Editor’s note: Executive Q&A appears on Tuesdays.The failure of Zoom Culture earlier this year didn’t keep two of its executives out of the workforce for very long.
Both Donna Sorensen and Robb Czyzewski recently landed jobs at Trailblazer Studios in Raleigh. Czyzewski took over as controller and Sorensen is the vice president of sales and marketing as part of Trailblazer’s expansion efforts. Although it is growing and privately funded, Trailblazer, which also has a studio in Dallas, is not looking for outside investment, according to Sorensen.
Tom Waring, the chief executive officer of Trailblazer, believes he has a winning team and company, Sorensen says. With five boutique offerings, TV and film development and production services, Warning believes that “we are a very creative place, where anything can be done that could be done in New York or Los Angeles,” Sorensen says.
Local Tech Wire recently asked both why they chose to join Trailblazer and to reflect on what went wrong at Zoom Culture.
What factors led to your decision to join Trailblazer?
Sorensen: I had been working with Trailblazer Studios as their marketing and promotional company, and loved the spirit of the company. I also admired the CEO, Tom Waring, who I think of as a visionary, as well as a very smart and compassionate man. I have always felt that the tone of the company comes from the top, and it is certainly evident here.
Czyzewski: Trailblazer Studios has a great group of people with fantastic experience, talent, sense of teamwork and collaboration.
What sets Trailblazer apart in your view as a production company?
Sorensen: Again, the tone set by the company. I come from a background of customer service driving the sale. I feel that my values and business philosophy blend well with what we are trying to accomplish here at Trailblazer Studios. In addition, with the broad range of artistry and talent here under the umbrella of Trailblazer Studios, all five boutiques (Red Truck Films, Trailblazer Productions, Serious Robots, Distillery and Blazing Music and Sound) are truly excellent in their own right.
Czyzewski: Quality. I had worked with the company years ago and was very impressed by the quality of work they deliver. Tom Waring and his team have raised the ante on this front with additional investment in people and equipment.
Are your hires part of an expansion of management? If so, what is driving this, growth and new business?
Sorensen: Definitely. There were no VP of Sales and Marketing or Controller here before Robb and I joined the company. Trailblazer Studios is growing at a fast pace, and to continue with the growth, Tom decided to shore up his management team to anticipate future growth rather than to react to it.
Czyzewski: Donna’s position and mine are both new roles in the company. Our five boutiques are off to a strong start with recurring business and referrals from loyal clients and we’re here to help them grow.
I’d like you both to reflect a moment on Zoom Culture. What in your opinion went awry there? The company was well funded, had programming, and seemed to have great potential.
Sorensen: Zoom Culture faced the same problems that a lot of start-up companies faced in tough economic times. It was a great concept with good funding and a seasoned board, but they couldn’t react to the downturn in the economy quickly enough to turn the profit they needed.
Czyzewski: Zoom was definitely an exciting place! Unfortunately, we were looking to networks to buy our shows as ad revenues declined and corporate video clients were tightening their purse strings in a very difficult economic climate.
Trailblazer Studios: www.trailblazerstudios.com