“I have a very particular set of skills,” Rita Drucker laughed, recalling the iconic line delivered by Liam Neeson’s character in the action thriller Taken. A former movie studio executive with nearly two decades of entertainment marketing experience, Drucker often uses these references as she makes complex ideas sound simple. In this case, the role of a Head of Marketing Partnerships for supersonic manufacturing company Boom.
Drucker recently joined Boom in the inaugural role of Head of Marketing Partnerships, a title she’s held across companies in entertainment, technology, and digital media. From working on films like Avatar, X-Men, and Ice Age, to founding Yahoo Storytellers content studio and leading brand integration at Snap , Drucker has helped companies across industries grow through collaboration.
We sat down with Drucker to learn more about her experience and future plans for Boom.
What does the Head of Partnerships do?
A Head of Partnerships identifies opportunities with like-minded brands to create a value exchange. I like to say that with the right partner, one plus one always equals three, because we work together to grow and elevate each other. This can take a variety of forms, from digital campaigns and content creation, to experiential, co-branded products, and more.
At Boom, I have the exciting opportunity to build a partnerships practice from scratch. Our product is the brand and our mission — to make a dramatically more accessible world. Boom has an incredible team, technology, product, aspiration for the future, and therefore, untapped possibilities for breakthrough partnerships.
Tell us about your approach.
My goal is to identify smart partnerships that are scalable. Boom is very mission driven, so we’re looking for partners that share the same values of speed, safety, sustainability, access, connection — brands that can move with us through the many key milestones ahead.
We have an extremely small but nimble team that works very fast. The right partners would align and leverage our mission, take the journey with us, and amplify our story in a way that is additive to their business, simultaneously delivering on their key objectives. A successful partnership is when both brands benefit.
What sparked your interest in supersonic, and Boom in particular?
I have always been drawn to disruptive ideas — projects that can change the way we think. I experienced this working on movies like Moulin Rouge, which changed the concept of movie musicals and James Cameron’s Avatar, which redefined movie-going with revolutionary 3D. Yahoo! changed the internet, and Snap, by definition, disrupted the social media landscape for a whole generation of GenZ’s and millennials.
I met Kathy Savitt, Boom’s President, during my time at Yahoo. When she reached out with an opportunity to work with Boom in an advisory role, my answer was “No, I don’t want to work with Boom. I want to work at Boom.” I see this as a once-in-a-lifetime chance to change how people experience the world.
For me personally, the promise of supersonic is really exciting. I traveled constantly for work, so the ability to spend less time in the air would have meant a lot more time with my family, and especially my son when he was younger.
How was your first week?
A blur — it was supersonic! I had some really great quality time with the folks I will be working with and consuming everything I can get my hands on.
As you look forward, what principles guide your view of partnerships?
Definitely, and they are both movie references.
First, from the Girl Next Door — “is the juice worth the squeeze?” A small deal takes just as much time and resources as a large one. With that in mind, we prioritize the things that really drive impact and partners that are genuinely committed beyond a one-off.
Second, from Drumline — “one band, one sound.” To me, that means that anything we do needs to connect back to the larger mission. If it doesn’t, it will be out-of-tune. It won’t work.
Your biography mentioned taking calculated risks and the idea of ‘failing forward.’ Can you tell us more about that? What’s the importance of this philosophy at a company like Boom?
It’s funny you ask. That idea came from Kathy Savitt. She developed a culture around celebrating innovation, failure, and the freedom to think differently. That really resonated with me and it is something that I have kept with me throughout my career.
I love the ability to try new things that may not be successful, but could be transformational. I try to quiet the fear that comes with the repercussions of potential failure. Rather, I think about the best interests for the mission and company when you succeed.
Are there other principles you’re bringing with you? Tell us more about your leadership style.
I am a big personality who will always bring my full authentic self to everything I do, and I want others to feel empowered to do the same. For me, culture is everything and I believe people do their best work when they feel supported and are given the tools they need.
I love to mentor but I love to learn so I make it a point of creating reverse mentor relationships with junior team members. I strongly believe you’re never done learning. I love to ask questions and listen to the perspectives of others. Senior leaders should never stop asking questions — there is just too much that can be learned from everyone around you. Mentorship should never be a one-way street.
What would you tell a potential partner of Boom’s? A prospective employee?
For brands, I want them to know they have a meaningful opportunity to create a partnership with a transformative brand and product. In this case, the sky is literally not the limit. For colleagues and peers, I want them to know that I am ready to contribute and build upon the tremendous work they have done.
Where will your first flight aboard Overture go?
Definitely Australia. While I have been there half a dozen times, I never got to Perth, because it has historically been such a cost-prohibitive destination for many travelers. It will be very exciting to experience Boom’s mission, not just through my role here, but as a future traveler.