WIA Profile: Michelle Lockhart
Each month, industry news media organization XBIZ spotlights the career accomplishments and outstanding contributions of Women in Adult. WIA profiles offer an intimate look at the professional lives of the industry's most influential female executives. Women like Michelle Lockhart, Vice President Of Sales, Red Apple Media
How did you get into the business?
I’ve always worked in finance and was [Red Apple Media CEO] Steven Daris’ “Girl Friday” for years before Steven asked me to assist with BoysInc.com, an adult retail site that Red Apple Media hosts and provides various ecommerce solutions for. Steven and I are both numbers geeks and once I got in the groove of managing the financial and marketing side of Boysinc.com, Steven asked me to handle the sales division at Red Apple Media. Soon I became the company’s go-to girl for business development, customer relations and other fun and techie projects, and I’m still trucking 15 years later!
What in your background prepared you for what you are doing now?
I seem to have a knack for keeping even the most intricate operations organized with style and I’m able to juggle multiple projects without my (or my bosses’) hair falling out. But it really takes experience in the trenches to prepare for a role with this level of responsibility – there certainly isn’t a university program for it! The various roles I’ve played at Red Apple Media have allowed me to experiment and try different methods of outreach, organization and number-crunching and that’s given me a unique knowledge of the industry’s inner workings that I couldn’t have honed any other way. Now it’s just second nature!
What do you see as the challenges of working in the adult online business? How do you overcome them?
Change has been a difficult challenge to manage and adapt to while working with clients on the video hosting side of the business, as the onset of piracy and everchanging rules of search engine optimization keep everyone on their tippy toes. The marketplace itself is in constant metamorphosis – the way people find, buy and enjoy video content has evolved faster than ever and today’s trend quickly becomes tomorrow’s old news. Awareness is the first step, which allows us not only to keep our clients in the know but also explore different media delivery platforms, develop updated payment methods, and create new tools that help online businesses stay on top of their games. But it’s an ongoing challenge.
Does your work life affect your personal life?
I have a lovely family who, at this point, is used to my long hours and frequent travel requirements and fortunately I’ve been at it long enough to have found a balance between my work and personal lives. Of course I wish I could be by my kids’ sides 24 hours a day – much to their chagrin, I’m sure! – but I know I’d feel incomplete without having a career that fosters my skills and a team that values my work ethic. The only thing I can think of that still affects my personal life after 15-plus years is the occasional sex toy or adult product that comes to the house – vibrators and dildos still make my husband blush!