From Stoop Sales to Chief Digital Officer of NYC

Rachel Haot reflects on her experiences founding a startup and building a digital roadmap for the city. 

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"Growing up, I had a lot of entrepreneurial fun," Rachel Haot admits. Born Rachel Sterne, she spent her childhood in Brooklyn and developed a penchant for starting businesses early. She began selling trinkets on her family's brownstone stoop and went on to launch a startup called GroundReport in her twenties. A crowdsourcing platform for global news, GroundReport served as quite the learning experience, she explains in the video above, from the Atlantic Video series Advice to a Younger Me

"I was definitely terrified," she says of launching the site. "It's very risky. It can also be very lonely, especially when you're starting out." The project didn't take off as "wildly" as she hoped it would, but the lessons she learned along the way served her well when she tackled her next gig -- as the first Chief Digital Officer of the City of New York. Now two years into the endeavor, she describes what it was like to take on a brand new role and shape a "digital road map." "I just wanted to hit the ground running," she says, "but getting your footing and learning from the people around you and doing an enormous amount of research are critical." 

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg's work in media spans documentary television, advertising, and print. As a producer in the Viewer Created Content division of Al Gore's Current TV, she acquired and produced short documentaries by independent filmmakers around the world. Post-Current, she worked as a producer and strategist at Urgent Content, developing consumer-created and branded nonfiction campaigns for clients including Cisco, Ford, and GOOD Magazine. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University, where she was co-creator and editor in chief of H BOMB Magazine.

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