Felicia has extensive 360-degree strategic marketing, content marketing and advertising experience on both the client side and at agencies including Ammirati & Puris, Foote, Cone & Belding, Anderson Lembke, Tracy Locke and Adams & Knight. Her previous years in direct marketing poised her for her first entrepreneurial venture as one of the founders of the Anderson & Lembke Interactive Group, one of the earliest interactive specialists.
And for seven years she was founder and CEO of her own company, Sparks.com, an online retailer of high-end gifts, cards and flowers. Within one year of Sparks.com’s launch, she grew it into one of the top 100 most trafficked retail sites on the web.
Of which business achievements are you most proud?
In 1997 I founded and headed up an Internet retailer of gifts, flowers, chocolates and paper greeting cards called Sparks.com. I raised $25 million in venture capital, grew the company to 125 employees, helped it become one of the top 100 most trafficked retail sites, and built a customer database of more than a million unique buyers in just over a year from our launch.
Even after the dot-com crash, I kept my company alive and profitable, and sold it to a highly complementary catalog and brick-and-mortar retailer in 2003.
I played a key role in the positioning and brand launches of MSN, Amazon.com and Excite.com. In each case, success was easy to measure because there was nothing before launch, and tremendous, explosive growth after.
What traits help you succeed?
I’m not just a glass-half-full person; that glass is one strategic or fortunate move from overflowing. It helps me envision the best possible outcome and then work to make it happen. And that is what I love doing. Making big things happen.
What motivates you?
The pleasure of seeing a vision come to fruition, particularly when I’m told my optimistic idea will never happen. That it’s too hard. That’s just throwing down the gauntlet and makes victory taste all the sweeter. If I can envision it, I can do the work to make
it happen. “Impossible just takes longer.” And then there is always another mountain.
How do you hold it together when things get stressful?
I try to keep my eye on the biggest picture. I zoom out until the perspective doesn’t look so bad.
What is your ultimate ambition?
To fill my father’s shoes.
How have your roots contributed to who you are today?
I grew up in Dallas and was lucky enough to have really fantastic parents. My father was the quintessential American success story, starting from an impoverished childhood and building himself into a very successful entrepreneur. He died when I was 20, solidifying forever his hero status in my eyes. One of his hobby businesses was a horse and cattle operation, and of his bulls and stallions he would say that “the true mark of a champion is the ability to create champions.” I’m sure he had no idea how much those words haunt me. The idea that to prove my father’s championship, I had to become a champion.
What activities do you enjoy?
I love skiing and hanging out with my husband and three kids. Especially when I can do both at the same time.
What is your idea of happiness?
Two different feelings. One is in actively feeling appreciation for all that I have experienced and accomplished. And the other is in knowing what I want and striving for it.
What would people find most surprising about you?
I love banjo. I took lessons for a few years but never really got the knack, but my ears perk up and my spirits lift any time I hear it.
I love the smell of hardware stores and feed stores. Just reminds me of my childhood following my dad around on errands.
I have incredible parking karma.
Your favorite motto, quote, saying?
“When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.” — Leo Burnett
What is the most important legacy you hope to leave?