Friday, May 15, 2009

Deborah Parenti >

Deborah Parenti, Radio Broadcaster, Hispanic Radio Ink

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business? only if it is applicable

I am not Hispanic. I am half Italian but I think there are many cultural similarities that strongly influence and shape our approach to business - one that places emphasis on loyalty and dedication and overflows with creative energy and drive

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
I think it's important to maintain an outward focus - in other words, not to internalize too much. Sometimes the best way to get through a difficult situation is by shifting gears - devoting some of that energy and attention to someone or something else. That doesn't mean ignoring problems. Sweeping things under the rug is not an option but single minded concentration on one's own situations can easily lead to self absorption instead of solutions.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
Over the years, my biggest challenge has been maintaining a balance between professional and personal obligations. I tend to throw myself into whatever project I am involved in at the time and find myself rushing through everything else. It's true, you really do need to "stop and smell the roses."

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
To relax more and let go on occasion. My ex husband used to tease that the world did not need to worry - I had that covered.

What was your childhood ambition?
As a little girl, I wanted to be a singer or a beautiful ballet dancer. Which is odd because I was terribly shy - I could have never gotten on stage! When I was five, I was invited to ride a pony on a children's TV show. I was terrified and tried to hide behind the set curtain.

Tell us about three people that you admire?
I idolized my material grandmother - she was a quintessential "lady," a woman of great style and a love for me that I could feel from the moment she entered the room.

My sons, two of the most incredible individuals I have ever known. They are total opposites in so many ways but both such thoroughly engaging and decent human beings.

My dad, because he was just an all around wonderful man with a great voice, a crazy sense of humor and an unconditional love of family. Before we lost him last year, I watched him take such loving care of my mother who was quite ill. It was beautiful and generous and I was blessed to witness it.

For meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
That depends on the objective of the meeting and how well acquainted with the other party. If it's a presentation, let's skip the meal and do it at the office. That aside, I find people are usually fresher at breakfast, lunch may be rushed and dinner can take on a more relaxed tone. In all cases, however, could we all quit checking our PDA's. It's so rude (and yes, I am guilty at times)

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
The biggest sacrifice was time - time to explore other interests. Pursuing a career and raising two sons consumed, albeit gladly, all of mine for many years. Fortunately, I did get the gift of time later. I dropped out of business for about six years and "got in touch" with other areas of life like writing, volunteering, traveling and decorating. I even got a certificate in Interior Decorating - a far cry from radio.

What is your favorite quote?
"Work like you don't need money,Love like you've never been hurt,And dance like no one's watching."

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Unconventional people usually don't think they are unconventional. They tend to believe the rest of the world just doesn't get it.

Biggest mistake made?
I have made my share of mistakes but quite possibly my greater shortcoming, especially in personal areas, has been not knowing when to give up. Persistence can be a virtue but it can also be a stumbling block to moving on.
Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I am a bit of an innovator but would more describe myself as a creative problem solver. I'm a strong believer that alternative solutions should be part of every plan. You don't want to get caught short - and that means considering all the possible objections up front and then designing appropriate solutions in an executable fashion. Too many great ideas fail because implementation hasn't been given the same consideration as the idea. So I guess I am a mixed bag, something that used to drive my staffs crazy. They never knew which side of "Deborah" was going to show up at the meeting - the creative clown or the pragmatist.

About the Company
Radio Ink is a leading radio trade publication that focuses on broadcast sales, marketing and management. In addition to a bi-monthly print magazine, the publication includes an online web site and daily online headlines delivered every morning via email. Radio Ink also sponsors three conferences - the annual Focecast summit at the Harvard Club in New York, which examines industry economic trends, projections and analysis; ConVergence, a new media conference targeted at radio broadcasters and held in San Jose; and the Hispanic Radio Conference, the only conference dedicated solely to Hispanic radio.

Deborah Parenti is a veteran broadcaster whose career has spanned positions in her hometown of Dayton, as well as Louisville and Philadephia. Her range of experience includes promotion, marketing, business management, sales and sales and general management. She broke the glass ceiling in Dayton as the first woman to manage a radio station in the market and established one of the first consolidated operations in the country, as well as designed and branded an innovative multi-station selling platform in 1996, "Radio First!" A participant over the years in panels and as a speaker at NAB, CRS, RAB and Pollack Media conferences, Ms. Parenti will be inducted in the Dayton Broadcasters' Hall of Fame this coming September. Deborah is also a previous Radio Ink Radio Wayne nominee, and today manages Radio Ink publications and conferences.

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