3 Mar ‘15
Kristen O’Connor Named New Director of Client Services
3 Mar ‘15
In: Announcement, / By: Ripe Media
We are proud to announce that Kristen O’Connor has been named as our new Director of Client Services, and is the first to hold the title at RIPE. The role was created out of a need for greater specialization when it came to servicing our clients and managing our growing business. As Kristen explains, “Everything we set out to do we’ve been able to achieve. One of those goals has been to continue to create better long-term partnerships with our clients. It’s not just ‘Okay, let’s build a website’ and then we’re done. We want to think ahead to what’s next.”
The Partnership Process
The desire for such a partnership is what precipitated our founders, Chris and Heather, to make changes leading to the creation of Kristen’s new role. The agency was faced with a very complex project that required a great deal of customization. Kristen realized just how much coordination, mediation, and organization was needed, and understood she would have to make an even greater investment in helping this client and meeting their needs.
To better support Kristen’s involvement, Chris and Heather made some immediate changes to the structure of the agency, including hiring more project managers. With these additional team members in place, servicing the bulk of our clients, Kristen was better able to focus on the client and their project. In the end, the project was successfully completed, meeting all objectives. In addition, the client trusted RIPE to help them with even more work for the following year. Partnership status achieved. And in the process, the agency grew from its responsive adaptations, and Kristen (as she will tell you) grew both professionally and personally from the chance to dedicate herself to that challenge and solution.
In Celebration of Collaboration
To be fair, you could say that Kristen has really been preparing for this new role ever since she was one of seven children fleeing Austria on the cusp of World War II. Not in real life, of course, but in a major production of “The Sound of Music” in North Carolina when she was just a youngster. Kristen recalls performing as Louisa in the production’s large ensemble and “just loving it,” she says. “It was such a collaborative show.”
Kristen recognized that thrill of collaboration again when she landed the (far less-theatrical) role of Senior Project Manager for the interactive design firm The Velodea Group. She applied for the job after her friend pointed out Kristen’s love of the web — and bossing people around. A graduate of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television, Kristen did have some production experience under her belt, thanks to a Production Assistant post at MTV. She admits, however, she had a rather shaky start in this burgeoning world of digital production, having to sometimes look up terms as basic as “HTML.” Yet, she knew her skills were a match. “I loved the creative environment and working with all types of people. I loved that feeling of being the hub for everything, and helping to get the job done successfully — whatever it took,” Kristen recalls.
The RIPE Way
After a three-year stint operating her own digital consultancy business in New York, Kristen returned to Los Angeles ready for a change. She had the chance to work for some big names that she knew would turn heads, but was looking for a company with work that she found exciting and compelling, and that would let her use both her organizational and entrepreneurial skills. In 2010, after answering an ad on craigslist she became RIPE’s Senior Producer.
Kristen’s philosophy has always reflected the agency’s overall discovery process. “I take the time to really understand what is needed before we make a decision. We don’t come at it with ego, but because my participation is as valuable as the internal team’s, if I don’t think something is right, then I will speak up. That’s what helps a client build trust in us.”
Although the role of Director of Client Services is a new one, both for Kristen and the agency, Kristen has already discovered what she likes best about the opportunity, “When there’s a big personality and they have lost focus on the goal, I’m able to get people back to work. Although that’s something that stresses most people out, that is what motivates me.”