Q&A With Spotify’s Mia Hopkey

Q&A With Spotify’s Mia Hopkey

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 3.10.13 PMMia Hopkey lives in Los Angeles CA. She is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and lover of Hello Kitty. When the baby goes down and she’s not “second shifting” her day job, she enjoys melting into her couch and watching Keeping Up with the Kardashian (Big Brother if it’s the summer), trolling instagram for fashion inspiration, and group texting with her best friends. She eats paleo, loves SoulCycle, and believes a little dirt and germs is good for the soul. She’s one of Ink & Well’s most inspiring mommy friends and we can’t wait to share her secrets with you!

Job Title
Account Director, West Coast Sales at Spotify

Describe your professional background and education

I create, sell and execute digital media campaigns on the worlds largest music streaming platform, Spotify.  I work mainly with entertainment clients, like movie studios and broadcast television networks- so I am based in Los Angeles, CA.  I have been in media sales for 6 years.  My career started in radio sales, and moved into digital sales.  I (like most people) am incredibly passionate about music and have been fortunate to build a sales career in that specific industry.  But I wasn’t always in sales- I started my career in radio programming and on air hosting- at the top college radio station in the country, WERS in Boston, MA.  I started writing in the newsroom as credentials for a Journalism class (I was a Broadcast Journalism major at Emerson College) and within 6 months of my first shift, I was running the station as the Program Director and a host on the afternoon drive show.

After college, how long would you say it took you to find the right career path? Did you have any odd jobs along the way? 

I landed an internship at Clear Channel Radio (now iHeartMedia) in Los Angeles my senior year at college.  The internship lead to a job as the producer of the Afternoon Drive Show.  I was 21 with a real job at a major media company.  I pretty much dove straight in.  I was at the radio station for a few years and I just got burned out.  It didn’t pay well, and the hours were exhausting.  I needed a reset.

I left and took a job at a boutique interior design firm.  It was there that I really honed by project management skills.  It went on for about 2 years and then BAM was 2008, and the economy took a huge shit and I was laid off.  I didn’t work for the whole summer and it was the best summer of my life. The time off gave me a chance to do some serious thinking about my career (it was after all, my quarter life crisis)- and I decided to go back to radio.  It was then that I entered the sales org, leaving behind “jobs” and beginning my chosen “career”

Did any of your odd jobs teach you lessons that you apply to your work life now?
I learn something every day that I apply to my work life now.  I am a constant student of life.  Part of my job is uncovering opportunity to learn and I pride myself on being good at that.
How did you land your current job? Did you have connections at the company?
A former colleague reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in meeting a co-worker of his now that he was over at this “new streaming music start up”.  I came by thinking we were having coffee- but I ended up being on a job interview.  A few weeks later he called me and said “you have to quit your job tomorrow, because I just sent you an offer to work here”  The very next day I gave my 2 weeks.  I absolutely had a connection at my current company- and I think at the end of the day, you should never be ashamed to say that.  I’ve more than proven myself to be worthy of my job.  Networking is so inherent to what so many of us  do.  A lot of candidates may be qualified and worthy of a job- so it never hurts to know someone.  It’s a competitive edge.  If you got it, take it.

What is your day-to-day like? 
I pretty much go from meeting to meeting from the moment I walk in, until I leave at night.  Some of those meetings are in person, some on the phone.  Some are external, some internal.  I lead a lot of conference calls, and present in person multiple times a week.   I don’t spend a ton of time in programs like excel or PowerPoint or Photoshop, but I am glued to my phone and email.  I work with some of the worlds largest media agencies, as well as the studios and TV networks directly.  In making my sales calls, I drive from one side of town to the other; on a crazy week I spend 15 hours in the car going to and from meetings.  I take calls from the road too.  Always hands-free 🙂
I’m really lucky to have a great support team both back at the office and on the road with me.  I would honestly be lost without without my team, and coffee.  It can be exhausting, but it’s also exhilarating.  My schedule is never the same from one day to the next.  Then there is the super fun part- the entertaining the clients.  There are a ton of perks to working in sales 🙂
How has that changed since you had a baby? 
My boss was incredibly accommodating and moved all my our of state accounts to another rep who welcomed the travel.  Now any client trip I take, I try to get there and back the same day.  I used to be the first one in every morning.  I used to go to spin at6am.  It was normal for me to be in at 730am.  Now, I take that time in the morning with my daughter.  We snuggle in bed, we eat breakfast, we get her dressed.  I usually get into work closer to 9am now.  If I need to be at an early morning meeting and can’t be around in the morning- I make sure to leave in time to pick her up from daycare.  I have a great partner who does everything he can to make himself available to swoop in when I have to be the “working” part of a “working mom.”

I don’t workout as much as I want to, and I have less time to do random “me” things like get a manicure or grab an after work drink with co-workers.  Whenever possible, I kill two birds with one stone by taking a client to a SoulCycle class, or bringing a client to a manicure or to a happy hour drink.

Do you feel like being a working mom has benefits? If so, what are they? Absolutely!  I love my career.  It’s so rewarding.  I make a wonderful living.  I work for the best company.  Read about their global parental leave policy here.  I am showing my daughter that when she grows up, she can do whatever she wants to do.  I want to get up every day and go to work and kick ass and I want to pick her up from daycare, and read books and play with dolls and watch Elmo and sing in the bathtub and put her to bed at night and go to the park on weekends and take music class.  It’s ironic because I didn’t always want kids.  Then I had one, and it was the best thing and incredibly natural to me, just like going back to work felt natural.  The biggest benefit of being a working mother is that it feels 100% me.  It’s who I was meant to be.

What is the hardest thing about being a working mom? 

I feel like I almost shouldn’t say it, but, it’s not hard, for me.  It’s great.  Check back when I have more than one kid 🙂

Do you have one ritual that keeps you sane and grounded?

Once a quarter I take a “Mental Health Day”  It’s usually on a Friday.  I don’t go to work, and I drop the baby at daycare.  The I do ME, all day long.  I go to SoulCycle.  I get a manicure.  I see a movie.  I get my hair colored.  I just do anything I want to do, even if that means sit on the couch and binge marathon a TV show on my Roku.   I evangelize  “Mental Health Day” to every working mom I meet.  It should be built into every working parents calendar.
Also, my new years resolution was to be more present.  I’ve been starting my morning with a quick 5 minute yoga routine.  At the end of the sequence, I set my intentions for the day.  Maybe it’s “smile at a stranger” or “be helpful” or “stay off social media tillnoon” or something more work related.  It’s been great so far!

If you had one piece of advice for a woman on maternity leave about to go back to work, what would it be? 

It’s ok to cry that first day back!  It’s ok to not cry too!  It’s ok to call your childcare provider 500 times.  It’s also ok to not call at all and just dive back into your work.  Text your mommy friends if you’re sad.  If you don’t have friends with kids, get some, like immediately.  Also- tell your husband to send you flowers.  This should be mandatory, like Mental Health Day.  If it’s a hard day, know that it will get easier.  And when you get home, high five yourself because you did it, and you can do anything.  Because you’re a mom.


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