do, because I don’t think people realize that, like, yes, you have issues on the talent side.

[00:40:48] Stephanie Stabulis: Everybody’s usually. Really like vocal about the issues that talent has, but nobody, like, I feel like as agencies or brands, we don’t always talk about our issues and the stuff that we go through as marketers [00:41:00] and the stuff that’s hard for us. Like, as an agency, I feel like I’m always caught in the middle.

[00:41:04] Stephanie Stabulis: Like, you see these headlines that influencers growing and. The data is always about how much it grows, and how much money is in the industry. And it’s really hard to find a plethora of data on effectiveness. And that’s what I’m feeling as a marketer. I’m continually challenged with like in this middle thinking about what’s effective.

[00:41:23] Stephanie Stabulis: What is the cost point at which an influencer is effective and happy and a brand is happy because the talent, you know, on the talent side, you tend to think about their self-worth and what they value and what they need and all of this. And on me. Brand side, we tend to think about KPIs, like what are you getting back?

[00:41:38] Stephanie Stabulis: What’s the ROI on things? And as an agency, you’re always sitting in the middle trying to figure out like. How to communicate to an influencer that for me to continue to push influencer marketing in a direction of high growth, I need you to work with me on this concept of effectiveness. So when I have these conversations with [00:42:00] talent managers, or I have conversations in the middle, or even like I’m strategizing, like, it’s all about, like, how do I make this effective and how do I make it successful?

[00:42:07] Stephanie Stabulis: Fair to talent and also make it, you know, a win, win, win situation for my client. So that’s kind of like where it is that I sit like we’re always in this. We are in this weird situation where we have to prove this works prove this is cost effective prove that this is worth it and prove that I’m seeing a return.

[00:42:24] Stephanie Stabulis: And that’s a very difficult place to be in, but I find is I’m open and transparent about some of those difficulties that I face as a marker, especially with the talent. They work with you. And they also understand, like, if I come to you and this is the price that I need to hit a CPM, I’m doing it because I want Influencer to grow and I want the client to continue to invest money in this because I want it to be effective.

[00:42:47] Stephanie Stabulis: So I feel like within the spaces where I’m like working with Influencers, and I’m working with Talent Managers, and I’m working on campaigns, like, that’s been this Sweet spot of where it is that I’m, what it is that I’m trying to communicate right now and where I’m [00:43:00] trying to be is all I’m figuring out like what’s effective in this industry and how do we grow it with real data that says like, this is working and let’s continue to pour money into it.

[00:43:09] Stephanie Stabulis: And so 

[00:43:09] Jesse Grossman: what’s the response that you get when you are challenged? Some folks are people up to the challenge and wanna rise to it and are excited to go to work. Or are people a little trepiduous about it? 

[00:43:22] Stephanie Stabulis: No, I feel like when you’re transparent with them, they get it. Except that, weirdly, people are not having these conversations.

[00:43:28] Stephanie Stabulis: Like I sat in a panel, I think it was a few months ago with a talent agency. And I explained to them what to put in their bios. Cause what our tech is picking up now and like all these things. And they’re so interested, just that nobody’s. Telling them this. And I struggled with that too. Like, if you even go back to the question we had about my freelancer, this is a freelancer.

[00:43:45] Stephanie Stabulis: I felt like I had a lot more time to educate and be part of these sessions. As an agency, I feel strapped for time to be able to communicate and do a lot of these education sessions and be able to tell people how it is that talent can evolve and work with us. But [00:44:00] that’s important to me because I find that when I do make the time to do it and I do talk to good people, they understand that they get it and they work with you.

[00:44:07] Stephanie Stabulis: And that’s just. Overall something that’s going to help Our economy with an influencer and creator continues to grow and the dollars continue to be invested and instead of the headline saying This much money is being you know spent in and without the why of it with being very anecdotal and very qualitative and not very quantitative like we’ll have backup reasons for it to be like We saw this much because we’ve been able to hit Um, CPM is a really good example.

[00:44:33] Stephanie Stabulis: But right now, if I pay a creator to create an asset and I fight it on a Facebook ad, I’m getting competitive CPM with someone who pays a production agency to create an asset. And I’m putting that same in. So like being able to look at the cost that way, very apples versus apples, and show that influencers are just as effective.

[00:44:50] Stephanie Stabulis: Like those are the like nuggets that I want to be able to collect the, I can go back and be like, this is this—a no-brainer then for the brand to continue to invest money in it. 

