I Think I’m A Recovering Agency Girl With Katie Stoller Of Fiat Growth

Today we’re speaking with Katie Stoller of Fiat Growth. Katie Stoller is the Head of Influencer Marketing at Fiat Growth, a growth marketing shop focused on data backed decision making, innovation, iteration and execution. Fiat Growth works with some of the top fintechs from seed stage and beyond. With over a decade of experience at PR agencies, Katie counsels clients on how to effectively reach goals by working with brand-right influencers to tell compelling and engaging stories. During her career, she’s worked with brands big and small across multiple verticals. Some of the large brands she's worked with include household names like IKEA, LG, Whirlpool, J.M. Smucker Co., General Mills, and Wendy's. Katie holds a B.A. from the University of Illinois and a M.A. from DePaul University's award-winning PRAD program. She is a proud member of the Women in Influencer Marketing (WIIM) professional group. Katie is based in Chicago with her husband Danny, kids Liam and Brooke and Japanese Chin Luke.



[00:00:00] Jessy: Hi everyone and welcome to the WIIM Podcast. Women in Influencer Marketing is a first-of-its-kind exclusive networking group made up of inspirational women. This podcast is where we explore influencer marketing and get real about women in business. Find us wherever you download podcasts and of course, you can always find us at iamwiim.com. That’s iamwiim, double I .com 

Hi guys, and welcome to Women in Influencer Marketing, the podcast. My name is Jessy Grossman, and if you happen to be watching on video on Spotify, or YouTube, you can see my co-host today. Oh, he’s making such an appearance. This is Buster the Cat. I’ve had busted since I was a sophomore in college.

He usually lets me record and do my own thing during the day. We were out of town this whole weekend, went to go visit family, so I think he’s a little extra needy and just wants some extra snuggles, right baby, yeah. So he wanted to sit in my lap and I needed to record this. He’s gonna be my co-host. Feel free to chime and Buster. Okay. Okay. That’s the reason to watch on YouTube or Spotify. You could see this cute little face, oh my goodness. 

I think this is probably his first appearance on the podcast. But, oh my God. Do you wanna hear the funniest fun fact? Buster is no stranger to the masses. Buster Grossman, this guy right here, it’s actually been on The Blacklist, the show, the TV show.

I shit you not. Years ago, it’s such a long story, so I’m definitely not getting into it. Maybe some other day. Hi cutie. He was actually a cat featured on an episode of The Blacklist. I like got him on the TV show and it was like crazy and so fun and I was like the proudest cat mommy. So this is not his first rodeo, so beyond Buster being on the show today it’s a really exciting week because we have our influencer marketing job fair this week. 

So if you’re listening to this episode, the day that it comes out, then the job fair is tomorrow. It’s August 17th at 6:00 PM Eastern. I’m so excited for this. It’s like everything that I enjoy, it’s like being able to get our members, hired the ability to connect you guys with each other, all the good things. So that is taking place on Wednesday, August 17th, 6:00 PM I will drop a link to register in the show notes, but you can also just head to our website. It’s iamwiim.com/events and you’ll be able to register there. So beyond that, we have such a great guest for you today. 

This is Katie Stoller. So she is a good friend of mine. She’s been a member of WIIM for quite a long time, pretty much since the very beginning. So I’ve known her at all the different companies that she’s been with since then. Today she’s the head of influencer marketing at Fiat Growth, which is a growth marketing shop focused on data, back decision making, innovation, iteration, and execution.

So yes, we talk about influencer marketing today, but I really enjoyed this episode because of all the times we didn’t talk about influencer marketing today. We spoke a lot about like her kids, she’s a mom of two working in a big city, how to be like the only mom in her friend group that has a job that needs her during odd hours.

We just talked about like her path the struggles that she goes through, and Katie being the awesome woman that she is, which is very candid about all that. So I think you’re really going to enjoy our conversation today. 

So a little bit about her, so she’s had like a decade of experience at PR agencies. She counsels clients on how to effectively reach goals by working with brand right influencers. It’s how compelling and engaging stories. During her career she’s worked with brands big and small across multiple verticals. Again, she’s worked at really huge agencies with huge, awesome, exciting brands clients.

Some of the large brands that she’s worked with include household names like Ikea, LG, Whirlpool. Smucker Company, General Mills and Wendy’s. She holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MA from DePaul University’s award-winning PRAD program. 

She is a proud member of WIIM and she’s also based in Chicago with her husband Danny and her kids, Liam and Brooke.

So enjoy this week’s episode. I do hope to see you at the job fair this week, and also if you’ve been like on the fence about joining Wiim, come to the job fair because not only can you get your next job, but we’re also giving really good promotions out to people who stay till the very end of the job fair.

So check us out again. I’ll link that in the show notes. I hope to see you there and Buster’s, goodbye. Goodbye everyone. Enjoy this week’s episode and this is Katie Stoller.

Miss Katie, I am so stoked to have you on the show again, but the last time you were here, it was like a three person episode and now you are the only guest and I’m excited to talk exclusively with you. So thank you for coming on again and how’s it going today? 

[00:05:57] Katie: I know it’s my solo debut. It’s a big day.

[00:06:01] Jessy: It is and you were just on another podcast, so we were chatting before we started recording, I was like, girl, are you making the rounds? Like I’m so proud of you, like getting on all the podcasts. Are you a podcast listener as well or are you just enjoying like chatting with people and being on their podcast?

