By day, we’re marketing geeks. Computer nerds. Quirky writers and artists. And damn proud of it!
But after hours, our team members shed their marketing capes – and pursue all kinds of cool Hobbies, Interests and Talents (we call them HITs for short).
Here’s what Marketing Consultant Brian Vaccaro is into:
HIT: Celebrity Interviewer
I’ve been part of the Lotus, Ltd. car club since 2005. My dad was a prominent member for years, so I grew up developing a passion for the brand.
When an unexpected seat on the club’s board of directors became available in 2012, I was invited to join. Accepting that position has led to so many great opportunities for me: travel, camaraderie, professional growth…
… but one stands head-and-shoulders above the rest. Last year, I had the privilege of interviewing one of the most successful Italian-born Americans in the history of auto racing: Mario Andretti.
How the heck did that happen?
Mario was slated to be interviewed in 2017, as one of the highlights for our 2018 national conference. The president of the board asked me to run the interview, because I had already met Mario in 2013 when he was signing auction items for a charitable event.
Was the challenge a little daunting? Absolutely. The interview was intended to serve as a resource for our club members, so I needed to ask questions that would provide new insights and value for our membership about Mario’s history within Formula 1, Team Lotus and motor racing.
Needless to say, I couldn’t “wing it.”
The preparation and execution for an interview of this magnitude was immense. To ensure success, I sought advice from those who had been in similar positions, researched questions and even conducted mock interviews. And I enjoyed every moment of it!
The Lotus community was a tremendous help, too. In fact, most of the questions I asked Mario came from club members. It was rewarding to represent them and connect our organization to such an accomplished racing professional.
When the interview finally played at our 2018 national conference, I was proud to bring so much value back to club members and share my experience with everyone.
“Everything you just said is completely wrong.”
Mario has a wry sense of humor, and his reaction to my first question was my favorite moment of the entire interview.
After asking this rather elaborate question (which was submitted by a club member and thoroughly researched by me), Mario looked at me and said something like, “Everything you just said is completely wrong.” But he went on to clarify why, and then shared information none of us had ever heard before. He effortlessly turned an embarrassing moment into an incredibly insightful one.
Over the years, coordinating national Lotus events has helped me grow both personally and professionally. Interviewing a racing legend, however, was the opportunity of a lifetime for me – and one I wouldn’t have had, had I not pursued my passion for Lotus cars.