Be a prolific producer. Create and produce the kind of art and inspiration that moves you. Many people are getting through their day and consuming information. Do what you can to be a producer not just a consumer. The more you produce in terms of thoughts and creative product, the more likely it is to be of unique quality. Until you set a goal for yourself to be a prolific producer, and begin producing, all of your great ideas are just ideas in your head or in a sketch book.
I had the pleasure to interview Moira Vetter. Moira is the founder and CEO of Modo Modo Agency, a top Atlanta strategy marketing firm, a 2018 & 2017 Inc. 5000 company, and a 2017 Best Places To Work. Moira is an author, a Forbes Contributor and a 2018 TiE Atlanta Entrepreneur of the Year. She serves on the Executive Advisory Board of Kennesaw State University and the Atlanta AMA, and the boards of non-profits 48in48 and the Conservation Society of Zoo.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was raised in a family business by an immigrant entrepreneur and an American beauty queen. I was raised on the American Dream and I delight everyday in developing the next generation of business leaders who can experience it for themselves.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Well that’s an impossible question for someone for whom everything is interesting. I suppose the most interesting was finding ourselves in the board rooms of private equity companies who had to prove and articulate the value of their operating companies to ultimately tap into their true brand value and achieve their valuation dreams.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting?
Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that? I’ve owned a few companies and I suppose the funniest (always in hindsight) mistake, is believing today’s customers are those that will be your best customers. There is a big difference between the people that deliver the greatest revenue and the customers that you do your best, most satisfying work with.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We are an agency that doesn’t think like agency people, we think like business people. Of course we have to do marketing and agency services that push the needle of creativity and performance. At the end of the day though, our clients, for example Southwire Company, always say we make the difference because of the ownership we show over the business challenge and our partnership with the team to collectively drive brand performance and sales success.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We work on several offerings in the energy space — some related to wire and cable, and others related to batteries, including hearing aid batteries and power sources for miniaturized medical devices. It is the greatest win-win when we are doing work for clients whose innovations improve the quality of lives for their customers.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
Don’t do their work for them. It’s great to nurture and inspire, but let them do their own learning, failing and thriving.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Setting clear direction is the key to leadership whether you’re a male or a female. In my experience, female leaders sometimes focus too much on the people and no enough on the mission. Help the people understand the mission and set the expectation that they should be moving towards it.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Most of the people that are closest in my circle have had multiple roles — friend, mentor and client or employee, mentee and mentor. The obvious stand out for me is Carol Godfrey, VP of Southwire Company. She is a friend, mentor, colleague, client, sounding board and so much more. Don’t fit people with wisdom in a singular role if they can help you develop in a plethora of ways.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Absolutely, and this is critical. Influence isn’t important unless you’re using it to help pay things forward for those around you. Our company has been running our DoGooder program for over 9 years. We close the company once a quarter and take the entire company offsite to volunteer for employee-chosen charities. We’ve donated over 3,000 hours of time to nearly 30 organizations. We also do pro bono work and many of our team members participate on the boards of non-profits to make the biggest difference in the community, industry and world that we can.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. Get up and keep going. Failure is everywhere. No matter what you do, get up and keep going. Several years ago, I lost my mother, father, grandmother, aunt, and several pets in a few years time. The weight of the loss is immeasurable, unless you are focused on the future. The losses and failures can be personal or professional, but only those determined to get back on the horse can make a difference in the long term.
2. Go beyond the ask. People and clients always come with a set of challenges that want addressed. There are people that address those things…they get a job. There are people that are always looking at those things and beyond…they get a partnership. Always deliver more than is asked or is expected. Is a client asks for a design or a campaign, we give them a new way of thinking and communicating about a long-term challenge.
3. Be unforgettable. People are busy, underwhelmed, overtasked, and in general insane with what they have to do. Be a breath of fresh air. Be funny or different or smart or real. There are plenty of “professionals” going about doing what they do. Be unforgettable.
4. Connect the dots. Our clients, colleagues and peers are too busy in the moment to get up and out of what they are doing. Often they are too close to their challenges to see the forest for the trees. Always strive to connect the dots to give greater context, better performance, broader perspective or new insights.
5. Be a prolific producer. Create and produce the kind of art and inspiration that moves you. Many people are getting through their day and consuming information. Do what you can to be a producer not just a consumer. The more you produce in terms of thoughts and creative product, the more likely it is to be of unique quality. Until you set a goal for yourself to be a prolific producer, and begin producing, all of your great ideas are just ideas in your head or in a sketch book.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I feel that the best movements create businesses and jobs. There is a lot of art and poetry, but I’m an economics geek. I feel that the ideas of greatest influence spur the ecosystem to create businesses that create jobs that create meaning and impact.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“When you look back on your life, you regret the things you didn’t do more than the things you did.” Too many people are risk averse. People need to be conditioned to take risks when the stake and the impact is high. I strive to never be the person that says, “I should have…” Take the risk. It was relevant in my life because I have started businesses, had children, written a book when it was inconvenient, but I will never have to say I sure wish I had lived or worked more fully.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
I would love to have breakfast with Wilbur Ross the Secretary of Commerce. He invested in industries that many thought were “unglamorous” and has an impact in areas of great influence that aren’t on the radar of the “average Joe or Jane.”