[00:06:17] Katie: I am obsessed with podcasts. I have this like whole thing I’ve been talking about lately, and this is off topic, but I can’t do TikTok and like YouTube because I can’t do audio and visual at once. My brain… 

[00:06:31] Jessy: That’s so interesting. 

[00:06:32] Katie: Yeah, it’s I just don’t have time. Like I can’t sit and listen and watch. So that’s why like I miss, the scrolling days of Instagram because it was just visual and I love podcasts because it’s just audio. Also shout out to Clubhouse. Pretty much RIP at this point, but that’s why I loved Clubhouse so much, which is what we talked about a lot on the last episode I was on.

But it was so nice to just pop in my earbuds and just listen to information, in my head without having to like do anything. 

[00:07:02] Jessy: So here’s my question. 

[00:07:04] Katie: Yeah. 

[00:07:04] Jessy: When you’re like, okay, so it’s one or the other. I love that. I really, genuinely appreciate it. I feel like I’m the same way. It’s probably why we both really liked Clubhouse. 

[00:07:12] Katie: Yeah.

[00:07:14] Jessy: So like when you are listening to a podcast or like a clubhouse conversation or something, just strictly audio, you’re just listening, but you’re multitasking first of all, right? You’re multitasking. Do you find that you like tune in and out or are you like genuinely able to multitask?

[00:07:32] Katie: With like work, I don’t do anything because if I’m writing or if I’m like working on like something, like a recap deck or something that takes a little bit more of my brain, I’m not listening to a podcast, but if I’m like straightening my hair in the morning before work or doing like household stuff, or even sometimes when I’m just like upstairs with my kids, if they’re playing and I have my earbuds I love that. I can multitask with like life and audio or life and, scrolling quickly on my phone.

But when it comes to work or doing something more serious, I’m very much the type of person that needs complete silence. So… 

[00:08:08] Jessy: But you can actually multi…, I asked because I can’t really truly do it. Because I’m the same way, like if I’m cooking dinner, I feel like it’s such a nice opportunity to listen to a podcast that I like versus everybody else in the house.

And so I’ll cook dinner and I’ll listen to a podcast and like, I don’t know I can’t fully do it. So you do, you really can, if it’s like a pretty casual secondary activity, right? 

[00:08:39] Katie: Correct. Yes. If it’s secondary, like we do HelloFresh, pretty much I think three times a week. I’m the laziest cook alive, but when I’m doing my HelloFresh, I do have to pause it. If there’s a particularly hard recipe piece, a little bit like longer of a paragraph, I usually have to pause for a second.

But I’m pretty good. I’m training myself to be able to do both things, but if it’s anything above like laundry, cooking, playing with my kids’, level of brain capacity, I’m only a one woman show in terms of one thing at a time at that point.

[00:09:14] Jessy: No, I love it. Just, I’m asking for a friends . Asking for a friends. Yeah. And I love it cause this podcast is certainly not sponsored by HelloFresh. But I love those services. I do. We did factor for a while because, HelloFresh you still have to cook the fricking thing, and if you’re like busier or I’m just not naturally like that much of a cook.

I liked Factor personally because it was like a bit of an emphasis on healthy meals. But also they were pre-cooked. You stick ’em in the microwave and you’re good to go. You really… have you tried any of the other ones besides HelloFresh or you’re like a true HelloFresh girl?

[00:09:57] Katie: We haven’t, and mostly just cause I’m lazy and haven’t tried anything else.

I did Daily Harvest for a while and I didn’t really like the food that much. No offense, Daily Harvest, if anyone’s listening. I like the smoothies, but I didn’t, the food wasn’t very good. But yeah, I like the idea that like I’m forced to cook even though it’s like food that’s like literally premeasured and everything.

I just, the idea that I’m like forced to do it and I know at least a couple meals a week, my kids are getting like somewhat healthy food. And then we can do chicken nuggets and pizza for the other nights. That just makes me feel like somewhat accomplished in that world. Cause I’m the least creative person in the kitchen.

[00:10:35] Jessy: So I like, I really fricking appreciate that. I gotta say being forced to cook. So I’m, it’s similar but different. So I’m really bad at math. My brain just doesn’t really naturally, I have to like really focus, have my brain compute math. So whenever I’m out and I’m like filling out a check and adding a tip, I always add a tip that doesn’t end in an even number.

So that forces me to do the math. And in my mind I’m like, yeah, like this will force my brain to compute math and therefore I’ll be better at it. That literally never happens, but like I can appreciate forcing yourself to do something that like you’re not good at or you don’t enjoy necessarily.

And so like how many meals a week do you get with them? 

[00:11:29] Katie: We did, so there’s four people in my family, but one of them is a baby, but she still eats a lot. So we did two meals of four people and we were throwing away so much food, which is literally the entire purpose of doing a meal kit. So I moved it to three meals a week for two people and then if people don’t eat it, I don’t feel as bad cause we’re not throwing as much food away.

So it, and it took me a while to figure that out, but it’s expensive, like on top of the fact that we also grocery shop. So I don’t even know. I don’t know. I feel like I’m just winging it with parenthood and being an adult every day and it’s worked like enough. But yeah, I feel like there’s probably a better way to go about all this and probably a cheaper way to go about it, but this is just what I’m juggling with right now. So… 

[00:12:18] Jessy: Tell everyone who’s tuning in, who don’t necessarily know you yet, but they’re definitely gonna know you more by the end of this conversation. Tell everyone how many kids you have and how old they are. 

[00:12:31] Katie: Yeah, so I have two kids. Liam is going to be four in November, and Brooke is gonna be two in November.

