We’re thrilled to introduce Erin Faulk, our newest Innovation & Growth Strategist! Erin brings over eight years of market experience in creative problem solving, data analysis, and relationship management in media, entertainment and beauty industries at iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel Media & Entertainment) and Procter & Gamble. Welcome to the team, Erin!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Cincinnati but returned in 2014 after a 13-year Midwest tour. As an athlete, actor, and peer leader with a strong work ethic, I was raised as an independent female between two brothers, believing there was nothing they could do that I couldn’t do better (thanks to the Gatorade campaign!). I graduated from DePauw University with a concentration in Art History and Mass Communication and spent four years at Clear Channel Media & Entertainment in Chicago as an Account Executive on the national sales team. During my time there, I represented Clear Channel’s portfolio of 900+ radio stations and iHeartRadio, the company’s new-to-the-market digital product. Pivoting in pursuit of more strategic and creative work, I graduated with my MBA in Marketing from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and moved back to Cincinnati to work in Brand Management for Procter & Gamble. Personally, I love to travel, take in the arts (especially theater), coach and mentor others, run, embarrass myself by getting back on the soccer field, and spend time with family and friends.
Something interesting people might not know about you?
At 28, I fulfilled one of my life-long dreams to walk as a “Malt Shop” clown in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
So, you jumped into The Garage Group. What made you decide to join us?
I was inspired by the team’s shared mission to make an impact every day, challenging existing businesses to refresh the way they think and operate by equipping them with the tools and learning experiences to change from within – to be bold, courageous, and more agile to compete in today’s competitive and fragmented marketplace.
What does an “entrepreneurial approach to research and innovation” mean to you?
It means first setting a clear objective and establishing an understanding of the hard points and culture in the company, category, market or industry to establish guard rails. Next, it means challenging all soft points and thinking without constraints, iterating and evolving ideas by building on the perspectives of others to define the problem and identify solutions from multiple angles. A true entrepreneur thinks with limited resources and applies an “Apollo 13” style of scrappiness and trial-and-error mentality.
What trends do you see in marketing, branding, or innovation at large companies that lend well to a more entrepreneurial approach?
In today’s competitive environment, larger corporations are risk-averse with apprehension to diverge from the way things have always been done in the past. However, this trend is counter-productive for the market leaders who are responsible for growing the categories they play in with new, breakthrough innovation. To meet the evolving needs of today’s discerning consumer base, it is critical for these companies to embrace an “underdog” entrepreneurial mindset and approach to proactively take smart risks, and to think and act differently.
What’s inspiring you right now?
The momentum across the globe behind the support and acceptance of one another beyond traditional boundaries. What feels most different now is the emergence of movements like “He For She” with men and women supporting each other as equals, or the impact that strong, courageous, hard-working women (like the US Women’s National Soccer Team) have on young boys and girls alike who are being encouraged to confidently dream big and to embrace whoever they want to be.
What is your spirit animal?
As a Leo, my spirit animal is the female lioness – smaller but fierce, the real brains, courage, heart and hunter of her pride.
What is something you believe that almost nobody agrees with you on?
What’s your favorite innovation that’s come out in the past year?
The Nike LunarEpic Flyknit shoes with a “built in” ankle sock. Designed as an extension of your leg with the fit of a sock, these shoes deliver an exceptionally smooth experience and yield an effectively unnoticeable “second-skin fit”, as if the shoe is 100% in sync with the movements of your feet.
Tell me two truths and a lie about yourself.