Leading with spirit Featured

8:00pm EDT October 26, 2009

Nancy Kramer didn’t have dreams of growing up and becoming an entrepreneur. She says there were many things that interested her as a child.

“When I was a little kid, I wanted to be a vet,” Kramer says. “I thought about being a teacher, and I thought about being a journalist.”

One thing that has been a part of her since an early age is a spirit of curiosity. It’s one of the traits that she brings to the job every day as founder and CEO of Resource Interactive LLC. The 260-employee digital marketing company works with some of the most popular name brands in the world, including Apple, Hewlett-Packard and The Coca-Cola Co., as well as Procter & Gamble, Victoria’s Secret and Sherwin-Williams, which are based in Ohio.

An expert in the field of technology marketing, Kramer says she wasn’t always that way.

“I really loved technology, but as it turns out, I really didn’t even know what that was when I was growing up,” Kramer says. “I really love the promise that technology delivers to society at large and how it connects people and gives people a chance to do things they never thought possible. I love that, it’s really super exciting.

“That’s very energizing to me. I didn’t know that when I was younger. I kind of had to experience it. It’s one of those things where trying new things connected me to a passion I didn’t even know existed.”

It’s that genuine energy and enthusiasm that can draw others to you and engage them in the vision for your business.

“If you can live your life presently, authentically and genuinely, I think at the end of the day, the people that are the strongest leaders possess those characteristics,” Kramer says. “If you’re authentic, it’s OK that people don’t always agree with you. Everybody is not going to agree with you all the time. But if you can say, ‘This is what I believe and why I believe it,’ I think people have an easier time to agree to disagree with you.”

Kramer says she has learned the lesson over and over again that when she fails to be authentic, she usually fails at whatever she is doing.

“The times when I haven’t really listened to myself and I haven’t really followed my own instincts and haven’t stuck with that voice on the inside is when I’ve had the most challenging times,” Kramer says. “I’ve been distracted by everybody else’s opinion and I’ve made mistakes. So my advice would be to follow your instincts and follow your heart.”

She has found several ways to get in touch with the leadership style that fits her best.

“Reading about different people and identifying role models that resonate with you as an individual and learning from that,” Kramer says. “Trying new things and figuring out what things resonate with you. It’s a combination of having role models and trying things to see how they fit. And having the ability to see what naturally feels right versus what feels not right.”

Kramer’s efforts to continuously improve her leadership skills have paid off. Resource Interactive has been chosen as one of the best places to work in Central Ohio by multiple regional organizations as well as The Wall Street Journal.

“I’m really proud of the business itself and the culture and opportunities that we’re creating for people right here in Columbus,” Kramer says. “The companies we compete with tend to be on either coast. I’m super proud that we’ve been able to build this business right here in Columbus and compete on a national and global basis.”

She’s also found ways to bring along her employees to share in the success of Resource Interactive. In 2006, Kramer announced the creation of the Resource Employee Equity Fund in which every employee is a shareholder in each of Resource’s publicly traded clients.

Kramer sees the investment as one that pays off in a big way through employee commitment, productivity and service to clients as well as fearless innovation to continually advance and grow.

“If you can follow something you’re really passionate about and do what in your heart you think is right, I think that’s really a recipe for success,” Kramer says. “It’s hard to go wrong if you are truly following those things.”

Kramer just tries to follow the lead of her late father, Robert Kramer, and her husband, Christopher Celeste, in going about her life and career.

“My father really taught me that girls can do whatever they want to do,” Kramer says. “My husband really helps encourage and support me to be my best self and to be true to myself and true to my values.”

How to reach: Resource Interactive LLC, (614) 621-2888 or www.resource.com