Every week we chat to an inspiring woman – whether they are killing it in the work life, trying to make a difference to the world or they’re the next big thing…we’re sitting down with some truly amazing women.
This week we spoke to Jennifer Cullen, Owner at talent agency Believe Management and now COO at Steereo – a new music app sweeping the states.
Q.What inspired you to start your business?
My brother Keith Cullen is an independent artist and as an Artist Manager running my own agency I experienced the challenges first hand of what it takes to get music to market successfully, we had successfully launched him in the USA, Had his song placed in a Movie and charted him in the billboard charts but to recreate that again takes alot of investment and we wanted to have the right fans here the music.
It was the foundation of why we built Steereo we were essentially trying to solve an industry problem we were experiencing. We wanted to give independent artists a platform to get their music heard, and so we created this radio experience in rideshare.
Q. Tell us about your life as an entrepreneur?
I have worked for myself for the last 15 years, Working for yourself can be very rewarding but can also be very isolating I am very lucky to be surrounded by amazing people and I have incredible business partners and over the years have built a fantastic network of amazing likeminded people.
I think the biggest misconception about being an entrepreneur is that you are an overnight success or that it’s easy, the reality is that having a startup is hard work and it is the most demanding job you will ever have but also the most rewarding.
Q: Do you think it’s harder to be a woman in business?
I think Business is hard rather than being a woman in business. There are moments that being a woman may have impacted a situation but for me its been far and few between.
I believe in being the best version of myself and the hardest working person in the room, I tend to ignore anything that contributes to a negative impact on me or the business because someone has biases because of my gender.
Q. What’s a typical day in your life like?
As a COO no two days are the same, most people think that being in Music and Tech space is very cool but my day mostly involves dealing with back end of the business and making sure the team is supported and can execute effectively. My job involves a huge amount of travel right now which is great and I really love the fact that I get to see and hear some amazing talent before the rest of the world.
Q. What’s your favourite thing about your job?
I love when we get to see the impact of what we do in real life and hearing the success stories from the artists and drivers that use Steereo and likewise watching our team grow into their roles and embrace challenges as the company accelerates.
It’s been amazing to watch Steereo grow from an idea to having an impact on people’s daily lives. A cool moment was Steereo was on a panel recently alongside Rolling Stones, Spotify and Neilson to be on the same line up with incredible companies like this was amazing.
Q: What was your dream job growing up?
Growing up I wanted to be so many things and one of them was a lawyer, As a kid I was always a right fighter and wanted to do something good and impactful for the world, and then I went on to study business and contract law however as I got older I went into the corporate world, went back to college at night and from there I went out on my own and I have been self employed ever since.
Q: Who inspires you?
So many people, As a mother I have the greatest respect for single mothers who are out there raising children by themselves, From a health and wellness perspective my coach and mentor Dr Gloriane Giovanelli (https://drgloriane.com) continues to inspire me to be the best version of myself.
My brother Keith Cullen (www.kcmusic.ie) who is an incredible musician, and my Business Partner Anne Kavanagh who is just a genius she inspires me everyday.
Q. What is your ultimate goal for your business?
Our goal is to become a go to platform for new releases. A desired reaction is for a passenger in rideshare to actively engage with the Steereo experience and discover new music.
The technology we are building will contribute to custom audio experiences for each and every rider. We want Steereo to be a worldwide brand and one of the largest Audio and Advertising platforms in the world
Q: What makes you stand out from your competitors?
We’re the only company (that we are aware) of that is 100% focused on the audio rideshare space currently. Our drivers earn on the higher end of additional income from all the companies providing ancillary income in this space.
Because our team comes from advertising, tech and music backgrounds we believe we have a full view of what our users want and need, we’ve built an experience that has equally benefited all of our users and customers.
Q: What business women do you look up to?
Arianna Huffington. She is an incredible example of a female entrepreneur whose successfully built an international media company but still has a strong philosophy and approach to work life balance and promoting health and wellness to entrepreneurs building companies and products.
And in the music space Caroline Downey is an amazing example of a woman at the top of her industry, She is passionate about music and the acts that she represents and she has this unbelievable work ethic while also balancing her family life, She is a beautiful example of an amazing woman in business and someone whom I very much respect and look up to
Q. What has been the high point and low point of your career so far?
The last 10 year has been an amazing journey. Sometimes I am still in disbelief that we have a team spread across Los Angeles and New York and the network of drivers across 20+ US cities.
On the other side of that its hard when you have a family and trying to build something and trying to balance everyday life, travel and managing everything it takes to build a company from the ground up. I think it is super important to have a balance and to never get too high with the highs or too low with the lows.
Q: What would you like to accomplish in the next 5 years?