Michala Kepple, zkipster’s Head of Client Relations for North America, was born and raised in the USA and lived in several different states before settling in Los Angeles, California.
Michala joined zkipster in 2017 as one of our earliest client-facing hires.
Michala, tell us about your career before you arrived at zkipster.
I grew up in Connecticut, in a small coastal town called Stonington in New London County. Living on the water (a river called the Thames also flows through New London County!) meant that I got into rowing, and I went to college (Duke University in North Carolina, where I majored in visual art and politics) on a rowing scholarship. As a rowing cox, I was responsible for navigating the boat as well as coordinating and communicating with the rowers, and I’ve carried the skills I learnt – motivating and being in tune with team members and the power and possibility of teamwork – with me into my career. I’ve really appreciated working closely with both colleagues and clients ever since.
My first job after graduating was with an ambitious startup at the early stages of its development, and I’ve gravitated towards fast-growing companies like this ever since. I worked at startups focused on hospitality, marketing, artificial intelligence and virtual reality, with roles spanning operations, sales and business development, marketing and growth strategy before I joined zkipster.
Tell us about your role at zkipster.
At zkipster I look after companies that use our tool for events across the US, Canada and Latin America. I work directly with our clients, who are the leading event organizers in the region, and my goal is always to help them streamline their workflows and deliver the very best events with zkipster. Working closely with our Success and Support teams, I also assist clients in planning for specific tentpole events, help them take advantage of newly-released features, and strategize when new tools or team members are added, ensuring zkipster’s potential is maximized and that it is easily implemented across their organizations. After starting out in Brooklyn, New York, I moved to LA two years later, in 2019, to open a zkipster office in Santa Monica and expand our presence on the West Coast.
“Michala is a linchpin in the zkipster Client Relations team and the consummate professional. She has consistently led her team and grown the North American client base with passion and dedication. I have so much admiration and respect for her approach and she is a pleasure to work with.”
What’s the best thing about working at zkipster?
One of the things that first drew me to zkipster was the close-knit team. That same dynamic still very much exists today: though we have grown significantly we prioritize communication and in-person get-togethers, which allows us to collaborate effectively across departments and geographical regions.
We’re a relatively small team, but we have a global presence: I’ve never worked for such a genuinely global company. I’ve learned and gained so much from my colleagues and counterparts across the regions we serve, from cultural traditions to world news and events to event strategies, and I feel very privileged to be a part of this uniquely international team.
What are the most memorable events you’ve been part of, whether for work or in your personal life?
There are two that come to mind immediately, both of which I was invited to in a professional capacity but that chime perfectly with my personal interests. As a political junkie, I was thrilled to attend the 2020 US Primary Debates as a zkipster guest. I was in awe of the rhetorical skills and energy of the candidates as they sparred over their records and platforms, but I was equally impressed by how well the event was organized. Having helped the team plan for the debate series I knew there were multiple audience segments (press, public, current members of government, political donors, etc.), multiple security checkpoints (it was one of the first organizations to use zkipster QR codes) and a vast number of volunteers and staff to manage, many using zkipster for the first time, but as a guest I would never have known how much was going on in the background. It was a flawlessly executed event.
The other event that I always think back to is the New York City Ballet’s Fall Gala – I even have memories of changing into my gown at the zkipster office after work! It is held at Lincoln Center and is always a star-studded, hot ticket fundraiser and showcase for the Ballet. It includes a cocktail reception, seated dinner and dance performance, and is elegant, well-managed, and just the picture of New York City sophistication. We at zkipster are so happy to play a small role in the Gala, as the event software used behind the scenes.