BABE 24: BECKY KIP,
Founder & CEO @ Hear My Voice
After learning about Becky's hustle, I knew she'd be the most perfect babe to spotlight on this particular day in history. She's a fierce, independent mom of 3 who kicked butt and climbed the corporate ladder before becoming Founder & CEO of Hear My Voice: a non-partisan app that provides side-by-side comparisons of political issues in a neutral space. If there's one thing we can all agree on today, it's that we need more resources like HMV, and more ladies like Becky who work hard to use their skills and passions towards the better of all of us. Is it too late for a write-in? #Becky4Prez
Hometown: Tampa, FL
Current city: Lutz, FL (A suburb of Tampa)
Alma mater: N/A
Degree: I went to travel & Tourism school but never had a formal University education
Job title(s)/Company: Founder & CEO @ Hear My Voice
Babe you admire and why?
Any woman who has worked hard to be where she is and who she wants to be. Someone who wasn’t handed fortune or fame and who has the drive and ambition to work past obstacles without making excuses.
What do you do in your free time?
Spend time with my family and volunteer with The Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition. Up until just a few years ago I was a figure competitor in the National Physique Committee (NPC) and though I was working full-time, I spent 3-4 hours a day in the gym and lots of weekends preparing for competitions. Today I still spend 5-6 hours exercising and at Orangetheory Fitness.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be?
I would have loved to have met Nelson Mandela, but today, I think hanging out with David Ortiz for an afternoon would be really fun!
If you were on The Amazing Race, who would your [female] partner be + why?
My sister-in-law, Tammy - she’s tough, and she would want to win as much as I would. :)
Tell us about your hustle:
I am the Founder & CEO at Hear My Voice, a political advocacy app that puts democracy back in the hands of the people - quite literally. I was driven by the desire for U.S. citizens to make well-informed decisions and take action on the issues they care about, with efficient access to their elected officials, regardless of their affiliation. I want to engage citizens at the national, state and local levels and give everyone the ability to truly have their voices heard.
What does your typical workday look like?
When I'm not traveling for business, I wake up at 4:30am, head to the gym, and am at my desk from roughly 7am-7pm. I build presentation decks, research content and client needs, and generally keep tabs on the Hear My Voice app and user inquiries. I also make client and vendor calls to prepare for out-of-town meetings, and travel 2-3 weeks per month to D.C. and capital cities to meet with potential clients and investors.
What is your previous work experience?
After 10 years in the Travel & Tourism industry, and having 3 small children to feed, I had an opportunity to move into Advertising & Sales for a local TV station. I was recruited to a Director position a few years later, and then to CBS Television (Corporate) as a Sales Director for Pro-Social, Government and Political advocacy work. Eventually, Pandora Radio hired me to launch their state and local government sales division, and I was there for a year until I knew it was time to launch Hear My Voice.
What inspired you to launch the app?
My interest in political advocacy bloomed from my years of working directly with government divisions. I was curious as to why more organizations and political advocates weren’t using broadcast media advertising to help ensure consensus for their positions and to sway political votes, so I set out to build a platform that would bridge that gap. However, I noticed in my research that there was not one place to go to truly get both sides of an issue, digest the good and the bad, and connect with your represented elected official all at once. Millennials -which are now the largest voting population and the most socially conscious of any previous generation- weren’t showing up to vote, especially in midterm elections. They felt they didn’t have the facts to make valid decisions, and that media ads were slanted and misconstrued. They wanted transparency and ease of use, and they would rather vote after learning both sides - otherwise, they'd support their communities in other ways, like volunteering.
One of the most important parts of Hear My Voice is also to make sure people stay politically engaged after the elections. The biggest opportunity for HMV arises now, when a new President is elected, as well as when Congressmen and Senators are seated. When decisions start being made on our behalf as citizens, we still should feel like we can be heard.
Do you have a background in politics? If not, have you always been interested in it?
Nope! I never really understood the importance of politics until the past 10 years or so. While working in Pro-Social ad campaigns, it became very apparent that regulation-passing laws (i.e. seat belt laws, motorcycle helmet requirements) were often the only thing that changed behavior and saved or improved lives. About 8 years ago, there was an amendment on the Florida State ballot for classroom size, which is great in theory, but there were tons of costs and issues with it that remained undisclosed. It was then that I knew someone had to be able to get this information out there, so that people can make better educated decisions and weigh all of the facts.
Do you ever struggle with your own political views getting in the way of your non-partisan brand?
Because I have seen exactly what media bias can do to opinions and perception of websites and brands, I was determined to make HMV neutral. I have a team that is required to research each topic and reach out to experts in the matters to get the clearest picture of both sides. Once they have done so, it is reviewed by myself and a few others before it goes live. Being non-partisan even means forgoing some investors and clients, but that's just part of the deal.
How long after launching HMV did you bring other team members on to assist you?
From the beginning, my husband has helped with the launch and is currently the COO while also running his own business. About 2 months ago, I was able to bring on someone directly from State of Florida Department of Health. She has been a great help uncovering the issues and complexities of the current election and what is in store for our future, specifically in Florida. My marketing and development team is currently outsourced. Our goal is to have 10-15 people on staff by mid-2017, mostly in sales and support.
What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced in the workplace? How’d you overcome it?
People not seeing the big picture and wanting to do it the way they always have. I wanted to look several years ahead at how media was changing and how we should consider moving in that direction, including Social Media and Mobile Apps. Some people aren't willing to think outside the box.
Career advice for other babes?
Find your niche and get VERY good at it. No matter what you are doing or where you're working, specialize in one thing, become the go-to person for it, and don't ever forego an opportunity to learn more.
Connect with Becky!