Shade Wilson at Elevation

Shade Wilson at Elevation

Title: Director of digital strategy at Elevation, a Richmond-based advertising and marketing firm

Born: April 1965, St. Louis

Education: University of Missouri, bachelor’s in psychology, 1989; and MIT Sloan School of Management, digital marketing analytics, 2019

Career: Shade Wilson & Son Printing, 1989-1996; Dimac Direct, 1996-98; The Martin Agency, 1999-2001; PrecisionIR, 2001-10; Snagajob, 2010-11; Scalability Project, 2012-15; Elevation, 2015-present

Where in the metro area do you live? Midlothian

Best business decision: “It was realizing that I didn’t have to do it all myself, and by combining with an agency team like Elevation, I could accomplish so much more.”

Worst business decision: “Staying in a company too long because I thought I could drive change that the organization wasn’t ready to embrace. I should have read Seth Godin’s ‘The Dip’ sooner.”

Mistake you learned the most from: “Trying to launch two startups at the same time taught me that focus is finite, and if you try to divide it too much, both will falter.”

What is the biggest challenge/opportunity in the next two to five years: “Our biggest challenge in marketing is also the biggest opportunity. Technology, data, the media landscape and consumer behavior are all very much in flux at the moment. For any marketer who is willing to do the hard work of really understanding what our consumers want, how they can be reached and what can help drive behavior, the possibilities are endless.”

First job after college: “I came out of college in the middle of an economic downturn and had to take whatever I could find. I had a friend who needed some help, so I worked as an electrician’s apprentice for a short time. I learned a lot of great lessons in a short period of time about the value of attention to detail.”

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently: “I don’t know that I would. Life isn’t perfect, but it is ever-evolving.”

Movie or book that inspired you the most, and why: “A Beautiful Constraint: How To Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages, and Why It’s Everyone’s Business,” by Adam Morgan and Mark Barden. “The book delves into how accepting and leaning into challenges can release truly creative solutions that we might otherwise not consider.”

Favorite and least favorite subject in school: “So interestingly, I had no least favorite subject in school. I wasn’t necessarily a natural at all of them by a long shot, but I was always happy to learn more. To me, knowledge is more than power. It is our ability to continually learn throughout life that can be a strategic advantage opening so many opportunities — if we are willing to put in a little effort. Whether it’s technology, math and science, history, arts or literature, there is so much knowledge just waiting for us.”

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