They’re both born at the end of November. Two years apart. So it’s..

[00:12:43] Jessy: I love that, I love those names. They’re such good names. Where do they come from? Like, where do they come from? Where do the names come from? I know where the babies came from… are they named after anyone in particular?

[00:12:55] Katie: Liam. We just like the name and I think there was like an L connection. I honestly can’t even think about it right now. His middle name is a family name, William James. And then, Brooke was another name that we both disliked and her middle name’s Kelly, which is like a tribute to my, like California roots because my mom’s from California and I lived there for a little bit and I’m obsessed with everything West Coast.

We also just thought it was a cute name, but I wanted names that weren’t nicknames. Like I, I grew up as, I was born Kate, but always was called Katie. And it was so annoying as a little kid having to like, explain that and then people were like, oh, that’s a weird. It’s usually Katherine or Kathleen or whatever.

So I pledged that my kids would never have to like, have those awkward conversations. So I wanted names that, like we named them, were just gonna be their names. I probably thought way more about that than most people do, but… 

[00:13:50] Jessy: No way. Oh my God. That is like the biggest, that is the first big decision of having any kid. This is the name, they’re gonna stick with probably their entire life. So they’re and I’m like a self proclaimed like name like, how do I even describe it? I’m like very judgy about names, which kind of sounds crazy. But I really also simultaneously appreciate a really good name. Liam James, for example, like the first name in the middle name going so well together.

That’s really good. And was it Brooke Callie? Yeah. I love those. Is it… 

[00:14:35] Katie: I’m like, so happy that you like them.

[00:14:38] Jessy: I love them. They’re both really, genuinely, really good names. Is it C A L I for Cali? That’s, oh, two thumbs out. Those are great names. All right, so this is like naturally gonna lead me into asking you a little bit about what it is to be a mom of two and, very much like focused on your career. You’ve been at some incredible companies. We heard a bit about you in the intro to the podcast and you know the companies that you’ve worked for and everything, and they’re really impressive companies and you’re somebody from the outside I’ve always looked and seen, wow, like you’re really doing great things and I’m really impressed with, the companies that you’re at and the work that you’re working on. And I think it’s incredible and I honestly, I think it’s even extra incredible because you also have two young kids.

I only have one and I have her part-time cause I’m her stepmom. And I am also simultaneously like incredibly impressed that you’re able to do it all. Give us like the real deal, like what are the struggles? What are like what would you tell maybe somebody else who’s like strongly considering it having kids, but also like very like in love with their careers as well.

What questions would you ask them? What advice would you give? I wanna get into parenthood a little bit.

[00:16:12] Katie: I love this and I’m like, so glad that you brought this up because I feel like I think about this stuff all the time, but I’m not in my like own personal bubble of like my friends and just people in my life that sort of get it because I’m either in like business woman mode with like you and all the Wiim ladies or my work or I’m in like my life at home mode and, but my body is in both. So like I love that, like you brought this up and I’m like very happy to talk about it.

I think it stems from the fact that like when I was a little girl, like little like kindergarten level, I knew I wanted to be something cool in my job. Like it was just a non-negotiable, the same way people grow up and are like, I wanna be a mom.

And I had both of those, like I knew I wanted to be a mom. That was like obvious, like there was never a question. And I wanted to be a sort of a young-ish mom. I had my kids when I was 33, so I wasn’t that young. I just knew I wanted that and I was gonna get it. That was not another, like non-negotiable, but I was not gonna do it at the like sacrifice of my job and I didn’t like, and I know that like it’s a little bit taboo to say you can have it all.

People are like, you can’t have it all. That doesn’t exist. But, if you work really hard at both, you can. And I feel like I do. I don’t think I’m perfect by any stretch. I think sometimes I’m like a hot mess of a mom and there’s times at my job, I’m like, I wish I had more time to devote to this. But if you really want both, you can have it.

And I think that it just takes a lot of kind of being crafty and time management is key. And I’ve always been really good at managing my time, my entire life. And I just made ’em both work like I. I decided one day when I was six or whatever, that I wanted to be a career woman and I chased it and I didn’t stop until I got it.

And I know that, that sounds a little bit cliche, but it’s true. It was never, it was not like a very easy path for me either. I worked at three of the top PR agencies and was an intern for a really long time for a lot of different places. It was not an easy journey to get to, like where I am now, but I was not gonna stop until I got it.

[00:18:33] Jessy: And so let’s talk a little bit first, cause I, I’m really jazzed that you also wanna talk about this because it I don’t necessarily meet a ton of moms who like, are like, working in our industry specifically, and not, I don’t know, I don’t know a lot of other moms my age to be honest with you. 

Similar maybe to your experience, so I met Zoe when she was three. And she’s about to turn seven. I’m about to turn 30 anyways. I became a mom overnight when I was like 30. What is that, like 33, let’s say. And like anywhere else in the country, I feel like we are like old moms . But it’s interesting, like in the cities that we live in, like bigger cities I don’t know, maybe we’re average or maybe even like young moms in some people’s minds.

But I’m curious, I wanna hear first like the real talk struggles, like when are moments where you really have to work a little extra hard to make it all work and balance everything. What do those moments look like and how do you make it happen? 

[00:19:53] Katie: I think high level, my biggest struggle is just not having a ton of people, like what you’re saying, that get it like, like my very closest friends that are in Wiim that I, talk to my manager friends, are these like successful badass women, that don’t have kids. And I like, I envy their lifestyle in some regard because they can do what they want. They can fly to a panel and speak on a panel. They can, go network on a Wednesday night. Like they can do all the stuff that I can’t do. And I love that they’re like chasing their careers and I, wanna do that, but I just have the boundaries that I can’t do a lot of that stuff.

