When Virginia Miracle’s husband first told her his last name, her response was “shut up” because she thought he was lying.
The name suits the friendly, charismatic Chief Customer Officer at Spredfast. The company’s 600-plus clients include Audi, HBO and the recent social media hub for NBC’s Peter Pan Live. Her job at the social media management software company is to make sure customers are using the product in the fullest way possible. “After you’ve purchased, you’ve crossed to the other side,” she explains. “How can we make that a more helpful thing?” Miracle and her team help make using the programs easier and more conducive to their clients’ needs.
Immediately after graduating from Princeton in 1998, Miracle was part of a small group of people recruited to join Trilogy, a local software company. She worked there for four years, followed by a four-year stint at Dell, and then in 2006 she decided she needed to have new work experiences. She moved to South Carolina to work for Brains on Fire, a proponent of the word of mouth marketing movement. After that, she moved to Washington, D.C. to work for Ogilvy Public Relations, where she worked with a broad spectrum of clients, from big brands such as Ford to international institutions like the World Bank. In 2010, her husband wanted to move back to his home state of Texas, so Ogilvy let her move back to Austin and allowed her to travel for work. As serendipity would have it, Miracle says, she ran into the Spredfast team in New York one day in 2011 — and one of the employees had purchased Miracle’s old house in Austin years ago. “It was the perfect time to think about spending more time in Austin and committing to growing a business in Austin instead of just living here and being on the road,” Miracle says. She started at Spredfast in January 2012 and has been there ever since.
A Day in the Life: Virginia Miracle
Miracle wakes up at 5:30 a.m. because it gives her time for herself. She goes downtown to take a spin class at RIDE Indoor Cycling, and then heads back home to get her kids ready for whatever is scheduled for the day.
She returns downtown to Jo’s Coffee for a breakfast meeting, which serves as an unofficial Spredfast hub.
She has her first client meeting of the day with Natanya Anderson, the social media and digital communications director at Whole Foods. The supermarket chain has been with Spredfast for all of Miracle’s tenure and is the closest client, physically, to Spredfast’s office. Miracle’s and Anderson’s respective teams meet every two weeks to talk about improving their tools for the 1,100 users managing Whole Foods’ 800 social channels across the country. Today, the two talk about how to find the best way to tell hyperlocal stories at individual stores.
Miracle has her second client meeting of the day with Jan Ryan, Partner at Capital Factory and Founder of Women@Austin, with which Miracle is heavily involved. The group encourages and teaches Austin women how to lead their own businesses through events and workshops. Today, the two talk about the panel they’re hosting for South by Southwest Interactive, as well as other SXSW events to promote. “There’s no reason Austin shouldn’t be just amazing for women, because we’ve got already an entrepreneurial community that’s known around the country,” Ryan says. “We haven’t had a lot of visibility for women here and we’re trying to change that.”
Lunch is provided by Whole Foods four times a week. Miracle points out that both Spredfast and Whole Foods are each other’s best customers.
After merging with Mass Relevance last April, Miracle’s team now consists of over 100 people across the country. She catches up with her team during a conference meeting. “We get to do what I think of as the fun stuff,” she says, “Which is actually be there in the trenches with you, helping make social work.”
Miracle spends a moment catching up on emails (the team often use standup desks). All the conference rooms are named after Austin food trailers and breweries. The most popular trailers, Gourdough’s and Torchy’s, are the two largest conference rooms.
Miracle is often on the road, either once a week or every other week. Just recently, she went to Las Vegas for a quick day trip, and took meetings in Los Angeles and San Francisco. She doesn’t want to go more than a week without meeting a customer in person. Her hands-on approach keeps her data fresh, she says. When that isn’t possible, she spends time talking to clients on the phone, looking out the window at paddle-boarders and boaters on the Colorado River.
Miracle checks in with her staff when necessary. “We have a principle called ‘freesponsibility,’” Miracle says. “I empower and trust you to be making good decisions on a minute-to-minute basis, and you don’t need to ask my permission by virtue of the fact that we’ve given you a job here. We trust that you will make solid decisions.”
She cooks and eats dinner with her family in the kitchen. She strives to cook dinner for the family three days a week, but her travel schedule doesn’t always make that feasible.
Virginia will spend the rest of the evening balancing family time with ongoing work commitments, ensuring that Spredfast is always propelling forward.
Written by: Nadia Chaudhury
Photography by: Shalyn Nelson, Nadia Chaudhury
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