If You Want A Successful Life, You Have To Craft It
Jackie DiBella is a professional marketer who saw an opportunity to create a unique innovative first-of-its-kind Craft Beer Marketing Awards program. This is a nationwide competition and the very first awards program in the U.S. to focus exclusively on retail beer marketing efforts. The winners get “The Crushie” Award, created by the same NYC designer awards firm that creates the Emmy Award and the MTV Moon Man Statue.
I had the opportunity to interview Jackie recently. Here are the highlights of that interview:
Jill Griffin: Where did you grow up? Describe your early childhood and its significance on your life.
Jackie DiBella: I grew up on Long Island with my parents and sister. My mom started her own business-to-business marketing company from home so she could be there for us after school. She was a bit of a trend-setter when it came to working from home back then, especially as a woman.
I guess you could say I get my “can-do” drive from her. Both of my parents made sure we knew we could do anything we wanted to do with our futures. They were extremely supportive and still are.
Griffin: Describe a painful setback in your life and what it taught you. (For example, I lost my dad when I was 15. It was a “hard scrabble” to get my education. It taught me to speak up and ask for what I needed.)
DiBella: In 2016 my life took a hard turn and I needed to hit the restart button. I had moved north a few years prior and was in a long-term, unhealthy relationship with an alcoholic that ended abruptly. I needed to pick up the pieces and relocate my life back to Long Island.
Outside of personal setbacks, I needed to rethink my career path as well. I have always worked in PR and marketing, but had just embarked on starting my own business when things went south (or got better, depending on how you look at it). That doesn’t work too well when you’re restarting as a single person in a location that isn’t exactly start-up income friendly.
I re-joined a marketing agency I had previously worked for and began my career in, ironically, craft beer marketing. I had always been a craft beer drinker, and semi-connoisseur, but alcohol in general hadn’t been friendly to my life in recent times. I needed to learn what my new relationship with alcohol was, and my career got me back into acceptance and enjoyment.
The craft beer industry is amazing. It’s filled with the most passionate, innovative and driven people I have ever met. Not to mention, the once male-dominated field is being flooded with women! The industry reignited my excitement about my career and where I can take it. I was inspired and determined again to succeed.
The Craft Beer Marketing Awards were created with my co-founder, Jim McCune, over a beer. We wanted to create an opportunity for those within the industry who are creative in ways outside of brewing the beer. As the number of breweries continues to boom, marketing has become a top focus for moving beer off the shelves and out of taprooms and we’re ready to celebrate those efforts. Next year, we’re taking the CBMAs internationally.
Griffin: Briefly outline your early career arc and your goals.
DiBella: I started my career in crisis management at a public relations firm focus on local government including municipalities, school districts and elected officials. During that time, social media started becoming a need for more than just personal use. I created their social media division and expanded their services offered.
I then joined a full-service digital marketing agency (who I have now returned to) with a focus on social media management and advertising.
Later, I joined XO Group, Inc. (now The Knot Worldwide) and led their social media department for brands including The Knot, The Nest and The Bump.
After running my own public relations, social media and influencer consulting company, I returned to agency life where I manage our craft beer division at EGC Group.
In conjunction with my full-time job, Jim McCune and I created and launched the Craft Beer Marketing Awards as our passion project. The feedback we have received about the CBMAs has been an award of its own to us.
Griffin: After all your experiences, what have you learned?
DiBella: I always listen to my gut and passion. I don’t try to live up to perfection, I just want my life to make me happy in every way possible—for me.