We can’t be the only ones who find ourselves watching hours upon hours of HGTV’s House Hunters (granite countertops and open floor plans, anyone?) or spent a Friday night lusting over Travel Channel landscapes and dreaming of the south of France. You can relate? Phew. So when we got the details on how Laura Bateman Reif, who is the Account Director at Discovery Communications and a former Director of Affiliate Marketing at Scripps Network, landed these amazing opportunities needless to say, we were thrilled.
Come to find out, Laura doesn’t just have a talent for marketing; she also has an eye for design and her very own (extremely successful) makeup artistry business. She’s pretty busy these days (to say the least) but we’re so glad she found the time to sit down and answer some of our questions about her amazing career path and charming home. Keep on scrolling, guys. It’s a good one, trust us.
Full name: Laura Bateman Reif
Location: Washington D.C.
Current title/company: Account Director, Corporate Education Partnerships, Discovery Communications and Owner of Bateman Beauty
Educational background: Bachelor of Business Administration from James Madison University; Certificate of Marketing from Georgetown University
What was your first job out of college and how did you land it?
I majored in Hospitality & Tourism Management in college and worked at country clubs and hotels while in school. When I graduated, continuing in hospitality seemed like the natural next step. My first full-time job was Assistant Manager at Baltimore Country Club. However, it didn’t take me long to realize the job, with its 14 hour days plus weekend and holiday work, wasn’t for me.
So tell us then, how did you change course and land your next job at the Travel Channel?
In the summer of 2005, I ran into an old friend from high school and she told me she was working for TLC, one of the television networks owned by Discovery Communications. I felt like our random meeting was serendipitous because after spending a semester abroad in Europe during college, I figured out that one of my dream jobs was to work for the Travel Channel (another network in the Discovery Communications portfolio). As luck would have it, I secured an interview at Discovery and landed a position with Travel Channel.
You were able to work your way up at the Travel Channel and eventually landed a managerial role. What advice would you give to Everygirl readers who aspire to advance within their current company?
At Travel Channel I was fortunate to be working in a very creative environment with some incredible industry veterans so I tried to soak up as much as I could about the television and media world. Most importantly, I worked hard. My advice to anyone looking to move up within their current organization is to always be proactive, take the initiative, and, when feasible, ask for more responsibility. Volunteer for projects outside of your job description and comfort zone; it’s the best way to grow and learn. It makes it much easier to approach your manager and ask for a promotion.
Does your educational background apply to your current career? If not, where and how did you acquire the necessary skills?
I have an undergraduate business degree, which can be applied to many careers. I studied abroad in college which opened my eyes to the world and introduced me to a love of travel and a passion. Both definitely helped me fit into the Travel Channel culture. Most of the skills and knowledge I use today I learned through good old fashioned on-the-job training. However, since my undergraduate work was broad based, I recognized that I could benefit from specific coursework in marketing. I recently completed a Certificate of Marketing program through Georgetown University.
You should always ask for what you want, even if you think the answer will be no. You might be surprised at what’s possible!
Next, you accepted a job as Director of Affiliate Marketing for Scripps Network in Knoxville, T.N. Realizing the city wasn’t the right fit, you kept your role and moved back to D.C. Tell us more!
Deciding to leave D.C. and move to Knoxville was a big decision, but one I was more than ready to take it on. I had just met my now husband, but was determined not to miss out on this amazing career opportunity. My new job had me working across all of Scripps Networks six television networks (HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network, Travel Channel, Great American Country, and The Cooking Channel). In my new position I was responsible for strategic development and the execution of corporate marketing partnerships. I built and leveraged relationships with major cable operators to increase the ratings, reach, and awareness of our brands in the marketplace. I traveled to NYC and LA regularly and met and worked with many interesting people in the entertainment industry.
