Balloon Team Spotlight: Cydney Hayes, Head of Content

What is your role at Balloon?

I’m the Head of Content at Balloon, which means I write—or edit, at least—nearly every piece of content that we publish, from blogs, to emails, to the words you see on our website. I also have a big role in developing and executing our content strategy, brand voice, general bizops duties, and a ton of upcoming projects that are in the works at Balloon.

What’s your background?

Journalism! I started reporting for local newspapers and magazines when I was 15, and I recently graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with a specialization in long-form work. Even though there are (obviously!) big distinctions between journalism and content creation, there’s also a lot of overlap between the two: You have to know how to interview, use language to convey certain tones or evoke certain emotions, and craft compelling narratives, no matter what you’re writing about.

Why did you want to join Balloon?

Working at an early-stage startup offered me an opportunity to have a direct hand in building something new and impactful. I get essentially endless opportunities to be creative and experimental, and I find that really energizing. On top of that, Balloon is a genuinely fantastic platform, and truly believing in the product your company produces is crucial for me!

Why is Balloon’s mission important to you?

Journalism is such a hierarchical industry, so I’ve definitely dealt with a few managers who used their status to talk down to me, cut me off in meetings, and really make me second guess myself and my skills. Balloon gives everyone a chance to contribute and share ideas, even opposing ones, regardless of their rank or identity or the volume of their voice. I can think of so many times throughout my career where Balloon could’ve been so helpful, and I know I’m not alone in that—so the least I can do is try to let it help as many people as possible now.

Describe something outside of work that you’re passionate about.

Latte artCoffee! When I first moved to San Francisco, I worked as a barista for about six months, and I learned all the best methods to make pretty much every variation of coffee and espresso you can think of. By the end, I was also able to do some pretty impressive latté art! (I also really feel for current baristas who still have to deal with Starbucks’ bastardization of the macchiato—it is truly a tragedy.)

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Moving to San Francisco—a notoriously expensive city—after college without a full-time job and making it work.

What is your greatest fear?

Climate change. 

Who are your real-life heroes?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Joan Didion, and Jia Tolentino.

What do you hate?

Cilantro. Hating it is such a headache, too, because it's in Mexican, Indian, Thai, and Chinese food—pretty much all the best cuisines.

What is your current state of mind?

Energetic and productive. There are so many exciting projects I’m working on at Balloon, and I’m ready to get some shit done!