[00:44:59] Jesse Grossman: [00:45:00] Have you ever, this is such a random question, have you ever taken a DISC profile? Are you aware of what DISC is? 

[00:45:05] Stephanie Stabulis: Yes, I am a, I think I’m ID, I want to say.

[00:45:09] Jesse Grossman: An ID, I could see the D for sure. I was curious if you were like a C, which is like the analytical one. No, you’re like a really like, you’re extroverted, you like, 

[00:45:22] Stephanie Stabulis: I’m like 50 percent extroverted and 50 percent introverted. Like, I have a limit. I have a battery. That’s the best way to a battery and when that battery drains, like, that’s it.

[00:45:31] Stephanie Stabulis: But I have a battery for the D in me, but I’m also very much an empathetic leader. And I’m a Pisces. I have that, like, Very like, I’ll say in pride or commercial kind of piece to me. So I have that people aspect to me and I also have that analytical, like, directed move things forward. So it’s weird.

[00:45:50] Stephanie Stabulis: It’s a little balanced. No, that’s like the 

[00:45:52] Jesse Grossman: bad, I don’t know, those are the most interesting types of people, honestly, to me. So I think that’s so cool. I’m glad that you know, like, you’re familiar with it. It’s cool that you’ve [00:46:00] taken that. I’m curious, did you take it, like, while you were at a company? 

[00:46:03] Stephanie Stabulis: Yeah, my last agency made me take it because they wanted to see, like, Who we should match me with, um, or like who we shouldn’t match me with.

[00:46:12] Stephanie Stabulis: And it’s also good when you know what other people’s disc profiles are just because you could start to see why you get along with people. Like my counterpart in the UK, he’s an ID too. And like, it’s so crazy how well we get along and how like. nice it is. Then like we both report to a D and we’re like the only ones who can like, sometimes the only people who can understand that D in her because we’re both I and D, but also we understand the other side of the people y piece of it.

[00:46:37] Stephanie Stabulis: So it’s, it was so interesting to learn like where you fit into the spectrum of like that ID and like it, it also increases your value too to be able to like to know who you are and how you work with 

[00:46:48] Jesse Grossman: other people. I’m fascinated by it, I was just recently talking about it again, like like a few years ago when I liked learning about it.

[00:46:55] Jesse Grossman: I’m a D trending C. Yeah. And like, [00:47:00] but I, like you, it’s just, it’s fascinating to learn, of course, like about yourself, but then if you take it a step further to like to learn about what other people are and how you interact with people. I was talking to someone the other day about it when we were talking about it recently, and they were like, you know, get two Ds in a room and like, it’s Like, you know, two bulls coming at each other, but they love it.

[00:47:20] Jesse Grossman: That’s like the rhyme in that environment. Anyways, if you guys are listening and don’t know what we’re talking about, it’s look it up, Google it. It’s like what personality tests basically, but it is very like. specifically sort of tailored for work environments. And like, it’s cool. It’s really interesting to learn about and to figure out what you are and then how you interact with other people.

[00:47:42] Jesse Grossman: So yeah, I love, 

[00:47:43] Stephanie Stabulis: I love desk. I love astrology. I think astrology is as nerdy as it sounds astrology is always a great thing like learning yourself and learning the things that make you tick the gene keys. Also, it’s another weird book that I read, but like I’m. It’s kind of on the down low, but it’s kind of like [00:48:00] a mix of astrology and science in some weird way, but it like shows you personality types on a spectrum.

[00:48:07] Stephanie Stabulis: And what I like about that is like every personality type, there’s another side of the spectrum and saying like the whole goal of people is to find balance. You shouldn’t be too much at the extreme of this side of the spectrum. You should kind of be somewhere in the middle and part of life’s purpose is understanding how to.

[00:48:23] Stephanie Stabulis: Take these personality traits and not be so extreme or find the right balance. And I think the gene keys are great, too, because they show you that some of your personality traits are gifts in themselves. Like, there’s a gift in every personality trait if you know how to use that gift and if you know how to deal with that when that becomes a hindrance to yourself.

[00:48:42] Stephanie Stabulis: So gene keys has always been, like, really interesting if you want to learn about, like, how you are. And then, like, how to tailor that personality into its gift and its, like, hindrance and understand, like, how to play in between there. 

