January 2011

Kate DowneyKate is a panelist at tonight’s Cocktails & Conversations "The Changing Environment of Online Content: Engage, Track and Measure" and the director of audience analytics and insights for the Wall Street Journal Digital Network. At the network, she oversees a team of five and is responsible for all aspects of customer and product analytics for Dow Jones & Company’s consumer digital products, including WSJ.com, MarketWatch.com, Barrons.com, AllThingsD.com and SmartMoney.com.

In transportation “I started in public relations and event planning in the container shipping industry, then moved on to marketing at NJ Transit, where I managed TV, outdoor, print and radio advertising for the railroad and bus services. Marketing software and pre-Web digital products for Dow Jones followed. I used to say I was still in the transportation industry, as I moved from shipping goods across the water, to people on trains, to ideas on what used to be called the information superhighway.”

History helps “I majored in history at Rutgers and like to think I’m a historian for our digital products. I’m not just collecting and saving the data, but finding meaning in the numbers. Instead of researching birth and death rates or bushels of wheat harvested in 14th-century Europe, I mine digital visits, articles read, comments made and search statements to draw a profile of our customers. My frustration? I cannot get all the data I want.”

Cookies “[The digital ones, are] the bane of my life, as they keep multiplying. But I enjoy eating cookies. When I bake them at home — usually chocolate chip — there’s a battle between the soft-cookie lovers and the crispy lovers. I dunk mine, so I like crispy: if it bends, it’s half-baked.”

Recharging “My boys are in college now, so I actually have downtime. Until recently, it was swimming, soccer, baseball or volleyball games or committee meetings to attend almost daily. Now my husband and I go to concerts and sporting events and enjoy entertaining. I’m also in a gourmet club, where I have to create meals of at least five courses for friends. I like to be creative with the dinner themes. A plate of Starry Night, anyone?"

If not world peace, then what? “A Mustang convertible: It was my first car, and I want one again.”

—As told to Michelle Lodge

Diana LauDiana is a senior studying advertising and art direction at the Pratt Institute, and a 2010 NYWICI scholarship winner.

Applying "I heard about the scholarship through the Internet and Kathleen Creighton, head of the communications design department at Pratt, who is also a member of NYWICI. I applied because NYWICI offers much more than scholarship money: I've had the opportunity to meet all kinds of people in the industry. Plus, I got an internship."

Identifying "There aren't that many prominent women in advertising coming from the creative side. But Alessandra Lariu's organization, SheSays, is trying to change that. I'm all for having more great creative women in our field."

Working "My ideal day would be traveling somewhere exotic for a commercial shoot.

"The great thing about what I do is bringing excitement into the work; it's not the other way around. No matter what the subject is, my job is to make it exciting and interesting."

Living digitally "I'm building up my online portfolio. Last semester I worked on a lot of digital campaigns — both challenging and fun. With digital, there are so many possibilities."

How "not fitting in" paid off "Growing up as an Asian-American in Washington, NJ, and being different from other kids contributed to me being creative. In high school, I got used to not fitting in, so I continued to do my own artistic thing."

Relaxing "Sleeping in, ordering takeout and watching movies."

Cooking "I'm learning to make the easier recipes in the Julia Child cookbooks, one by one. There's something extremely satisfying about preparing a delicious meal and sharing it with others, as people tend to appreciate good food."

Speeding "Last summer, while on vacation in Ocean City, MD, I ate pounds and pounds of fresh crab and went jet-skiing. I've never done anything more exciting than driving at 60 mph on the open water. Normally, I'm very careful, but for some reason that day, my inhibitions left me."

As told to Michelle Lodge