That’s one of the biggest struggles. And on the flip side, where I live in the suburbs of Chicago, most of my very close friends are teachers. So they get summers off and during the school year they’re off, hopping around after three o’clock. Obviously some of them working past that.

It’s a lot more of a flexible type of lifestyle for the most part. And there’s no one really like me that’s hustling on both ends of the stick. And it’s difficult, there’s a couple people in my life that, that are in similar situations. Some of my agency friends that I still keep in touch with, have kids.

But that’s really the hardest for me is just like finding my like, tribe of people that are similar. And then from a tactical perspective, it’s, I’m good at time management. I have it down to a science at this point. But there are days where everyone’s out with their kids doing things and I have six calls for work and I’m also, doing a podcast or doing something for my own personal development.

Cause I think that’s the other layer to this is that a lot of people just go to their nine to five kind of clock in and clock out and then are with their kids, or they’re stay at home moms and they’re with their kids all day and then they clock out and are doing stuff with their husband or stuff at their home at night.

But for me it’s like I’m doing both of those things, but I’m also very very into like self-promotion for my own brand. It’s always been something, important to me to get out there and talk about this industry that I love so much. I have three full-time jobs if you think about it, which is like insane. I don’t know if I’m smart or insane. For both. 

 But yeah, it’s just like the day to day and am I doing enough on each end of the stick? That’s my everyday struggle is just that, did I spend enough time with the kids before daycare this morning?

Did I spend enough time on this report for work? Like just making sure that I’m giving everyone attention. 

[00:22:32] Jessy: And then giving yourself enough attention. That is what I’ve learned as like a somewhat recent mother. Like the guilt is real and like the, I don’t know the constant wondering if you are doing enough, and doing it how you want it.

Cause like you only get this short amount of time when they’re this age and that age and but the same also for me at least, like extends into the work that I’m doing. It’s like I would never, I don’t know, it’s like a taboo to say that they’re equally as important, but I don’t know sometimes like they are in different ways. I don’t know, it’s I don’t know why that’s even hard to admit.

But I’m curious. I appreciate when you’re saying like, one of the biggest struggles is just like finding people that get it. I almost wanna , my mind is spinning in maybe something that we could do through WIIM to make more moms like connect with each other. But I hear that. 

So then you gotta overcome that somehow, and you’re doing a great job. And you said, you’re like, people say that you can’t do it all, but here I am doing it all. So what would you say is your superpower and how are you able to do it all?

[00:23:52] Katie: I think I’m just really good at time management, but it’s really just like scheduling and structuring and sticking to it.

Like we get the kids out the door by seven 30. It is literally down to a science of like when each child wakes up and obviously the kids change that, but we, my husband and I are very good about like regimented mornings, regimented bedtime. We’re just good at compartmentalizing and when we’re with the kids, we’re really engaged with the kids.

We like to all eat dinner together, obviously. We have a playtime routine upstairs at night, and then when I’m in front of my computer, I’m very good about blocking my calendar. So if I wanna do a podcast like today, it’s a Tuesday in the middle of the workday, I blocked it months ago so that no clients would book time. No one internal in my company would book time. So that I can do something for myself because to me this is like part of my self care is, doing stuff for my own personal brand and getting to talk to people about the industry. And it’s great for my company too.

I work at an amazing startup, Fiat growth. And the founders, Drew and Alex are awesome. And they want us to promote our own endeavors and our own careers. And it’s important. We need to be doing things that fill our cup and make us feel good. And talking with industry people about this industry is something that I enjoy.

So I, it’s important to me and I make sure to schedule those things in advance. That’s the other thing is I think people look at me and they’re like, all this cool stuff just happens and I’m like, do you understand the amount of planning and time that goes into all these random cool things that just, pop up?

Like I take the time to research different podcasts and different articles that I contribute to and panels I’m on. Like I pitch myself like that’s my PR background, but it’s not like it’s just popping up outta nowhere. There’s a lot that goes into it. 

[00:25:52] Jessy: So we actually just got in a question from so our members can tune in live and ask questions. And so it’s like perfect transition to ask you this question. And the question is from Emmy. And Emmy is wondering, are you strict about setting work hours, like nine to five, 10 to seven, like whatever your work hours are. But are you pretty strict about it? Especially since we’re chatting all about kids.

[00:26:20] Katie: Yeah. Hi Emmy. I’m actually not, and this is probably also taboo. Jesse, you and I are just like throwing out the taboo things all day. I’m not at all, I actually don’t like the strict nine to five. I know that’s like the exact opposite of what everyone says, but working in social media, it’s not really practical a lot of the time, and I don’t, I would rather stretch my day and be less stressed throughout the day.

I think the other thing is that my company is based in California. Most of the people in my company are in California, and a lot of my clients are spread out throughout the country. So I have like free mornings. Like I usually am not doing much until 10 when people are signing online, which is 8:00 AM and on Pacific time.

So I like dilly-dallying in the morning. The first thing I’ll do is like my first thing on my to-do list, just to get it done. I’ll review some content, check in with clients. But then I can chill for a little bit and I like the ability to ebb and flow throughout my day.

I think I’m a recovering agency girl, so any agency people out there know exactly what I’m talking about. 

[00:27:31] Jessy: For those of us who don’t like, get into a little bit of that cause I wanna, I think that’s important to know, like also it made you who you are today. So recovering agency girl, what does that mean a little bit?