It didn’t take me long to realize that Knoxville wasn’t for me. I missed the side business I left behind in D.C., my social network, and my family (I was born and raised in Montgomery County, Maryland) and keeping up a long distance relationship was difficult. I decided to speak honestly with the head of my department about how I was feeling. I told her I loved my job, but that I was not happy on a personal level. I told her about my makeup business in D.C., something that I was passionate about and missed dearly. Surprisingly, my boss was incredibly understanding. I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders after speaking openly with her. She said that she didn’t want to lose me as an employee, and asked if I would move back to D.C. She offered for me work out of the Travel Channel office, but keep my current position with Scripps. I was floored by her offer! I immediately accepted and moved back within three weeks. I will never forget how gracious she was towards me, and I have felt indebted to her ever since. The experience taught me an important lesson: you should always ask for what you want, even if you think the answer will be no. You might be surprised at what’s possible!
Tell us about your responsibilities in your current position as Account Director of Corporate Education Partnerships with Discovery Education. Why this change? What has changed the most for you since transitioning into this role?
In the Fall of 2012 I married my amazing husband, Kingston. After enjoying a fabulous honeymoon in the Amalfi Coast I was ready for a professional change. I was in the television business for almost eight years and wanted to apply my burgeoning business and marketing skills in ways that would have a more meaningful impact on people’s lives. I came across an opportunity with Discovery Education (the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, a division of Discovery Communications) that transforms teaching and learning by bringing award-winning digital textbooks and multimedia content into the classroom. I was offered the position of Account Director of Corporate Education Partnerships with Discovery Education which fulfilled my goal. I was transfering my professional experience of creating corporate marketing partnerships and cultivating client relationships into the education world; I felt I could truly make a difference.
For the past year I have worked with Fortune 500 corporations, foundations, and non-profits to create educational programs. We support these organizations’ corporate social responsibility and cause marketing goals. Ten years after graduating from college, I can say that because of this new position, my thriving makeup business, and a new baby due in July, I am the happiest I’ve ever been! I wouldn’t change a single step in the path that has brought me to where I am today.
What advice would you offer someone hoping to make a career in the media industry?
Network, network, network. The media industry is a small world and you can go very far by making connections and marketing yourself. Try to meet a variety of people through attending networking and social events (such as industry happy hours) and joining professional organizations. Be sure to follow-up with new contacts and suggest meeting on a more personal level. I’ve met so many interesting women through organizations like Women In Cable Telecommunications; I keep in touch with many of them still today. I’m always flattered when younger women reach out to me to talk about a career in media. I always try to offer them the best advice I can.
You’ve also been pursuing another passion of yours – makeup and skincare. Your freelance makeup business has been mentioned in DailyCandy, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Refinery 29! How did you grow your side business into what it is today?
When I was 25, the Travel Channel was going through a change in ownership which created some (ultimately short-lived) angst about my job security. This prompted me to think about what I was really passionate about and whether I could translate that into a profession. For as long as I can remember, I have had a passion for skincare, cosmetics, and the beauty industry. While continuing to work for the Travel Channel full-time, I was hired as a Bobbi Brown Makeup Artist at Nordstrom. I loved working with women to bring out their natural beauty and soon had clients asking me to come to their homes to do their makeup for social events and weddings.
At that point, I realized I could branch out on my own with a thriving freelance business. I could be my own boss and set my own hours. In January 2009 I created my website (www.laurabateman.com) and continued to build my clients through work at Nordstrom. A few short weeks after I launched my website, my new business was featured in DailyCandy and the rest, as they say, is history! I have been so fortunate to not pay for advertising – all of my business (mostly weddings) is through word-of-mouth and personal reference. I feel blessed to have discovered my passion at a relatively early age and for the opportunity to have met and worked with many so amazing women in the last seven years.
How do you manage your time with both jobs and your personal life? Have you considered pursuing your own business full-time?
Working full-time and running a business on the side is definitely tricky, especially if you also want to have a personal life. Luckily, I am a ‘master planner’ and manage my time well. There are many days where every waking hour is scheduled. Running a tight ship works best for me and helps me stay sane through particularly busy weeks. The most rewarding aspect of pursuing my side business with my full-time job is that it is my creative outlet. The most challenging aspect is for a few months a year I’m working very full weeks and also working on the weekends. Fortunately, my husband and friends are very understanding when I go missing for weeks at a time!
Take us through a typical day/week in the life of Laura Bateman Reif.
