Working at the intersection of Technology and the Arts

We asked Brandy Shearer, owner and executive producer of ALOR Consulting how she became part of PDXWIT and what keeps her coming back:

Because I own my company, I need to seek out relationships, rather than just find them in the office. It sounds so cliché, but I discovered PDXWIT online while searching for networking opportunities for women. 

What I find the most exciting about PDXWIT took me by surprise. As a Producer, I was blown away by how well organized the events are. The best part though, is a feeling unlike what I’ve felt before. 

At PDXWIT, the feeling of listening to and rooting for every lightning speaker is palpable. We hear women who are experienced, and others who are just learning to present and may be nervous in front of the group. But we are thirsting to see each other succeed and at PDXWIT, we feel quenched.

How did you become a Producer? 

In 1992, I became a Producer for my high school’s morning news program in Grove City, Ohio. From that first experience, being on set has always made me feel alive. When I attended Ohio State University, I was focused and driven. I earned a BA in Communications with a Minor in Women’s Studies. 

After graduation I went to work at a video and film production company in Columbus, Ohio and earned the title Producer again. Getting paid to yell Action! for the first time, I felt I instantly grew 6 inches taller. 

However, I faced pressure as one of only a few women. I was expected to get coffee for meetings, even when male interns were in attendance. To continue my career growth, I shifted departments and began focusing on more technical projects. I launched my first website and produced my first CD-Roms within a few months. 

In September of 2001, I was laid off in the economic shock following 9/11. Taking my mom’s advice to “dream bigger, honey,” I moved to New York and began working on the creative side of digital departments. 

What is it like to sit at the intersection between technology and content marketing? 

Sitting at the intersection between tech and storytelling is both frustrating and liberating. 

From HBO to Food Network to Discovery Channel, I worked on the digital teams. To be successful, I’ve learned to speak both technical and creative languages. I have to know what will engage the audience, using the tools we know (storytelling) with the newest tools available (technology). Even more, I want to do this so effectively that we quantify the audience and get advertisers to pay us to tell even cooler stories. 

What are the challenges and advantages of a being a woman in a traditionally male role? 

When I was in my 20’s and yelling Action! on set, I wore 3-inch heels because I thought I needed some advantage. I didn’t realize then that being a woman is my advantage. 

For instance, possessing empathy allows me to read a room and adjust my presentations in real time. Also, it used to piss me off when everyone in a meeting assumed I was the assistant because I was female. But now, I understand it’s powerful to start a discussion in which I am authoritative, while the party I’m speaking with expends energy playing catch up, adjusting their perception of who I am.

Can you leave us with a sample of your work?  

I did a series for ReverbNation which is a tech company first, focused on building marketing tools for musicians to use.

The artist Sammy Brue is now signed to New West records and has been featured in Rolling Stone, Noisey, Paste Magazine and American Songwriter.