Written by Katrina Daniel Friday, November 18 2011Snapshot: Brittany Brody, founder, Fampus.com
Brittany Brody is one of those young women who, at 22, is as organized, motivated, and driven as many older professionals. She saw a need and a niche that her idea could not only fill, but that also could generate income. And she pursued it until it came to fruition. She is the founder of Fampus.com, kind of a hybrid of Facebook, LinkedIn, and iCalendar. Unlike Facebook, Fampus.com is extremely local.
Brody, who got the idea for Fampus.com in 2008 when she was a freshman on the University of Wisconsin – Madison campus, says she was overwhelmed by all the fliers announcing events. There were fliers posted on trees, buildings, dorm and cafeteria billboards; there were fliers that got trashed, soaked, ripped up, and didn’t have a shelf life.
“Hmmm,” she thought, “what if I could find a way to put all these campus events in one place?” And, two years later, Brody launched Fampus.com – Find Fun Fast on Campus.
Womenetics: Tell us exactly what Fampus.com does?
Brittany Brody: Fampus is a website, exclusively for college students, that aims to keep them in the loop about everything happening on their college campus. There is also a social networking aspect to Fampus, allowing users to share their experiences at those events through photographs, comments, and check-ins on the mobile app.
Womenetics: What prompted you to start Fampus? What was your thought process?
Brody: I was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, but opted to leave the state for my college education. Along with a lot of new and exciting experiences came a lot of vulnerability and confusion. As a freshman, I had no idea where to turn to get involved on campus and begin to make my mark within the student body. I went to the student organization fair, but found that overwhelming. I asked around in my courses as well as my dorm floor, but no one seemed to be able to tell me where the “one stop shop” was to find everything happening in the Madison community.
After several missed opportunities and frustrations, I reached my breaking point when I missed an author who came to speak on campus whom I would love to have seen. I reached out to my dad, who has always been an entrepreneur, and I said that I had an idea for a website that would bring everything happening on campus to one location and would be able to recommend things students might be interested in, based on how they use it. We then reached out to others, began doing a lot of research, and development continued over the next three years, leading us to the Fampus that has launched so far at eight schools.
Womenetics: Who helped you along the way? Whose opinions did you ask? And how did they help you?
Brody: My dad played a huge role in this process. We work alongside one another, and I am constantly learning from him in a variety of different ways. Outside the workplace, my entire family has been a consistent support system that I can always rely on. Additionally, we solicited the help of technology professionals and those who specialize in the college demographic. There has been no shortage of research and questions asked. We are learning as much as possible throughout this process. We also have an amazing staff of 12 full-time employees and anywhere from three to five interns on each campus who are wholly dedicated to making Fampus a success. We certainly would not be where we are today without them.
Womenetics: What is it about this that makes you get out of bed with a smile on your face every day?
Brody: There are several reasons I love Fampus and working on it every day, but a large part of it has to do with my belief in the product. While so much is to be learned inside of the classroom, there is an unbelievable amount of knowledge to be gained outside the classroom as well. There is no worse feeling than finding out about an amazing event after it has already passed, so Fampus is a means to end that. Also, by recommending things students might be interested in attending, Fampus can provide new experiences to students, possibly uncovering new talents or passions. When I wake up in the morning, I never know who might call or email us that day, what new opportunities might emerge, or what I might learn.
|Brittany Brody, left, and her father, Brad Brody|
Brody: I don’t know that “workaholic” is a term I generally use to explain myself, but I definitely love being busy. I have learned from the work ethic instilled in me by my family that no one is going to hand me success and that I must work very hard to achieve anything. I certainly think, though, that there needs to be a balance between work and play. I have a strict to-do list, and I always make sure thing are done, but I also make sure to take time to enjoy life and my time as a college student.
Womenetics: Was this what you imagined for yourself when you were in high school?
Brody: Absolutely not! But I am happy things are working out the way they are. I don’t think anyone can really predict how life will happen. Part of the excitement about this process is the surprises and new opportunities that arise as we go.
Womenetics: What do you see in your business future five years from now?
Brody: If I think about where I was five years ago, I would have no way of knowing where I am now, who I have met, and the amazing things I have experienced. For that reason, I cannot really predict where I will be five years from now. That being said, I hope I will continue doing something I love as much as what I am doing now.
Womenetics: How do you relax, what makes you smile, what makes you happy?
Brody: I love being around my family, my close friends, and my dogs. We can do the most exciting thing in the world or nothing at all, but that is the best feeling to me. I am also a huge movie buff.
Womenetics: If you had it all to do over again what would you do differently?
Brody: Nothing. With every decision that we made, a lesson was learned or I was put in touch with someone new. I really wouldn’t change a thing.
Katrina Daniel is an award-winning journalist and broadcast reporter/anchor. She has worked in Miami, Los Angeles, New York, and as a national correspondent for several networks. She commutes between Miami and the Carolinas, writing for magazines and news organizations. She lives with one horse, four dogs, and a cat.