Kass Lazerow, Buddy Media

Images I met Kass a few years ago and was immediately taken under her spell.  Our mutual friend, Howard Lindzon, was in town and we all got together for dinner at Da Umberto in Chelsea with Kass and her husband Michael.  Lots of wine and conversation and we were fast friends.  Her energy, smarts and sheer drive is inspiring. 

On one hand I am surprised that nobody has written a piece on Kass before ( although maybe they have ) and on the other hand my gut tells me there are more women like Kass out there that we never hear about. 

Kass has been competitive she since came out of the womb.  Playing tennis competitively through high school and then off to Dartmouth where she spent four years continuing on the tennis circuit and adding golf to her repertoire and of course the occasional game of beer pong just because she liked to win. 

She grew up in the Washington DC area and returned home after graduating.  She loved marketing and was convinced that being a marketing consultant was the way to go.  Landing a few jobs as a consultant paid the bills but she never loved it.  In 1995, she found herself doing tech consulting for large corporations eventually building a website for a large company literally using manuals to figure out how to write code.  Love how she convinced them that she could do it although she really had no idea how to write code but she knew the value that the internet was going to bring.  One day she was talking to a marketing consultant inside her fathers law firm where Kass described the beauty of the internet and how she saw the world changing and he hired her on the spot, doubling her salary and had Kass put together biz plans to market to their customers.  She outsourced the work and began to create and build marketing for law firms in the area. 

At this point, her husband, Michael and business partner comes into the picture.  Michael’s brother, Andrew, was Kass’s best friend growing up.   She spent countless hours in their house eating them out of house and home.  Reconnecting with Michael at a wedding and then falling in love was not in the cards.  Michael was living in Chicago working on his own company and a long distance relationship was not easy but she was in love.  Kass decided that she would apply to graduate schools, consultant agencies and digital arms of the big ad agencies in Chicago and see what sticks.  Landing a job at Leo Burnett in the division called Giant Step she took the job as the head of business and marketing development to drive sales.  Building websites for large companies that were just realizing that they better get into the internet game.  She didn’t love the team environment there and particularly how the women treated each other.  It was like hazing.  If you intimidate the other women they would just get pissed off.  Smart women were just considered too aggressive.  She took a look around the environment and left. 

Michael had just sold UWire, his company and needed to complete that process working for the company that bought him out.  Both Kass and Michael were golfers and Kass wanted to find a way to post their handicaps easily.  So she started a company called Golfserve which allowed her to build content around golf where people could post their information.  They moved back to DC where she began to grow the company syndicating content nationally and eventually Golfserve became Golf.com.  Michael joined her at Golfserve and during that time they got married, had a baby and raised money to grow Golf.com.  That is a feat in itself.  Raising money around an idea where there really is nothing there yet and you happen to be engaged to the other partner is not easy but they did.  Creating a team at Golf.com that she wanted to call her own was the best incentive.  She remained the COO from the inception until 2006, having a second kid along the way, before selling the company to Time Inc

Kass had to stay at Time Inc for six months before vesting and Michael had to stay for a year.  They moved to NYC and she decides to take a back seat for a while researching ideas on what to do next as a mother with two kids and an entrepreneurial spirit.  It isn’t easy running a company, having a family and trying to make friends too.  There are so many compromises and what is usually compromised is your own personal time.  It becomes difficult to find your identity.  Forcing herself to sit back in the insanity of everything that has happened over the past few years from the growth and selling of a company and the growth of a family, she gets pregnant again while on the pill.  How the hell did that happen?  At this point, both Kass and Michael decide to launch Buddy Media

Kass was hesitant about jumping in with three kids in tow but Mike just wanted her to help him start the company and get the foundation down and she agreed.  He knew he needed her and made her the COO and she never left.  Talk about bait and switch.  There are now 120 employees.  Buddy Media is a top SaaS company for major corporations providing them a platform to maximize their branding, social media and marketing strategies.

What Kass talks passionately about is that women are the caretakers that were told by generations before us that there are choices that they didn’t have that we do now and somehow because of that we are supposed to be good at everything.  Where is the balance?  She enjoys the “aha” moments of being a mentor with the younger women teaching them what to sweat and what to let go.  Working towards a common goal as women as long as there is not hazing but there is camaraderie.  Making sure that life is about balance and family comes first.  That is how the company works even for the men.  As Kass said, "We need to work hard to create time for ourselves so that our daughters learn that important lesson of balance, balance, balance."

Kass has had quite an interesting whirlwind career.  Following her passions, rolling up her sleeves and starting a company ( or two ), working with her husband who is a total partner in work and play and being a mentor to the women that work with her everyday who can learn how Kass has actually been able to do it all, one day at a time. 

