MY STRENGTH PROFILE

I lead with the Executing Theme.

 

I make things happen and will work tirelessly to get them done. I have the ability to "catch" an idea and make it a reality.

  1. Achiever

  2. Focus

  3. Communication 

  4. Input

  5. Discipline

Nancy Smay

MANAGING EDITOR & HEAD OF CONTENT STRATEGY

she/her   |   Denver, CO

I am a storyteller, a wordsmith, and a bibliophile. I find connections among disparate ideas and help businesses see how their stories serve the people that need to hear them.

MY SIDE HUSTLES

For Impact:

  • USA Today Best Selling Novelist

  • Indie publishing consultant

  • Mother to two boys

For Fun:

  • Skiing

  • Traveling

  • Wine Tasting

How I think:

MY MARK:
I build bridges between the technical and the creative. 

My tools are words. I love the process of clarifying and illuminating ideas and concepts by telling stories. Humans have been doing this for as long as we’ve walked the planet; sharing learned concepts through story. I am enamored with the idea of perpetuating a tradition with the power to shape our world. 

MY WHY:

I want to eliminate the inequities of understanding caused by tech jargon.

It sounds simple: I want to make technology and innovation accessible to those who can benefit from it or advance it. But it goes deeper. There are industries shrouded in a certain kind of knowledge or experience, places where specific people know the acronyms and tech-talk, and they guard it against dissemination to the masses. Why? I’m not sure. But I am certain that sharing knowledge can evoke ideas and solutions from unexpected corners. 

 

I want to make it okay to call out language that serves to confuse instead of to inform. I want to make it okay to ask questions and to say, “help me understand.” After all, the quest for understanding is not a display of ignorance. It’s a fundamental tenet of humanity.

WHAT LED ME HERE:

It started with a dream in New York City. It ended with an IPO.

A California native, living in New York City had always been a dream of mine. So in 1998, I threw everything in the back of my car and drove across the country. The internet was just becoming a thing, and they were handing out jobs, titles, and crazy salaries on street corners. Having started my career in PR, I landed a job as the Director of Marketing for an ad network that was subsequently purchased by 24/7 Media. We went through an IPO a year later and then underwent an international expansion, during which I was tasked with handling all of PR and sales support. Trial by fire didn’t begin to cover the challenge, but I loved every second of it.

Working for Pfizer taught me how to sell.

September 11, 2001 changed a lot of lives, including mine. It signaled the end of the dot-com boom in NYC’s “Silicon Alley” and many of us lost our jobs. I returned to my home state of California, and moved into pharmaceutical sales for Pfizer, where I built on my marketing experience and developed my presentation abilities through one-on-one selling to healthcare professionals. The providers I met were intelligent, overworked, cynical about salespeople, and generally resistant to anything perceived as a distraction from healthcare, so I learned to meet them where they lived. I armed myself with technical knowledge and used every tool in my arsenal to demonstrate the value of my presence. Some of the most resistant providers I worked with are still friends today. This experience helped me understand the nuances of the sales process, and the way good marketing supports every step of the cycle.

Marrying a Marine meant another move – this time to Booz Allen Hamilton.

Marrying into the Marine Corps meant adjusting to constant uncertainty, and adapting to the environment, both as a person and a professional. By this point in my career, I had spent years writing for technical, nuanced industries. I enjoyed the challenge of uncovering the “so what” for complicated products and services, and I began to realize I was quite good at it to. That's why I accepted a position with Booz Allen Hamilton as a technical writer, a position I maintained as we moved around the country, giving me an early taste of remote work life. Eventually, I was hired in-house by my government client, where I developed complex reports based on studies geared toward helping Navy officials choose appropriate technologies and programs for funding. The reports and presentations I gave at the Pentagon influenced technologies that the Navy uses today.

After decades of writing for healthcare, tech, and defense, I left to go agency-side.

I’d sat on one side of the table for years, as the client. After working for the government directly, I’d gone on to run marketing for an aerospace contractor focused on AI-driven flight training systems and a joint venture in counter-UAS services and training. I’d built brands from the inside, and loved the creative part of that process. I moved to Malik Media eager to get an inside view of the creative process that goes on behind the scenes, and to whet my appetite for working on multiple projects at once, rather than just one brand. Working with a variety of clients took me back to my time in sales at Pfizer, a reminder of the powerful relationships that are born out of working closely with smart, people who are passionate about their trade. Identifying narratives that tie directly to the “why” at the heart of each business is a challenging yet rewarding feat, but the feeling that comes from helping super-smart technical people understand their businesses in completely new ways is thrilling.

We saw a need for story in a new space. So we chased it.

In the background, I maintained a side hustle, kind of an open secret. I am an author, multi-published and a USA Today bestseller–under a pen name. After a year at Malik Media, it finally felt as if the two sides of my life were beginning to align. At Malik, we were beginning to see the real power of stories and thought leadership – particularly in moving the needle for our most complex, technical clients. Coming off of a year of rapid growth, it became clear to our leadership team that specializing made the most sense to our long-term strategy. During this time, I also started to understand that my unique skill set, which allowed me to straddle the line between the high-level technical client and the creative team, was something that I could train others to develop. As Aggregate came to fruition, I helped build it into a content-focused brand consultancy. Now I work as the managing editor and head of content, where I get to act as steward of the stories we create as a team. It feels a bit like coming home.