Workin’ 9 to 5 (…and some career advice from Human Resources pros)

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Trouble results when the speed of growth exceeds the speed of nurturing human resources. To use the analogy of growth rings in a tree, when unusually rapid growth caused the rings to grow abnormally thick, the tree trunk weakens and is easily broken.
~ Akio Toyoda

Welcome back! So far, I’ve shared wisdom from subject matter experts working in Sales and Marketing. Next up in my series highlighting specific professions, I am going back to my own roots, where I began 16 years ago myself – Human Resources.

Having worked on HR teams of all sizes – from being the “department of one” to a member of teams of 100+, in a variety of industries (both public and private), I’ve seen the hard work from both specialists and generalists, from the assistant level all the way up to the senior executive. I’ve seen Human Resources teams treated like a true strategic business partner, and I’ve seen them referred to condescendingly as “the admin team”. I’ve seen people promoted in this industry who haven’t done the work and expect it to be easy (because they don’t respect the profession that it is), and I’ve watched individuals gain the street cred, excel in their roles, and become true influencers in the profession as well as within their organizations.

Once again, I sent out five questions to longtime HR professionals whose advice is great for both those at the beginning of their careers, as well as those who are considering a career transition to this profession.

The contributors to this week’s post :

Below is what they had to share with me (and a few tidbits from yours truly as well) about their work in the Human Resources field, what they’ve learned, and tips for those looking into a career in this profession. Enjoy!!!

1. What helped you the most in getting (and succeeding in) your current job?

Combined Business + HR Knowledge

“Prior experience in a variety of HR disciplines.”

“An understanding of organizational change, mergers and acquisitions and Organizational Development.”

“Knowing the business.”

“Keying in on explaining how HR can provide the data/support that what really matters to an employer – optimizing their employee performance/supporting its business objectives.”

“Direct experience as a business partner.”

My Interpersonal Skills

“Communication skills with all levels of corporate management.”

“The ability to know how and when to guide and encourage and when to lead.”

“Strong attention to detail, and an ability to think on the fly, debate with executives and make constructive suggestions for change.”

“Being open to constructive criticism.”

“I have been successful over the past 2 ½ years because I haven’t been afraid to evolve, trust my instincts and ultimately do what I know is right, both personally and professionally.”

A Strong Network

“Networking with other HR professionals.”

“I had a terrific coach who helped me with the emotional aspects of walking away from the kind of work I’d always done and encouraged me to find a creative way to use my strengths to find greater happiness.”

“LinkedIn and previous networking efforts helped me get into the organization.”

“Before I started my own business in 2012, I was experiencing severe burnout, working 80 hours a week on average and doing a lot of work dumped on me that I wasn’t being paid for. After 14 years in HR and Recruiting roles as part of teams big and small, in three states, and a ton of different industries, all of my history in the profession coalesced to inspire me to use the experience gained to help smaller companies without a dedicated resource for hiring talent. My network was key, and I reached out to the people who knew my accomplishments and knew of my reputation of not only helping small companies hire but in creating strong processes to empower their existing teams. I also had a damn good attorney.”

2. What is one of the most common misconceptions about working in HR?

It’s About Being “A People Person”

“That it is all about Employee Relations and being able to communicate well with people in a workplace coach/counselor role. HR has become an aggregate of technical disciplines requiring in-depth knowledge of a myriad of continuously changing regulations and laws. Application is well served by broad base analytical/business intelligence and detailed knowledge of policies, procedures, legal requirements and past practice supported by complex communication skills. HR supports the business vision providing guidance, leadership and talent development and management.”

That if you like people you’ll do just fine. Like no other trait is needed – wrong!”

“A lot of people go into HR because they want to “help people”, assuming that it’s mostly employee relations, often perceived as a place for nurturing staff rather than managing performance. Ironically, HR is more about implementing business strategy and managing risk than directly helping the people working in the organization. You’ve got to understand employment law and financial constraints, be adept at navigating organizational politics, and have the ability to influence without technical authority in environments where you’re often treated as an optional support function. Recruiting in particular is often seen as simply asking the same questions over and over, finding ways to say “no” to piles of applications, and a sales-y role trying to convince anyone and everyone to apply. The truth of the matter is that the best recruiters are seen as business partners to both the hiring AND human resources teams, along with being the external partner to the community of candidates and hiring resources.”

We’re Not Business or Technically Savvy

“That we don’t know how to use calculators.”

Like marketing, HR is often underestimated for its technical and cross-functional prowess.”