[00:48:55] Jesse Grossman: I’m, like, gonna add that to my list of things to buy. It’s such a thick 

[00:48:59] Stephanie Stabulis: book.

[00:48:59] Stephanie Stabulis: It’s, like, [00:49:00] this big. Like, it’s thick. But, like, you don’t have to take it as you need it. It’s good to, like, know what Like it’s astrology. You take a quiz and as they tell you like based on your birth date, this is your path. And I think it is kind of interesting to learn about what the astrology says.

[00:49:15] Stephanie Stabulis: But even if you read the chapters as chapters and learn about the different personality types and then their gift, their gift form, like it’s so interesting. No, I love astrology. 

[00:49:24] Jesse Grossman: Literally. So my, for my birthday, it’s in the other room, but I just got a whole book and like, of course, I know what my sign is, but like, I wanted to learn what like my rising sign and my view of this and my that.

[00:49:33] Jesse Grossman: And it was like, Based on like, not just when I was born, but like where I was born in the year and like all the stuff. And I was just like, fascinated, like reading through it. It’s fun. I don’t think they’re all created equal though. I was a little skeptical of this one in particular. Like it was telling me, you know like you love being around people until you don’t, you know like it was just like a little bit of everything.

[00:49:55] Jesse Grossman: And 

[00:49:55] Stephanie Stabulis: that’s me. 

[00:49:56] Jesse Grossman: So maybe it is. I don’t know. [00:50:00] Maybe I should think more about it. Right. Maybe I should think more to 

[00:50:02] Stephanie Stabulis: her. You kind of like going in and out of it from time to time. Like you’re a little bit more of your, of the traits at different times. It’s so interesting. Astro cartography, and now we’re getting off on a really big tangent, but hopefully it’s a fun tangent.

[00:50:15] Stephanie Stabulis: Astro cartography is also really interesting. So astro cartography is based on your birth chart and your birthplace and everything, and your science, like where it is that you should. Visit or be or whatever and so I never heard of it and I had heard of it when I was in LA and I did my astro cartography and it shows like there’s an intersection of like there’s something that should happen in my life in Los Angeles and I’ve always just been mind blown because I’ve always felt that like when I first went to LA before I even decided to go there.

[00:50:44] Stephanie Stabulis: I always felt pulled to it in some weird way, but then to see it like on a piece of paper, that like, this is a thing for, for you, like, to me, it was just mind-blowing. Like, I can’t explain it, but sometimes it makes me, like, when I see something that aligns with something that I [00:51:00] feel and can’t explain, I always like, nerd out on it.

[00:51:03] Jesse Grossman: No, I love, we’re the same. We’re very similar in that way. Like I was talking, we’re like planning this like New York event that I was telling you about. It’s like, what should we do? We’re just doing like, it’s just fun stuff. It’s like with influencer marketers, but they’re just fun. And we’re like brainstorming all these ideas.

[00:51:17] Jesse Grossman: And I was like, wait, guys, does anyone want to go to a psychic? Oh, 

[00:51:20] Stephanie Stabulis: 100%. Sign me up. You have to find a good one. I did one at like a winter festival and like, she was so bad and I was like, sitting there being like, I don’t know, can she read on my face how bad I think this reading is? Like, it’s so general, like, versus like, when you have a real psychic reading, like, how spot on that could be.

[00:51:41] Stephanie Stabulis: I was looking at this girl and I was like, this is so bad. Can I have my money back? 

[00:51:46] Jesse Grossman: There are, they’re not all created equal for sure, but when you find someone, it can be so fun. I love that. Like, yeah, my family, we went on a family trip into the Poconos like a few months ago or whatever.

[00:51:59] Jesse Grossman: And I was like, you [00:52:00] guys. What if one night at the Airbnb we hired a psychic to come to the house and do everybody’s readings they were game and it was so fun. So yeah, we’re gonna try to do that for one of our New York meetups. You gotta be there. It’s going to 

[00:52:14] Stephanie Stabulis: be good. I love that. It’s like the episode of Jersey Shore they did that.

[00:52:18] Stephanie Stabulis: Obviously, I’m from Jersey. I watch Jersey Shore and they did that on an episode of Jersey Shore. I was mind-blown. 

[00:52:23] Jesse Grossman: Isn’t the Jersey Shore still on? 

