Industry Profile: Fuse Marketing PR Manager Leslie Kilgore
13 Jul, 2010
Job Title: PR Manager
Years on snow: Since I was born
Days on snow: Now, about 40 a year. In my past life, about 120
Currently Riding: The GNU B Pro-Barrett Christy’s Model. We had a rocky start, the board and I, but now she is my true love. I named her Indy.
Currently I am: Stoked on summer and getting better at surfing, since I’m still a rookie on waves.
Shay: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Leslie: I grew up ski racing on the East Coast in Maine, went to the University of Colorado, Boulder and raced there for a year, and then tried snowboarding while living in Bozeman, Montana for a winter and never went back to skiing. A year later I was competing in boardercross and then moved to the Jackson/Driggs, ID area and coached the Grand Targhee snowboard team for several years. Eventually, after a string of adventures and grad school for journalism, I made it back East and now live in Vermont. I LOVE it here—it’s a truly special place.
Shay: How has snowboarding changed your life?
Leslie: Wow-in endless ways really. Friends, travel, career, adventures, perseverance, backcountry awareness-those are just a few things off the top of my head that I can think of that have come from snowboarding. But also it has given me something that I truly love, a lifestyle that defines me and makes me get up on some really early mornings, on some really cold days, in some serious layers just to get a line that makes life SO much better!
Shay: How did you get your start in the industry, who or what opened up more opportunities for you?
Leslie: I guess my start in the industry came at a young age, since the mountain lifestyle was so much a part of my upbringing. It led me into coaching, which has led me into other opportunities in editing, writing and communications, which has now led me to Fuse. I believe that education is important, but also hard work and life experiences are important too. Each job I have had in the industry has aligned in a very tactical way, but was not planned. What I mean is that one job or contact at a job led to another and then another, and before I knew it, I had quite a bit of experience and knowledge that has continued to open doors, which is nice.
Shay: How has your previous education or work experience helped you in your current job?
Leslie: It’s helped tremendously. Because Fuse is a youth marketing agency, with many clients who come to us for our expertise and knowledge on action sports, I’ve been able to combine a lot of my experiences, educationally and personally, to contribute a strong knowledge base in our work.
Shay: Tell us about your role at Fuse and a description of the work you do?
Leslie: One of the things I like most about my role at Fuse is how every day is different. We work with a variety of clients on a variety of projects, so my day-to-day work varies. Fuse consists of four teams: Public Relations, Brand Strategy, Events and Creative, and I work on the PR team. My days can consist of contacting media for stories, promoting new products or programs for our clients, writing copy, social media campaigns, managing public relations budgets and helping to plan media events, among many other things as well.
Shay: What’s an average day like at work for you?
Leslie: Fuse is an amazing place to work. We are allowed to bring our dogs to work, there is a skate ramp, basketball and ping-pong in our office, and we are given season passes to Stowe for the winter and are allowed to come in later on days that it snows over a foot. Everyone works really, really hard, but we are supported in our efforts to play hard too, which is great. Everyone truly practices what they preach here.
Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working in the industry?
Leslie: I would say coaching snowboarding. I was super close to the kids I coached and mentored. We were like a family. To see them progress, whether it be in a contest, on a kicker in the backcountry or traveling with the team, there was so much reward in seeing them grow and further themselves on and off the hill. It was like they were my own kids. Every time they competed, I would get butterflies for them! My favorite trip was taking several of them to Nationals at Sunday River in Maine. It was my home mountain and we got to stay with my parents. There was a Nor’easter and we got to ride powder for like three days! I tried to warn them about riding in the East before we went-kids who grew up riding in the Tetons- but instead of blue ice, we hit a Nor’easter and it was epic!
Shay: What do you think are the biggest challenges that the snowboard industry faces and what changes would you like to see for the future?
Leslie: I would say that the biggest challenges are keeping with the sport’s roots while becoming more and more mainstream every year. I think the Olympics and high profile competitions are great for the sport and its athletes, the more exposure the sport gets the better support it gets, but remembering the sport’s roots, keeping an emphasis on backcountry riding and filming are important too. As someone who has seen the sport evolve so much and has been involved in the competitive realm and in a lot of backcountry riding, I’m excited to see what’s next for all aspects.
Shay: Education vs. Experience…which do you think is more important?
Leslie: Hmm, well, as I mentioned above, for me personally, both have been equally important. I learned so much in my graduate program because it was so focused in what I was studying and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything, even with a ton of student loans to still pay off. But living in a ski town right after college, coaching, riding 120-plus days a year and having three jobs just to pay the bills, I wouldn’t trade those years in my life for anything either. Both helped me in my career path in very different ways.
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the industry?
Leslie: I know it’s kind of a cliché these days, but do what you love and love what you do. It truly does make a difference. Everyone at Fuse REALLY loves what they do, and it makes for such a great work environment, to be surrounded by people that work really hard and are passionate about their work.
Also, taking jobs, internships, freelance opportunities, even volunteering with a company or organization you want to work for can open up a ton of doors. Seek out opportunities and network whenever you can. You never know what job could become available in the future from an unexpected introduction to someone or the smallest assignment.
Find out more at: