Erin Go, Bah!

Many of you know Erin Botelho as the smiling face at our events, effortlessly setting things up, chatting with friends and clients and answering questions from our interns. Others know her as our hard-working sales director, advising local businesses on how to promote their work and helping them perfect their ads up to the very last minute. As an advertising-supported paper, her role is one of the most important in keeping our magazine strong. We’re sorry for us but excited for her. After a decade, she’s taking the leap into a new career. Before she heads out the door with her cardboard box, I spent some time with Erin talking about the last 10 years she’s spent with Motif.

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Emily Olson: How did you start working here?

Erin Botelho: I had just completed a certificate at RISD for Children’s Book Illustration and had just lost my job as a loan officer as the company folded during the mortgage crisis. I saw an ad in Motif that said it was looking for a salesperson, so I set up a meeting with the publisher at the time [Jim Vickers]. When I arrived for the interview, Jim said he didn’t remember setting the meeting or running the ad. I sat down anyway and told him why he needed me. He said, “I’m 50/50 on you.” So I kept selling myself just to prove I could sell something. I wonder if that’s why he said he didn’t run the ad or set the meeting …

EO: When you were a kid, did you want to be in sales when you grew up?

EB: No. I wanted to be an artist and a marine biologist.

EO: You are an artist! You did one of our covers [Cannabis, 2017].

EB: Yes … however, I didn’t get to finish it like I wanted to because I was sweating the deadline. Go figure!

EO: When you started working here, what surprised you the most?

EB: The fact that people didn’t know they should  advertise a new business. It still shocks me when people have a business plan that doesn’t include advertising.

EO: How have things evolved over the last 10 years?

EB: When I first started, businesses were far more competitive with each other, and now it seems to be very much a communal thing. New businesses align to do pop-ups. Maybe that’s a Facebook thing, maybe it’s because it’s a new generation of people or new way of thinking. But I’ve seen Providence — and the whole state — mushroom into something amazing. There are businesses everywhere. Downtown used to be a ghost town, save a few dive bars and that one strip of Richmond Street. It was either a high end restaurant or a dive bar. Now it’s a real city.

EO: Other than me, what are you going to miss about this place?

EB: Meeting really interesting people who share the same passion for information and making friends! Also, getting a look into walks of life that I may have never experienced otherwise.

EO: What advice do you have for your successor?

EB: Be able to go with the flow. Things are changing and evolving, but people will always need to promote their business. Think outside the box as to how you can help people get their call to action or message out.

EO: You’re changing careers. Tell me what you’re going to do next.

EB: I’ve become a working massage therapist within in the past year. I provide relaxation techniques with a therapeutic focus. I’m doing a mobile therapeutic massage business with both chair and table. Eventually, I’d like to volunteer for veterans with PTSD.

EO: What have you learned here that will help you promote your own business?

EB: I guess the ability to really listen and prioritize. Truly listening to what someone needs is so important in all areas in life, and certainly in the healing process.

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