Did you know that Toronto is home to one of the fastest growing tech-communities in the world? Now you do. And just ask anyone in the Toronto tech scene about Erin Bury, and they’ll tell you that she helped make the term “Community Manager”, a commonly known job title. She is kind, passionate, and extremely bright. She has been a key-player at a popular Start-up since it’s inception, and Erin is going places –fast! Get to know young professional Erin Bury today on Notable.
Notable: What is your Name and age?
Erin: Erin Bury, 25
Notable: What is the name of the company you work for and what industry is it in?
Erin: My company’s name is Sprouter.com, and it’s the technology industry. Here’s our Facebook page and our Twitter handle is @Sprouter.
Notable: Elevator Pitch (we just met on an elevator, we have 30 seconds together in the elevator, please describe your business):
Erin: Sprouter provides strategic connections for entrepreneurs. We help startups around the world connect with the knowledge, other entrepreneurs and investors they need to help make their business successful. We do this through our peer-to-peer community, Ask.Sprouter.com Q&A platform, Introductions service connecting entrepreneurs with investors, weekly entrepreneurship publication Sprouter Weekly, and global Sprout Up events.
Notable: Why did you get involved in your industry, why this one, what was the inspiration?
Erin: I’ve always been interested in communications and journalism – both of my parents are journalism grads, and I saw how they turned those degrees into successful marketing & reporting careers. The technology aspect happened by accident – I joined a PR agency after graduating and they only had availability on their technology team. I loved working with tech clients though, and started to follow tech trends. When I got the opportunity to work at a technology startup I just couldn’t pass it up – it meant being engrossed in the world of technology entrepreneurs on a daily basis, and being immersed in tech news. It’s amazing to see the innovation happening in Canada and around the world in tech hubs like Silicon Valley. While the inspiration may have been accidental, I believe that everything happens for a reason, and that getting involved with this industry was no accident. It’s led me to a new ambition – to become a tech entrepreneur myself someday.
Notable: What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis?
Erin: There are a lot of great things about my job – I’m 25% of our company (a whopping four people) so I really contribute to the direction and success of Sprouter. I would say the best part of my daily job is reading about, meeting, and giving exposure to entrepreneurs from around the world. For new entrepreneurs a little press is often all they need to be successful, and I love giving them a platform to talk about their product or service.
Notable: What is the most challenging part of your job?
Erin: The most challenging part of my job is working with limited resources. Since we’re such a small company we don’t have the budgets of multinational companies, and I have to get creative in order to get the word out and build our audience. Whether it’s attending events, increasing our media presence, using social media tools, or speaking engagements, I try to use as many free or next-to-free tools as I can.
Notable: Where do you see yourself going in 5 years?
Erin: That’s a great question – in 5 years I’ll be 30, which is a scary thought right now. I can’t say where I’ll be, but I can say what I’d like to accomplish. I want to take some time off to travel between now and then, I want to start my own company, and I want to still be working with web entrepreneurs. But most of all I want to love what I do – there’s no point in doing a job you don’t love. To me happiness trumps everything else.
Notable: Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Erin: My advice is to always think about how you can help other people. The biggest mistake I see people make when they meet someone new is to immediately assess how that person can help them. You should always ask how you can help someone else, because once you’ve introduced someone or helped them out in some way, they’ll be that much more likely to think of you in the future. What goes around truly does come around in business.
Notable: What is your greatest asset as it relates to business?
Erin: My greatest asset is my network. Over the past three years I’ve built up a great global network of entrepreneurs, journalists, communications professionals, and friends. They’re always willing to help me out, answer any questions I have, and provide an introduction if I need it (and I’m always willing to do the same for them). If you want to be successful you can’t be complacent – no one ever got ahead sitting on their couch watching reality TV. Go out to industry events, start reading publications and blogs in your industry, and start making a name for yourself online and in the community. Your network is the most powerful asset you have, and it follows you no matter what path your career takes.
Notable: What does success look like to you?
Erin: I think I’m part of a new crazy generation who doesn’t equate success with money. To me success means making a difference at your company, or building a company for yourself. It means being excited to get up every day, and loving your job. But it also means having a life outside of work – I cook, see my friends, play guitar and read a lot, and always make time for these hobbies.
Notable: What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Erin: I would have to say the most memorable milestone in my career is being featured in big-name media outlets like Forbes, CNN and The New York Times. Since I’m a journalism grad I really respect these publications, so to see my name there is really thrilling. And I suppose the time I met Richard Branson was pretty thrilling – he’s such an amazing entrepreneur, and a really down to earth guy.
Notable: Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Erin: I started a group with a few of my peers in Toronto called GenYTO. The idea behind the group is to get young professionals together in person and online to dispel the myth that Generation Y is lazy and entitled – we happen to believe that GenYers are ambitious, innovative and determined, and we’re behind some of the coolest companies and technologies in Toronto. We hold events and at every event we raise money for a different charity, one that has impacted one of us personally. On a personal level I support the Humane Society.
Notable: What is Notable to you?
Erin: To me being Notable means doing something to solve a problem for yourself or others. So many of the entrepreneurs I meet have created a company by answering the question “Wouldn’t it be awesome if…” or encountering a problem and saying “There’s got to be a better way to do this.” Being Notable means actively being part of the solution – everyone has ideas, but it’s what you do with them that makes you Notable.
Notable: Anything Else?
Erin: Nope – I think that about covers it!