Women in Domaining ( Part 3 )
Today we are going to look at women in the domaining industry who are company founders. These ladies took the big step to start their own shop and are off to a fantastic start.
First up, Tessa Holcomb/Domain Advisors. In keeping with the theme of this series, Tessa wanted to take time to put the ladies in her company in the spotlight. For many this may be the first time being introduced to the ladies of Domain Advisors.
Tessa Holcomb – Founder & CEO, DomainAdvisors
I know it may sound cliché, but I truly credit my parents for who I am today. My Mother was born in Mexico and moved to California as a teenager speaking very little English at the time. She acclimated quickly and went on to earn degrees from UC Berkeley and USC before becoming a Professor of Languages. My Father flew 19 missions as a B-17 Pilot in WWII before being shot down and captured by enemy soldiers. He survived countless interrogations and 2 ½ years in prison camp prior to ending up in California himself and marrying my Mom in 1947. Two actions they always emphasized to me growing up were to “Welcome Challenges!” and to “Get out of your comfort zone!”
I was raised in California and graduated with a degree in Psychology from UCLA before moving to Boston in 1996. While I hadn’t planned on using my degree in a sales capacity, I quickly learned that studying the science of the mind and processes would definitely benefit me, and still does, in any sales, management, or business role. Sales is really all about connections, relationships, strategy and overcoming challenges. I believe that combining my education with my parents’ life lessons gave me the skills necessary to succeed in a variety of professional roles and assured me the ability to start and run numerous successful sales teams.
Although I’ve held various positions over the past twenty years, my first experience in online advertising wasn’t until 2000 when selling 3D facial animation software for email, CRM and advertising solutions. I then moved on to creating and selling online, email and print advertising campaigns for several family-focused companies, one being the owners of Toys.com which later ended up selling to Toys 'R' Us in a bankruptcy court auction for $5.1million. It was then, I realized, selling domains might be the way to go! I joined Sedo in January of 2009 focusing mainly on identifying opportunities to acquire or divest of online properties for corporate clientele and negotiating high-value premium domain sales.
In February of 2010 I had the opportunity to be part of the Mount Kilimanjaro climb team, organized by Gregg McNair and Rick Latona. This challenging adventure of a lifetime raised nearly $200,000 for The Water School, (www.waterschool.com) a non-profit organization that has developed a simple and sustainable program giving countless children, families and entire communities across Africa, and other developing nations around the world. lifelong access to clean water. Two months later, as a result of relationships forged on that climb, and my experience visiting philanthropy projects associated with PPXi in Africa, I accepted a dual role as Director of Business Development for DomainManager as well as Director of Philanthropy for PPXi. (http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20100413.htm)
As I expanded my knowledge base and relationships across other areas of domaining, I was fortunate enough to attend and speak at several conferences around the world. During this time, I became aware of the need for a consultancy service with advisors who are trained and ready to address and assist clients with their overall domain strategy. With the support of Gregg McNair and the entire PPXi team, DomainAdvisors (www.domainadvisors.com) launched in November of 2010. (http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101130.htm
DomainAdvisors has surpassed personal goals with over $20million in domain sales in 2011 and 2012 is shaping up to be another strong year. While we do offer appraisal and consultancy services, our core business has been both selling and acquiring ultra-premium names for investors, marketing agencies, established companies and start-ups. We currently have seven brokers in the US (four on the East Coast, three on the West) and one in China. We have also established key relationships with industry players in Europe, The UK, South America and Australia proving to be a key component of our business as well.
In response to your question, "Do you feel that domaining is an equal opportunity industry for men and women alike?" While I’m happy to see more and more women achieving success within the industry, this is still a pretty loaded question. I’m a woman in domaining and I think I’ve done pretty well. However, in doing so, I’ve definitely had to overcome a lot of challenges and get way out of my comfort zone on plenty occasions! I’m frequently the only woman in meetings or conference calls and, as such, it is only natural that my actions and opinions will be noticed and scrutinized more than those of my male counterparts. Further, while I have a very solid base of male clients, I have found some that just may never warm to the idea of working with women, and will subtly or overtly make this obvious to me and others. With these individuals, I’ve found that the best response is to just stay true to myself and consistently perform my job at the highest level possible.
However, rather than spend time debating the issue, I’d rather focus on building our business, our amazing team, ensuring quality service to our clients, and continuing to educate end users on the value of premium, generic domain names. The DomainAdvisors team is second to none and is unparalleled in experience, knowledge, and most importantly, success. The reality is that our results speak for themselves. If you haven’t already, I hope you take some time to get to know us. And, be sure to stay tuned, we have some exciting changes on the horizon!