HR Is Inherently To Blame For Organizational Problems

“That we, under the guise of supporting employees, work against the objectives of the organization’s leadership and business goals.”

“That HR holds all of the power and authority in an organization. HR can and should play an integral part in the roll out of any personnel program but not only are they not the ones that make the decision to roll out a program (in most organizations), they shouldn’t be.”

3. What advice would you offer those wanting to get into this line of work?

Learn in Every Way Possible

“Attain academic knowledge and technical acumen in a specific discipline of HR to access entry-level positions.”

“Work in a continuous learning mode to gain experience, knowledge and understanding of other disciplines within the larger HR umbrella for career growth and flexibility.”

“Acquire certifications from respected sources.”

“Your degree and/or certificate in HR doesn’t instantly qualify you for midlevel HR work, so be humble and willing to learn from more experienced colleagues, and help in any/all areas. The stronger you are as a generalist, the better you will be as a specialist.”

“Go the extra mile – never say it’s not in my job description!””

Network in the HR Community

“Maximize networking opportunities with local HR organizations.”

“Interview HR professionals – what is their day like, what do they like or dislike. Call for an informational interview. Works beautifully.“

“Seek mentorship with professionals at all levels in their HR career and interview them thoroughly.”

Understand the Reality of Working in Human Resources

“If you want to be in HR primarily because you like to work with people, forget it; the most effective HR professionals should be all about top and bottom line. They need to know how to make the toughest people decisions with grace, tenacity and always with the upmost respect for others – and they can’t worry about being liked by the masses. The most effective HR professionals should see the HR function as a strong, essential business unit that performs off precise and relevant business metrics of the company.

“Don’t invest in the PHR unless you’re completely dedicated to an HR career.”

“One thing I hear a lot is “I want to help people” and while, distilled down, we do a lot of that in HR, there is also a heavy load of really tough work (i.e. benefits administration, rolling out compensation plans, navigating sticky employee investigations). To not only be happy in the field, but to be also be successful you should not have the idea that this line of work is all about being a good people-person, and helping others work through their problems.”

“Start in a support role – i.e., HR Assistant or Assistant to a VP of HR – so you can watch the specialists and benefits in action, support them on their projects, and get a true idea of what’s involved in the work rather than jumping into the deep end.”

4. How has the work changed since you entered the HR profession?

It’s More Complex

“Work is now more strategic, less clerical.”

“I entered the HR profession in 1984 when the work environment was far less controversial and litigious and being “good with people” was a key job requirement. HR back then was more general in nature and more dependent on common sense than technical knowledge. Today the field is far more professional requiring increased knowledge, skills and technical abilities within specific HR disciplines.”

“Computer literacy is a critical skill as well as speaking and influencing skills.”

“Academically, HR was one course in a business degree program (if it was even available as a college course). Most HR folks came to the field with  bachelor’s degrees in areas like Sociology, Psychology, or Business. Now bachelor’s degree programs in HRM are much more common.”

It’s More Influential

“Struggling to make HR relevant has become easier over the years as other business functions are seeing how influential HR can be in driving organizational performance when they pay attention to who they have in what role doing what job.”

In 1998, HR was still moving from the administrative-y “Personnel” to the more technical “Human Resources” perception, and everyone talked about ways to “get a seat at the table” at association meetings. Now in the 2014, there are a zillion names for HR (Human Capital being the most impersonal, People & Culture being the least strategic in tone, IMHO), HR is often an executive presence at mid to large-size companies.”

There’s Still More Work To Be Done

“Even with all the changes in bigger companies, I don’t see nearly as much advancement in smaller companies when it comes to the perception of Human Resources. Office managers and executive assistants with no HR experience are often asked to “do HR” because many still don’t see it as a skilled function beyond processing new hire and benefits paperwork. Those who are actually hired specifically for HR are often relegated to reporting under Finance (who have no experience in HR and often create a recipe for disaster because their function – not to mention, personality – is so different from that of the HR), instead of reporting directly to the CEO. “

5. Why do you do what you do for a living? Any other dreams out there you still want to pursue?

“I do what I do because I work for an organization that honestly cares for its employees. Pairing that with the respect I hold from the executives, management, and all individual contributors allows me influence within the organization. Other dreams? I’m a new mom so I haven’t thought about that in a while – I’d like to quite literally be able to have dreams again (get sleep!).”

“Write a book, start a recruiting business. I do what I do because I like to serve employees, make a positive difference and get paid!”