[00:52:27] Stephanie Stabulis: Yeah, yeah, I’m upset because that was one of the things I binge-watched this year. It was like my comfort show for me with everything that I went through.

[00:52:34] Stephanie Stabulis: And, but I had never seen any of the family vacation episodes like after they did the jersey tour. So I caught up on all of them because I’m a big Sammy Sweetheart fan. And like, when she came back and they’re like, she’s going to meet up with Ronnie. I was like, well, I didn’t catch up on this now because I need to see this.

[00:52:49] Stephanie Stabulis: Reunion happened and then the who didn’t have like the newest season and paramount didn’t have the newest season of jersey tour the whole season So here it was like I was playing catch up and then when I got to the end I couldn’t even [00:53:00] watch the new season. So I’m desperately waiting. I don’t know if it’s out I haven’t checked in a while.

[00:53:04] Stephanie Stabulis: I’m like desperately waiting for paramount to have like The new seasons where Sammy comes back. 

[00:53:09] Jesse Grossman: Love Sammy. Sammy’s great. Are they all, like, I haven’t, I don’t know how I must have seen like an ad for it or something. Is it like all the original cast? Or it’s like new people too? 

[00:53:18] Stephanie Stabulis: Most of them. They just all have partners now.

[00:53:20] Stephanie Stabulis: I’m pretty sure it’s everyone in the original cast. Including Anna and Alina, who came back and had their crazy storyline. So I’m pretty sure at this point everyone in the original cast has come back, so. These are some of the most 

[00:53:32] Jesse Grossman: original influencers. Like, if you think about it, I don’t know, it’s so interesting to see how, I mean, they, like.

[00:53:39] Jesse Grossman: All of them have had all sorts of different paths that they’ve gone down to make money and like opportunities and stuff. It’s incredible to think that the Jersey Shore is still creating shows and people love it. You know, people watch it. No piece of me wants to 

[00:53:57] Stephanie Stabulis: analyze it like that and this.

[00:53:59] Stephanie Stabulis: There’s the piece of [00:54:00] me that is like How did you get so famous getting drunk on TV and embarrassing yourself? Like 

[00:54:05] Jesse Grossman: that’s a genre of television, right? There are so many other shows that like, that’s their shtick. Like, think of what is it called. That used to also be on Oh, jackass. Like on MTV. Same like, you know, different, slightly different.

[00:54:21] Jesse Grossman: These people like hurting themselves, but like, that’s like a whole genre 

[00:54:24] Stephanie Stabulis: of television. I know it’s wild. I still, like, sometimes I can’t believe it. Cause influencers in Korea have to work so hard to get there. And they’re just like people who get drunk on TV or like make a fool of themselves.

[00:54:35] Stephanie Stabulis: And they’re famous too, so. Opportunities, opportunities, opportunities. 

[00:54:39] Jesse Grossman: That’s true. And so like, speaking of opportunities, we’re going to make a big pivot here. I’m going to try hard to transition this one. So my question is for you. Like, we’ve been inviting a lot of people onto the show, especially lately, who 

[00:54:56] Stephanie Stabulis: Are just like more 

[00:54:57] Jesse Grossman: senior in their career, you know, and I think that like, it’s a, [00:55:00] it’s just a very different place to be that if you’re just starting out and in lots of ways, I feel like when you’re just starting, like the goals are usually a little bit like easier to come to mind.

[00:55:11] Jesse Grossman: Right. It’s like, I’m going to make a hundred thousand dollars is a lot of people’s goals. You know, can’t wait to make six figures or I’m going to get that promotion or I’m going to get that, this, that, like a new client, whatever it is. And so like, but you’re in the industry now for like, you know, 10 plus years or something.

[00:55:24] Jesse Grossman: And it’s like, like, what are your big picture professional goals look like for you being where you are, where you sit now in your career? What does that look like? 

[00:55:34] Stephanie Stabulis: I love how you set that up because I feel like knowing that I am senior and I’ve been in this space for 13 years now, like really does affect my mentality.

[00:55:43] Stephanie Stabulis: Cause like I said, when I. was coming up in the space. It was next promotion, next promotion, you know, make the money, get to a place where I’m comfortable. And now I feel like I’m financially comfortable. I could make more, but like, I’m at the point where I could support myself and have the things [00:56:00] that I want right now.

