An Interview with Arco’s Dynamic Duo, Andrea Arco and Jillian Hausmann
EYOB Foundation readers, have we got a double treat for you today! We’re powering up with Arco + Associates Founder and CEO Andrea Arco and Jillian Hausmann who’s her business partner as well as the Communications Director. Arco + Associates is a premier marketing communications firm in St. Louis!
As we continue with our EYOB Empowerment Workshops, we’re excited to present this double interview with our newest facilitators – both of whom are dynamic business leaders in the St. Louis community.
As EYOB workshop leaders, they’ll be making a huge impact in our community as they teach, mentor, and empower high school girls to embrace their own beauty while also giving them the opportunity to dive further into how to be a powerful woman in the business world!
In the following interview with Arco’s dynamic duo, we dig deep into how these influencers got started in their careers, how they up their self-confidence and handle setbacks, and the importance of mentors in their lives.
And in fact, we had so much fun interviewing them that we ran over, sooooooo, we’re breaking it down into 2 interviews! Part 1 is below. Stayed tuned for Part 2 next month!
Part 1 of our interview with Arco’s dynamic duo follows below.
Andrea, Let’s start with you. You were voted as a Top Woman Business Owner in 2017. What sets your company apart?
We are different from other marketing agencies in several ways—all of which support the fact that we care about the success of our clients.
1) Marketing to Support Your Business Goals: We work to understand clients’ goals before making recommendations so that marketing efforts augment their comprehensive business strategy. That’s why we have a history of producing measurable results for clients.
2) Exclusivity: We don’t take on competing clients serving the same geographic region. This allows us to focus directly on clients’ market needs within their market space.
3) Consultative Guidance—At No Added Cost: We are consultants by nature and our clients benefit from on-call expertise every step of the way.
4) Fewer Layers: Our team is strategically small, but mighty. Clients have direct contact with the leadership team and top strategic thinkers throughout all stages of the process.
You run a hugely successful marketing communications business. What personal hurdles did you have to jump in order to be brave enough to start Arco + Associates?
I think every entrepreneur, at one point or another, has to overcome self-doubt when launching a business. The “what-ifs” can creep in and distract you from your mission. “What if you really can’t do this? What if your perceived differentiators aren’t? What if you fail?”
For me, in order to silence those “what-ifs,” I have to have a conversation with the naysayers in my head and go through each scenario in order to be confident enough to move forward.
In addition, it was a huge financial risk for my husband and me. He was in residency making below minimum wage when you calculated the hours he was working. I had a very nice executive marketing position…it was a risk. We didn’t have children at the time so that was a plus. I figured if I had to live on peanut butter for a year, at least I wasn’t subjecting little humans to that as well.
And now to the Dynamic Duo! Andrea and Jillian, how did you two meet? What different qualities and/or skillets do you each bring to the business relationship?
Andrea: Jillian was hired as a Communications Specialist at Arco in 2015. She was the company’s first full-time employee. I knew immediately after the interview that she was amazing—thoughtful, smart, intuitive. We balance each other out. She likes to tell our new employees that I’m the conductor of the train and she is on the second car yelling—keep up, turn here, do this to the cars behind her. But, in actuality, our paces and energies are complementary. I bring marketing and overall business strategy to the table and she brings a wealth of digital expertise and detail orientation to our clients.
Jillian: I remember one of the first emails Andrea sent me after I accepted the position. It was to tell me that our DiSC personality types were a match made in heaven. She’s a Di and I’m an Si, which means that our work styles balance one another out while we overlap in terms of social aptitude. In addition to the complementary marketing skillsets Andrea mentioned, I’m constantly striving to increase efficiency and productivity day-to-day, while Andrea focuses on big picture company growth.
As two women running your own business, what struggles have you encountered specifically as a woman-owned marketing communications business?
Andrea: I think we’ve encountered the same struggles all entrepreneurs face, regardless of gender…when to hire, who to hire, how to invest, how to prioritize business development, etc. I will say that we have encountered a fair amount of male business owners in traditionally male dominated fields who assume we don’t have as strong a grasp on their industry because of our gender.
Jillian: Because we work with so many woman-owned businesses, we have to be careful not to get pigeonholed as the “marketing firm for women”.
How do you handle setbacks, both personally and professionally?
Andrea: I work out a lot. Physically moving is an outlet and a release for me—it is also a time when I feel creatively inspired. Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster—the lows are low, and the highs are high, and I think the more you ride, the more graceful the journey (read: the less funny faces you make on the plummet). Jillian and I are both great communicators; she is not only my business partner, but also my friend. We talk things through from a variety of different angles. A great friend and business coach, Erin Joy with Black Dress Partners, is always in my corner to lend an ear, a hand, or amazing business advice. My extensive network of colleagues, friends, and family serves as a great support system.
