Guest Column | Natalie Eisenberg
When she's not serving as the chief driver of the organization's commitment to be Better Every Day, Click Rain + Lemonly CEO Natalie Eisenberg '02 can be found with her family or contributing to causes in her hometown of Sioux Falls. She serves on the boards for the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and Great Bear Recreation Park and volunteers regularly for Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, University of South Dakota Foundation and Chamber Appeals campaigns. She and her husband, Troy, have two children and enjoy year-round outdoor activities.
Why did you choose to come to USD?
I originally chose USD because I grew up in Sioux Falls, and it was a nice distance from home. My brother went to school at USD and loved it, and my best friend was going to USD. I was interested in business, and I knew there was a great business school at USD. Those were my main reasons.
What were you involved in at USD?
I started out as a business major, but really gravitated more toward marketing and advertising, so I switched to the journalism school and had an advertising focus.
Then I got really involved with all kinds of ad clubs. I worked for them a lot, and I sold advertising and worked with small businesses around Vermillion to get them featured in The Volante. I also spent time in a student-run ad agency where we also worked with real clients.I was also part of a student-alumni committee, where I got to meet a bunch of alumni in my area of interest, which is where I met Paul Schiller, who eventually helped me get a foot in the door to my first job at Lawrence + Schiller.
What is your favorite memory from USD?
I really liked doing group work and meeting a lot of people in my same area of interest and being able to spend a lot of time together, putting on a presentation together on a random Thursday night. I just remember being up late at the library, putting something great together and really bonding with the crew.
Looking back at your full USD experience, are there distinct moments that changed your life?
When I was still exploring different majors and kind of figuring out what path I wanted to take, I took a PR class and the professor was Dr. Mary Lou Cornette. I pretty much dressed down to class every day except when we had a presentation day. So on one of those days, we were dressed up a little more, did our presentation and after class, she called me to her desk. I didn't really know what she was going to say, but she said, "You know, you're really good at this subject." Then she looked at me over her glasses and she said, "You look real nice with a little mascara on your eyes." She was kind of saying, "Pick it up a notch here honey." But that statement of "You're really good at this," really set me on the track that I wanted to go down in the communications world.
What advice do you have for those pursuing a similar profession?
Have a sense of curiosity and urgency. Having a curiosity to learn and to observe what's going on around you in the world really helps in marketing roles. Also, understanding a sense of urgency, because some things only have a short window of opportunity that they can be a relevant idea, so it's about knowing when you have to be urgent about an idea to make it relevant.
How do you stay connected to USD?
I love to attend Dakota Days whenever I can to see a lot of friends and colleagues. I have been involved in some committees through the USD Foundation. I love to read about what's happening on campus. Whenever I receive the Arts and Sciences newsletter, I love to read that. There's also a publication that comes out from the media and journalism department that I always enjoy. The main thing I do to stay connected is to be in touch with marketing and advertising professors. I do that from a recruitment point of view for our company. I also love to speak in classes whenever I can and get to know students, and sometimes they stay connected with me, which becomes a little bit of a foot in the door for them.
How does Click Rain + Lemonly contribute to South Dakota?
We're very plugged in. In fact, we've been working really hard to reestablish some university connections across the state and be very in tune with what is being taught to students and in some cases, even contributing to what's been taught to students. We find it very important to be a leader in flexible work and company culture. And so, what we're doing in our organization, we hope also may be mirrored in other organizations to really create more positive workplaces across the state no matter the industry. We'd like to be a front runner and an example of that type of thing.
How is Click Rain continuing to grow in the area?
We have a great opportunity to support a lot of other dynamic companies in the region, and when we can help them with our marketing, creative and web expertise, it helps them prosper as well. So we definitely see it as kind of a ripple effect of positivity, that when we are able to share our talents with other companies they're growing and rippling positively in the community as well.
What current big projects are you working on that you're excited about?
We are renovating an office in a historic building in downtown Sioux Falls that we will move into in the fall. We'll have an office space that will house both Click Rain + Lemonly, so for the very first time, we'll be able to be in the same space together. That's going to be a big milestone for us as an organization and something that we're all really looking forward to. With that, our merger is fairly recent, and we continue to find new opportunities on how to work together, share resources and also really build up what we represent as a whole. We're doing a lot of work on what we call our "shared organizational brand." Our new business pipeline is really healthy -- we continue to have great opportunities to work with new businesses. It's all really exciting.
What makes you want to work, live and be a part of the Sioux Falls community?
Sioux Falls is my hometown. I have family connections and lots of great memories here. But my husband and I chose Sioux Falls because it's so prosperous, thriving and it's a vibrant community. It is a really positive place for us to raise a family. We love the park system, dining, cultural scene and the schools are great for our kids. It’s a medium-sized city, and since it is so vibrant and growing, there's always something new to experience, and it's fun to be a part of all of that.
What is your "why?"
To use my gifts to lift others to be their best.