Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hip + Urban Girl of the Week: Erin Bury

Our new bi-weekly column will feature a local hip + urban girl of the week, who encompasses a fabulous attitude, job and lifestyle. We will feature a mix of entrepreneurs and urban professionals who are inspiring to follow. This week we interview Erin Bury, Community Manger at Sprouter:   
So for those of us who might not now know, what exactly is Sprouter?  
Simply put, Sprouter is the best place to get help with your startup online. It allows entrepreneurs to connect with like-minded people to ask questions, share resources, and get feedback. We also publish a free entrepreneurship newsletter called Sprouter Weekly, and we host offline events in cities including New York City and Toronto called ‘Sprout Up’.                                                    
How did the idea come about?  
Our Founder and CEO, Sarah Prevette got the idea after she started her last business. Sarah felt that she was really lacking in her peer-to-peer network of other entrepreneurs. Of course she had her friends and family, but they did not have the necessary startup expertise. Instead of lamenting the lack of places for entrepreneurs to connect online, she built one.     
You have a pretty cool job!  So what exactly does a Community Manager do?  What would you say to all the businesses out there that do not have a presence on social media or are too intimidated to start?  Well thank you!  I absolutely love my job, although I have to say I had no idea what a Community Manager was before I started. A Community Manager can be many things for different companies, but it usually involves aspects of public relations, communications/marketing, social media strategy, events, customer service, and writing. My job changes from day to day and does involve PR, marketing campaigns, event planning and speaking opportunities.  I also write some of our newsletter content, our blog posts and deal with our customer service using social media tools like Twitter.  Engagement and participation on the Sprouter online community is also very important. My role has also evolved to include more strategy and business development, but that's not always the case.   

For anyone out there that's intimidated by social media I would tell them to look at me two years ago. I wasn't on Twitter, I didn't have a blog, and I really didn't see the point of it all. It was only when I started working at a startup company with no marketing or advertising budget that I realized the potential benefits of inexpensive social media tools.  I would tell anyone with social media trepidation to just jump in, but do it with a strategy in mind. Don't just Tweet because it's cool - do it because it will help you reach your community and engage with your customers. Do you really want to be the last one jumping on the social media bandwagon? 

Ok, so how thrilled were you when your founder (Sarah Prevette) and Sprouter made the ‘Top 30 Under 30’ in INC Magazine this month?  Did you have an idea?  Was it mad excitement with champagne all around?
I have to say that it made not just my Monday morning, but also my whole week. In my opinion INC. is one of the most prestigious entrepreneurship publications out there, so for Sarah to be recognized for all her hard work was amazing. We definitely didn't know the article was out Monday, so it was a fabulous surprise! Since it was 8 AM there was no champagne, but I definitely jumped around and screamed, much to the amusement of our developers.

What did you study in University/College?  Would you have done anything differently?
I studied journalism at Carleton University. Both my parents are journalism grads and they taught me the value of the degree, whether or not I wanted to be a journalist (although I am doing some writing for Women's Post and BlogTO). The only thing I would have done differently is get more involved in clubs/societies at school, and make more of an effort to network in my industry. 

Where are your favourite places to hang out in Toronto? 
I love, love, love trying new restaurants. My absolute favourite in the city is Spuntini in Yorkville. Amazing, affordable Italian food, and great ambiance. Some of my other favourites include Brassaii, Southern Accent, Bar Italia, Czehoski, and Crush Wine Bar. I also love going out for lunch - I work in Queen West so I frequent Fusaro's, Peter Pan and Queen Mother Cafe. 

In terms of going out I'm more of a pub/bar girl. You'll never find me at the club du jour, unless it's for a private party. A few favourites are Stones Place, LeBack Block, Bier Markt on the Esplanade, Reposado, the amazing tequila bar on Ossington. If I go out for martinis with girlfriends it's usually at Spice Route or Panorama.

In terms of activities I LOVE sports, so I go to a lot of Leafs/TFC/Argos/Blue Jays games. I also love Second City and see pretty much every show they put out. And of course just exploring different neighborhoods on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

Best places to shop in the city?
I love shopping in West Queen West, and of course Yorkville. I have to admit that although I like boutiques, I tend to be a chain store shopper. I love Club Monaco and French Connection, and of course H+M and Forever 21 for trendy stuff. I have friends who are vintage queens, but I just don't have the knack. 

What do you wish someone told you when you were younger and just starting out?
Age and experience aren't synonymous with ability. Just because you're young doesn't mean you don't have value to add to a company - don't sell yourself short, and always volunteer to take on bigger and better projects and opportunities. Also, get out there and network. You won't build a network or a name for yourself by sitting on your couch.  

What life advice do you have for hip + urban girls out there trying to figure out what they want to do?
My advice would be to work at a startup company. Working in the entrepreneurship space doesn't always occur to people, but I find it's the best way to learn, get experience, and be a part of something really meaningful.  

Tweet Erin: @erin_bury

So who do you nominate or suggest we interview as an inspiring hip + urban girl of the week and why? We are always looking for suggestions! They can be urban professionals with awesome jobs or entrepreneurs. Please comment below.


  1. Erin Bury is an awesome girl, great attitude and great style. Big fan :)

  2. We definitely agree with you!

  3. Are guys allowed to comment on HUG? ;)

    I think this is a great article, and Erin was a great choice for your Hip & Urban Girl of the week! I met her through Sprouter and I've been really impressed with her writing style, speaking abilities and just generally how well put together she is. Kudos! :)