Interviewed by Sacha Robehmed
Where are you from originally?
I’m from a city called La Habra Heights and it’s a small city in between LA and Orange County, California. My friends and I like to call it the magical little valley between LA and OC.
How did you end up in tech?
So as far as education goes, my first degree was in communications with a concentration in creative advertising and that was from Cal State Fullerton. My Masters degree was in Business Management, with a concentration in tech management. Tech wasn’t something I was proactively searching for, but when I found a graduate program through NYU in Tel Aviv, a light bulb lit up in my head. I knew I wanted to live in Tel Aviv, and an entrepreneur program highlighting management in the tech industry seemed pretty appealing especially in such a successful start-up hub. I went in thinking it was going to be entrepreneurship rather than tech focused, but in the end, most of our projects and case studies revolved around what was going on in the Tel Aviv tech scene. Most of my professors were consultants for big tech companies or had their own.
What brought you to Berlin?
After living outside of the US for a little over a year, I realized I wasn’t ready to go back. I had been so much more inspired outside of the States and decided to keep my journey around the world in motion. While living in Tel Aviv, I met my current boyfriend. One of the first things he said when meeting me was: “You are Berlin, you need to be there and live there!” After finishing my thesis in Tel Aviv, I was trying to think about whether I wanted to stay in Israel or find a new country to explore. Then I realized that being geographically in the middle of the world, I could go anywhere. So I thought why not see what I could make happen in Germany! My boyfriend and I had planned to leave Israel around the same time so I decided to follow him back to Germany.
What’s your work background?
While I was pursuing my Bachelors degree I was active as an event production consultant for a company called Wise Production group in Venice Beach. We organized a wide range of events from political to fashion to music to skateboarding. But most of my experience is in fashion — I became a fashion stylist at the age of 18. Then I worked at Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue as a stylist/personal shopper in designer ready-to-wear departments. After my undergraduate education I started working for Sony Pictures Entertainment in the Home Entertainment department doing variety of creative advertising projects. Having worked closely with an art director there I found out about what would be my next job. I became the Director of Publicity for Strand Releasing, which is a film distribution company focusing on independent films, foreign films and LGBT films. After this position I went straight to Israel. While in Israel I helped launch the fashion and culture magazine called QWHO, which is now based out of London.
What do you do and how did you end up in your current position?
I was put in touch with Marguerite Imbert from Venture before arriving in Germany the first time. When I met her in person at Mauer Park, we hit it off immediately. Within 10 minutes, she told me: “You need to come work in Berlin!” And so after hanging out with her a few times, she came up with the idea to write an article about me and another girl in New York. From that, I had a few interviews with Team Europe, Soundcloud and Stefan Wolpers. I met with Stefan the day before I was going home to LA for a month. In that meeting he pitched me his idea about ebookmakr. He was looking for a CMO, a head of communications and PR. Things were promising from that meeting. We kept in touch when I was home and he lined things up for me.
At the moment I’m handling all of the communication endeavors from social media accounts, managing the blog, and being active in related online forums. I am also heading the PR and Marketing department. At the moment we’re three people so I’m truly learning the ins and outs of a startup!
Ebookmakr is the easiest online platform for producing ebooks. Our tagline is “create, publish, and market ebooks online.” We have an easy to use text editor built into our platform, which formats new content or uploaded content, and our USP at the moment is our “create new ebook from blog-post feature.” A user can import content from their Wordpress or Blogger/Blogspot blogs directly onto the ebookmakr platform and export it as a Kindle format ebook, which can be sold on the Amazon’s online book store.
We are also aiming our product at publishing houses. Soon to come our platform will truly be a conversion tool, importing all major document types and exporting them into ebooks. This gives publishing houses and opportunity to convert all of their backlists into digital content.
How did you hear Berlin Geekettes?
I was really excited to first read about Berlin Geekettes when I arrived to Berlin. Up until now I’ve had very exciting women in my life, whether they be my best friends or mentors. There’s something amongst women that really gets me energized and motivated to move forward in all aspects of life. Whether it’s issues like women being the minority in tech or other things, I feel like getting a group of women together is always empowering whatever the topic. In my personal context, coming here with not so many friends, I was happy to hear that there was a group of women to add to my community, and just get that foundation set. Also I’m the only female on my team too. Depending on your unique life and paths, I think it’s important to remember that being a woman is something really special. We’re in a period where women in tech are growing, we need to empower and embody ourselves and be unique to who we are whether we’re one woman in a company or many.
You can follow Rebecca on twitter @mylilsunshin3