CVG is delighted to welcome Xylia Buros to our growing marketing team! Xylia is a marketing and communications strategist with more than 10 years of experience in the architecture and design industry. For the past two years, she has run her own consulting business that helps innovative firms increase their revenue and visibility through effective communications strategy and media relations. Previously, she served as Marketing Manager at two prominent architecture firms in Portland, Oregon, and as Programs Director at the Portland chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Xylia graduated magna cum laude with a BA in English Literature from New York University (NYU) and has written about art, design, and business for numerous publications.
At CVG, Xylia works directly with our Investment Partners to ensure that all marketing and business development efforts are aligned with their strategic goals. Recently, Xylia and Emily discussed Xylia's passion for architecture and marketing within the design industry...
1. What inspired your career focus on architecture and design marketing?
I’ve always been drawn to the written word and communications, and throughout my career, I’ve worked as a publicist, magazine writer and editor, and content specialist. After 4 years of working in the arts and music world in Chicago and NYC, I became interested in design, architecture, and sustainability and decided to change track. I ended up taking a workshop and living at Arcosanti, Paolo Soleri’s famed urban design experiment in Arizona, for about four months, which strengthened my interest in architecture and its ability to effect positive change.
After Arcosanti, I moved to Portland, Oregon, where I was fortunate to be introduced to Randy Gragg, a well-known architecture critic who was running a design magazine at the time. I was brought on to produce the magazine’s first design awards program, which resulted in me getting immersed in the Portland design world. It was a hugely successful project: we gave out 20 awards at the gala we threw at the Portland Art Museum and raised $20,000 for a new scholarship fund benefiting architecture, interior design, and construction students.
Through that design awards project, I had been connected to AIA Portland and they recruited me as Programs Director at the Center for Architecture, where I managed the continuing education program for architects and helped organize the Architecture + Design Festival and Oregon Design Conference. I was responsible for marketing and publicizing our events and programs, so that was when I really married my PR/marketing skillset with my love for architecture. I then served as Marketing Manager at two great firms in Portland, leading teams, overhauling content, managing website redesigns, submitting targeted proposals and awards submissions, and growing the visibility of the firms through PR and media relations.
2. What is it that attracts you to small design firms?
I’ve worked at a 300+ person firm and 35-person firm, and while I gained valuable experience at the large firm, I preferred the collaborative and almost family-like ethos of the smaller firm. For me personally, when working with firms to grow their business, it is more rewarding to help scale up a smaller company and really make a huge impact. I also like to get to know all of the design professionals in a firm so I can more strategically help position them in the marketplace and publicize their talents. Also, most small firms have overcome many hardships to pursue their vision, which I really admire.
3. Tell us about your "location independence" and world travels...
I started my own communications/marketing consulting business 2.5 years ago so I could travel the world while working full-time on a flexible schedule. I’m a lifelong traveler, with both of my parents having worked in the airline industry. After 14 years of working 9-to-5 with 2-3 weeks of vacation per year, I figured I would never see everything I wanted to see in the world if I didn’t make some bold changes. I gave up my apartment, put things in storage, sold my car, bought a new laptop, and took off in the fall of 2016. I’ve worked from 5 continents since and have been to more than 45 countries in my lifetime, from Finland and Brazil to Japan and Morocco.
My favorite places to live and work remotely have been Lisbon, Portugal; Bali, Indonesia; Chiang Mai, Thailand; and Medellin, Colombia – all known for affordability, fast wifi, and a robust coworking scene with many location-independent workers supporting each other. I was thrilled that CVG’s team works remotely; I’ve learned many best practices on how to work effectively and productively with remote clients and am excited to keep implementing them.
4. How has your travel influenced your perspective on marketing?
My recent world travels have reminded me how crucial it is to be able to effectively communicate. As a writer with an English lit degree, I’ve always appreciated this, but facing communication issues over and over again in my daily life while living in foreign countries has brought a new light to the issue. How can I communicate my needs with 100% clarity to people who are greatly different from me, who speak another language, who have contrasting opinions and values? This translates into marketing and communications because you should never take for granted that your website or marketing materials are truly conveying what you think they do. You always need to get another set of eyes and enlist strategic partners to test your messaging and make sure that it’s accurate and compelling.
5. Do you have a list of favorite architectural firms whose marketing/branding you love?
I do! Here is a quick shortlist of my favorite architecture firm websites (although this gets updated frequently):
Studio Gang: http://studiogang.com/
Klein Dytham: http://www.klein-dytham.com/ (Special shout-out to my friends at Klein Dytham who founded the PechaKucha presentation series 15 years ago. I co-organized the Portland, Oregon, series for 4 years and got to visit Tokyo twice to meet the PKN founders and other city organizers from around the world. Life-changing!)
6. What are you looking forward to doing most at CVG?
Many things! I’m very excited to be part of a dynamic team again. I love collaborating and skill-sharing with colleagues to find solutions for our clients. I’m really impressed by the quality and range of our investment partners, so I’m greatly looking forward to getting to know them all better and help them get more recognition for the work they do, and to help them achieve their firm’s business goals for the coming years.