Jackie Swansburg Paulino graduated from the University of Richmond with a degree in communications and a desire to start her own company and work for herself. Her father, himself an entrepreneur, had passed down a sense of self-determination that drove Paulino to work for him in her first years out of college, during which she had the opportunity to open a yoga studio, help manage one of his golf courses, and partner with him to flip houses to earn her living through the first few years of her career.
Soon, Paulino realized that she enjoyed the marketing and advertising aspects of each of these businesses the most. She took what she had learned about management and customer service through each of her ventures, combined those with her emerging interest in advertising, and landed a job at Neal Advertising, both small firms where she managed a team that ran Google Adwords campaigns for clients.
“I was thinking of all these ideas to improve how the searches were working, but it's hard to move mountains and change anything that Google's doing,” Paulino said. “I decided I wanted to work for a small software startup where I could work in advertising but still have my finger on the pulse of what's going on and help build the product I’m advertising.”
Pixability proved to be a perfect match. When Paulino started at the video advertising platform as a senior data analyst about six years ago, she was one of a handful of employees working in a single, small room. While the company has grown considerably since then, with Paulino now holding the title of Chief Product Officer.
Despite the company’s size, Paulino still feels the same entrepreneurial spirit in the company that drew her to it in the first place.
“I like that roll-up-your-sleeves, everybody-does-everything vibe,” Paulino said. “I still have that sense of entrepreneurship at Pixability, but I get to do it in a less-scary way, at a company that’s been around for 10 years and has solid footing.”
In her current role, Paulino is responsible for four teams: account management, advertising operations, insights, and sales strategy. Each is responsible for connecting with customers in its own way, from boosting retention rates to reaching them through the purchase of social media ads. It’s that customer connection that helps Paulino keep each team organized and stocked with the resources they need to be successful.
“Everyone’s focused around our customers,” she said. “We’re a pretty small, agile company, so we’re able to bend over backward for our customers.”
One of the ways Pixability does that is by creating custom solutions for larger clients, then using those programs repeatable for smaller customers. Paulino encourages the same repetition in her team and works to automate as many of their recurring tasks as possible, leaving more time for innovation.
Thanks to their efficiency, Paulino isn’t necessarily looking to increase the size of those teams at the same rate as Pixability’s revenue growth. The company plans to develop a new self-serve product that allows for more customers to use the product with less hands-on support. Pixability also intends to add connected TV buying on top of its YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram buying.
Paulino is enthusiastic about the prospect of helping the company become a SaaS business.
“We’re in the right place,” she said. “We’re at this great acceleration spot for the company.”
Quick Q(uestions) and A(dvice)
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I like to read business books and books about other tech entrepreneurs. I also like to hang out with my dog, who just turned 13, watch sports, and play golf.
What are your strategies for managing stress?
I just downloaded the Calm app, so I’m trying to get into meditation. Working out and listening to audiobooks on Audible also help.
How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?
Two, and I need them both desperately!
What’s one of your favorite places in the Boston area?
I’m from the North Shore, so West Beach in Beverly is my favorite spot. In Boston proper, Night Shift Brewery is a new hotspot for our office.
What do you consider one of your proudest accomplishments?
Building a team that has a high retention rate of customers, and whose members stick around at Pixability. Building a team that likes to work here and is proud of the work we do makes me really proud.
How does where you are now compare to where you saw yourself 10 years ago?
It’s much more stable. I never thought I’d work for anyone else, but I’m happy to be in a good place at a growing company. In my 20s, I sometimes envied those cool startups where other people were working, so I think it’s cool to actually be a part of one of them now.
What’s your advice for recent college graduates?
My advice would be to start small. It’s great to work for a big company, and that’s definitely the right move for some people. But if you work at a small company like Pixability, you get to do a lot of different things. We give our younger employees a lot of responsibility. When you’re working at a small company or startup, you get to try out things you otherwise wouldn’t get to because you don’t have one job. You have a hundred different jobs, and you might like only 50 of them, but you’ll get an idea of what you’re looking for in your next role through those. I wouldn’t try to focus on one thing or get caught up with job titles right out of college. If you can work for a cool company, you should do it. Take a risk, because this is the time in your career when you can do that. Learning what you don’t like is just as important as learning what you do, so try different things and try them early.