YPDaily: Lexi Mitz

Industrious, driven, and philanthropic, Lexi Mitz embodies all of the characteristics that we feel epitomize what it means to be a Notable Young Professional. Lexi has worked her way up the ranks in her “j-o-b” to positively impact a young Canadian company’s bottom-line, while simultaneously launching a successful photography business in her spare time. Get to know Lexi Mitz in this Young Professional Daily. 

What is your name and age?
Lexi Mitz -27 years old

What is the name of the company you work for and what industry is it in?
Lexi: Spin Master Ltd. (Children’s toy and entertainment company) www.spinmaster.com ilexi (photo art) www.ilexi.ca 

Eiffel Tower
Photo by Lexi Mitz

Elevator Pitch (we just met on an elevator, we have 30 seconds together in the elevator, please describe your business):
Spin Master is the world’s most innovative, most fun children’s entertainment company. ilexi offers photographic images taken all over the world printed, mounted and displayed in unique and thought-provoking ways

Why did you get involved in your industry, why this one, what was the inspiration?
I started at Spin Master over 6 years ago right after graduating from the University of Western Ontario. Spin Master had already begun to grow at a rapid rate and I saw many synergies between what I had to offer as an individual and what the company could share with me. The creative and entrepreneurial spirit, along with the fast-paced and team-oriented atmosphere matched my own personal motives and innate abilities so it was a very natural fit…not to mention how fun it is to play and be around toys all day!

As far as ilexi goes, I officially launched the business in September 2009 after about a year of donating various pieces to charitable silent auctions and giving away many pieces as gifts. The demand for my work began to increase with the exposure gained through friends and donations to the point where it made sense to start selling it. The key to success for ilexi relates to featuring new galleries online and holding very low levels of printed inventory. I cater each piece to the buyer. In most cases, people buy a piece, get it home and have no clue where to put it because it’s not really the right size or finish they wanted for their room. I prefer to find out exactly what my clients are looking for (traditional versus modern finish, size, budget, etc) and cater the piece to the individual.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis?
For the past 6 years at Spin Master I’ve been working as a National Account Manager in Sales overseeing various accounts in the US and Canada, namely Target for the past 2.5 years. However, in the last few months I’ve left the sales department to start a new division in our company handling Global Acquisitions. On a day-to-day basis it’s very exciting to be able to scour the world to look for the next best product or company out there with the goal of growing Spin Master even further and taking the company to the next level. On a daily basis relating to ilexi, my favorite part relates to monitoring my site traffic and performing my own site updates. It took me almost 6 months to officially launch the business from the time I decided to do so because I was determined to take a course to learn how to build and manage my own website to ensure I wasn’t reliant on anyone else for daily updates. It’s been a blast!

Photo by Lexi Mitz

What is the most challenging part of your job?
At Spin Master, from a sales perspective, the most challenging part related to beating the competition for advertisements and shelf space. With ilexi, it’s always challenging for me to try to find the fine balance between shooting what I feel passionate about and what a client will actually want to display on the walls in their homes. I specialize only in travel photography, and even more specifically in “street” photography (catching people in the moment in their natural environments), so I find what I love to shoot tends to be quite specific. I’ve started to try to broaden my scope to cater to my client’s desires.

Where do you see yourself going in 5 years?
I hope to continue to evolve within the Spin Master organization and specifically be able to grow the new division in M&A and Business Development within the next 5 years. Regarding ilexi, I plan to head out on at least one photographic journey per year to to accumulate a solid gallery offering in 5 years from now.

Photo by Lexi Mitz

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
People call me daily to ask me about my personal endeavors or about my success with Spin Master and how I can help them…I would say the best advice I have is to know your skill sets and talents to make sure you’re being best utilized within your organization and that you’re being challenged every day. It’s also extremely important to keep an open mind and explore all opportunities that come your way – check your ego at the door…you could miss out on something great if you think you’re too good for it.

What is your greatest asset as it relates to business?
I think my greatest asset as it relates to business would have to be tenacity…I don’t like the answer NO and rarely do I accept it!

What does success look like to you?
I already consider myself successful because I’ve found a career where I love to come in to work every day and I’m inspired by the people who surround me. I was fortunate enough to use personal funding to launch ilexi and within less than 1 year became profitable. I have been able to travel the world through both business and personal trips. I have an incredible family and support system. I have my health and happiness, and I will truly feel success when I’m able to build a family of my own one day and share all of this with them.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
For Spin Master, (leading back to my tenacious spirit), the most memorable milestone thus far would likely be breaking in to launch the Walgreen’s account and turning it in to our 5th largest retail customer in North America within 2 years. For ilexi, definitely the most memorable moment was in February 2010 when I was approached by The Jerusalem Foundation asking if I would join them on a mission to capture my perspective of Jerusalem and showcase my work in a photographic fundraiser at the Pikto Gallery in the Distillery District in Toronto. The fundraiser just took place in October where I sold 11 pieces in one evening and raised close to $5,000 for the charity choosing to donate 100% of my sales to them.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
In addition to The Jerusalem Foundation, there are many other charities I support personally. In 2008 I co-chaired Boobyball in support of Rethink Breast Cancer, for the past few years I’ve been on the committee for the CJPAC Action Party and will be co-chairing the event in 2011, and there are numerous other charitable organizations that have reached out to me to sit on their committees or help with their fundraising events. Since philanthropy is such a vital part of my life, it was very important to me to associate with a philanthropic initiative at the launch of ilexi. My trip to Malawi with Millennium Promise (MP) in 2007 was what truly inspired me to start ilexi and all of my involvement within the philanthropic community. As a result, I donate a portion of all sales from “Deep in Malawi; Mwandama Village uncovered” back to MP which sets out to eradicate extreme poverty in Africa. More information on ilexi and the philanthropic initiatives can be found at www.ilexi.ca