[00:56:01] Stephanie Stabulis: And so the incentive isn’t money anymore. And weirdly, when you take money off of the table, it’s just about the work that you do. And it becomes less of like, I want this next promotion, or there’s like these You know, really hard goals and more about like, I just want to wake up with a sense of purpose.

[00:56:18] Stephanie Stabulis: I want to like what I’m doing and I want to, you know, continue to get on with other areas of my life. And that’s kind of where I’m at now. We all know I’m going through a lot of personal things too. So I know I have a lot of personal things on the horizon that I’m still going to have to deal with.

[00:56:32] Stephanie Stabulis: So being comfortable in my job right now and feeling like I could do good work that I’m continually valuable. To the agency that I’m with and just keeping that steady job that I have the opportunity to grow in still like those are some of my priorities and those that’s what’s being met. Like, those are my plans.

[00:56:48] Stephanie Stabulis: It’s just like, it sounds like I’m settling, but I’m not because growth is still really important for me. And if I’m not growing, I immediately know and like, okay, this. Something else needs to be next, but there are other [00:57:00] areas in your life that you can grow in, and I feel like if you’re not growing in your career, for example, but you’re growing in another period, like your relationships, or you’re growing in your family relationships, if you’re growing in other places, sometimes you don’t have to go everywhere in every aspect of your life.

[00:57:16] Stephanie Stabulis: Like, it’s too hard to grow everywhere. Like, that’s a lot of energy. you’re expending to constantly be growing. Uh, so sometimes like career does have to take a, not a backseat, but just a stability role, like a stay in the same space, like do good work, meet your basic needs before you start thinking and dreaming about what’s next.

[00:57:34] Stephanie Stabulis: Yeah. 

[00:57:34] Jesse Grossman: I mean, you’re talking about it earlier, right? Like just different phases of life. And I don’t think enough people talk about that. I feel like we, you know, especially in terms of work, it’s like all about like. Chasing the next big thing and like, how sustainable is that for a long period?

[00:57:51] Jesse Grossman: Like, I don’t think it is early about like burnout and stuff and like, and also just like for your mental health. I just think like, I, I just asked the [00:58:00] question. I don’t know the answer, but it’s like, is there a time where. You reach the goal or is there always, is the goal always moving? And if the goal is always moving, like, is that a fulfilling life?

[00:58:14] Jesse Grossman: Cause like the chase can be fun. Don’t get me wrong. Like the chase is fun. And then like succeeding and meeting the goal can be fun. But like, at what point is that not fun anymore? You know? 

[00:58:27] Stephanie Stabulis: Yeah. I mean, I think you’re right. And I think like I said, like. The goalposts don’t always have to be moving in your career for your life to still be moving forward.

[00:58:37] Stephanie Stabulis: And I think what happens is the goalposts end up moving in different areas of your life. The older that you get the more stability that you feel. Um, I always say like. I think I benefited from, you know, I had a mother who was very much in the space of like, she was a working mom. Like, I had two working parents, but my mom was a network systems analyst for AT& T, so she had a very, [00:59:00] like, an important type of job where she was a manager.

[00:59:02] Stephanie Stabulis: She made her way up the rungs kind of like I did. And she always said to me, Stephanie, there’s going to be a point in your life where you’re going to have to decide between taking a promotion and your children or other areas of your life. And that always stuck with me when she said that, because I feel like that’s the one truth that I could feel has stayed since I guess she was in her career in the 80s and 90s when I was growing up.

[00:59:25] Stephanie Stabulis: Like, that’s one of the things that stayed true to here is like, you’re always going to have to decide between taking a promotion and how much that matters. you and like having the flexibility and support of staying where you are so you can focus on other things. And I, I really like kind of did do feel that in my position now where I’m not so much interested in the next level, the next step.

[00:59:46] Stephanie Stabulis: I’m more interested in the next step in other areas of my life and making a fulfilling life around my career and knowing that. I can still wake up each morning and do good work. I can still support my family. I can still, like, chase that can my end. Like, that’s one [01:00:00] of the big things, like, that, that McCann always wants to do is chase the awards.

[01:00:03] Stephanie Stabulis: And I think that would be fun, for me to continue to want to do good work and chase those awards. But, like, waking up every day and being happy with what you’re doing, that matters. And that’s a goal, too. And, like, if you meet that, I don’t necessarily think there needs to be something else other than that.

