Lena Kleinfeld, an alumna of NYU Steinhardt's Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, serves as director of communications for AllergoSan USA, which is the U.S.-based joint-venture partner of Institut AllergoSan, a global leader in microbiome research and the production of natural, gut health-focused products. As part of the core team at AllergoSan USA, Lena helped launch the European market leading probiotic brand OMNi-BiOTiC® in the U.S. in the fall of 2019. In her current role, Lena oversees all direct-to-consumer marketing, advertising and publicity efforts, including social media, Google and Facebook ads, brand ambassador relations and web management. Lena has also served as a member of the corporate communications team at Hollywood content studio, Lionsgate. During her three and a half years at Lionsgate, Lena worked her way up from executive assistant to manager of corporate communications.
Tell me about your current job as AllergoSan's director of communications.
AllergoSan USA is the U.S. joint-venture partner of Institut AllergoSan, a global leader in microbiome research and the development of gut health-focused products.
The microbiome refers to the billions of microorganisms that live in and on our bodies, most prominently in our intestines. These beneficial microorganisms, also referred to as probiotics, assist in many, critical functions in the body, and we need them to live a healthy life. For example, 80% of our immune system lives in the gut! Daily stressors, such as unhealthy eating habits, certain medications and stress negatively impact your microbiome and as such the immune system. You can take a probiotic supplement to restore and maintain your gut microbiome. At AllergoSan USA, we bring the European market leading probiotic supplement brand, OMNi-BiOTiC, to consumers in the U.S. OMNi-BiOTiC are probiotics tailored to specific health needs, scientifically formulated, clinically tested, and effectively delivered.
As director of communications, I manage all direct-to-consumer digital communications initiatives. This includes coming up with marketing campaigns and figuring out how to best communicate our message to consumers and target audiences. Right now, we’re planning the launch of additional products in the U.S., and my team and I are strategizing how to best introduce these. We’re creating Facebook and Google ads, making content for social media, reaching out to potential brand ambassadors, and preparing all the info that will live on our website.
I really enjoy my job, especially the combination of creative and strategic work. However, I always feel like we can still do a lot more. There are endless opportunities in digital communications and there’s a very fast turnaround when it comes to sharing content. Another aspect of my job that I love is that I get to work in the health and wellness space. I’m very committed to wellness and am always looking to learn more and try out new things. About a year ago, I completed my yoga teacher training. The practice of yoga is a big part of my wellness routine and I enjoy bringing it to others via private lessons that I offer.
No matter your background, you have to start as someone’s assistant, and that this is an important part of learning about the entertainment industry and the work that you want to do."
You worked for three years at Lionsgate. What lessons do you take from the entertainment industry into your professional life?
Each industry seems to have certain ingrained practices. Working in the entertainment industry taught me three things:
- There are no short cuts When I was looking for a job in the entertainment industry, I tried as best as I could not to have to start as an assistant. I thought that with my degree from NYU, I could skip that step and start in what I believed would be a more important role. That was a wrong assumption. I soon realized that no matter your background, you have to start as someone’s assistant, and that this is an important part of learning about the entertainment industry and the work that you want to do. An assistant in entertainment plays an essential role in keeping things running, and you can observe and learn so many things through the work you do.
- Hard work gets recognized. Throughout my time at Lionsgate, I worked long hours. Since the studio is a global company, there were times I would have to start working very early in the morning LA time, because we were assisting with a project in London, and end my day around 11pm because I would have to attend a premiere. My job was 24/7, also because it depended on the news cycle and we always had to be on call. Of course, it was stressful at times, but what I experienced over and over again is that hard work gets recognized and rewarded.
- You have to advocate for yourself. When you work hard and take on more responsibilities, it is up to you to ask for that promotion and/or salary increase. You are the one who cares most about your success and you are in control of making it happen, to a certain extent. Make sure you’re making a good case for yourself and don’t be afraid to advocate for what you want.
What is one piece of foundational learning that you take away from your studies at NYU?
A key piece of learning from my time at NYU is that it’s important to keep an open mind and to try out new things. College is all about exploration and learning what you’re truly passionate about. I majored in communications and was introduced to content production and the entertainment industry when I took a business of entertainment class at Stern. I loved this class and decided to search for more classes like this that I could take as an elective. This is how I found the Business of Entertainment, Media and Technology minor, which I signed up for. This minor prompted me to move to Los Angeles and pursue a career in the entertainment industry. I have since moved on from working in entertainment, and I see those experiences as important steppingstones that NYU enabled me to take. I'm very grateful to NYU for this.