Tech-Savvy Talk: Goldy Kamali, From Solo to CEO

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Goldy Kamali, 34

Job:
Founder and chief executive officer of FedScoop (Fedscoop.com, 202-344-5180).

Salary:
Media company CEOs on average earn between $250,000 and $500,000.

What She Does:
Information technology is the use of computers (hardware) and software to manage information, Kamali says. FedScoop is a media company that covers the people and products involved in government IT through several avenues: news provider, events planner and advertising company.

As a news organization, FedScoop provides breaking news and original reporting in the form of online features. It also aggregates the top 10 pieces from publications and blogs related to the industry. This year, Kamali added FedScoopTV and FedScoopRadio online videos and audio of tech leaders at Google, the Air Force and the Energy Department, for instance, talking shop, trends and management advice.

“We also have a VIP blog where we engage senior leaders from government and senior leaders from the tech industry to write for us,” Kamali adds. Guests have included a vice president at Amazon.com, NASA’s chief information officer and Craiglist’s founder.

Kamali also organizes events such as FedTalks, which brings media, government, academia and tech industry types together to discuss how technology can change government.

A year ago, Kamali began handling full advertising campaigns for big-name tech firms including Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Microsoft. “We buy media, we place radio ads, we do the graphic designs, we do targeted Facebook ads, we host specific events around a campaign and so on,” she says.

Would You Want This Job?
Luddites need not apply. This gig is strictly for savvy technophiles who don’t care about sleeping. “I am really working 18- to 20-hour days. It’s pretty intense,” Kamali says. “At the end of the day, when I weigh out my priorities and if this is what I want to be doing every single day, then it’s totally worth it.”

You also have to love to schmooze and see opportunity everywhere. “I’m out in the community building relationships with our VIP speakers and bloggers, with our attendees, our sponsors, etc., but I also am setting the strategy and vision for the company,” she adds.

How She Got the Job:
Kamali started in the industry in 1995 at age 19, when she took what was to be a summer job at a telecommunications company in Seattle, her hometown. Soon she was interim department manager, and after she grew the department by 900 percent within a few months, the job was officially hers. At 20, she was a national sales and marketing manager for Fox Communications, two years later she was VP of a teleconferencing firm, and at 23 she was closing multimillion-dollar contracts at XO Communications. After a decade in sales and sales management, she became executive director of the American Electronics Association (now TechAmerica) in 2005.

Despite her experience, she still felt lost at times. “I specifically needed a way to get my arms around the information that’s out there,” Kamali says. “I found myself constantly reading multiple publications and blogs on a daily basis trying to find out what news might impact my clients and my partners. And in the process, I thought, ‘There has got to be a better way to do this. Rather than going to dozens of places a day, wouldn’t it be awesome if there was one place that captures all the top news that’s relevant to me?’ That’s really where the idea for FedScoop came about.”

She launched it in October 2008 with one employee: herself. Today she has a staff of eight and reports 1,500 percent growth.

How You Can Get This Job:
Before you start your own company, learn your industry of choice inside and out through formal or informal studies, internships and networking, Kamali says. After that, all you need is an idea and the guts to act on it, she adds. Of course, basic business skills and financial backing help, too.

Written by Express contributor Stephanie Kanowitz

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