[00:27:42] Katie: Yeah. So I was in the agency world for 10 years and agency life was crazy. For the most part, it’s very jam packed. There’s definitely like months and weeks here and there where you’re less busy. Clients come and go and stuff, but for the most part, when you’ve got a full roster of clients, that’s probably like three to six, depending on the size and that industry and the agency, you’re pretty much busy every waking second that you are signed into your computer.

So you really do need those like nine to five boundaries. You could work all night and still have work to do at eight am. So you really do need to say I’m signing off at this time. I will address these emails tomorrow. I did that for so long and my life was so structured in that nine to five and having to like, figure out what I’m gonna do today and then anything else is gonna be on the next day.

And I had this continuous, like flow of work at all times. Now I work for a startup. And I’m on a team by myself, I have some freelancers that help and interns here and there. But in the influencer department, which is what I run at Fiat ,I’m really a one woman show and I’m putting programs together on a rolling basis for my clients. Like I’m really a consultant to them over a course of years. So it’s not like these, like projects that come and go and they’re really fast and you gotta get all this stuff done. There’s all these deadlines. It’s really just working together to get content going over time progressively, if that makes sense.

So there’s a lot less of this like intense get it done to-do list, like in your face. It’s a lot more like check in and out throughout the day, and I don’t have any issue checking in on a Saturday with my client when I’m, when they’re not harassing me Monday through Friday like I’m used to do at the agency.

So I’m much more open to take a call at 9:00 AM or 9:00 PM or if a client’s busy and they’re going to work or they’re going on a trip or something and they need me to sign in at 6:00 AM to look at something fine, like I’m much more go with the flow these days just because my whole vibe with my job is a lot more like that and it makes for better work, in my opinion, cause I’m able to be productive during my mental productive hours and check in and out when I need to. 

And this is a whole discussion, but the future of work is changing. My founder, Drew Glover, just did a podcast about this. The future of work is side gigs.

It’s, side hustles and maybe taking five part-time jobs to make a full-time job salary. It’s doing things on social media, it’s, there’s so many different work streams and different ways to make money now, and we’re seeing that happen so fast. The pandemic just totally fast forwarded that.

So I think the way that we work this like nine to five check in clock and clock out structure is slowly dissipating, especially for the Gen Z generation. 

[00:30:41] Jessy: It is and you and I have talked about it, before too, and I’m glad that you’re bringing it up and I love that it’s coupled also with like parenthood and just like loving what you do and you’re talking about personal branding, which is something that I so respect about you, that you’ve always seem to get that and prioritize that for yourself.

But like you said before, just as good for me as it is for my company. And I love that you’re the, is it the CEO or the founder or…

[00:31:16] Katie: Yeah.

[00:31:16] Jessy: Your company now gets that and seems to like even being on podcasts talking about it. So I think that’s fantastic. I wanna know, like pivoting just slightly, so you’re talking about, you know this awesome company that you’re at now, Fiat Growth, and you’ve got lots of different clients. It’s considered a startup, but it seems like you guys are working on really great work.

I wanna know a little bit what you’re seeing in terms of the struggles that your clients are seeing pretty regularly.

[00:31:53] Katie: I’ll give a little bit of background about Fiat growth. We’re around three to five-ish years old. It started with Alex and Drew, my founders, and then it developed into a full-fledged company. Now there’s 25 of us full-time employees, but it’s a growth consultancy. So anything related to growth, like apps, getting more users services like monthly recurring fee services. All in the financial industry. In FinTech, particularly in FinTech, like adjacent types of companies. 

But a lot of the clients we work with are all startups or mostly startups from seed stage through series A, series B funding, and then some bigger companies. But for the most part, that’s like our sweet spot and those startup and tech companies.

And based out of Silicon Valley. So it’s a very different world from the agency world that I come from, where I was working on iconic household brand names like Ikea and Kimberly Clark and things that we use in our house every day. So very different.

But our clients are very much new to influence our marketing for the most part. Some of them have somewhat established social channels and have dabbled, but for the most part, a lot of them are coming to us and they’re like, what should we do in this world? Like we need to touch it. Like this world is exploding, we’re growing. Our whole point of working with Fiat is to grow even more.

What can we do with influencers to help expedite that growth? So my job is to dig in, what’s their footprint on social? Does it even exist? If it doesn’t exist, we need to work on the foundation and get the house in order, as I like to call it, and get their socials in a good spot so that we can go out to the world on social media first. And then we incorporate influencers as we build that. 

Some of them have, like I was saying, more developed social channels and it’s about finding the right people. Who’s gonna speak for us? Who are we going after? We do a lot of like target audience work and research on exactly who they really should be targeting.

Maybe it’s their actual target audience and maybe it’s a different audience that hasn’t then as receptive that we wanna get in front of, this brand or this product. And then once we’ve got the audience, then I go to work and do what I do best, which is put together a strategy. Is it working with a bunch of nano influencers and creating a small ambassador army? Is it working with one celebrity to tell, the brand story? Is it just doing a lot of paid, which we have an amazing paid team at Fiat Growth with tons of paid experts. That put together really in depth and creative paid strategies and then I help produce the content for that.

So there’s lots of different ways we approach influencer marketing and all of our clients have like different challenges, and are in different stages of the game when it comes to social media. 

[00:34:46] Jessy: So cool. And I also love that are now getting this awesome experience of working for, a company that’s been around for a few years. And it sounds like you’re enjoying the hustle of like, all right, you’re gonna come to me and you’re like, new to the space. And those are more challenging clients, but like you feel those win so much more. 