[01:00:17] Stephanie Stabulis: I think there needs to be a focus on, you know, what’s the right word? Like Being appreciative and being, like, happy with what it is that you have. And that’s something that, like, I work on every morning, just to, like, the gratitude exercise. Like, three things that you’re appreciative of make you understand, that I have a good life.

[01:00:35] Stephanie Stabulis: Like, this is, this can be it for me. I’m happy. And if you can say that, I think that’s the end game. That’s what all humans want. We just want to be happy. And I, 

[01:00:43] Jesse Grossman: but I love that because that’s sort of the perspective that you’re taking is like looking inward, whereas I feel like sometimes the chase is all external.

[01:00:53] Jesse Grossman: So like maybe that’s like the slight shift in gratitude is just like, you know, such a huge [01:01:00] like a game changer. If you can key into that and do that regularly, especially just when I’m feeling all sorts of things I could just ground myself. If I. I’m finding things that I’m grateful for and when I’m able to truly feel the things that I am grateful for, like things, I don’t know, the anxiety all seems to go away.

[01:01:23] Jesse Grossman: Like I am usually in like a really good headspace when I’m able to like truly. believe that I’m grateful and like for these certain things in my life, you know, um, so it’s a really good practice. 

[01:01:34] Stephanie Stabulis: And you can’t control what’s external to you. Like there’s that control issue and it’s a really good time to talk about that because a lot of people are out of work right now.

[01:01:42] Stephanie Stabulis: Like you can’t control what happens to you externally or what happens to you between you and that goalpost. What you can control is like. The internal piece of that and how it is that you relate to that goalpost. 

[01:01:54] Jesse Grossman: A hundred percent, a hundred percent. So I’m curious, like in terms of the industry, [01:02:00] just broadly, like it’s, I mean, you’ve been in it for 13 years now, like you’ve seen it evolve and change tremendously over that period.

[01:02:08] Jesse Grossman: Like if you had your way, what would be the next direction that it would go in? Like, how, how would you like to see our industry? 

[01:02:16] Stephanie Stabulis: Change. I feel like I heard this question coming. I think maybe it’s the elder millennial and me wanting to be nostalgic, but I hear myself saying this a lot. And this being echoed by my colleagues is brilliant basics.

[01:02:27] Stephanie Stabulis: And I like to say, sometimes I feel like we got so far away from the things it is that made this industry boom to begin with. And so a lot of what I end up, like. It’s weird. We think we’re creating these innovative plans, but then when you break them down, I’m like, is this just not returning to things we did 10 years ago?

[01:02:46] Stephanie Stabulis: Because that’s kind of sometimes what it feels like. Like, what rubs me the wrong way is when people call it the creator economy. I hate that. I hate that because it’s like, everyone’s a creator, which I get. I don’t disagree with the fact that everyone’s a creator, but there’s a [01:03:00] difference between influencers.

[01:03:02] Stephanie Stabulis: So when people are not acknowledging Like the fact that there’s a difference between a creator, a creative, their path, what they provide to brands, what they do and influence the actual word of mouth, the marketing piece of that, and there are two sides of like a same point, but they are different, right?

[01:03:17] Stephanie Stabulis: When people don’t acknowledge that, like, that tells me we’re so far away from the brilliant basics. Like, we’re so far away from where it is that we evolved from. If we’re not thinking about things like word of mouth and how that’s changed with influence. If we’re very far away from like. If we’re too far in this creative, creators, we’re all creators, like we’re very far away from the point of creative, you know, so I hear myself saying a lot that there’s this, you know, return to brilliant basics or return to how things used to be, or some of those elements that created this economy, to begin with, that’s happening.

[01:03:52] Stephanie Stabulis: And then when you, and like, what does that mean 

[01:03:54] Jesse Grossman: to you? Like, I would love to dig into more of what that means to you. Like, how does that show up? How does that like really present [01:04:00] itself? 

[01:04:00] Stephanie Stabulis: Yeah, I mean the pricing conversation is hard to fall back on so you don’t want to like make it sound like I’m ungrateful But the pricing conversation is always part of it on the dog It’s saying hello to everyone.

[01:04:11] Stephanie Stabulis: The pricing conversation is always like a part of that, in my opinion, because you want to give influencers their value, but you also want to make it valuable for brands. So it’s a really good way of saying, you know, back when we were in the brilliant basics, back when we were kind of coming up in this industry, right?

