ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Staff file photo / Mickey Cloud, market leader for VaynerMedia, poses for a photo at his office in downtown Chattanooga, Tenn., on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. Cloud started his VaynerMedia career at their New York location, and he helped start their office in Chattanooga. VaynerMedia is an advertising firm that focuses on social media advertisements.

Mickey Cloud is executive director for the Sasha Group, a VaynerX Company, and leads the Chattanooga office for the business. In 2011, Cloud became one of the earliest employees of VaynerMedia in New York City, joining founder Gary Vaynerchuk in a company then devoted entirely to social media. Although Vaynerchuk's marketing business has grown to become full-service agencies around the globe, it remains a pioneer in how to use social media platforms to promote a product or business. In 2015, Vaynerchuk decided to open an office in Chattanooga, and North Carolina native Cloud jumped at the chance to launch and lead the Sasha Group's "off the coast" office.

What books have influenced your leadership style and career development?

John Feinstein's "A March to Madness" followed the nine coaches of the classic ACC through the 1997 men's basketball season and gave me my first career ambitions: I was going to be a high-level college basketball coach (and/or a sportswriter in case that didn't work out). Neither of those happened, but as I became more interested in business and started my career in advertising and marketing, I can easily point to three books that have shaped my leadership approach. The first is "The Thank You Economy" by my boss, Gary Vaynerchuk. I had no idea who Gary was before I met him for a job interview, but after accepting a role with VaynerMedia in fall 2011, I figured I should read his most recent book. It was so good, I read it on one leg of a road trip. It shares foundational marketing and leadership principles that still ring true a decade later, and I knew I had joined an awesome company with a special CEO when I finished that.

During my time within VaynerX, I've led discussions about two books that have really stood out. "Creativity, Inc." by Ed Catmull, one of the founders of Pixar, about Pixar's process for creative collaboration, which takes a very team-centric approach that feels quite different from traditional Hollywood storytelling and movie-making. The other book was "Setting the Table" by Danny Meyer, who shares his entrepreneurial learnings from his restaurant empire.

What books have you recently read for pleasure that you're recommending to others?

For pleasure, I mostly read crime/action thrillers that follow a main character like Jack Reacher, Harry Bosch, Renee Ballard, etc., across a series. Outside that genre, "Small Great Things" by Jodi Picoult is a gripping story that grapples with prejudice, race and justice in a really powerful way that I highly recommend. I also love to recommend "The Storm Before The Calm" by George Friedman to get a sense of how optimistic (or not) folks are about the next 10 years for America after they read it.

What books are on your to-read list?

I haven't read Gary's newest book, "Twelve and a Half: Leveraging the Emotional Ingredients Necessary for Business Success" yet (it just came out!), but it's about the leadership and teamwork principles we value and try to live out every day at VaynerX, so I have a feeling it'll be my new favorite book of his.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT