From jean jackets to virtual reality, Navah Berg is never at a loss for creativity, passion and the next big thing.
We sat down with Navah Berg, the Social VR trend setter who is combining her social media powers with virtual reality, and asked some rapid-fire questions about all things business, pleasure and virtual.
Boca Raton, FL
Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I guess I’d have to rewind to the 80s when my dad was building computers in our basement in Cleveland, Ohio. None of my friends had a computer, yet my sister was finding friends in AOL chats as a means to cope with some tough obstacles in her middle school life.
I was trying to connect with my dad, who was an Auschwitz survivor and understand his ambition, so I would observe him for hours on end and stay down there helping him out and playing the video game Spy Hunter (my controller was a keyboard space bar!)
Both of my parents were from Europe, so they didn’t always understand the day-to-day activities that came with a typical all-American childhood. Sure, I played outside, went to the mall, hung out at the local movie theatre, etc but I was always fascinated by technology and the emergence of computers.
Even for birthdays or holidays, I wouldn’t get clothes (even though I wanted it), my mom would buy me the newest tech trend! It amazes me to reflect on this time and now realize that digital/social/mobile has become the forefront of our daily lives from the minute we wake up to the second we call it a night each and every day.
When did the VR light bulb go off?
The first time I read about Social VR was in a Vanity Fair’s October 2015 issue at a nail salon. Since I work in social media marketing (especially Facebook) 24/7, I was obviously intrigued and eager to know the future vision of the industry. But what caught my eye and made me continue reading was the super secret South Florida startup in my backyard, Magic Leap. After reading the article three times, I was sold on VR and began telling my social circle “this is the next big thing” in the future of connections and communication.
What’s the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started in VR?
Connecting with other women in AR/VR through Facebook Spaces, and then meeting them IRL and staying in a house with them in OC5. We have a special bond because we met in social VR first. Then taking it a step further we were all invited to go to FB Spaces HQ during Oculus Connect 5. We were kids in a candy store.
What advice would you give to other women wanting to break into VR space?
- Buy a VR headset and PC or a Magic Leap One.
- Invest in yourself.
- Start learning now.
“If you always do what you’ve always done. You’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
How do you use your VR success to bring goodness to the world?
I try to connect with others in social VR and share their story. Along with supporting other women and men in VR creating art or making a change in the industry.
Transporting into immersive art in Social VR with Jessika Raisor?in #Quill via Facebook Spaces!www.facebook.com
None of us are able to achieve success without some adversity along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I’ve had many footprints in my career where people have pushed me and inspired me. Starting with my mentor, Sandy Volsky, in Ohio. He was like a dad to me. Always telling me to live to my potential.
He would always say, “if you throw enough mud on the ceiling something’s going to stick.”
You! Mrs. Lisa Buyer, we have been through a lot of changes in the industry and the one thing (actually there are many) that I do now that I never did before was “Navah, invest yourself. Go to 1–2 conferences a year. Learn and connect with others.”
I have been known to be frugal as a freelancer because I never know when I’ll have another job or how much I’ll bring in so I try to stay safe. But, with Lisa’s voice in the back of my head, I have been able to take the plunge and go to many conferences. One of which was Facebook F8 — it is one that sticks out because it confirmed to me that social VR is the future of social media. It opened the door to many possibilities and to finally take the plunge to purchase an Oculus Rift.
What are your “Five Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience”?
- Never Give Up .— Just when you think you can’t write another tweet or try a new strategy — something shows you to keep going and beautiful things come from that.
- Learn. Educate. — Continue to educate yourself in new technology or new skills. We have so many free tools at our fingertips to reinvent ourselves at any time.
- Network— Reach out to people, share their story, learn about them, see how you can help your own community. Inspiration is everywhere and I get the most from people and their stories.
- Listen — In social media my best tool, the tool that gives me the most in the day, is listening. When I listen to my audience I get content/ideas for days. By listening, I know how to help customer service deal with issues or even find issues before they are a big problem, I know what my audience wants to see or what engages them, and this isn’t just for my audience…this also works with every aspect of life/business.
- Sit at the table, lean in — Sheryl Sandberg style! — Ask for what you want, take a risk, and go after it. Even if no one is looking at you. People won’t ignore you if you sit at that table and speak up. This was one of the biggest learning lessons for me. When I was pregnant, the HR department in the company I was working for fought me on my leave and gave me a hard time. I sat at the table, stood up for myself (no lawyers needed!) and ended up being the reason they updated their FML Policy in the company for the other women in the all man’s world of the lighting industry and helped them transition into parenthood without HR in their way.
Believe in yourself. Find people around you that will believe in you too. In this always-on world you need people on your team, but also be on their team too. Together Everyone Accomplishes More.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how it’s relevant to you in your life? ✏️
Yesterday’s History, Tomorrow’s a Mystery. Today is a Gift…that’s why we call it the “present.”
Yesterday can be hard when you look back, but it’s over – there is nothing you can do but be in the now to make it better. Tomorrow is an energy sucker, you can plan, but remember life has a way of making its own plans.
Just focus on the now, it will help clear up space in your head for a better today.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? ☕️
His creativity (did you see his tweets before the launch of Magic Leap? Check it out above), his resume of building the unknown and inspiring others to help him build magic is absolutely mind-blowing! He created robotic arms for surgery. Hello world, how could we have not believed this brilliant guy (from Cleveland!) would create a new augmented world called Magicverse. He is the oracle of our time. I have so many questions for him, I think I would need a full weekend.
I can make jean jackets from the 80s/90s.
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Where Will VR Be In Five Years? ⏰
In businesses for training, in everyone’s home entertaining and connecting/feeling presence people from all around the world.
Leaders You Admire?
In addition to Rony Abovitz,
Lisa Kotecki — I love how she inspires Facebook Spaces Community to be creative and out of the box and she really takes the time to get to know her audience.
Lisa Buyer —My social PR secret — Lisa is the only person in the world that knows how to help me with balance and introduced me to Meditation.
Iva Leon — OG of VR — she is so inclusive and inspires her AR/VR women community to share their experiences.
Favorite Drink Order?
Skinny Vanilla Latte with an extra shot of espresso with only 2 pumps of Vanilla:)
Favorite Instagram Account?
Favorite Way to Decompress?
Organizing. Reorganizing. Filing. Anything that clears up the clutter!
Women you admire?
Tara Gustman, my dear friend who found out earlier in the year she had breast cancer. She turned it into building a community and inspiring others by leading others in the same experience as hers to have positivity during a very crazy, emotional time.
The list could go on…
Stay connected to Navah and follow her Social VR movement filled with guides, tools, tips and tricks to help you stay ahead and in the know.
This post by Lisa Buyer originally published on Medium’s Authority Magazine, a publication by Yitzi Weiner.
About Female Disruptors
Female Disruptors is a passion project by Lisa Buyer, designed to spotlight women who are disruptors in their space. You don’t need a bestselling book to be a female disruptor—you need passion, vision, focus, compassion, determination and a burning desire to share this with the world.
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