July 19, 2013

Caitlin Thayer

Caitlin Thayer

Age: 27

Title: Owner, CEO

Comapny: Barefoot Media

Town where you work: Hartford

Town where you live: Hartford

College: Clark University

What I do for fun: I run (six half marathons so far!), read a lot, spend time with friends.

Friends/Family that influence me: My best friend, Julie Daly Meehan, has been an amazing positive influence in my life since moving to Connecticut.

My Charity/Cause: I love helping the entire nonprofit community, and have fundraised for breast cancer organizations, Habitat for Humanity and Junior Achievement.

My Passion, Hobby or Special Talent: I love to read, and will often finish a book in one to two days.

'If I've learned anything from the last 10 years, it's that you can plan and dream as much as you want, but you never know what life will throw at you.'

What do you do?

I own Barefoot Media, which I started in December 2009. I teach nonprofit organizations how to use social media networks to connect and engage with their communities. I provide training on using the different social media sites as well as how to create and utilize a strategy to succeed.

Please describe your career path.

If you asked me 10 years ago if I thought I would own my own business, I would have said absolutely not. I was a History major and worked at a museum after graduating. Once social media started to get popular, I was asked to start a Facebook page for the museum and that was that. I loved building our online community and other nonprofits started looking to me for help and guidance. Once I saw that the need was there, I started my company in December 2009 and left the museum in July 2010 to do Barefoot Media full time.

What's been your biggest challenge professionally?

Owning a business! I took a few business classes in college (that didn't turn out so well) and it's been a huge challenge learning the ins and outs of owning a business. I'm also not much of a salesperson, so it's been a challenge to network, find new clients and get them to hire me. Fortunately, social media help tends to sell itself.

Where do you want to be in 10 years?

Who knows! If I've learned anything from the last 10 years, it's that you can plan and dream as much as you want, but you never know what life will throw at you. If I had continued on the plan I had, I never would have started my own business and gotten to work with so many of the amazing nonprofits in the area. I think it's great to dream and to make plans, but also to stay open to opportunities and possibilities that present themselves along the way.

What is the best advice you received?

Be yourself. This has become incredibly important as I've grown in my business. When my clients hire my company, they're hiring me. I've chosen to be myself in all aspects of my life and my business, and I think it's really paid off in terms of finding the right clients or having the right clients find me.

How are you involved in your community?

I'm the vice chair for community involvement for the Hartford Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs (HYPE). I run a committee of 15 to 20 people who plan all things community and nonprofit oriented that HYPE does. We just raised $15,000 for two local nonprofits from our Tee it Up for Charity event. I'm on the board of directors for Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity. I help build homes in the community, raise money to support their efforts and work to get more people involved. They're doing so much good and changing the lives of local families. They're a fantastic organization to be involved with. I also am a part of the Clark University Alumni & Parent Admissions Program, where I get to interview local students who have applied to Clark. It's so fun getting to help shape the future of Clark and to give back to them in this way.

Meet the 2013 Winners

Anthony G. Barrett

Joe Bierbaum

Matthew R. Boehm

Mario J. Bruno

Matthew Carbray

Raymond Cocozza

Maria Conlon

Dawn Crayco

Christopher Davis

Marc A. DiBella

Derek Donofrio

Sara-Beth Donovan

Brandon Dufour

Brandon M. Frame

Meghan Freed

Emily A. Gianquinto

Alyssa Goduti

Terese Guerrero

Melissa Harris

Tauheedah Jackson

Michael J. Kolosky

Julie Krug

Carolyn Kuan

Heather Lombardi

Jeremy Lowe

Concetta Maratta

Michael Mascaro

Brian Mauriello

Paul Mounds Jr.

Reem Nouh

Nathan Quesnel

Josh Reese

Jennifer Rizzotti

Carrie L. Rocha

Kendrick Trevor Roundtree Sr.

Shaun Sheridan

R. Scott Slifka

Jack Soos

Caitlin Thayer

Julia E. Wayner

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