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Employee Spotlight: Ben Bernard

July 19, 2019

WordStream has some impressive employees in our ranks: from industry influencers to marathon runners, from analysts to authors. The Employee Spotlight series aims to highlight the talented individuals who work here. Each month, we’ll be featuring an interview here on the blog and on our social accounts.

For this month’s Employee Spotlight, we’re featuring Ben Bernard. As a senior specialist on the Customer Success team, Ben works with clients on all things paid search. He also started PrideStream, an employee resource group here at WordStream with a mission to make our office a more inclusive environment for people who identify as LGBTQ+. We talked with Ben about his clients, PrideStream, grave goods, his tidy desk, and more!

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How did you hear about WordStream? Why did you want to work here?

I was in the midst of job searching when one of my very good friends was in a management training class with our own Leslie Signor. She told me that she met this awesome person who worked at a company called WordStream. I helped start a menswear company, and at the time had been working there for about four years. I worked with the CEO on paid search campaigns a little, enough to get me interested in the industry. I have a liberal arts background, so I wanted my next job to let me develop a hard technical skill. I looked up WordStream and thought it sounded like a really cool place, so I ended up reaching out to Leslie and applying to work here.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I really enjoy working with advertisers. I love seeing the passion that they bring to running their businesses more effectively and more efficiently. Advertisers also have a lot more insight into what's important to them and what their goals are going to be. On the professional services team, we conduct at least an hour a month of consulting for each of the clients in our book of business. That means that we have a smaller book of business than my SaaS team colleagues. I’ve been here for two years now, but I still have a handful of clients who have been with me since I started, so we’ve gotten the chance to do a lot together.

What was your favorite class in school that you feel like you’ve used at work?

I studied anthropology and archaeology, so there's not really any direct connection I can make without really trying to stretch it. I loved exploring the connection between material culture of today versus material culture of the past. Grave goods was one of my favorite topics—I still find the items people choose to bury with their loved ones fascinating.  

Generally speaking, though, communication is huge in my job. Having an understanding of how people interact with one another and considering why they make the choices they do is extremely relevant. Being able to perceive how somebody will react or being able to have the foresight to predict how they might is incredibly useful. I believe I’m able to think more deeply on those things because I studied anthropology and sociology. This skill has helped me build and maintain positive relationships. 

What’s the best thing you’ve learned on the job?

Beyond learning the technical skill of PPC management, I’ve been able to hone my data and analytical chops. In my role, I’m required not only to collect and analyze account data myself, but also to break my analysis and my process down for my clients. I have no formal training in data analytics, but I’ve learned so much from doing it myself and being required to explain everything succinctly for my clients.

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Ben with one of his clients, John Wolffe of Jennco Solutions.

Anything you’ve been working on at work that isn’t client-centric? 

Yes, I helped start PrideStream this spring, and I’m on the leadership board for this employee resource group, or ERG. Right around the time of the acquisition, we learned that Gannett had an ERG for their LGBTQ+ employees, and a group of us knew we wanted to start something similar at WordStream. SaaS companies can be comprised of mostly straight white cis men, which doesn’t always foster the most inclusive environment for people who identify as LGBTQ+.

We wanted to make WordStream a welcoming place for all employees, visitors, and interviewees, and our leadership team was supportive of that. Initially, we attended Gannett’s meetings to figure out how the group handled membership and meeting, and how they planned events. Once we were ready to start PrideStream, my co-leader Derek Smith and I approached VP of Customer Success Polly McIsaac to be our executive sponsor, and we met with Women of WordStream leaders for advice on running an ERG.

So far, we had a kick-off event with a screening of a video made by the Trans Literacy Project, we hosted a movie night, and we marched in the Pride Parade as a company for the second year—and the largest Pride Parade Boston has put on so far. Coming up we're hosting a book club discussion of Leah on the Offbeat and planning a speaker for National Coming out day on October 11.

What’s your workspace aesthetic like? Minimalist? Homey? Neat?

It’s pretty neat. I'm a Virgo, so I like everything in its place. I have a few fidget toys that I use when I'm on a call, but I typically make sure that they're back in their place before I leave.

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I have a few different types of crystals on my desk for good energy—I like to also make sure that nobody else touches those so they don't absorb other people's energy. I also try to dust my desk about once a week to keep it sparkling.

What’s the first thing you do when you get to work each morning?

I turn on my computer, and then I say hey to Kelley, because she sits behind me and is usually in a little bit before I am. I really love the pod where I sit.  There's a really comfy chair that happened to land there when we moved seats last time, and it’s magnetic in drawing people in to talk about work or to chat about their weekend—it really runs the gamut from managers to new associate hires, too. Our pod is friendly place to ask a question or just take a breather.

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The pod squad.

You need to put your head down and get some work done asap. Do you have a go-to song? 

I don’t really listen to anything in the office. My job is so collaborative, and I can learn something new just from overhearing people talk next to me. That’s incredibly valuable, so I don’t want to miss that. If I need to do work, I can focus on the task and ignore everything else going on around me. 

What’s your go-to lunch?

I have to eat at noon on the dot, especially because I don’t eat breakfast. I hate messing with my lunch schedule. Sometimes, I'll have friends who are at conferences in the area and ask to meet up for lunch, but I can’t do it unless they meet during my schedule. I always have a call at one p.m., and I typically have a call that ends at noon, so I have exactly one hour to figure out what I'm going to eat, go get it, eat it, and then prepare. Lately, I’ve been bringing lunch, which makes it a little easier. Last week, I made a big pasta salad over the weekend to bring in each day.

But if I’m buying lunch, chicken tenders from Star Market are my go-to. They’re so good.

What’s the first concert you ever went to?

I can’t remember my very first concert but I did go to a Taylor Swift concert that Bieber opened for. So that was a while ago! 

If you didn't work in digital marketing, what would you do?

Easy, I’d be a SoulCycle instructor.

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What's your favorite thing to do to relax when you get home each night?

I change into athleisure right away. I like the transition out of my work clothes.

Céillie Clark-Keane

Céillie Clark-Keane

Céillie is the managing editor of the WordStream blog. 

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