10 with a 10: Erin Bury

10 with a 10 is a weekly interview series featuring strong women who run their gigs like a boss.

I ask 10 questions.
I take 1 Polaroid.
I put it up for all to see every Monday
 to promote their hustle with a wide community that should know about them.

This week, Erin Bury, a total stranger who graciously responded to my reaching out by welcoming me into her office and handing me a hot coffee to talk shop for an hour. She was deemed one of Marketing Magazine's top 30 under 30 marketers, journalists and PR pros, has been popping into places like Turkey, India and Brazil the past couple years and her ultimate claim to fame is being retweeted by Oprah. Twice.

I asked why she noticed my e-mail, let alone responded to it.
She said she used to work for a company called Sprouter
 and they reached out to and secured either interviews or Q&A sessions with entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran (of Shark Tank and The Corcoran Group), Dragons' Den alum Bruce Croxon, and Craigslist founder Craig Newmark.
People were often so giving and ready with their experiences, even though they were way high up there in the fame, that if she was ever asked to do the same for someone else, she would.

So she did.

1. What do you do and what does it give to people?

I'm the Managing Director at 88 Creative, a creative communications agency in Toronto. I help people tell their stories, both through our agency and through the writing & commentary I do for the Financial Post, Huffington Post, and CTV News. I think I give people with a great idea a way to communicate that idea effectively - I meet a lot of technical entrepreneurs who have an amazing idea and a fantastic story, but they have trouble communicating it through PR, social media, and other methods. 

2. What's a piece of advice you consistently find yourself giving out but find hard to take yourself?

One piece of advice I give consistently is to take time to decompress and not look at your smartphone. I'm constantly getting after my boyfriend for looking at his phone when we're watching movies, and I always tell my employees to really go on vacation, no checking emails allowed. I always break my own rules though - I can't go more than 10-15 minutes without checking my phone. I know it's an addiction, but it's one I just can't give up!

3. How do you rely on others to make you better?

I'm a big fan of mentoring, whether informally or via formal mentorship programs. I participated in the American Marketing Association's Mentor Exchange program last year, and I was matched up with MLSE VP of Marketing Shannon Hosford. She was an amazing resource (and really cool person) who I could talk to about everything from management strategies to hiring tips. I also rely on experts in their industry for education - I've taken CampTech classes and other workshops to help improve my skills. While I can't see myself ever going back to school full-time, I definitely think you need to be a lifelong learner. 

4. Someone gives you 50 mill. What's the FIRST way your life changes?

I can travel anywhere I want. I'm passionate about travel, and like most other people I save up to go on one big trip a year. If I won the lottery I would feel so free because I could travel anywhere, anytime, and bring anyone I wanted with me. I would create a career where I could work from anywhere, and I would just hop from place to place until I got bored.

5. What has compelled you forward more than anything else?

I would say a combination of ambition, money, and notoriety. I think people are lying if they say money doesn't motivate - everyone wants to have a comfortable life and pursue their hobbies, and money is the best way to achieve that. But I would say I'm equally motivated by fame - my former boss and mentor Sarah Prevette always joked that we made the perfect pair, because she thought about the company's bottom line and I thought about how to make us famous. I respect people like Arianna Huffington who are successful business owners but have also built a powerful personal brand through writing books, speaking engagements, and thought leadership - I definitely make an effort to build my own brand. And finally I think I'm just an ambitious person. My mom worked in marketing at Nortel for over 20 years and she now owns her own communications consultancy, and I saw how hard she worked and knew I wanted a career that was equally as thrilling, fulfilling, challenging, and fun.

6. Do you like when people ask you, "Where do you want to be in 5 years?"

I like it because it makes me think about my future; I don't like it because I really don't have a good answer. I think part of being in Gen Y is that you don't stay at the same company your whole career, so 5 years can be a career lifetime. I'm extremely happy running 88 Creative and I would love to still be here in five years with an amazing roster of clients, a bigger team, and a great culture - if I can lead a company where people love to work (and that I love to work at) then I'll be happy

7. If someone was handed a script of your inner dialogue this week, what would it say?

It would say,
"We're definitely going to win this pitch. I hope we win this pitch. I will cry if we don't win this pitch. Wait we killed the presentation, of course we're going to win this pitch. We've got this in the bag."
Waiting to hear back after new business presentations is always the most stressful part of my job!

8. Are you spontaneous?

I'm a total Type A planner/organizer - I love planning parties, work events, and weekends at the cottage. But I would say I'm spontaneous - I love adventures (as long as they don't involve bungee jumping or skydiving), and I'm always up for something new and fun. I'd like to think I'm like Jim Carrey from Yes Man, but realistically I'm more like "Usually Yes Woman."

9. Are you failing differently each time?

I'd like to think so. I try to remember that famous Albert Einstein quote - "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." My boyfriend always calls me Mary Poppins because I constantly try to find the positive thing or lesson that comes out of a negative. If you can learn something from it then it isn't all that bad.

10. Paul Newman or Robert Redford?

Paul Newman because I love his salad dressings.
That's a totally legitimate reason to choose him, right?!