Pam Kaufman is one busy woman. She is the Chief Marketing Officer and President of Consumer Products for Nickelodeon (SpongeBob is “her guy”!). She’s a mom, and as a firm believer in giving back, she is actively involved in Bottomless Closet. And yet, when we told her about #ConnectToConfidence, the first thing she said was, “How can I help?” She’s bright. She’s dynamic. She’s approachable, and she tells it like it is. All in all, she is a woman worthy of our admiration. We are so excited to welcome Pam to the Fit List, and to have her lead our Media Panel at #ConnectToConfidence in New York City on May 21. Here’s what we learned when we interviewed Pam:
You are Nickelodeon’s Chief Marketing Officer and President of Consumer products. What does that mean? What are you responsible for?
I am responsible for all of Nickelodeon’s consumer products business. With regard to consumer products, I lead all of Nickelodeon’s key franchises, including SpongeBob, Paw Patrol and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, on and off of our platforms including with partners and advertisers. My responsibility is to lead strategic direction for these iconic properties, including advertising and marketing, as well as leading the recreation business, everything we do on the ground and anything we do with partners.
Did you get to where you are today by following a prescribed career path or did things kind of evolve? If they evolved, how did you make sure your career was progressing?
Things evolved. You should go with whatever you are passionate about. Don’t settle; get a job that feels like a dream. I started at a design company doing communications, and that evolved into media. I then worked for an ad agency and was responsible for branding toys for fast food companies. I worked with an entertainment company, which then lead me to Turner and ultimately went to work for TBS, and the rest is history! You always want to make sure you are diversifying and taking on more while growing personally and professionally.
As a female senior executive, do you think that it gets easier or harder to be a woman in business as you go up the corporate ladder and why?
I have a really unusual situation because I have been working for a woman for 18 years who’s a huge champion for women. Half of our executive team here at Nickelodeon are women, so I feel like, here, women have a really fair shot at it. Generally, though, I do think women have it harder. There are the issues of pay gap, work life balance, children and the expectation that women will behave a certain way.
You are very involved in Bottomless Closet. Tell us a little bit about what that is. How do you make the time to get involved? Doesn’t it take away from your work or your family life?
Bottomless Closet Provides professional clothing, job readiness, and post-employment training and coaching services to women on assistance and working-poor women. I’m always surprised when people don’t have something they are involved with; we all should be giving back. My role with Bottomless Closet has evolved. When I first got involved with Bottomless Closet, I went “all in.” I attended every meeting. When my kids were growing up, I had less time for Bottomless Closet, as family took the forefront, but I was always focused on the ability to leverage my role at Nickelodeon, and Nick is a wonderful company that allows me to provide resources. For us, it’s almost expected that we are involved in something, and I find it doesn’t take time away. I try to use my job and my knowledge to help by providing marketing advice, exposure and similar support.
How do you balance being a mom and having such a big job? Do you ever feel like you are missing out one place or another?
I feel like I’m missing out all the time. If anyone tells you they have it all figured out, they are lying. Anytime you are in one place, work or home, there is always a reason you could be at the other. I try to balance by being focused and being present where I am. If you let your worlds collide, you will never succeed. If you are home, be home and present there.
I’m looking for an internship, and I don’t really have too great of experience on my resume. What can I do to make myself shine?
Distinguish yourself with your enthusiasm and perseverance. Be passionate and friendly, and also have realistic expectations. Your willingness to do anything and understanding that you aren’t going to start at the top will make you stand out.
Which Nick character is your doppelganger?
SpongeBob is my guy. I’m SpongeBob and Seinfeld all rolled into one.
What makes you feel confident? How do you help others to find their confidence?
Being prepared makes me feel confident. I rehearse; I study; I practice. Also, I choose my clothes to feel and appear polished.
What does She’s Fit to Lead mean to you? How does someone become Fit to Lead?
She’s Fit to Lead is about paying it forward by investing in others. People become Fit to Lead by having basic knowledge of an industry and coupling that with being calm, interested, passionate and curious. Show up, don’t be afraid, and be open minded.
Thank you Pam. We can’t wait to hear more on May 21.
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