General Manager, GigMasters and Two Bright Lights
Alison Bernstein is the GM of GigMasters, an event marketplace, and Two Bright Lights, a publishing platform. Previously, she ran product development for the $32 million national ad sales business and for the bridal fashion and jewelry vertical, charged with growing the business and continually developing cutting-edge products for the bridal consumer. Bernstein led an agile team of product managers, designers and developers to launch and grow XO’s top-rated iOS and Android bridal fashion apps, mobile web and desktop experiences.
Prior to that, Bernstein oversaw syndicated partnerships with MSN, Google, AOL, and Yahoo. Bernstein has led traffic-driving efforts through content distribution that has translated to millions of new visitors discovering The Knot, The Nest, and The Bump over the past sixteen years. Additionally, she oversaw brand development projects and opportunities in entertainment for XO Group.
Bernstein joined XO Group in 1996 and has held senior management positions on the Product, Marketing, and Business Development teams. In 2005, she launched The Knot’s video program, including a revolutionary live-streaming program and a deep library of lifestyle content.
Ms. Bernstein resides in Westchester with her three kids and various household animals.
Describe a moment that could’ve broken you, but didn’t. How did you get past the struggle?
In December 2016, the wonderful founder of GigMasters decided to move on. I was asked to step into that role, managing a 40+ person team and a P&L 10x the size of my previous one! I thought I was part of a 3-person team running the business, and then suddenly, I was the *only* person running the business. I would be lying if I said I didn’t panic just a little bit. But I put one foot in front of the other – learning the ins and outs of the business, leaning on the expertise of the fabulous management team that was already in place, asking lots and lots of questions, and making fast decisions and taking risks – even if it felt terrifying. 2017 was a really successful year for the business and for me. As the months went on, the fear faded. The clouds cleared and I was able to see a vision for the future of the business…one we are actively pursuing now!
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Take more risks in every part of my life.
Who’s your biggest inspiration and why?
I’ve learned so much from so many people. Every boss I’ve had, other leaders I’ve worked alongside of, have shown me ways to be better at my job (and life!). I love to study different leadership styles and incorporate them into my own.
But if I had to chose one person to highlight, it would be Carley Roney (co-founder of XO Group). Being the visionary on a team, owning what the brand is and what it most definitely isn’t, is a difficult and – at times – very lonely job. Sometimes you can’t point to a metric to prove why something is the right choice, you just know it is on a gut level. She taught me that understanding that feeling and committing to your vision can have incredibly successful results.
If you could create a slogan for your life, what would it be?
Bite off more than you can chew…because easy isn’t fun.
How do you define your purpose & mission in life?
My mission in life is first and foremost, to raise the three humans I brought into this world to be tough, funny, brave, hard-working, and grateful people. To do work that I enjoy and find gratifying and challenging. To be the best colleague, employee and boss that I can be. We spend so much of our lives at work, we should enjoy that time and the people who we spend it with! And lastly, to have enormous gratitude for all the many gifts I’ve been given each and every day: My work, friends, and family.