I have a lot of ideas; I’ve learned it’s best to bounce them off other people to test the quality of the idea and to make it even better!

 

Kristi Piehl launched Media Minefield after her award-winning career as a TV news reporter/anchor. She invented Newsability℠ as a process to secure consistent real news coverage for clients. In 2015, her alma mater, Bethel University, named her Alumna of the Year. She is a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Women Presidents’ Organization and a C200 Protégé. Kristi is passionate about the company culture that values family and flexibility. For three consecutive years, Media Minefield has been voted one of the “Best Places To Work”. Kristi loves having adventures with her family and is an avid reader and runner.

Where did the idea for Media Minefield come from?

My 12-year TV reporting career ended with an unexpected lay off. I was trying to figure out my next career move and took a class at my church that explored how to tie your passions (news) with helping people. The business was born.
As a reporter, I experienced the power of news and the ineffectiveness of traditional public relations professionals. Media Minefield is a solution to the frustration many experts and companies feel because traditional PR firms don’t have the experience or relationships to secure consistent news coverage for clients in local and national media outlets across the country.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Productivity begins with an early morning workout. My personal and professional life are better if I start the day with a sweat! The workday is productive if I do at least one thing to move the company forward. I put together a “to do” list before I leave the office every night. It’s ready for me when I walk in the door and if I can check at least one thing off the list, it’s a “win”!

How do you bring ideas to life?

I have a lot of ideas; I’ve learned it’s best to bounce them off other people to test the quality of the idea and to make it even better!

What’s one trend that excites you?

In my industry, I get excited to see more news outlets adding local programming for their viewers. This trend makes financial sense for the media outlets and is beneficial for many of our clients.
In the workplace, I’m thrilled studies are proving many traditional policies are ineffective. At Media Minefield, it is my goal to create a workplace where people want to work and families are valued. Unlimited vacation, bring your babies to work and birthdays off are some of the policies that improve the company.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Learning. Whether it’s from a business book or meeting with a peer group or working with my mentor, it is critical I continue to evolve. I can’t be the kind of leader I was five years ago because my company has more than doubled in that time.

What advice would you give your younger self?

“Relax. Take time to figure out who you are and what really matters. Don’t be who other people think you should be.”

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

Airlines should offer a portion of the plane for people who want to switch seats and talk. I’m fascinated by people’s stories and would love to learn where people are going and where they’ve been.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I take one day a month working out of the office. I focus on one challenge or issue and spend the day solving it.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Differentiating our services from our perceived competitors and keeping our services focused. From the beginning, the goal has been to disrupt the PR industry by building a news-driven company staffed by former journalists. Due to our 100% interview rate (every client we’ve ever had has received news coverage), we’ve been fortunate to have a lot of referral business.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Just one? There have been a lot… the solutions always come by being honest about the failure and asking others for help.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

A curated monthly subscription service that pairs wine, flowers and books based on the season and person’s interests and preferences.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Easy question: ice cream for the office. Just yesterday, we brought in three flavors from a local specialty ice cream store (Honey & Mackie’s). Everyone met in the plaza and we all enjoyed the ice cream break.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

HipChat is our internal communication tool. We have rooms for each team and a place where anyone in the company can suggest client story ideas or see recent client news interviews. We are passionate about our Core Values and have emoticons that highlight each one. Almost everyday, someone calls out a Core Value in HipChat.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” because it is inspirational and aspirational. It causes self reflection and the examination of goals.

What is your favorite quote?

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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