One of the things I love about my day job is that no week is the same. I generally wake up early, do my best to squeeze in a good workout (although at now 7 months pregnant lately I’ve been choosing the extra hour of sleep) and am at the office by 9 AM. I’ll respond to client emails, meet with my team about programs we’re working on, and prepare for (and manage) client status calls. Some weeks I travel to interesting places to meet with clients to discuss our educational partnerships. In April, I traveled to Phoenix to tour a copper mine and in March I oversaw a video shoot on an egg farm outside of Chicago. If I didn’t make it to the gym in the morning, I’ll hit a spinning or yoga class after work and head home to make dinner with my husband. On the weekends I am typically responding to bridal wedding makeup inquiries, working on my blog, meeting with potential clients, doing makeup for weddings, or preparing for the arrival of our baby girl.
Best moment in your career thus far?
Returning to Discovery Communications to work in marketing and business while also making a difference in student’s lives.
We love your home. After moving in, what was your first step in the decorating process?
We moved from a one-bedroom apartment to our current two-bedroom, so I knew all of our furniture would fit in our new space. I had already decided where all of our furniture would go, so moving in and getting set up was a breeze. Our landlords had recently renovated the apartment and they did such an amazing job with the finishings and paint colors that literally all we did was unpack our boxes! It didn’t take long for us to feel right at home.
Was it a challenge to decorate for both you and your husband? Any advice for other ladies in a similar situation?
I have always loved interior design and fortunately my husband likes my taste. We consult about our home décor, but he defers to me for most of the apartment decorating decisions. In return, I try to keep the over-the-top femininity to a minimum. As long as he has a comfortable couch and a big screen TV, he’s good to go! I would advise other ladies living with their mate to be sure to involve them in the decorating process. Go out of your way to make them feel like they have a say in the décor of your home (even if at the end of the day you’re making the executive decisions!).
I try to save on just about everything in our home; I have a serious aversion to paying retail for anything. I am always perusing One Kings Lane, Joss & Main, or Gilt Home looking for great deals on home furnishings.
Where did you choose to splurge and save when decorating your home?
I try to save on just about everything in our home; I have a serious aversion to paying retail for anything. I am always perusing One Kings Lane, Joss & Main, or Gilt Home looking for great deals on home furnishings. I recently purchased new dining room chairs and two ghost chairs to freshen up our space, but we’re holding off on making any big-ticket purchases until we own a home of our own – which hopefully won’t be too long!
What DIY projects or budget finds are you most proud of in your current home?
I’m a strong believer in finding old pieces and giving them new life. I also love a good bargain; I go out of my way to find great deals. My mom and I found two matching bookcases at Goodwill and painted them black and they’ve served me well in several apartments. I also love the antique iron mirror frame and glass bubble lamp (the shade is made out of an old burlap bag once used to transport money to/from The Federal Reserve of Dallas). I found them at a barn sale in Frederick, Md. years ago. I have my mom to thank for finding and refurbishing one of my favorite items in our home – the beautiful mirrored buffet she gifted us for our wedding. It’s an amazing piece that really anchors the living space (and holds all of our wedding china). We would have paid thousands for it if we purchased it new.
What advice would you give to your 23-year-old self?
Be bold, take risks (but be thoughtful in your approach), be kind, and always make your voice heard.
LAURA BATEMAN REIF IS THE EVERYGIRL
If you could go to lunch with any woman, who would it be and what would you order? Tory Burch, the ultimate female entrepreneur. I’d order a kale salad and iced tea.
Splurge-worthy beauty product? SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum
Morning or Night? Definitely morning. I like nothing better than getting a jump start on the day ahead.
Wine or beer? Champagne
Favorite way to spend a day in D.C.? A perfect day in D.C. would look like this: attending a spinning or barre class in the early morning with a girlfriend, followed by an al fresco brunch, and browsing the farm and craft Eastern Market on Capitol Hill. Then I’d pop over to Union Market to meet up with my husband where we’d enjoy Dolcezza Gelato while browsing the beautifully curated lifestyle store Salt & Sundry. We’d end the day watching the sun set from the top of the W Hotel before heading to 14th Street to check out new dinner hotspot Barcelona with friends.