#45: Michelle Fine-Smith, VP of Global Consumer Partnerships at Variety

Michelle Fine-Smith is Variety’s VP, Global Consumer Partnerships, responsible for sales across all platforms: digital/social, custom content, print and live events/summits. She oversees the Global Consumer Sales for Variety and IndieWire. The categories under the consumer group include Automotive, Consumer Electronics, Financial Services, Luxury Fashion/Jewelry and Travel.  Michelle has developed innovative multi-platform programs for major clients including AT&T, Audi, CHANEL, Chopard, Citibank, Delta Air Lines, Google, Intel Corporation, L’Oreal, Mercedes-Benz, SONY Electronics and United Airlines. Prior to joining Variety in 2008, Michelle was Sponsorship Sales Director for Billboard where she sold into major event properties such as the Latin Music Awards, Music & Money Conference and the Film & TV Music Conference.  Previously, she was Sponsorship Sales Manager for Forbes Media where she sold sponsorship packages to global companies for the Forbes portfolio of C-level conferences and events. Michelle has a B.A. degree in Communications from the University at Albany.

What do you consider your top 3 core values and how do they affect how you lead your business?

My core values can be summed up into 3 C’s:

Collaboration – in order to truly achieve success in an organization there needs to be inter-departmental collaboration.  There is a reason we use the phrase “it takes a village”.

Creativity – when coming up with solutions for our clients, whether it is experiential, traditional advertising or custom content - creativity is always key.

Communication – last but certainly not least, and probably one of the most important core value is communication – having great communication both internally and externally is an essential part of our organization.

Can you share a time you either thought you failed, or actually did fail? How did you react and move past it, and what impact did it have on business decisions?

Not sure if I can think of a specific example of failure but I have always had a fear of failing which I now use it to motivate myself in business as well as in my personal life. Questions I constantly ask myself: Am I doing enough to support my team? Are we taking enough risks? Am I balancing home/work life? One of my favorite documentary films is called “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”, it is about seeking out your personal best while striving to perfect your craft.  I have come to the realization that failure or fear of failing can be a good thing because it pushes you to go above and beyond.

What types of projects do you have coming up that we can look forward to seeing in the future?

We will host our first ever PRIDE event on June 24th in NYC and will publish a coinciding impact list in Variety that will profile the top LGBTQ people in entertainment including Asia Kate Dillon, Billy Eichner, Hannah Gadsby, Don Lemon, Jim Parsons and MJ Rodriguez.  This October is also the 10th anniversary of Variety’s Power of Women Los Angeles where we will honor 5 extraordinary women in entertainment for their commitment to moving the needle on philanthropic causes.