And so when it comes to like their challenges, like it’s just, its growth. I don’t know any business that doesn’t experience a challenge in terms of growth. So I guess like my question is, so they come to you guys, they wanna grow. Of course you’re gonna dig into what area and all that stuff, but like in terms of influencer marketing, I don’t know, there’s a lot of conversation, there’s always how do I grow my Instagram account? Or how do I grow this? Or how do I grow with that? And people of your caliber will probably wanna level set things, and be like, you wanna thoughts and you wanna avoid growth that feels inauthentic and you wanna do it in maybe a measured way or at least a very strategic way.

So if people come to you and they’re like, ooh, yeah, Fiath Growth is awesome and oh, you guys do influencer amazing I wanna grow. I feel like you probably filter a lot of these calls maybe, or somebody at your company does a lot, like how would you level set people who are coming to you and wanna grow in terms of influencer marketing?

Are there certain things that you repeatedly like, tell people keep in mind this, keep in mind that what do you tell people when they come to you and really wanna grow? 

[00:36:29] Katie: Yeah, so I’ll say one thing really quick. The growth part of Fiat Growth for the most part is affiliate marketing and partnerships, like strategic partnerships and then paid and performance marketing.

And then I’m like that other piece of the puzzle that’s influencers. So they’re growing not just with influencers, that’s just one, sliver of the pie. And we have an amazing affiliate team that is super well connected and has all these different partners that they work with to grow user bases.

So that’s one main piece of the pie, and then the performance side, running all the paid and that, produces more automated growth, I would say. But then the influencer growth, which is what we are, our sweet spot, which is always fun to talk about, is very difficult when it comes to growing social channels, as we all know.

We’re at the mercy of the algorithm of the platforms that, people are on and we know from my rant, Jesse, that you and I had earlier about Instagram, that growing on Instagram right now is very challenging and everything is, recommendations based the same way that kind of TikTok led the way with.

So it’s difficult for brands to just say, I wanna increase by 50,000 followers this year. That’s tricky. We can obviously help and guide them but that type of growth, those like guaranteed numbers, are really difficult. What influencers do is bring the brand awareness and I always say, it’s a known thing that a conversion, so like signing up for something, entering your credit card you know, making a purchase, whatever that conversion touch point, that’s different for every brand. It usually takes eight, like visual, audio touch points, of the same message in order for the person to actually do that conversion. 

So influencer is one of those touch points. And if you’re working with the same influencer multiple times or you’re working with lots of influencers, those might count as touchpoints two and three and four or whatever.

But that’s how I think of it is like it’s one piece of the pie that gets you closer and closer towards that sale or that conversion. And it’s important that all brands are activating on it, even if it’s not instant, that instant gratification of today we had 75 new people sign up, like it might be like four new people but if you’re not shipping away at that, at those eight touch points, you’re missing out cause every other brand is like everybody else is activating on social in some way, whether it’s organically on their own channels, through paid through influencers, usually a mix of all three of those.

And if you’re not doing it, you’re not getting those eyeballs. So that’s what we help do. We help figure out ways to increase those touch points in as many different places as we can to get us closer and closer to those conversions.

Cause ultimately, at the end of the day, brand awareness is amazing. That’s the world I come from in PR. But at the end of the day, any founder, any CEO wants sales, like that’s how businesses stay alive and thrive. So that’s like the way that we picture it as we put together our strategy. 

[00:39:40] Jessy: Yeah. No, I love that. I appreciate that a lot and I do, I think that a lot of working with clients, it’s a lot about level setting. It’s a lot about managing expectations and just like being on the same page generally. And I can only imagine, the types of people, like just people come to you, they come to everyone in our organization, they’re like, oh, awesome, you work an influencer. Like great. So like you can work magic and do all these incredible things for me.

And you’re like, I can, but there’s so many factors that will determine, how it’s done, how quickly it’s done and there’s so much to it. So anyways, I just appreciate that and I think it’s good to level set. I wanna talk a little bit more about your career, cause I think that it’s been such a great ride for you.

I’ve seen you again, like at some really incredible companies, including where you’re at now. I wanna to hear from you, tell us a low light and a highlight of your career.

[00:40:36] Katie: I was thinking about this before. I’m not gonna go like super specific, just cause it’s hard for me to remember specific things.

But the lowest part of like when I look back at, my 10 to 15 years of working after college is just being in positions that weren’t a fit and not knowing what to do. It’s like that feeling of feeling stuck where you’re like, I should stay because I’m gaining knowledge and it’s gonna help me get to where I’m going.

And I’m the type of person that does stick things out, which I think is like a blessing and a curse. But the lowest times that I can remember are like being like my first PR agency. I was working when I was still an intern in the corporate like department. And I’m just not a corporate type of person.

Like you can see and probably hear from my voice, like that’s just not my vibe. I’m a lot more casual and D2C just makes more sense to me. I like talking to the masses and I feel like I like being part of something bigger and the B2B more corporate environment just was not a fit for me.

And if I would’ve left when I was uncomfortable, I probably would’ve never continued moving through the agency world like the way that I did. So I’m so glad that I did stick it out, but it’s not know, it’s that knowing and that decision of should I keep doing something that maybe isn’t a perfect fit knowing that it might benefit my future or should I like, pivot and try something new that might, tick off a whole new exploring world, that might be a better fit. 

