Five Questions with Faculty: Heidi Reale

Reale is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing and the Founder of SparkShoppe LTD

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 10, 2018) – Three years ago, Heidi Reale decided to drop her job to start her own company. Reale, an adjunct professor of marketing in the School of Business, is now the founder and CEO of SparkShoppe LTD, a boutique marketing and communications group based in Albany, N.Y.

Question #1: What projects are you working on that you’re most excited about?

We got a job that is probably a once-in-a-lifetime-job, where we were recruited by the Italian Trade Agency to come in and teach them all about digital marketing in the United States. We partnered with another company and went in for a full day of training with the Italian Trade Commissioner and his staff on how best retailers in the United States use digital marketing.

Question #2: How would you describe your teaching style?

What I try to do is, and I’ve always tried to do this whether it was marketing principles or digital marketing, is I try to bring in real-world examples, so that way when they’re reading their textbook, I bring it to life. So it’s not just like I’m reading [to students] a marketing plan, but I’m actually going to show how somebody does it. That’s been my focus throughout my career of teaching. I want students to not only read the book, but to take it a step further and know how to apply it when they actually get in the workforce.

Question #3: What advice would you give to graduating seniors?

You may understand digital better than your boss, and your boss’ boss, but what you don’t understand is business and you don’t necessarily have the experience to know how to apply it. So when you get into the workforce, make sure you are humble enough to listen to the people who are your supervisors, but also, don’t be afraid to jump in and share your thoughts in a respectful way. Everybody learns from that. The supervisors and the older generations learn from the technology experience that you have, and you learn from the business experience that they have and it’s a win-win.

Question #4: What advice would you give to aspiring, female business leaders?

I hope that the younger generation doesn’t have some of the challenges that we had, however, what has made me feel good about my career is being true to yourself. Don’t change who you are based upon wanting to fit in a gender role, so if you, as a woman in business, feel like you have something to say, don’t sit and wait to say it until it’s too late. Speak up. Don’t change your ways based upon the fact that you’re a woman in business – you’re a person in business. And as a person in business, you’re smart, you’re intelligent, and, you’re there for a reason. Make sure you make it known why you’re there, whether you’re a man or woman, in a respectful way.

Question #5: How do you maintain work-life balance?

I have to exercise, not only to stay in shape but to clear my mind, but I ski, I bike, I raise teenagers, so that’s a challenge in and of itself. My daughter heads off to college next month. I’ve tried to maintain a really good work-life balance, and as a professional and as a mom, that’s not always easy to do, but we have to do our best and try to make time for things that give us an outlet because that makes you better as a professional.

SparkShoppe LTD is a UAlbany START-UP NY partnership.


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