Where to begin…
Leslie Hughes and I go back to my very first job out of school. I’m one of those people who continually hold a mental rolodex in my brain of people I like and want to keep in my inner circle. When I met Leslie, I knew I’d be putting a big gold star beside her name. We worked together at the Image Bank, and even though we weren’t in the same department, we seemed to connect. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes I’m lucky enough to meet someone who just bring out the best in me. Those kind of people bring the gift of possibility to your life. And when they open doors, you just have to jump through with both feet. Of course now I can insightfully say that Leslie and I work well together because we both have an appetite for something bigger. Back at Image Bank, we were responsible for different aspects of the licensing process, but even back then, we knew our pieces connected in a bigger way.
Flash forward to NYC, 2000 and something. Both of us were working in the city (NYC). Not knowing how or when, I think we both knew we were close to a time when we’d be working together again. There wasn’t a coffee or happy hour or lunch date that passed where we weren’t scheming how to disrupt our industry. One day Leslie reached out and told me of an idea born from the perspective of a client.
Her concept was different from what we knew of the stock world.
Her mission wasn’t to build a content collection based on the image needs of the client, but rather to give the client the workspace they desperately needed to be more effective and efficient in their jobs. She wanted to create a place where you could pull in all possible licensing options in one search. When you were knee deep in your project, you could invite coworkers to collaborate with you. That paper trail of documents needed from the day you started this project… well you’d find it all in one place. iSPY had everything I always wanted, an innovative spin in a predictable industry, a CEO who dreamed big, a great name and a chance to make a difference for clients. I was committed from day one to iSPY.
When people ask me about my career, I see every twist and turn as a series of fortunate events. From the positions I’ve held, people I’ve met, successes and even more importantly the difficulties that teach you the biggest life lessons… all stepping stones contributing to where I am today. With the addition of Natalie Burns to the team (ah Natalie. I’ll have to save that story for another time), we 3 are unstoppable.
Karen D’Silva is a founder of iSPY and employee number 2. D’Silva has more than 20 years experience in photography, creative and marketing. She has worked for and with photography agencies like Image Bank, Getty Images, Photonica, and Superstock. She has also worked with many top professional photographers and videographers.