What is your name, age, and location?
Sharon W. Wood. Age 52. Location: Ridgefield, CT, United States.
What is your profession?
Founder & CEO – Stone Creek Entertainment.
What did you study in school and what degrees do you have?
I studied marketing and philosophy in college, but was unable to get a degree. I had family obligations. I loved learning and mourned that a bit (although no regrets). Perhaps because I couldn’t get my degree, I really revel in learning. It doesn’t get old and I love it like it’s a brand new experience each time.
What was your first job?
I was a babysitter in my youth, although it didn’t last. The babies came with Great Dane’s and I quickly realized that wasn’t my calling. I was a teacher’s aide in high school, and then worked at an insurance agency. I loved being a teacher’s aide but like the Great Dane’s, insurance work wasn’t for me either.
Who or what inspired you to break into your current line of work?
I was an Executive Assistant at an ad agency and a sister agency’s CEO often encountered me at work late at nights and on weekends. After a few conversations, he offered me a job, encouraging me to accept because he felt I had “marketing instincts.” He insisted that my lack of degree was irrelevant, that you couldn’t teach someone to have a gut feel for their work.
Name/describe what has been your most rewarding project so far?
By far, Karizmac Luminous, our new app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch is the most rewarding. It is geared to young girls and women, presenting the user with 300 decisions. Upon choosing her decision, it tells her what that decision says about her personality and then offers a renowned woman who may think like she does. After each session, the user gets a beautiful “charisma map,” made up of her personality traits. It is a wonderful experience to have positive feedback for your work, to hear someone tell you that they learned something about themselves because of your app.
Name/describe one incident when being a woman has helped your career?
We create games and apps for women. Being a woman definitely helps. Games are emotional and experiential. I once read (quite a while ago) about a man who was working with a cosmetics company. In order to experience his product through the user’s eyes (no pun intended), he applied mascara and felt he understood exactly what the customer did. I found that to be peculiar. He may have experienced how it feels to apply mascara, but if that’s all he thought there was to it, he missed the point about what mascara means to a woman. I feel the same way about games and apps for women. You have to live it to know how it’s going to be appreciated.
Name/describe one incident when being a woman has hindered your career?
I worked in sports marketing in the late 70s and early 80s. It was definitely a boy’s club. I can’t complain about it hindering my career – I was promoted quite often in that era. But for many men who I worked with, the idea that I was creating multimillion dollar sports marketing campaigns was humorous.
Who is your role model or mentor (alive or dead)?
I’ve been really fortunate to have quite a few. I do, however, have to credit my high school English teacher, who is still a great friend and supporter. She really changed how I think and as a result, how I learned. I am very sure that was a significant paradigm shift for me. It changed how I see the world and myself. I am happy to say we are still in touch.
If you could give one piece of advice to a woman starting out in your field, what would it be?
Everyone tells you to work hard, but I would say work smart. Working smart requires working hard, but it also requires you to think and feel what you’re working.
I work in games, one of the fastest moving business industries. It requires speed and being limber. Whether you’re in a fast moving business segment or any other, I feel like we’re all in a hurry. Hurry and finish. Hurry and get home. Hurry and move on to the next thing. You can hurry yourself past many really important learnings. But when you really absorb what you’re working on, it not only enables you to build your career, it also enlarges who you are as a person.
Follow @karizmac on Twitter
Download the Karizmac Luminous app via iTunes
– Interview by Elena Rossini