Eight years later, she decided to set up her own shop. IDT was
her first client, and 360i soon followed. At IDT she hit a glass
ceiling, she said, but working directly with a CEO for so long
taught her about business and about how to make choices. "The
things you choose not to do are as important as things you choose
to do," she said. It's a motto of sorts that's guided her at
She persuaded Bryan Wiener, CEO at the time, to bring her
in-house after proposing a business unit focused on social outreach
to drive search-engine optimization. She hired a bunch of
journalists, trademarked the acronym DWOM -- digital word of mouth
-- and proceeded to double the group every six months to a
"When I see requests for proposals that say DWOM, I say 'You
need to add a registration mark to that,'" Ms. Hofstetter said.
She's not afraid of scaring off prospective clients with her
trademark demands, and she doesn't need to be, if the shop's sexy
roster -- which includes Redbox, Clinique, Subway and various
Mattel brands -- is any indication.
In fact, Ms. Hofstetter, with her approachable demeanor, has
built a loyal and understanding list of clients: Instead of going
to the hot new spot in town, most are open to eating at kosher
restaurants, she said.
Still, while her observance doesn't change her work or the way
her clients feel about their relationship, it's not easy being
different. "It can put some pressure on me from a social
perspective," she said. "If I do go to a non-kosher restaurant,
I'll bring my own food in and then there's aluminum foil all over.
There becomes this separation and distance." Travel is also a
challenge. Ms. Hofstetter carries around coolers of food. And
during Shabbat, she needs to trust that teammates are on top of any
client crises, issues or deadlines. "People make fun of the
onslaught of emails they get on Saturday night," she said. "They
know exactly when Shabbat is over. I need to be better about
Just as she's managed to weave her observance into her
professional life, she's also put her social-media skills to use in
her personal life. For example, when Ms. Hofstetter's kickboxing
studio shut down, refused to refund money she had paid upfront and
insisted that she go to another studio on Saturdays during Shabbat,
she unleashed a successful social-media campaign to get her money
back. She also helped her daughter with a social campaign that
raised $15,000 for the only kosher soup kitchen in the tristate
It's this kind of work that both her children and clients
appreciate. And it's not possible without some down time come
Friday night. "I probably would have burnt out if not having that
opportunity to shut down," she said.
Perhaps there's a lesson in that for the industry.