So I think that’s the challenge for young people in the workplace, in the corporate world, is knowing when to jump and knowing when to stick it out. Back to my other point about side hustles and all that nowadays have it so much easier, cause you can try things at once.

Back in the old days, you couldn’t go on a podcast if you worked at an agency. They’d be like, no, don’t do that. Like you work for us. You can’t be like talking about us on podcasts. Like it just wasn’t a thing 10 years ago, 15 years ago. But now you have so much opportunity to open an Etsy shop or do a coaching, side job or something and like really figure out what you want. And it was a lot more difficult back in, the earlier two thousands to really like test and learn, like you just got a job and that’s what your job was.

So I think people these days have it a lot better when it comes to that freedom of figuring out what is best for them. 

[00:43:11] Jessy: Definitely ,I feel like there’s a lot of companies these days even that are still like, no, you shouldn’t be going on a podcast. And for a number of different reasons. Sometimes they just wanna be the ones to be on it. Let’s be real and some people aren’t really great at managing people and like uplifting them and knowing like what’s the phrase? Like all ships. I dunno. So we got tide and rising in ships and they all rise up together. But you know what I’m trying to say. And I firmly believe that so that’s also just a missed opportunity.

But yeah it’s hard man. When you’re a little unhappy, I almost feel like that’s when it’s the hardest. You’re not like incredibly unhappy where you are, you’re just like a little unhappy or you might just see like other people around you like doing really cool things and like envy is real. And then, if you have any bit of loyalty in you, you’ve been appreciative and you’ve been treated well. Like these good things almost make the decisions a lot harder. But at the end of the day, what would you tell somebody if they’re at someplace and like they’re being treated pretty well, but there’s just this little thing that keeps nagging at them. And the thing is, do I go somewhere else? Because it just, it could be better. It could be, there, like what would you tell someone, how would you advise somebody who is in that sort of a position? 

[00:44:44] Katie: I know that is so tough cause it’s like the grass is not always greener and I’ve seen it many times with my friends who have hopped agencies and it’s the same problems just under a different roof or it’s even worse problems at some times.

So it depends. I think again, like now is the golden era of being able to figure out what works for you and test and learn, the same way we test and learn in marketing, test and learn with your career. You’re able now to keep your full-time job and dabble on the side if you can.

Obviously don’t do things that are gonna get you in trouble with your full-time job, if that’s your mainstream of income. But I’m so lucky that my boss and my founders are so open with us and want us to explore and do the work that we’re doing for our clients.

But, be out there in the world and still like living as human beings and not just clocking and clocking out, and that’s our entire life. So I think there’s more and more companies that are becoming like that. I think, in the big corporate world, it’s probably a little bit more difficult. But I would say as much as you can dabble in things, and people have built entire seven, eight figure companies just on their own, like personal brand doing things.

And if that’s something that you’re willing to commit to, it’s gonna be a lot of work, but if that’s something that you’re willing to commit to, start dabbling in it and see if you like it. That was, not to totally ramble, but that was something that I discovered early on is I always was like I was gonna be an entrepreneur. I always thought at one point I’m gonna be an entrepreneur and like here I am still working for a normal company. But I found that my sweet spot isn’t being an entrepreneur. I like the stability of having a team and having a steady paycheck and benefits like I, that’s where I feel comfortable, but that’s why I do this side stuff, on my own because it fills my cup on the entrepreneurial side, and I’ve found a balance that works for me.

Some people like Jesse, you’re a perfect example. You’re such an amazing entrepreneur. You like, started an agency and then pivoted to this amazing WIIM community that you’re growing and it’s who you are. Like I just feel like you were born with that gift.

And then there’s people that are like VPs at McDonald’s or PepsiCo that have worked their way up in corporate America who are like killing it at these massive corporations. And that’s amazing too. It’s like you gotta find the balance that really lights you up and makes you feel good and I think it takes time. 

You and I are both in our thirties. This did not happen overnight. It wasn’t like I graduated college and was like, I’m gonna work 20%, for myself and 10% for this. And like it took a lot of time to get like where I feel comfortable and knowing that I don’t think I am suited to fully go out on my own. I don’t think I, maybe not for a while at least would ever do that. But yeah I just, I think it takes time.

One other thing I wanna say too about this is if you are in a toxic environment, and I’m talking to the agency folks, cause that’s typically where it happened for me at least. There were many years of amazing people and amazing things in the agency world, but there were little pokes in my career of toxic people, toxic clients. If you’re in those situations, I will say it’s probably best to just exit stage. 

I wish I look back at some of those where I stuck it out and I probably shouldn’t have. It was like borderline abusive level toxicity and nobody deserves that and nobody needs that. There’s enough jobs out there where if that’s your reality, you do not need to stick that out. So I will say that there are times when you just gotta gotta grin and bear it and see what’s coming through the next door. And then there’s times where it’s like you gotta piece out 

[00:48:39] Jessy: Definitely. And look as women too, like real talk. There are a lot of situations where it’s almost like in our nature to be fixers and to be people pleasers in a lot of instances. And there are so many like work scenarios that are incredibly toxic.

I worked at like a talent agency where it was horrifically toxic, so it doesn’t even necessarily need to be like an ad agency or a PR agency. There are just companies that like they accept toxic behavior and you’re never gonna know that’s what you’re getting into.

Of course, cause everybody puts their best foot forward. But there is a moment where you get it. Like you see it for what it is. And I agree. If that is the case and talk about it with other people, first of all, I do think that’s really important because that perspective could be what you need to like have like a confirmation of is this really as unhealthy as I think it might be?

