Whenever I am asked how I was able to start and develop Body Conceptions, my connection with Deborah Kessler is one of the first things I mention. I knew Deborah for many years before I started the business, and she was one of the very first people I approached when I needed business and marketing advice.
Deborah has now become integral to so many of Body Conceptions’ partnerships and business strategies. She also happens to be one the smartest and most creative people I know on top of being a tireless and conscientious advocate. I recommend Deborah to any new or transitioning business owner who needs branding, marketing or operational support!
1) Where are you from? I grew up in Cherry Hill, NJ
2) In your own words, can you describe what you do? Alright, let’s see… I am a marketing and business development consultant. I’m a lot like a therapist with a background in finance. I work with companies that are in transition and help them with branding, marketing, and operations management.
3) How did you get where you are? Any professional twists and turns? Yes, many! My path has never been straight which makes life all the more exciting. I have always believed that opportunities come when and how you least expect them. Live fearlessly and welcome every opportunity because you never know where it will lead you.
I moved to New York and worked as an actress for a number of years. Marketing and bar program development were always my “between jobs” jobs. I was fortunate enough to become employed as marketing director of a restaurant helmed by a notable chef and a very influential Wall Street businessman. When they chose to close the restaurant I was offered a job working for the restaurant’s owner on Wall Street. Though far out of my comfort zone I accepted the position and grabbed the bull by its horns so to speak. I left performing behind and got what I like to call my on-the-job MBA. I learned everything from private equity to trading (commodities and equities), business management, international business, fundraising, finance, technology, and the soup-to-nuts of how to launch a start-up…the list goes on. My main focus became marketing and business development for a wide array of companies. My last big Wall Street project was preparing a financial technology company for a public offering on the NASDAQ. I then started my own consulting company. It has been quite a ride!
4) What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever gotten? We had a poster in my house growing up that said “To be good is not enough when you dream of being great.” That has always resonated with me.
5) If someone told you they wanted to start their own business, what’s the first thing you would say to them? I would probably say “Great!” It takes a lot of guts to start your own business. I deeply admire those who are willing to take a risk to pursue their dreams.
6) Now for the fun stuff! Tell us about your new baby girl! (Truthfully, she’s one of the most beautiful little girls I’ve ever seen!) Thank you. Motherhood has been an incredible journey. I think the most eye-opening moment was when Alexandra was five days old and I realized the simple act of picking up the mail meant bundling the baby, putting her in her stroller and bringing her with me. No longer could I dash down a flight of stairs and be back before my coffee brewed. Speaking of which, I would kill for the ability to start and finish a hot cup of coffee too! Never had I experienced this degree of life altering responsibility. But the responsibility came with the most amazing pay-off. Every smile melts my soul. When she wraps her tiny chubby arms around my neck I am reminded of how lucky I am. My 6-month-old daughter loves people but hates being bored. She could win any staring contest, she is not fond of bananas, she loves to sing, she loves to shriek, she is fiercely determined and sleeps 12 hours each night. Without that last bit I would have never survived the past six months!
7) What’s the most unusual thing about you that most people don’t know – that you’re willing to share? :) I have three last names; my birth name, my professional name and my married name. I often don’t know who knows me by what name…I confuse myself all the time.
8) Is there anything here that I’ve missed? You forgot to ask me about how happy I am to be working with you and the beautiful, energetic women of BoCo. The difference you all make, how brave you were starting your company two years ago, how passionate you are every day of your life, and now the enthusiasm of your trainers…it is an inspiring thing. I am honored to work with this company and to help you further your business and your mission.