[01:04:28] Stephanie Stabulis: Influencers didn’t charge enough. Like I will a hundred percent support influencers that they were taking, being taken advantage of. by brands. But as someone who’s worked on that side, we didn’t know any better. But now that we know about what those numbers are that make us effective and where it is that we want to be, like, returning to the fact that there needs to be mutual value, which is something that this whole industry was built on, like, that’s where it is I want to be.

[01:04:51] Stephanie Stabulis: That number can change. It could mean something different, but this whole concept of there being Value for the creators who are the creators and influencers to work [01:05:00] with a brand and value for the brand to work with influencers like this whole notion of mutual value is something that I always want to return to and it shows up in a lot of.

[01:05:08] Stephanie Stabulis: different ways, different conversations, and different iterations of how it is we bring campaigns to life. 

[01:05:14] Jesse Grossman: I’ve like so enjoyed this conversation, which like I knew I would because I always enjoy chatting with you and like just getting into it all. I like, I think your philosophies on stuff are refreshing and I have a feeling that a lot of our like listeners and members and stuff are going to want to get in touch.

[01:05:29] Jesse Grossman: So Stephanie is also part of the Community. So if you’re a member, you can, of course, just message her on Slack. You’re on our Slack board, right? Yeah. On our Slack. She’s also part of our mentorship program. So if you want like a one-on-one hour with her, that’s like one of the VIP perks of the membership.

[01:05:44] Jesse Grossman: And lots of people have said really lovely things about their time with her and you. So, but we have other people. And we get. We ask for feedback and people send it. And so people have said lovely things. So, there are also people who are not yet in the [01:06:00] community and are just listening and would love to connect with you.

[01:06:02] Jesse Grossman: So what’s the best way for them to do that? Yeah, 

[01:06:05] Stephanie Stabulis: it sounds so corny, but I’m on Instagram more than anything. And I believe my handle is at the rear. Steph Stiboulas, my last name. So if you’re like reading this podcast, you can figure out how to spell the last name, but Instagram is the best place to stay in touch with me.

[01:06:20] Stephanie Stabulis: I find LinkedIn to be overwhelming. Now we don’t have to get in that conversation today. Sometimes my emails are popping. So like you have your best chance of connecting with me, either through the Wim community or through Instagram. Perfect. So do 

[01:06:34] Jesse Grossman: Do not message her on LinkedIn. Don’t go there. And, we will share the links in the show notes, of course, like her Instagram and all that good stuff.

[01:06:44] Jesse Grossman: So thank you so much for being on today. It was a pleasure. Like any parting words for everybody 

[01:06:49] Stephanie Stabulis: listening? No, I’m just excited. And I’m like, so proud of the way that this community, how far this community has come. Jassy, like. Kudos to you from us being in that room right before the [01:07:00] pandemic of you at a single table to the community that you built and it’s like the members make that so kudos to like everyone for what this has become and the ability for this, this community to create impact and create change like.

[01:07:14] Stephanie Stabulis: That’s why I’m excited to get more involved as we go forward because I think this is also an outlet for us to create more change, so let’s do it. 

[01:07:21] Jesse Grossman: So cheers to that. More change, lots of growth, and all the good things. So thank you for coming on today and sharing all your awesome thoughts. Thank you, guys, for listening, and we will see you next time.

[01:07:31] Stephanie Stabulis: Bye. Bye. Bye, guys. If you enjoyed this 

[01:07:35] Jesse Grossman: episode, we’ve got to have you back. Check out our website for more ways to get involved, including all the information you need about joining our collective. You can check out all the information at IamWiim. com. Leave us a review, or a rating, but the most important thing that we ask you to do is to share this podcast.

[01:07:54] Stephanie Stabulis: Thanks for listening. Tune in next week.


Vice President, Influencer, MCCANN

Stephanie Stabulis is the VP, Influencer Marketing US at McCann Content Studios. She is a veteran influencer marketing leader specializing in developing influencer marketing strategies and programs for brands. She’s designed and managed award-winning campaigns for start-ups through Fortune 500 companies including icons such as Southwest Air, ESPN, Budweiser, Nestle, Nickelodeon, McDonalds, TJMaxx and Kellogg’s. Her focus lately has been on creating better efficacy in influencer marketing for brands, while protecting the intimate relationship between influencer-creators and their followers.

Stephanie’s mission is to shape the next generation influencer marketing in a way that merges technologies with human creativity, authenticity, emotion, impact and purpose.

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