“FableVision is forged by the minds, hearts, and work of solidly good people,” self-proclaimed "Extraordinarily-Excited FableVision Enthusiast" Mitul Daiyan shares.
The newest member of FableVision’s marketing team, Mitul’s background in divinity school, start-ups, and publishing is all rolled into her passion for storytelling and doing good in the world. It’s part of what drew her to the studio – it was an instant connection.
“You know that feeling you get when you see a great piece of art? I get that feeling every time I look at the projects in process when I pass by our artists and developers and producers on the way to my desk,” Mitul says. “Every time I see the FableVision brand, I know that I’m bound to love it. It’s a pretty powerful reassurance.”
This month we sat down with Mitul to hear her story of how she ended up at our studio, her contributions to our marketing efforts, the unique perspective her career path gives her, and her dream of one day owning 74 dogs.
How does a graduate of Harvard Divinity School (HDS) end up doing marketing for an educational media studio?
“So…you want to be a minister?,” is the question that almost every HDS student has received when they tell folks about attending the wonderful world of Divinity School. The truth is that Div-schoolers do just about anything and everything. I’ve had friends who work for the State Department, the United Nations, churches, non-profits, Buzzfeed, you name it. We’re everywhere. HDS prepares us to bring some form of good into the world all the while following our passions.
Me? I wanted to work in educational media and though I didn’t have a direct route, HDS primed me by allowing me to take classes across Harvard, take part in incredible fellowships, and really build my knowledge base around crucial topics in education and the media. I’m a much more socially-conscious marketer at FableVision because of my education.
What’s your journey to FableVision story?
It’s kind of like having a crush on someone, Facebook stalking them for six months, and then finally gathering up the courage to ask them out. I learned about FableVision from my friend, Matt Rubin, who told me about the company one fateful party in October of 2015. I Googled the company and spent hours on the website, slowly falling in love. Six months later, I bit the bullet and sent Sarah Ditkoff an enthusiastic email (without an introduction, she had no idea who I was) and a mere 24 hours later, Matt sent a separate, unprompted email introduction, which pulled everything together. It was strong enough to earn me an interview, and Sarah and I hit it off immediately. One month, two emails, and a couple interviews later, I became the newest addition to the FableFamily.
As the new marketing coordinator, what does your role consist of? What’s your day-to-day look like?
A lot of writing! I was a creative writing major so I missed being able to think creatively and flex that muscle (academic writing can be dry). I’m usually writing up a storm for our blog, social media, newsletters, you name it! When I’m not tip-tapping away, I’m helping Sarah ensure the implementation and smooth execution of marketing efforts across the studio from Open House events all the way up to our 20th Anniversary celebrations.
What's it like being part of FableVision’s marketing team?
FableVision is a small company full of immense talent but our secret ingredient is the passion and energy that we pour into every single project we take on. Our marketing team has a good balance of skills, abilities, solid leadership, and a great sense of humor.
We’re a two-person team that’s small but we're nimble and wear many hats. Marketing is a unique department that’s truly and wholly collaborative. We have a birds-eye view of what’s happening across the studio so I get to dip my toes in uncharted waters, learn more about the creative and technical facets of this company, and find opportunities to cross-collaborate.
What do you think makes for an effective communications/marketing strategy?
Know where your niche is, who you are, and what you do best. I believe that FableVision stands out because not only do we give 110% percent to every single project we take on, but we know who we are at the heart of our company. We’re founded on the value of storytelling and as our company continues to grow, we stay true to our mission of translating values into meaningful media that engages and inspires.
You previously helped found a startup, Barakat Bundle. What made you want to start a company like that, with such a humanitarian mission?
Barakat Bundle started from scratch in the living room of my friend, Karima Ladhani. She came across the BBC article on the Finnish Baby Box and decided to take this idea and customize it for the South Asian context. I immediately climbed on board because here, right in front of me, was an opportunity to make a meaningful impact in a part of the world that I have deep ties to.
We incubated the idea in a course with Professor Gordon Bloom, assembled a team, won the HBS New Venture Competition, became 2015 MassChallenge finalists, turned into a full fledged non-profit organization, and ran our first Prototype Pilot Program all within the span of a year.
What did you like about the work you did there?
The startup world is fast moving and there’s always something to do. I’ve learned to be quick on my feet and think one step ahead, all the while managing what’s currently on my plate. I love being in a collaborative environment and dipping my toes into various departments, having a breadth of knowledge across disciplines. As a member of the marketing team, it’s essential for me to be constantly in the know of what we’re working on or have worked on in the past, and think about unique ways to leverage this content in a meaningful way to attract our audience.
What kind of skills did you learn from creating a startup that help your work at FableVision?
I loved being able to put into practice IDEO’s Human Centered Design strategy. Human Centered Design is founded on the premise that really understanding the people who will use your product is key to generating designs that will actually work. We weren’t just going to fashion a Barakat Bundle that we thought would work for people we hoped to serve. Our goal, right from the beginning, was to go directly to the source and learn from our users. I see this approach in the work that we do at FableVision. We pride ourselves in not just serving educators but having direct interactions that allow us to observe, learn, and iterate in way that pays respect to their valuable input.
Before that you were in children's publishing – what was that like and how'd you end up there?
I’ve always known that I wanted to work with books. I’m a sucker for a good story and I wanted to be a part of an industry that thrives on producing stories for the harshest critics of all – children. I think it takes a truly gifted group of people to produce content that’s enriching in all the right ways. I never liked being told what to do and I’m not fond of books that are preachy or suggest that children aren’t smart or clever. From Lee & Low Books to Scholastic, all the way to Candlewick Press, I’ve such a deep appreciation for the editors, marketers, and publicists that work tirelessly to bring each book into the world.
You’re quite the baker! What got you in the kitchen and what keeps drawing you back?
I love to bake (and cook!) for and with people! Nothing warms my heart more than making people happy with good food and yummy desserts. My favorite kitchen-mate is my gal pal, Emily Srisarajivakul. We were made to make meals together because any time I cook with her, things come out #flawless.
One word: Beyonce. Tell us what it was like seeing her in concert.
Not only was it the best concert ever, it was also my first! Talk about setting the bar high. The props were mind-boggling, the theatrics dazzling, and the amount of talent on that stage left me gobsmacked. It must take a massive amount of effort to put together and yet she does it over and over again. What a woman! I mean, she was dancing ankle-deep on a stage that was turned into a pool! What!
How much do you love dogs?
SO much! My partner, Brent, is a pretty swell guy but I think he likes to believe that it was his charming, dashing ways that won me over. Nope. On our first date, we passed by two girls with a puppy and it trotted over to Brent and enthusiastically lathered him with love. It made my heart turn into warm oatmeal and I knew that was it for me. We’re making plans for a pupster soon. I want 74 dogs.
Any other side projects you’re working on?
I’m a writer by day and a henna artist by night! Currently, I’m working on a collection of short stories but shh…it’s still in the works and will probably be completed in the year 2092.
More about Mitul!
Favorite snack: Cooooookies.
Favorite thing to cook: Any dish that pairs well with rice because rice is life.
Favorite children’s book: This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
Favorite thing to bake: Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake!
Favorite non-children’s book: All the short stories written by Jhumpa Lahiri.
Favorite album: The much anticipated release of Christina’s album, Happy Cat Sounds Volume 1
Favorite podcast: OnBeing with Krista Tippet (I want her to read me bedtime stories)
I mustache you a question. Favorite pun, go! Hey, whaddaya call cheese that’s not yours? …Nacho cheese! Also, this.