We are proud of our strong company culture rooted in collaboration and innovation. This special series highlights the creativity of our employees on and off the clock.
Hillary Whitehead. CRM Marketing Manager, Global Marketing. Thereminist.
Hillary is equally analytical and creative. Since spring 2015, she has served as the CRM Marketing Manager for Fossil Group’s Global Marketing team. She has worked with all brands under Fossil Group, leveraging the power of the global customer database to deliver smarter, more targeted direct mail, email and analysis. When not overseeing marketing projects, she can be found playing a most peculiar instrument—the theremin!
We asked Hillary a few questions to get to know her and her Creative Class persona on a more intimate level.
What is your Creative Class hobby or business?
Well, my hobby is quite the conversation starter. I am one of the very few people in the Dallas-Forth Worth area who can play and has mastered the theremin. For those of you who don’t know, the theremin is a musical instrument most often associated with vintage horror music soundtracks due to its eerie tone. In recent years, the theremin has been adopted by numerous bands to add peculiar harmonies to music.
How did you get started?
I actually grew up playing piano and violin, but I had a difficult time learning to read music as I could play by ear at a much quicker pace. In my late twenties, while playing Mozart on the piano at a party, one of my musician friends suggested I learn to play the theremin. His reasoning was that the theremin would be perfect for my ability to learn complex melodies solely by ear. I eventually bought one, and spent months creating terrible erratic noises that caused the neighbors to complain on numerous occasions. I was determined to make it work though! With the help of some very masterful musician friends, I learned technique, volume, vibrato and stage presence. From there, I continue to practice and perform. One can always get better.
Where is your work displayed, distributed or showcased?
I have played with other local musicians at venues like the Iron Cactus and Absinthe Lounge. I have also performed duets or solo acts at Buzzbrews, Open Stage and the Double Wide Bar. I have been interviewed and had music featured on KNON (89.3 FM), and have played at their benefit events. Whilemy YouTube channel is mostly devoted to theremin practice, you can find one of my most notable live performances for Open Stage on CircusFreaks.org. For those of you who may be spooked by the theremin’s odd sounds, you can also find me playing a more lighthearted song (Somewhere Over The Rainbow) on my Facebook channel.
What are some successes you’ve had with your Creative Class hobby?
I collaborated with Crushed Stars on an album and have been featured with them in various publications, including Philthymag.com. I have been showcased in and had sampling of my music played on a New York City based show, Rooftop Icks.
What excites you about playing the theremin?
The theremin has a very colorful history that dates back as far as the 1920s; it was created with technology far advanced for its time. The documentary “Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey” walks you through the original players—Clara Rockmore and Leon Theremin—and their subtle yet beautiful love story that inspired the birth and eventual fame of the theremin. Every time I play the theremin, people are absolutely amazed at the sounds it makes. I enjoy being able to bring back a piece of history, playing everything from classical to modern pieces.
I enjoy being able to bring back a piece of history
What do you do at Fossil and what makes your job unique?
I am part of a developing CRM team tasked with reaching our diverse customer base in new and exciting ways. We’re working with new technologies and tools to keep up with the ever-changing nature of marketing, both digitally and with our catalog mailers. Being relatively new, I am continuously learning about the various brands, business needs and best practices in the industry. Eventually, I’ll add my own twist to things!
How does your Creative Class skill set align with what you do for your day job?
As a thereminist, I have to possess a healthy dose of preparation balanced with being able to “wing it.” I have found that this has helped me excel in the workplace. I also believe that being able to take constructive criticism have been invaluable to my career.
How do you balance your Creative Class persona and your main career?
I have found that if I’ve had a stressful day at work, coming home to play some classical music on the theremin helps to calm my nerves. Likewise, when I’m stuck at a show at 1 a.m. at a loud bar on a weeknight (a show that may be paying next to nothing), I appreciate the stability of my career!