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Comments (Archived):

  1. Jeff

    great article.. lucky enough to get to work with Kass everyday. She’s an incredible woman.-Jeff Ragovin

  2. lazerow

    The single best post ever in the history of GothamGal.com :). I know, I’m biased.Kass doesn’t like or seek the attention. But it’s important for everyone to know that you can live the life you want to live no matter how busy you are. You both are examples that being an awesome mother and friend and wife and more is not mutually exclusive with kicking ass professionally, however you chose to define that.For the record, I was also “immediately taken under her spell.”Thanks for the writeup Joanne and I hope to see you soon.

    1. Gotham Gal

      thanks michael! she totally deserves the attention…and I am thrilled tobe the one to give it to her.

    2. Tereza

      Awwww!You know what they say. Behind every strong woman….. :-)I don’t know either of you, but what a pleasure to read Joanne’s post, and then topped off by your follow up.Really affirming.It’s so much fun to read about neat people!

  3. infoarbitrage

    Words are inadequate to describe how awesome Kass is. Having invested in dozens of early-stage companies, I am frequently asked about “the best” people within my portfolio. One of the first names off my lips: Kass Lazerow. And her husband Mike isn’t so bad, either…Nice of you to tell the story, Jo. Well done.

    1. Gotham Gal

      they definitely complete each other.

  4. Darren Herman

    Having had the fortune to meet Kass multiple times and calling her husband a friend of mine, I love this post and it’s great to see Kass getting some attention!

  5. Jen Cheng

    Thank you for introducing Kass to those of us not lucky enough to have her as a friend or colleague. She sounds like a wonderfully real, spunky and resourceful woman. Great example of how we can carve out fulfilling careers and balance our lives if we are brave enough to seek change, and resourceful enough to grasp at opportunities.

    1. Gotham Gal

      She has absolutely showed the rest of us how you can work hard and play hardwhile still having a family

  6. howardlindzon

    woo kass. woo gotham. right on.

  7. Xiomeri21hotmail.com

    i feel blessed to know kass she is the most wonderfull and caring person i ever meet in mi life i think all of uss that we are lucky to know her agree .i love this article well done .

  8. VectorBloom

    Kass looks like a lot of fun and certainly deserves all her success and happiness in business and family.Sounds like a familiar story of ‘balancing’ the perfect balance, we’re a husband/ wife team @vectorbloom focusing on game development for iOS. We released Sara’s Ladybugs in the Fall a simple counting game for toddlers, we’re now working on VectorBloom the Game and my personal Art App.When we’re not working, we’re almost always thinking or talking about work 24/7. The hardest part for me as a mother, is trying to be an attentive parent to my 4 year old daughter, while working at something I’m really passionate about Oh! and also making sure dinner and lunch is served. I so underestimated my mother’s work as a homemaker. My fantasy? If only I could escape into a time warp to get more work done like Rumpelstiltskin. Finally we took a day off for skiing/ snowboarding @WH2O last week. There was no cell or WiFi access, it was great! It definitely pays to go play outside for restoring creativity and drive which is essential as a self employed artist and developer.Slow and steady wins the race, be sure to have fun, do what you love most, are the philosophies that keep us going. Thanks for the post, it’s inspiring as a couple based business start up. @ElizabethBoylan @JohnBorchert

    1. Gotham Gal

      thanks for sharing. i don’t think anyone knows what to expect when the kidscome into play. how the will feel about it, how much time it takes up,etc. it is never easy but to have something you are passionate about doeshelp everything fall into place.

  9. Naomi L

    Wow, thanks for the article. What an inspiring and amazing lady Kass truly is.

  10. Jim B

    I could feel the energy just bouncing off this post. Wonderful story of someone who clearly knows how to “pivot” and make things work. Very inspiring for anyone trying to navigate through the daily turbulence of work and life. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Gotham Gal

      she is definitely inspiring!

  11. jaindl

    Great article! Kass is a phenomenal boss, mentor, leader, and friend. I consider myself very lucky to have the opportunity to work with her every day!

  12. LG Blue Sky

    Thank you for highlighting Kass in your new Monday column. Her story should be an inspiration to all women, young and old. She is certainly an example of a woman that has it all. Go Kass !!!

    1. Gotham Gal

      knowing kass, she probably doesn’t think of herself that way but we do.

  13. Rachael Chong

    Kass Lazerow is truly inspiring, and I knew this in only 1 hour of getting to know her over lunch. I had the fortune of meeting her through my amazing adviser and investor Joanne Wilson (thank you Joanne!). I am excited to learn loads from Kass about leadership, balance and how to build a kick ass company culture.

    1. Gotham Gal

      thanks for your kind words. Kass…well she just rocks.

  14. Nate Westheimer

    This is awesome. Just came across it via @bussgang’s tweet.Anyway, yes — Kass is awesome and should be a role model for all entrepreneurs… not just women!She’s also an amazing ping-pong player and I count myself as among the lucky few who have beat her! (Lindzon-Palooza ’08 semi-finals)

    1. Gotham Gal

      Ping pong? Who knew