If you haven’t been fortunate enough to meet the other women on the DomainAdvisors team, please read on and be sure to contact one when you’re ready to do some business.
For more information on Domain Advisors click here.
Amanda Waltz, Boston, MA
Since graduating from The University of Massachusetts in Amherst I have held various sales and marketing roles. I love wearing the hat of “business developer” within companies and adding direct value to the bottom line. I made my way into the world of domaining when industry veteran Tessa Holcomb founded DomainAdvisors in 2010. I had enjoyed following Tessa’s career and always found it intriguing. When she asked me to join her in her new venture, I was thrilled and could not be happier with my decision. Being a domain broker has been intellectually stimulating and financially rewarding. Everyday is different and that is something I love about my role at DomainAdvisors and the industry in general.
My primary focus here at DomainAdvisors is working with our clients to divest of some of the world’s most premium domains and websites. I love working to educate end users and negotiating on behalf of my clients to get top dollar for their assets. On the flip side, I represent companies and investors in successful acquisition of names that they have previously been unable to obtain. I understand and respect the confidentiality required by our clientele and pride myself on both my conversion rate and returning clients. I would love to hear from you if you are a buyer looking to acquire a specific property or if you have a domain you have been holding and are ready to sell. I can be reached at Amanda@domainadvisors.com
Brooke Hernandez, Pismo Beach, CA
I was born and raised in Arizona and studied Communications at Arizona State University before spending some time in Costa Rica and relocating to California’s beautiful Central Coast. Ironically, after spending most of my life in the dessert, I realized my passion for surfing and scuba diving early on and can’t ever see myself living more than a short walk from the ocean again! Similar to the thrill of finding that optimal wave to surf or perfect dive site, is the feeling I get when putting the right buyer and seller together to close a big deal.
While I’ve held various sales positions throughout my career, I spent several years in commercial real estate before joining DomainAdvisors just last year. I found the transition from commercial real estate to domaining quite natural. Whether it’s a start-up looking for the ideal locale or a large corporations looking to expand, there is a distinct parallel between brick and mortar and online real estate. I understand the importance of informing potential buyers (end users, investors, corporations) of the true benefits of investing in a premium domain name. Its’ all about location, location, location and online is no exception. I was lucky enough to be introduced to Tessa Holcomb when I was looking for a change and was intrigued by the online market. I truly believe that premium generic domains are “prime” real estate and each time I convince a business owner of the same, it’s like finding that perfect wave or dive site all over again. Please feel free to contact me, anytime, at Brooke@domainadvisors.com.
Christina Okland, Los Angeles, CA
I graduated from University of Southern California with a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. I went on to teach 3rd grade then middle school math. After several years of teaching, and frustration with the availability of teaching products online, I decided to launch an educational website in an effort to make it easier for teachers to find the materials necessary to do their jobs effectively. As luck would have it, my longtime friend Tessa Holcomb worked in the domain industry, so I asked for some help in finding the right domain name for my new site. Ironically, I found the process and the domain business so fascinating that my plans took a sharp turn and I ended up joining Tessa’s DomainAdvisors team soon thereafter.
My background as an educator has had a big influence on my sales approach. I tend to work with a lot of small business owners who really are getting their first introduction to the domain industry. I enjoy taking the time to get to know my clients, have a clear picture of their goals, and ensure they fully understand the entire process from pricing to negotiations and payment to transfer of ownership. I am always happy to help answer any questions and can be reached at Christina@domainadvisors.com.
Gina Aubrey, Boston, MA
Born and raised in California, I moved to Boston in 1999 after graduating with a degree in Sociology from the University of California at Santa Barbara. I held several roles within the world’s largest international education company in the areas of management, compliance and staff development. During that time it became apparent to me that fostering strong relationships and providing quality service to both clients and colleagues was imperative to any successful business.
Making the move to domaining seemed like quite a leap but in fact, I found that being a successful broker really boiled down to three things. 1) Working with your client to determine their needs. 2) Figuring out, together, a plan that you’re both comfortable with. And 3) Fostering the relationship with clear communication, updates and, most importantly, results. When I first spoke to Tessa about her idea for a consulting firm focusing on the domain needs of investors and business owners, I was immediately excited about the opportunity and the chance to be a part of DomainAdvisors. Whether it's helping them to acquire a domain or portfolio or to divest of such, my personal approach is to work with my clients to narrow down their specific needs and then put a plan in place to help them reach their goals. Don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Up next we go down under to Australia and meet Jen Sale/Domain Guardians, Most know Jen from Fabulous where she worked with her co-founder Mike Robertson.