People Pulse: Missy Ward

People Pulse: Missy Ward
Missy Ward: Chica Extraordinaire

Q: We like to kick-off this series by having our guest share a fun “fact” about themselves.  Care to fill-us-in with one of yours? 
Sure.  How about two?

I’m a die-hard AC/DC fan and have been since the US Bicentennial. (How’s that for dating myself?) You can still find me at several of their concerts when they’re touring. While I love all of their songs, my favorite is still “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Want To Rock and Roll)”.

I’m a big wine geek and just finished blending my first wine, called Signorina; the net proceeds of which are donated to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

Q: Where are you originally from, and if not Central Florida then when & why did you end-up here?
I moved down here on April Fool’s Day, 15 years ago with a fool – or ex-husband; whichever term you prefer. I was born and raised in New York (Long Island and the City). We got tired of the commuting and the cold weather so we moved packed our bags, quit our jobs and moved into a house down in Kissimmee as an investment a couple of years before that.

Q: What do you enjoy most about Central Florida?
Well, besides the weather and our lovely humidity that keeps my skin hydrated and wrinkles at bay, I love the lakes and the beaches nearby, the beautiful golf courses and the various entertainment options.

Q: In terms of growth & development, what would you like to see for Central Florida?
While I think Central Florida is getting much better at building our art culture, we’ve got a ways to go. I’d love to see the inroads we’ve made in this area fortified by working together with all of the great local artists, galleries and museums to build more public collections to be comparable with other cities.

We also need to figure out a way to attract more sporting events to our area and keep the existing sporting events from fleeing the likes of our Citrus Bowl. Without renovations to it, we’re bound to lose events like the Florida Classic which accounted for a $30+ million economic impact to Central Florida businesses last year alone.

I’m no politician and I certainly haven’t looked at the budget, but forgoing things like renovations and canceling projects like High Speed Rail, just doesn’t seem like long-term thinking to me.           

Q: I happen to know you are a very busy woman, and a family woman.  You Co-Founded Affiliate Summit (a bi-annual national conference), Feedfront Magazine (the official magazine of Affiliate Summit), manage MissyWard.com and you’re about to publish your second book!  How do you balance everything?
I think that “balance” can mean different things to different people at different points in their career.  It’s really a matter of knowing what’s important to you and setting your priorities to achieve it.

Q: For those in Central Florida who may not be familiar with Affiliate Marketing, can you briefly explain it?
In a nutshell, it’s selling something you don’t own, to people you don’t know and earning a commission each time you do.  But for people that like long, clinical definitions, you can find one on Wikipedia.

Q: So what let you into the Affiliate Marketing space?
I was the VP of Marketing for Global Travel and I was basically told that I needed to launch an affiliate program to generate leads and sales, so I learned how to do because I wanted to keep my job.  I figured the best way to start would be to become an affiliate of some of the most successful programs that were already in existence and then work my way backwards to learn the intricacies of managing a program.  I started a few sites and before I knew it I was making money with my little experiment, and I actually liked what I was doing.  I’ve been an affiliate ever since and have also been an affiliate manager for both merchants and networks.

Q: You were doing a weekly podcast.  Is that still around?
No, I stopped.  I got burned one too many times by guests not showing up at their scheduled times after I spent hours researching information about them to create the interview questions.  The archives are still around at BigMouthStrikesAgain.fm.

Q: You travel quite a bit for work.  What’s your favorite thing about coming back home to Central Florida?
I love coming back home to my family and sleeping in my own bed!

Q: You’re very involved in breast cancer awareness & education.  Any particular reason?
I consider myself very fortunate at this point in my life.  I have a great family, I am financially comfortable and I’ve made thousands of friends and contacts in an industry that I love.

I felt that I shouldn’t waste the position that I’ve found myself in, so I created AffiliateMarketersGiveBack.com.  Its goal is two-fold; to raise money to support Breast Cancer research, treatment, awareness and community programs through combined efforts within the Affiliate Marketing Industry and also provide an outlet for people to help themselves by uplifting others in a ways that another piña colada-filled vacation, more “stuff” or a beefier resume couldn’t possibly begin to do.

To date, we’ve raised over $250k which has been donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Our next fundraiser is the 2011 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer (http://www.DonateToTeamAMGB.com) in June and we’ve already raised over $60,000 so far, for that event.

Q: What do you do for entertainment in Orlando?
Our family loves going to the parks and enjoy the outdoor festivals. My husband and I also enjoy doing wine tastings and dining out. We’re kind of foodies.

Q: Who are some of the Central Florida «people» you follow, that we should keep our eyes on?
I enjoy following @ScottJoseph for his restaurant reviews.  We kind of have the same taste.

Q: Are there any “secret treasures” in the Central Florida area that people should be familiar with
If you’re a Wine or Beer lover, you have to go to Sanford Wine Company for their wine tastings or beer school nights.  The owner is friendly, the music is good, the pours are big and the prices are so cheap that I feel like I’m taking advantage of them.

Q: In departing, what is the final thing you’d like to leave with our readers?
When I was a kid, my Dad used to always say, “Missy, life is not a dress rehearsal.”  It’s sort of stuck with me through the years and has helped me with my business.  I’ve found that most people talk about what they would like to do in the future rather than act upon it.  Doers always trump talkers when it comes to being successful.

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