This interview is part of our Empowered Women series in partnership with FREE THE WORK, The 3% Movement, The Female Quotient, and TIME’S UP Foundation — a coalition effort to champion more equal and accurate representation of women leading at work, at home, in their communities and beyond. Read more about this initiative here and download images from the Empowered Women collection here.
Krystal Hauserman is VP of Marketing and Communications at Fullscreen, a leader in social content, creative services and management for top digital talent, celebrities, public figures and brands. In her role, she develops innovative 360-degree marketing, communications, social media and experiential event strategies that drive brand growth and audience engagement.
We spoke with Krystal about her career path, her work at Fullscreen, and what she sees as the biggest opportunities to support the rise of more women in leadership today.
Hi Krystal! Tell us a little about yourself — how did you get to where you are today?
How did I get to where I am today? Boy, how many hours do you have? But seriously, I like to say my that while my path seemed to be proceeding in a non-linear manner at times, everything makes total sense when looking back. Growing up in Oklahoma, I always dreamed of something “bigger.” I made my way to Los Angeles for law school, landed a big law firm job, transitioned to marketing, and then left it all on a leap of faith for the world of social media.
There were plenty of raised eyebrows along the way, but if I’ve learned anything, it’s that the people who aren’t afraid to “start over” or to make what seems like a lateral move, or even a step back to course correct, are the ones who find the way that was always meant for them.
Fullscreen is a social content company that provides creative, strategy and marketing services for both talent and brand clients in order to grow, engage and monetize their social audiences. What inspired you to join the team at Fullscreen?
Having worked in pretty rigid and formal environments my whole career, I really longed to shake things up. I wanted to find a place where I could lead a team, be on the cutting edge of culture and trends, and immerse myself into the dynamic, and constantly-changing world of social media. Fullscreen was the perfect fit. No day passes without me learning something new. Our culture is very entrepreneurial, allows room to try new things, innovate and push boundaries. And I get to work with some of the most collaborative and creative people around. You can’t beat that!
Tell us more about your role at Fullscreen — what does a typical day look like for you?
No doubt, 2020 has been a test for the entire world. Our marketing strategy for the year pretty much went out the window in early March, and we quickly reimagined and recalibrated. But a global pandemic aside, I don’t think I have ever considered a day to be routine or typical since I joined Fullscreen. I am incredibly lucky in that respect. We are always exploring a new idea, a new partnership, or a new collaboration. Since taking on my new role as VP of Marketing and Communications earlier this year, I get the opportunity to guide strategy across a broad range of things, from publicity to events to social media to continually looking for ways to support WarnerMedia and our direct-to-consumer entertainment platform, HBO Max.
Despite the challenges, I am incredibly optimistic about the road ahead. It’s a really exciting time to be in the social media space. I like to say that all of the positives we are seeing from social media right now — as a vehicle to help people mobilize in support of the Black community, as a resource for education, as a virtual space for people feeling isolated to connect — is the best of what social media can be, and I am proud to be part of it.
At Noun Project, we believe that visual language has the power to shape, reinforce and change perceptions. What are your thoughts on the importance of visual representation when it comes to supporting women in leadership?
We are at an inflection point right now, brought on by probably the most important civil rights revolution of a generation. One of the big eye-opening moments for me has been really listening to how the words, imagery and ideas that have become so ingrained in our culture have perpetuated systemic racism. As marketers, all of the choices we make, from copy to photography and down to the icons we use have to be thoughtful and representative.
What do you see as some of the biggest opportunities to positively drive meaningful change for women in the workplace and to support the rise of more women in leadership right now?
I feel very lucky to be part of a company like Fullscreen with a dynamic female leader in Maureen Polo at the helm. We have many female leaders across the company, at both the highest ranks and the junior level. If I think back to other positions where female representation was not so robust, to me the biggest drivers were a lack of committed and unrelenting focus on mentoring and developing female talent by male counterparts, and a lack of authentic interest in offering flexible work arrangements to foster better work-life balance. The good news is, I think another silver lining of the pandemic has been to shine a spotlight on the demands of working parents and how offering true flex work arrangements, including working remotely, does not equate to a loss of productivity or quality work.
Did you have a mentor throughout your career journey?
I like to say, only half-jokingly, that I spent a good amount of time waiting for Oprah to bust through my office door and tell me my mentor had finally arrived. I’m still waiting. I think the lesson here is you cannot passively wait for someone to just show up. People are busy and not everyone is mentor material. You might have to shop around to make the right connection. Be proactive. Set up some “get to know you” coffees. Keep them short. Respect people’s time. See who you click with on a human level. Be intentional and direct about what you are looking for, and even more importantly, what you can offer in return. This is a two-way street. Relationships worth anything take time to grow. Invest in them. Maybe your mentor wants to know more about a new function on a social platform you know like the back of your hand. We all have something to offer, no matter where you are in your career.
Looking to the future, what inspires you and what initiatives are you most excited about?
A lot of people like to focus on the dumpster fire that is 2020. But, man do I feel like we’re on the verge of some really positive change. Advertisers are getting more serious about connecting with their customers on a human level. Society is taking a hard look at the injustices that have persisted for hundreds of years and people are really taking action in response. Social media seems to be transitioning from “look at me” to a “look at we,” viewing everything through a more conscious lens. And I think all of us are excited for that first large scale event we get to attend with family and friends. That’s gonna be a good day that I’m very much looking forward to.
What advice would you give to women in the workplace as they navigate the path to leadership?
Don’t ever let the limitations in someone else’s thinking dictate yours. Being told something is impossible is typically the teller talking to him or herself, not you. Be kind. Celebrate accomplishments of others. Everything is temporary. Never compromise your relationships with family and friends for work. The leader is the last one off the row boat, not the first. Call your mom.
About The Female Quotient
The Female Quotient taps into the power of the collective to advance equality. Through their portfolio, the organization brings visibility to the invisible, creates actions and accountability for change, and help companies close the gaps across parity, pipeline, and policy. Together with their partners, they are adding more women to every equation, from college campuses to the corner office, across sectors and industries.
Senior Director of Marketing at Noun Project