Camille White-Stern: Director of Events, Entrepreneur
We met Camille at a New York Code and Design Academy event hosted in FiDi. Camille kindly approached us asking for event feedback. As we shared some quick laughs, she was kind enough to share upcoming events and personal information. We just knew that we had to highlight her as she is: 1.) A woman in a Director-Level position and 2.) she's in the tech space. Ultimately, making her a total #GIRLBOSS. We are thrilled for this Spotlight because it was an organic connection and she has such a lively spirit (with her middle-parted hair and fitted Kim K. dress).
Tell us about your background and how you got into events ?
My background is in marketing, branding, and artist development in the music industry. I got a lot of experience learning how to market and brand a product because an artist is a product and so is an album. I was also running two boutique management companies outside the label. I was working with huge name artist like Mary J Blige, The Dream and Common and also new artists, giving me a range of experience.
In 2014 , I left Atlantic Records and convinced my former boss to start a new management company with me. He had given me the title of GM, general manager , but I didn't want to be a GM. I said: “I want to be your partner and I want 50%" - This is where I really got into events. We planned private events and public events in music and outside of music. This all happened over three and a half , four years. It was like a whirlwind.
Asking for what you want is #GIRLBOSS status! How did you then get your foot into the tech space with such a "pro- woman" focus?
So fast forward to about a year ago, we had just wrapped up a project consulting for a wellness company on Martha's Vineyard doing business development and were talking about next steps. My business partner had different ideas for apps, but we didn't have any contacts or experience in tech and we had no clue how to break into that from music. So I decided the best way for us to break in would be for ME to get a job in a tech company, preferably a start up.
And with a shared love for Martha's Vineyard , Camille met Shana Fisher who fell in love with her hardworking energy. Fischer, a seed investor for Pinterest and Refinery29, connected Camille with NYCDA CEO, Jeremy Snepar. And the rest was history.
However, Camille was given the title of Marketing Coordinator. This was not something she was satisfied with. Once again, this #GIRLBOSS asked for what she wanted.
How did you go about asking for what you really wanted, especially since you were so new?
"About 8 weeks into the job, I slacked my CEO Jeremy saying, "I think that I should be the Director of Events . You need someone to function in that role. Events will be the driving force to create community . Community is one of the core values of the company so it just makes sense "
"He was like , "sure" and had me put a playbook together , write up a proposal and re meet in a week to go over the plan" it was scary, I am not going to lie. I thought long and hard before I did that. I was still new and learning the dynamic of the teams. I didn't want it to seem like I was undermining the person I was reporting to. I just got the sense that my CEO was going to be pretty open and understanding. Two months later , I had a title change and needed a salary to reflect that title change. I asked him for a specific number. He said I am not giving you that now, but we will work towards it. I got a bump right away for faith "
Do you think asking for what you want in the workplace is harder for women ?
I know there are men out there that are asking for more and are doing less. I know that to be a fact. I have seen men fail upwards. They are doing a terrible job and still getting promoted.
"Why are women working so hard and not getting the ROI that we deserve?"
With your success, you have decided to stick with Tech. Can you explain why this means so much to you?
I don't feel like I can fulfill my propose in life JUST through the music industry. I feel like I can touch more people, effect more people and create more change in the tech world.
What is the best advice you can give to our readers, especially women working hard to get to where they want to be.
I firmly believe in the power of positive thought. The best lesson I have learned is that I truly create my own reality. I take full responsibility for what my life looks like . I don't take responsibility for other people and their actions. I can only control myself. It's a daily practice for me to shed my ego and the burden of judgement for myself and other people.
Interviewed by Chary + Emily; translated by Emily