Desiree Gruber, Chief Executive Officer, Full Picture

Desiree Gruber

Desiree is the Chief Executive Office of Full Picture.She founded Full Picture in 1999 to help her clients more effectively tell their stories and launch new ideas into the world. She continues to evolve her mission of shaping zeitgeist-defining moments and reimagining how brands engage global audiences. Through Full Picture and her venture fund, DGNL, Gruber has also embraced a preeminent role in developing and supporting women founders, entrepreneurs, and C-suite executives.

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Q: What does #walklikeawoman mean to you?
A: To me, this is about owning your own strength and being confident in who you are as a woman and as an individual. Understanding who you are and what your goals are—no matter what others do or think—allows you to build a genuine external confidence. Only we can walk, or design, our own path, so no one should ever define for you what it means to “walklikeawoman” as it is inherently and necessarily up to you.

Q: How do you stay organized during a busy work schedule?
A: This is always a challenge, as there are so many things to juggle on a daily, even hourly, basis, but there are two main principles I try to maintain: First, stay focused on your most important action items. If you ensure that your biggest priorities are addressed first, you will gain momentum and everything else will come a bit easier. Second, work hard to surround yourself with people who are aligned with your vision. We can’t succeed on our own—working in sync with other people, or a great team, allows you to target bigger goals and achieve better outcomes.

Q: What is your favorite workwear shoe?
A: I am a super-fan of wearing flats especially the Natalie. I’m already 5’11, and I love to walk, so if I wear flats, I can walk comfortably around New York City from meeting to meeting. It makes me so happy.

Q: What is always in your bag?
A: I am obsessed with highlighter. Wander Beauty makes this incredible highlighter that is a cream and a stick in one tube. I believe that highlighter can fix anything that ales you. You wake up and are a little tired, highlighter under your eyes does the trick. If you’re going out from day to evening, a little highlighter in the corner of your eyes and right in your arch, and you look like a new person.

Q: What is something people don’t know about you?
A: One thing most people don’t know, unless you come to my office, is that my father was in the military. I come from a military family, and he believed all of his children had to have military training. So I spent two years in the Army, getting trained on leadership.

Q: What is the best advice you can give to an aspiring entrepreneur?
A: I would say two things. Number one, know how to tell your story, because you are your best advocate. When you are front and center of people you need to be ready to repeat and rewind your story and have different takes on it. So it depends on the audience, but be able to feel confident in telling your story again and again and again. As you go up the ranks, you’ll never believe it, but you got to keep telling the story. And your story will change as you go, but it’s the most important thing you do. The second most important thing is to be able to take no and get back in the ring. We all get no everyday. If I took no and went home and didn’t try again, I wouldn’t be here today sitting here, I wouldn’t have all of the things that I’ve done. I’ve got a lot of no’s and I’ve learned how to go back and refine my message and come back and get a yes.

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