Jillian: I tend to be an introvert, which means I derive energy from alone time, and I problem solve through internal dialogue first, communication after. Understanding this about myself and actively making “me” time has changed my life for the better. Setbacks seem less intimidating after I take some time to shut out the external noise and find peace within.
How important are mentors to you both?
Andrea: Mentors are extremely important. To be able to identify with someone who has been where you are, done what you want to do, or who has achieved success on their terms is inspiring.
Jillian: I wouldn’t want to live in a world without mentorship. The more we learn from one another, the more powerful and impactful we become.
Who were/are your mentors and what did you learn from them?
Andrea: I’ve been lucky enough to have several mentors throughout my life, but two stand out. The first, I was lucky enough to have been born to, My mom had a Ph.D. at 25 and was a great professional and personal role model for me growing up. She taught college and then started a private practice as a pediatric psychologist. My dad was also a professional and they modeled a very egalitarian household; there was a graceful division of household labor. Her ability to balance professional success with her personal life is still amazing to me. She is the one who modeled what I wanted my life to look like.
The second was a communications professor during undergrad at Wake Forest University, Dr. Betty LaFrance. A young, empowered Ph.D., Betty was funny, whip-smart, and committed to empowering smart women. I learned from Betty that feminine and fierce were not opposing forces. We are still in touch today!
Jillian: Professionally, Andrea has been the ultimate mentor. I left my first interview with her in 2015 saying, “even if she doesn’t hire me, we’re going to become friends.” She epitomizes what I always wanted to be when I grew up. A driven, passionate, strong leader who makes things happen and never wavers in her beliefs. Just an absolute boss—and I’m learning every day how to follow in her footsteps.
Personally, my mom and grandma have been my mentors since day one. They’ve taught me how to be compassionate and giving, without sacrificing my own happiness — and, most importantly, that laughter is always the best medicine.
You’ve got to have self-confidence to do just about anything in this world. How did you develop it?
Andrea: I think the self-confidence I have now is a result of the accomplishments I have obtained and the people that surrounded me during transformational moments. It is a result of how I talk to myself and how I allow others to talk to me. It is being unafraid to own what makes you special in this world.
Jillian: One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received: everyone is too busy thinking about themselves to think about you. Insecurities only creep in when you’re projecting what others may be thinking about you. But the truth is, they simply aren’t. There is nothing more liberating—and self-confidence inducing—than knowing that.
When you lose confidence, do you have a practice for how to regain it?
Andrea: I talk about it…what the experience or situation felt like and why it seemed to deflate me. And then I don’t talk about it—and focus on my children or a particularly challenging project at work, etc. And then I revisit it. Upon this reflection, the experience or slight to my confidence doesn’t seem so impactful. By giving myself permission to feel it and then let it go, I regain the power in the situation and, in doing so, my confidence.
Jillian: Earlier in my career, I expressed to a coach that I felt unqualified in certain rooms where every person had so many more years of experience than I did. Her response was, “they will always have exactly that much more experience than you. That’s not going to change. So, what are you going to do about it?” Those words put the power back into my hands and remind me that confidence starts with your mindset.
Thanks for a great interview!
READERS, stay tuned for Part 2 of our interview with Andrea Arco and Jillian Hausmann!
Andrea Arco is a successful entrepreneur who honed her marketing skills at two Boston-based law firms as well as agencies along the East Coast and at the University of Virginia’s Engineering School. As if that wasn’t enough, she’s also written a children’s book called Wally McBap Needs a Nap, which was named “Book of the Year” by Creative Child Magazine in 2014.
Jillian Hausman is magna cum laude alum from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism. She’s brought her communications expertise into both corporate and agency settings for a national company in Nashville, TN as well as agencies on the West Coast. Jillian applies her skills outside of the office, serving as Publicity Chair on the Ranken Jordan Pediatric Hospital Young Professional Board. Did we mention that she has two dogs and loves binging on podcasts? You’ll have to ask her more about that!
Arco + Associates media sites – click on icon to learn more.
Photographs by Stephanie Zettl – click on icon to learn more about Zettl Photography.
CALLING ALL TEEN GIRLS!
The EYOB Foundation has proudly partnered with Microsoft—and a host of dynamic women leaders in the St. Louis community—to present an innovative and interactive workshop series designed to empower you to embrace your own beauty while giving you the opportunity to dive further into the world of technology. Each of the workshops will be held at the Microsoft Store located in the Galleria Mall. You can sign up here!