Blogs by InnovatorsBox®

MEET KREE PANDEY: A DIGITAL MARKETER, WEB DESIGNER & A CREATIVE NIGHT-OWL

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This is InnovatorsBox’s “IB Backstage series, where in celebration of InnovatorsBox’s 6th year anniversary that’s coming up in November 2021, we are highlighting the stories of our incredible team members.

Kree Pandey is a creative nightowl who will not take no for an answer to find new paths to everything she does. I don’t know how I managed my digital land before her! When we first met through a comment I posted on WeWork community board looking for some help on my website, I appreciated how she followed up and instantly knew she was the one who I’d love to work with. 

Years have flown by and not only has she helped us share our work more thoughtfully on our website but helped us through several digital asset projects including overseeing our blog site, press, and much more. What I respect the most is not just Kree’s expertise but her drive for excellence, creativity and wanting to find new ways for everything. When you learn more about Kree, you’ll want to see how you can work hard and play hard, because life is short as it is!

In my Q&A with Kree, we go over topics such as why creativity is important to her and in the work she does, how she manages to juggle being a mom and running a business, how she manages a global team while creating boundaries, to what she’s watching and reading, and a lot more in between.

MONICA: How would you describe yourself in three words?

Kree:  Compassionate. Resilient. Goofy. 

MONICA: Why is creativity important to you?

Kree:  Creativity is a big part of my life. It is, to me, about exercising my own vivid imagination which then becomes a sounding board for connecting various parts of me so those very distinct parts are no longer so distinct but become whole. There is an undeniable link between being creative and being alive.

MONICA: What was your favorite project, experience or memory working at InnovatorsBox?

Kree:  Oh wow! It’s been about 5 years since I’ve gotten to know you and this incredible journey you’ve set out on! There’ve been many, many projects and experiences over the years, so it’s hard to pick one! But going by what sprang to mind first, it was the trip we made to Philly & KS City together on a couple of client projects back in 2018. I had just found out I was pregnant, I think the same morning that we set out – and you, Monica, were amongst the very few I had shared the news with.
And whilst in Philly, I especially remember the quick trip we made to the Wong Fu Production’s #YappieTour the night of the conference. It was so impromptu and is a cute memory.

Trends about work:

MONICA: How did you get to build your expertise in what you do?

Kree:  It’s a funny story. After about 9 years in corporate, I had just found myself at crossroads. Lost for what I wanted to do next, I said to myself, “I’m gonna get myself into two things: one I’ve always loved to do (i.e., writing) and one I thought that I’ll never be able to ‘get’ or love doing (i.e, coding). But I wanted to see how far I could go with it… for the heck of it. You clearly see that I was bored! Long story short, one thing led to the other and I went from learning to code to web design, branding, content, digital marketing & advertising, and a bunch of things in between. I think it’s my insatiable desire to learn, and my long-held habit of needing to poke my finger into too many cakes got me to build diverse skills over the years.

MONICA: One tip you’ll share to all digital marketer on how to be a better marketer today?

Kree:  First, start by acknowledging that everyone and their mothers are ‘digital marketers’ today. So start with humility. Digital space is such a fluid space that when you think you’ve learned so much, pause and remind yourself that you’ve only scratched the surface. That’s when you’ll learn more. Curiosity is key.
AND: Never underestimate the power of small platforms and micro influencers. Paid ads aren’t everything.

MONICA: What trend are you seeing in digital marketing that you are excited about and worried about?

Kree:  I am excited about and both worried about artificial intelligence, at the same time. AI is a trend that I see taking over and running with the digital marketing space as it has tremendous potential to do what marketers would otherwise spend hours doing with so much more efficiency and accuracy. 

The world is changing, and high tech marketing has to keep up. As a user of a handful of AI-powered tools, from content creation to voice overs that attempt to ‘create at scale’, I know that we will be seeing AI filtering through every level of marketing, and that’s both exciting and worrisome. With AI advancements, marketers can simultaneously execute multiple campaigns without spending too much effort. Marketers are able to understand customer browsing behavior better. The power to use technology in order to give consumers what they want without them consciously knowing it – that’s exciting. I worry about human ingenuity that may be missed with the AI takeover.

MONICA: You have a global client base and global team. How do you manage your time and energy?

Kree:  This one comes naturally to me. Partly because I’ve always been a night owl and work weird hours. But mainly because this is what I always did in my ‘past life’. (My corporate life, duh!) We had a global team, spread across the world and I was at the helm of Ops. My last role before I chucked a U-turn was a global expansion team lead. So working with and managing global teams has long been in my professional DNA. And now technology has made it even easier! 

Right now, we are spread across 8 cities. My most creative time is at night. Most of my colleagues work best in the wee hours. And that’s okay! They say ‘the early bird gets the worm’. I say the worm is always there; you need to work to find it and no, you can’t cheat the grind! Communication is key. Building an SOP is crucial. Cultural sensitivity and empathy help tremendously.

MONICA: Any advice you could share in how you manage your team’s project?

Kree:  Three letters. SOP. Build one from day one! I didn’t for my first business. But now we’re building SOPs extensively for the second. Everything we do, every lesson we learn, every curve ball a project throws at us, everything goes into the SOP. And we have SOPs for every department. And we’re cross training too. Content team is trained to do Paid Ads. The Web Dev team is trained to do SEO. Creative team is also trained in building funnels! And the only way to do that is through an extensive SOP. 

They say ‘the early bird gets the worm’. I say the worm is always there; you need to work to find it and no, you can't cheat the grind!

MONICA: Any advice you share in how you are available with clients but also create boundaries? 

Kree:  I sucked at creating boundaries for a long time. I’m turning it around. I had, all this time, been looking for a perfect time management app, a perfect tactic, and a perfect recipe to help me with this. Turns out, it’s as simple as saying no! Parkinson’s Law says work expands to fill the time. So no matter the time at hand, we’ll never be on top of everything. We’ll always have a list of unchecked to-do list. We’ll always have clients chasing for one thing or another. We’ll always have teams looking for answers. And it’s only natural to step up and try to get s*** done! 

But if we don’t say no, we’re sending a message to the Universe that it’s okay! It’s okay to keep sending me such situations. I can handle it. I can compensate for others. This will burn me out, but it’s okay – I will keep doing this. Start by saying no. But don’t be reckless. Create a backup. Build a knowledge base. Create a process. Cross train your teams. It won’t be all perfect in the beginning but you’ve gotta start somewhere. 

MONICA: What advice do you have for mom entrepreneurs who are juggling parenting and building their business? 

Kree:  I actually quite struggle with this and if I said otherwise or began to give any form of advice, I’d be inauthentic. There are days, many days than I can count, when I feel like I’m being best at neither – a good mom nor a good leader. However, I try. I try to ace this problem every day. I try to get on top of things every day. I try new strategies every day. And because no two days look the same with toddlers, it’s a constant battle. 

I think I’ll be lying if I said there’s a way to be best at both. There isn’t. But the biggest shift for me was when I started seeing my problem as my power. When I want to quit, instead of looking into my son’s eyes and feeling sorry for not being a great mom, whatever that means anyway, I look into his eyes and realize who’s watching me! That stops me on the track and gets me going. As Ryan Holiday would say, obstacle is the way!

Getting to know Kree

MONICA: What advice would you give your younger self?

Kree:  Cheer for yourself more. It’s not other people’s job to like you. It’s yours!

MONICA: What is a book that you couldn’t stop reading?

Kree:  I AM THAT By Nisargdutta Maharaj

MONICA: What are you watching lately that you really enjoyed? Why?

Kree:  Does Peppa Pig count? 🙂 At rare occasions when all our screens are not hijacked by my toddler, I like to binge watch the old Top Gear episodes.

MONICA: What is your favorite way to decompress? Why?

Kree:  Cuddle time with my son. And writing poems. If I can find a way to merge the two, holy grail!

MONICA: If someone is visiting Australia for the first time, where would you recommend they go, eat, or do?

Kree:  The Great Barrier Reef is without a doubt one of my favorite places in the world. It’s an absolutely breathtaking place that never gets old no matter how many times I visit. If you want to go outback and see hidden gems, Coober Pedy is an incredible hidden gem in northern South Australia! Like, literally! Coober Pedy is renowned for its below-ground dwellings, called “dugouts”. There isn’t much to see above land, but a whole city underground.

But I’m from Sydney. So let’s talk about that! Touring the New South Wales is a lot of fun with a bounty of natural attractions, quirky surprises and rich history. If you love water culture, you’ll love going to the world-famous Bondi Beach. The Sydney Harbor Bridge is always lit up at night. Nothing I’d rather be doing than eating gelato from Gelateria di Carla down in Surry Hills with all your friends from around the world. 

Coffee culture is rich! So, if you love a good brew, pop into literally any of the cafes you pass by and you won’t be disappointed! For food, one of my favorite sushi restaurants is Aria; located on the waterfront near Chinatown, it offers an elegant Japanese dining experience with Sydney Harbour at their backs. Then maybe head south and enjoy some authentic Thai street food from Soi 31’s mobile carts, topped off with a Fortune Cookie ice cream sandwich from HK Desserts in Surry Hills. If seafood is more your thing, then it might be time to grab a reservation at Redfern’s famous Long Beach Seafood Restaurant

OK, I’m nostalgic now. Go, have fun! You’ll love it. K, bye!

MONICA: If you could travel anywhere and do anything, where would you go and what would you want to do? 

Kree:  If I could travel anywhere and do anything, I would go back to the 1800s for a week.

I want to explore a world without cars or electricity before things became genericized. It’s where heirlooms come from. And people from that time – maybe they can lend me their wisdom.

Oh, snap! That’s not the question. I’d love to travel back to Nepal – not Kathmandu the capital, the rural Nepal, the Himalayas… the true essence of Nepal. It’s one of the few places on earth where you can stop and stop at a time capsule. It’s a magical place, like some place unchanged for thousands of years. 

MONICA: Anything else you want to share?

Kree:  Live in the moment and never dim your light.

Thank you, Kree for doing all that you do, for being who you are and for the continued work and collaboration. I look forward to working together in many more projects to come!

To connect with Kree:

Instgram/Twitter/TikTok/Facebook:  @kreepandey 

LinkedIn: /in/kreepandey

Website: kreepandey.com

About the Author

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang, Founder, and CEO of InnovatorsBox® and Author of Rethink Creativity is transforming today’s workforce through the power of creativity. She helps companies rethink culture, leadership, and team development by making creativity practical and relatable regardless of industry or job title. She has worked with clients worldwide including Fortune 500 companies, higher education, government, and nonprofits. Monica’s work has been recognized by The White House, Ashoka Changemakers, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Prior to InnovatorsBox®, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation policy expert. She holds an M.A. from SAIS Johns Hopkins University in Strategic Studies and International Economics and a B.A. from Boston University.

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