Stephanie Shore is one of the top marketing executives in the Boston area, especially when it comes to building a successful brand. Under her leadership, Zipcar rapidly grew from the unknown to becoming the dominant company in the car-sharing industry.
Today, she is MOO's Chief Marketing Officer, where she leads the company's branding initiatives and the customer team.
If you commute on the Red Line, you might have noticed MOO's current transit takeover at the Kendall / MIT MBTA station. Below are photos of the billboard ads appearing this month:
For today's Lead(H)er profile, my Q&A walks through Shore's background, her current role, and her love of music.
Brianne Shelley: Explain a bit about your childhood and where you grew up.
Stephanie Shore: I grew up in Massachusetts and was a high school student in the 80’s so imagine really bad hair combined with a healthy obsession for records (and cassettes - yikes!), alongside an interest in spelling bees and science fairs.
BS: When did you start to realize that you were interested in marketing?
SS: I knew I wanted to be in advertising/marketing from a very early age. In fact, in high school, I was unsuccessfully mailing mock advertising campaigns I’d done to Boston ad agencies looking for internships. I started my career as a copywriting intern at a really small ad agency. However, I soon learned that I was strong on the strategic side of marketing, but there were far better practitioners of copywriting and art direction out there.
BS: Where did you attend school?
SS: I studied marketing at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. It was a lovely campus and they really did get me ready for the real world of work. I was also the Finance Manager at our college newspaper, which was a cool first gig. In one of my classes, we started a fake company (Rock Industries - named for my love of music) and I probably took it a bit too seriously (i.e. I’m pretty sure I was telling my friends who were out in the working world about “my company’s” financial performance even though it was all made up for school.)
BS: Walk us through your career.
SS: My first job was really challenging. Within the first six months, everyone on my team was let go. It taught me a lot about resilience and gratitude (when you get lucky enough to work for an employer where culture is key, make sure you take time to appreciate them).
Interestingly enough, I’ve only had four jobs. I tend to spend a long time finding the right fit personally and professionally and then sticking around a while to ensure I can make a big impact over time. And the thing I learned (very) early on is that you can only make magic happen when you have an amazing team around you, and I’ve been lucky enough to have had that throughout my career.
BS: What is your current role?
SS: I’m the CMO of MOO today. I joined to launch the marketing office in Boston and now I’m focused on the customer and brand strategy side of the biz. It’s an amazing gig where I get to work with lots of interesting (and very kind) people … And I get to interact with our customers all the time, which I love … their energy for what they do is infectious.
Rapid Fire Questions
BS: How do you manage stress?
SS: A quick walk or a favorite song can provide an interlude from time to time. If things get really bad, I try to find some humor in the moment. But most days, I like to tackle the stress head-on, deal with the problem, get the tough conversation out of the way first.
Oh, and coffee. Coffee helps.
BS: How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?
SS: Interestingly enough, I made it through my early 30’s without drinking coffee (now I wonder how this was possible). Now I’m up to about 2 cups a day. There’s nothing like a nice cappuccino to get through a long meeting. (And I adore a nice cup of tea as well.)
BS: What do you like to do in your free time?
SS: I’m pretty low key when I’m not at work. I love hanging out with friends and family and enjoying nice meals. My husband and I have a young daughter and a loud dog so things are rarely quiet … but on those occasions, a good book is a treasure.
BS: Where is your favorite spot in Boston?
SS: There used to be a little bar in Boston called the Tar Bar that I still look back on fondly as a favorite spot. Literally, ALL walks of life frequented the place and everyone got along somehow. The bartender used to let me bring in a CD and play it from start to finish. Plus, extra olives in a martini usually meant half the jar (I love olives). Also, the green spaces in Jamaica Plain are hidden treasures from the Arboretum to Forest Hills Cemetery to the Pond.
BS: If you had to choose one thing, what is your greatest accomplishment?
SS: I’d have to say taking over Times Square when Zipcar went public. My team was simply incredible and folks worked so hard to pull off what initially felt like the impossible (we had 3-D animations driving up all the towers and spinning cars on risers, alongside a MASSIVE street team presence). I still get butterflies thinking about it.
BS: Ten years ago, is this where you would have seen yourself?
SS: It’s pretty close if I’m honest.
BS: What one piece of advice would you give to a recent college graduate?
SS: Work hard. Don’t be entitled. Be kind. (I guess that’s three.)