Meet Kristen Baughman

women in business series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

On another segment of the women in business series, I am introducing you to the amazing Kristen Baughman from Tabletop Media Group. I met her during the gate to plate tour. Sit back and get to know this amazing person. You can check out the other women profiled here.

Tell me a little bit about you. 

Meet Kristen Baughman, women in Business series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

My name is Kristen Baughman and I’m the founder of Tabletop Media Group. I consider myself quite the adventurous and passionate person, and have traveled to 34 countries (and counting!) to explore the different cultures and food options around the world. In my free time, you can find me relaxing outside with my dogs Cheerwine and Doc, or at one of the many awesome restaurants in the Triangle area. I currently live about 1 hour north of Raleigh and have settled in Warrenton, North Carolina with my husband Zayne on our farm.

Meet Kristen Baughman, women in Business series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

Tell me about your business. 

Tabletop Media Group is a full-service media agency specializing in the food, beverage, agriculture and lifestyle industries. We offer a wide range of services including public relations, social media management, photography, graphic design, videography, website design, event planning, and restaurant consulting. We have a rockstar team and our company is continuously growing!

Meet Kristen Baughman, women in Business series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

What struggles have you faced in your business? How have you overcome those struggles?

We are so blessed at Tabletop Media Group to work with the most talented chefs and culinary professionals. Due to the nature of working in the restaurant space, I once found myself feeling stretched quite thin and struggling to find work-life balance. A typical week would entail dining out 3-4 times per week and attending media events, which made for late hours and lack of sleep. Luckily, we have a great #TabletopTeam and we’ve been able to split up who attends what events between team members. I also find that setting “work from home” days or “dinner at home” evenings well in advance has been great for me personally and my business. It allows me to say “no” without feeling guilty because I really do have a prior commitment to myself and family, and it’s on the Google Calendar!

Who were your mentors growing up? 

Lisa Eberhart was my mentor throughout my time at North Carolina State University and during graduate school. She was my first “real” boss and I worked with her at North Carolina State University Dining where she served as the Registered Dietitian. Lisa taught me leadership skills by delegating work and having faith in me that I would get it done – never micromanaging. 

Under Lisa’s leadership, our nutrition “dream team” launched so much amazing programming – like highlighting allergens on every menu item at the dining halls and expanding the “Wolf Approved” program, which helped students identify healthier items on campus.

Lisa encouraged me and all of her interns to do whatever we set our minds to – dressing in banana suits and dancing through the Brickyard, sculpting a giant ice cream sundae, and so much more. We still regularly get dinner and stay in touch. She’s such a wonderful, driven woman to have in my life! She is currently retired and now has her own business, Menu Analytics. 

Meet Kristen Baughman, women in Business series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

If you were to give advice to a woman going into the field you are in what would it be?

Network, network, network! You need to get out there and find your “tribe” of supportive people, especially other women who are in your field. It’s been so great to know other photographers, publicists, social media managers and more who I can confide in and ask for advice.

I would also recommend reading and filling your mind with positivity. I’m obsessed with the book “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero and listen to it over and over. Find something that motivates you to be the best version of yourself.

Lastly, set goals (no matter what field you’re in)! My husband and I have whiteboards in our home office with our goals. I look at them every day and they keep me on track. Make sure you have actionable steps to reach those goals.

Meet Kristen Baughman, women in Business series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

Have you found that being a woman in your field is harder or easier? Tell me about the advantages and disadvantages of being a woman. 

It’s not harder or easier, I just work hard and do the best I can for my clients. I do find that there are a lot of other women who are publicists, social media managers, photographers, etc. so you really have to set yourself apart in the media space.

Have you ever had to overcome a hostile work environment?

None of my past work environments were ever hostile, however, one, in particular, was stressful and took a toll on my health. I had a previous employer who expected a lot out of his employees as far as hours and travel went. These expectations were unrealistic and I was so stressed that my body literally shut down. My throat practically closed up and my primary care doctor was shocked that I didn’t go to the ER when I came in to see her. Listen to your body and take care of yourself! If a job ever does something like that to you, reconsider where you’re at in your career and if it’s time to make a change.

What made you decide on your chosen field? 

Really, I just love food! I have a passion for storytelling, agriculture and of course, eating. Although I enjoy cooking, I’m nowhere near “chef” status. My way of giving back is best in the media space and it’s been such a great fit!

Meet Kristen , women in Business series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

Kristen Baughman is the founder of Tabletop Media Group. Native to the Carolinas, she received a degree in Extension Education with a focus in Nutrition from North Carolina State University. She also received a Master of Science degree in Extension Education with a focus in Agricultural Leadership.

Working for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services coordinating events for the Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council and serving as a Food Safety Outreach Coordinator led her to become even more passionate about the food industry. During her time at the NCDA&CS, she created a popular 43 Day Local Food Challenge Blog, which led to a food blogging opportunity with the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

Her varied career after university led to a social media marketing and public relations opportunity with the Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series. This new role spurred a career shift to focus on media as it relates to the hospitality, food, agriculture and beverage industries. 

She later started a popular food blog and consulting company, Gadabout Food. After working in Raleigh, North Carolina for three years, she spent two years in New York City consulting for Shutterstock, Taste Talks, Northside Festival, Swig, and other clients. Kristen decided to return to Raleigh, North Carolina in July 2016 to launch Tabletop Media Group.

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