So find people that you can speak with and be like, is this normal? Like I just need a gut check. Is this type of behavior something that you experience as well? Because if you’re not sure, it I get it why people aren’t sure, like in any toxic relationship, whether it’s like romantic or professional or whatever it is, like you’re in it day to day and it just becomes so normalized and that’s what makes it even more toxic.

So just talk to people about it. I think that’s really good advice and then once you’ve gotten to the point that you can confirm, from like a healthy outside perspective as well, that no, this is legit toxic. The one thing that always needs to be prioritized is you.

Cause like we started this conversation talking about what it is to be a parent, what it is to be, having like great bosses. Like you could be a parent, a sister, a boss you know of this, that, and the other, to other people. But you’re not gonna be able to be any of those things halfway decent unless like you are whole ,like you are good. 

So I appreciate you saying that. I think gosh, we’re like running out of time, which makes me so sad cause I have so many questions and topics that I wanna chat with you about. But I would love to know Katie what is something that no one knows about you? You heard it first on this podcast that Katie is fill in the blank. 

[00:51:21] Katie: I feel like the one that I like was prepared to say is like really stupid and people are gonna be like, okay… But I think it ties back to what we were talking about. So I’m an only child, which I guess isn’t like that weird, but I think it is a very big tell of like why I am who I am.

And now that I have two kids and I’m like watching siblings interact and my husband has a sister, and like basically everyone in my life has some sort of sibling except for me, I’m realizing like why I became this way. And it is so clear as day now that I am so regimented and so self motivated and so independent.

I like taught myself a lot of things. Like I didn’t have an older sibling, a younger sibling. I didn’t have someone to go to when things were annoying with my parents. Like I was very much an independent kid that figured stuff out very early and very easily. Like I was good at hacking life in a way.

And it makes total sense, like now looking back at how I am super regimented with my schedule and my kids are, super regimented with their schedule and work and cramming it all in and making it all happen is very indicative of how I was brought up. I have two amazing parents who gave me everything in the world, but a lot of my days were spent with my own thoughts and with myself.

So I think that really did kind of shape how I am today, and I think it’s just interesting to know that about me when you talk to me. Sometimes people are like, I can tell you’re an only child. And I’m like, I don’t know if that’s a compliment or an insult, but. 

[00:53:01] Jessy: It’s interesting, I asked you earlier, I was like, what’s your superpower? And it’s like time management and things like that. I actually wonder if it’s like some of the things that we feel are things that are considered less than or different or something mostly different. Like we’re like, oh, I’m different cause, I’m an only child, most people probably have siblings or I’m just different cause I do this, that and the other.

I actually think more times than not that is really our superpower, and all the things that you learned and all of the things that make up Katie as an only child being with your own thoughts and all those things, like they actually really, in most instances give us a really cool leg up.

So I love that. I am so stoked with our conversation today, like talking from like toxic environments to parenthood to like growth strategies and I don’t know, I, we’ve all over the place in all the best ways. I have a feeling that a lot of our listeners may want to reach out to you besides maybe booking a mentorship conversation, a mentorship session with you, because you’re part of our mentorship program. So besides making an appointment with you to book a one-on-one mentorship session with you, because our members can do that or searching for you and our membership director, you’re just so active in our community. 

But those of people who aren’t necessarily in WIIM yet and they are just like, oh, I wanna reach out to Katie and get to know her and she seems great and maybe we could do business together. What’s the best way for people to reach you? 

[00:54:42] Katie: So I’m most active socially, like on social media, on LinkedIn. So Katie Stoller, search for me and then I have my own personal email if you wanna just reach out. It’s hello@katiestoler.com. And then if you wanna reach out anything regarding Fiat. For any brands that wanna get to know us a little bit more, our website’s, fiatgrowth.com and my email address is just katie@fiat growth.com.

But yeah, I would love to chat on any channel. I’m really active in the WIIM Facebook page and Slack group. I get so much amazing information from all the WIIM members. Everybody is so awesome in WIIM. But yeah, definitely reach out, would love to connect and I would love to do a mentorship session with anyone interested.

[00:55:26] Jessy: I love it. Thank you so much, Katie. It’s been awesome having you on. Again, we’ll have to maybe get you on a third time, who knows and for everyone listening, we will see you next week. Thanks, everyone.

If you enjoy this episode, we gotta have you back. Check out our website for more ways to get involved.

Putting all the information you need about joining our collective, you can check out all the information at iamwiim.com. Leave us a review, a rating, but the most important thing that we can ask you to do is to share this podcast. 


Thanks for listening. Tune in next week.

Katie Stoller

Head of Influencer Marketing, Fiat Growth

Katie Stoller is the Head of Influencer Marketing at Fiat Growth, a growth marketing shop focused on data backed decision making, innovation, iteration and execution. Fiat Growth works with some of the top fintechs from seed stage and beyond. With over a decade of experience at PR agencies, Katie counsels clients on how to effectively reach goals by working with brand-right influencers to tell compelling and engaging stories. During her career, she’s worked with brands big and small across multiple verticals. Some of the large brands she’s worked with include household names like IKEA, LG, Whirlpool, J.M. Smucker Co., General Mills, and Wendy’s. Katie holds a B.A. from the University of Illinois and a M.A. from DePaul University’s award-winning PRAD program. She is a proud member of the Women in Influencer Marketing (WIIM) professional group. Katie is based in Chicago with her husband Danny, kids Liam and Brooke and Japanese Chin Luke.

Book Your Session