SOURCE: MerchantCircle


April 02, 2010 14:02 ET

MerchantCircle Expands Leadership Team With Key Talent Additions

Social Network for Local Businesses Adds Senior Level Marketing, PR and Business Development Roles

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwire - April 2, 2010) -  MerchantCircle, the largest social network of local business owners, today announced that it has recently expanded its corporate team to bolster its marketing, public relations and business development efforts as it grows its extensive network of small businesses. Coming on board during the first quarter of 2010 were Chris Brubaker, Director of Marketing Programs; Grace Chan, Director of Member Monetization; Julie Craft, Sr. Director of Business Development and Sean Pate, Director of Public Relations.

As Director of Marketing Programs, Chris Brubaker will focus efforts on new member acquisition and demand generation. Chris is a well seasoned Internet marketer with 12 years of experience at successful Silicon Valley startups including Return Path, formerly Habeas, and YouSendIt. He also led the e-business team at Siemens Communications from 2000-2005. Chris also brings valuable international experience, working for multiple Germany based startups in the late 90s. He holds an MBA in International Management from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a B.A. degree from UCLA.

Currently residing in San Jose, Chris claims Shin's Sushi, Mojo Burger and Charlie Rose Baseball as his favorite local area merchants.

Grace Chan, Director of Merchant Monetization, is responsible for all activities related to merchant revenue growth including direct sales, ecommerce and paid product launches. Prior to MerchantCircle, Grace was sr. manager, channel strategy and product marketing at Yahoo! where she was responsible for creating and managing business opportunities and strategies for Small Medium Business channel in HotJobs. Prior to Yahoo!, she spent eight years at Intel in various positions including program manager for test equipment development, design lead for Xeon processor, and product marketing manager for Intel flash products on mobile platforms. While at Intel, Grace released the first multi-chip-module Xeon design to market and launched Intel® Turbo Memory product line, as well as global marketing plans for the company's first mobile Internet devices. 

Grace is a UCLA alumna, graduating with B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering. She completed the Executive MBA Program at Santa Clara University in 2005. 

A Milpitas resident, Grace's favorite local merchants include Sendai Japanese restaurant and Lisa's Skincare.

As Sr. Director of Business Development, Julie Craft brings over 20 years of high-tech business development expertise to MerchantCircle. Julie will be responsible for identifying and securing strategic corporate partnerships for the company and is well suited for it. Her experience includes spending the past five years in social media where she served as vice president of advertising and publisher sales at Simply Hired, a globally recognized leader in online job search, followed by a business development role at Offerpal Media and most recently vice president of marketing at Super Rewards. 

Julie also spent several years at AT&T running national sales and product marketing groups. Julie is a former adjunct professor teaching business management at DeVry University and Marketing at Illinois Benedictine University (IBU). She holds a B.S. degree from Illinois State University, a M.S. degree from IBU and executive management certifications from Columbia University.

Julie is a resident of Belmont where she frequents Mistrals in nearby Redwood Shores.

Sean Pate comes aboard as Director of Public Relations where he will lead MerchantCircle's external communications programs and brand building. Previously, Sean served as head of corporate communications for StubHub, the world's largest ticket marketplace, acting as its media strategist and primary spokesman from 2005 to 2009. He helped the media and consumers better understand the evolution of the secondary ticketing business and the value proposition of StubHub. His unique insights have been seen in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA TODAY as well as CNN, CNBC and Good Morning America.

Prior to StubHub, Sean held the position of district public relations manager at Robert Half International, the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm. He also served as a senior public relations specialist at Oracle, where he oversaw and managed enterprise software initiatives. Sean also brings a background in the sports PR world, working for the Pacific-10 Conference and Arizona State University early in his career. Sean is a proud graduate of Arizona State University where he received his B.S. in Kinesiology.

A native San Franciscan and resident, Sean counts Tommy's Mexican Restaurant, the Boardroom and Le Chiropractic as his preferred local merchants in the City.

"Each one of these talented individuals possess the expertise and experience that will help drive the next level of success for MerchantCircle and for our 1 million members," said Ben Smith IV, Chairman and Co-Founder of MerchantCircle. "We've chosen our team very selectively over the years and feel these are the right additions as we scale our organization."

About MerchantCircle
Founded in 2005, MerchantCircle is the largest social network of local business owners in the nation, combining social networking features with a customizable web listing that allows local merchants to attract new customers. More than 15 million MerchantCircle business listings across the country are easily accessed on major search engines. Currently, over 1,000,000 merchants on the MerchantCircle network upload pictures, blog, create coupons and newsletters, and connect with other merchants.

MerchantCircle is located in Mountain View, CA, and is funded by Rustic Canyon Partners, Scale Venture Partners, Disney's Steamboat Ventures, and IAC. Learn more at

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