March 7 2024  |  People

Propelle + Konnect President Ally Grodd champions women in business, emphasizing unique skills to drive success

By Wendy Morley

Ally Grodd, President, Propelle + Konnect

As President of travel retail staffing, recruiting and events agency Propelle + Konnect, Ally Grodd brings a distinctive perspective to the forefront of the business landscape, leveraging her identity and inherent qualities as a woman to foster the growth of her company. She says, “I have always felt empowered being a woman, and I believe it has helped me in building my business. I firmly believe that women possess a unique blend of strength and emotion, setting us apart.” This belief in these unique capabilities has not only shaped her approach to business but has also been integral to the ethos of Propelle + Konnect. Grodd’s strategy involves a balanced leadership style, aiming to propel her company forward while connecting deeply with her team and clients.

A clear mission

From the company’s inception, Grodd has been clear about its mission. “When I started my business, my goal was to ‘propelle’ brands and ‘konnect’ people, which I can truly say is the motto my team and I embody,” she explains. This vision has steered Propelle + Konnect to become a beacon for those seeking support in their travel retail marketing. Grodd credits her success to her intuitive approach, which she believes has positioned the business well throughout her entrepreneurial journey.

Her path took an unexpected turn towards the travel retail channel, a move not originally planned but one that has significantly marked the expansion of Propelle + Konnect and exemplifies her intuitive approach. “Although a career in travel retail was not the initial plan, my solid relationships with global brands propelled our agency into the spotlight when the opportunity presented itself,” she says.

People and passion

Grodd’s proactive management style is evident in her dedication to personally interviewing applicants, a testament to her commitment to understanding and nurturing potential within her team. “Maintaining a hands-on approach, I continue to personally interview applicants to our agency, emphasizing the importance of connecting with the passion and drive of each candidate,” she says.

The journey of Propelle + Konnect, under Grodd’s leadership, has been profoundly influenced by collaborations with influential women in the industry. These partnerships have not only inspired Grodd but have also significantly shaped the trajectory and success of her business. Through shared visions and collaborative efforts, Grodd and her peers have contributed to the broader achievements of Propelle + Konnect, highlighting the impact of female empowerment and leadership within the business world.

Authentic, genuine and personal

Grodd’s insights reveal the dynamic shifts within the industry. She says, “Navigating the evolution of event staffing, brand experience and influencer marketing has been both exhilarating and fulfilling.” This statement encapsulates her journey through the changing landscapes of these areas, emphasizing the thrill and satisfaction derived from her work. Grodd notes a pivotal transition in brand experiences, emphasizing the move towards creating events that not only captivate visually but also connect with audiences on an emotional level. “Consumers today desire an authentic connection with brands that goes beyond aesthetics. They want to engage with the brand story and savor the entire experience,” she says. This shift towards authenticity and storytelling in brand experiences reflects a broader consumer trend, highlighting the increasing value placed on genuine interactions and meaningful engagements.

As any given brand’s digital presence is increasingly ubiquitous, Grodd acknowledges the growing hunger for tangible, real world experience. She points out that in a world dominated by social media and online shopping, the demand for in-person experiences has only grown, underscoring the importance of meticulous attention to detail and the selection of talent that embodies a brand’s identity and goals. Her outlook on event staffing and brand experience is deeply immersive, focusing on capturing the essence of a brand and translating it into unforgettable moments. “We, as a team, immerse ourselves in understanding the essence of each brand, carefully selecting charismatic individuals to ensure every in-person moment is not just an event but an effortless and memorable experience,” Grodd explains.

Shifting influences

Influencer marketing continues to be important, but in a changing way. Grodd reflects on its enduring impact but also points to the evolution within this space. The trend is moving away from polished, idealized content towards a craving for realness and transparency. “We’ve observed a departure from perfectly curated feeds and stories, with consumers expressing a growing desire for authenticity,” she states. This evolution signifies a broader shift in consumer preferences, where authenticity becomes a cornerstone of effective influencer marketing.

Grodd expresses a profound passion for being at the forefront of these changes, emphasizing the importance of authenticity, creativity, and the unique perspective she brings as a woman. “Being a part of this evolution has been incredibly rewarding. It’s not just about creating events; it’s about crafting moments that leave a lasting impact. I’m passionate about continuing to navigate these changes, infusing each project with authenticity, creativity, and a woman’s touch,” she says.

Collaborative teamwork

Grodd is unequivocal about her commitment to supporting and uplifting her team, and she clarifies that at Propelle + Konnect, gender does not influence the distribution of work responsibilities and expectations. “My goal is to uplift and support my predominantly female team to achieve success, both personally and professionally,” Grodd says, pointing out the importance of selecting team members based on their experience, motivation and dedication, rather than their gender.

She emphasizes the importance of hands-on leadership. “My leadership style would be described as leading by example and fostering a collaborative environment,” she adds, highlighting her view of her team not just as employees but as highly valued peers. This approach is fundamental to the agency’s success, as she believes in empowering her team is a crucial element of its collective achievement. Grodd is also quick to mention her decision-making process, characterized by speed and intuition, reflects her proactive approach.

When it comes to the barriers faced by women in leadership positions, Grodd maintains a positive and determined outlook. She dismisses the notion of dwelling on challenges, emphasizing a belief in limitless possibilities for all. “I genuinely see challenges out there, but you won’t catch me dwelling in doubt or fear. We’re all capable of incredible things, and the possibilities are absolutely limitless,” she shares.

No room for complacency

The best work-related advice Grodd has ever received is to remain vigilant and proactive in her business endeavors. “Approach your work as if someone is trying to steal your business” is a strategy that has guided her to consistently outwork competitors and never surrender in the face of adversity.

While everyone faces a lack of confidence or uncertainty about their abilities at one point or another, Grodd says she combats these feelings by reminding herself of her unique qualities and achievements. “I think we all experience some form of self-doubt. I just tell myself, ‘There’s literally no one else like me,’” Grodd remarks, emphasizing the importance of authenticity and recognizing one’s progress as a source of motivation.

Grodd’s leadership style, coupled with her approach to talent management and personal resilience, paints a picture of a leader who is not only committed to her team’s growth and success but also deeply invested in navigating the evolving landscape of travel retail with integrity and innovation.

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