“I have the independence to do things the way I want to do them, the variety in my work that allows things to never be boring, and the awesomeness of the community I work in who make it fun and supportive, even when I’m experiencing frustrations of my industry and the occasional bouts of “bag lady syndrome” stemming from self-employment. But the best parts? I have a life outside of recruiting because I have created work for myself that allows for balance. I do a lot of career coaching, and have seen it grow to be nearly 25% of my business. I write, and am working on the final version of my book for jobseekers that will be published in 2015. I have time to volunteer with organizations close to my heart. I have time to work in my garden. I have time to spend with my awesome husband and our bull mastiff. Next up? We are getting our home ready to hopefully welcome a baby by the end of 2015!”

“I do what I do because I get paid well and feel respected doing my job. I would like to own a doggy day care someday!”

“I enjoy HR because I believe what I do makes a difference and HR has become a cutting edge industry for organizational change and development. My dream is to be able to continue working into retirement in organizational consulting roles that allow greater flexibility for travel, relaxation and fun while generating personal income. I believe today’s corporate environment depends on people communicating quickly and concisely with greater understanding and flexibility and I have the ability to influence that outcome.”

Weekend in Pictures

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While I usually do "weekend" in pictures, my husband's days off are usually during the week, so I tucked in a few photos from our Christmas tree trip to Sauvie Island. He's not had his own tree since he was a kid, and had never cut one down before, so I wanted to give him the full experience.

While I usually do “weekend” in pictures, my husband’s days off are usually during the week, so I tucked in a few photos from our Christmas tree trip to Sauvie Island Farms , the same place we pick our blueberries and blackberries each year (and in prior years, peaches, yum!). He’s not had his own tree since he was a kid, and had never cut one down before, so I wanted to give him the full experience.

It was pouring down rain most of the day, but it did let up for a bit when we arrived thankfully, so I got to snap a few pictures of the excursion, including yes, this crazy blow up Santa outhouse. The things they think of...

It was pouring down rain most of the day, but it did let up for a bit when we arrived, so I got to snap a few pictures, including yes, this crazy blow up Santa outhouse. The things they think of…

They do a lot on this third generation farm, from the fruit to the Xmas trees to the pumpkins, where the field now rests until next year.

They do a lot on this third generation farm, from the fruits and veggies to the Xmas trees to the pumpkins, where the latter’s field now rests until next year. We had originally planned to go to a farm outside of Salem that is SERF-certified, but with the heavy rains on the day we reserved the car, there was no way we wanted to come home with a sopping wet tree, so we compromised. We did briefly consider a living tree, but the logistics and price were a bit constraining so next year we’ll do either that or the SERF tree.

Yes he got to do all the cutting while I did all the bossing around hahaha

Yes Dan got to do all the sawing while I did all the bossing around hahaha

Big thanks to Zipcar so we could get out there since we choose to not own a car, and a nice bunch of jute twine to hook it up. Somehow my husband left his leatherman multi-tool on top of the car, yet it miraculously stayed there for the entire 40 minute drive home!

Big thanks to Zipcar so we could get out there easily, as we choose to not own a car, and a nice bunch of natural jute twine to tie it down. Somehow my husband left his multi-tool on top of the car, yet it miraculously stayed there for the entire 40 minute drive home!

Finished product!!

Finished product!! This is just one string of lights as I gave all my other lights away to the nursery owner down the street to use for her business, and we only have it lit up at night to save energy. After my husband sliced a bit of tree trunk for our little memory piece, we popped it on the stand which used to be my grandma’s and decorated it with the ornaments I’ve been collecting over the years. Even on the years I didn’t have a tree, I always bought one or two special ornaments from different places which makes it kind of fun. No boxes of ornaments that all look the same and have no meaning, ugh! I found this felt tree skirt on clearance, the only thing I gave in to the made-in-china machine, but hey, just doing it at 40 for the first time I suppose is OK? Ah, well.

This year we got two ornaments - one is a piece of reclaimed wood carved into a heart, which we got while on our honeymoon at Lake Quinault in the Olympics, and the other was this totally silly thing that makes me laugh, which I got at a local boutique on Alberta called Screaming Sky.

This year we got 2 new ornaments – one is reclaimed wood carved into a heart, which we got on our honeymoon at Lake Quinault, and the other was this totally silly thing that makes me laugh, which I got at Screaming Sky, a local boutique in the nearby Alberta Street, an area where where 20 years ago you wouldn’t recognize compared to how it looks today.

After one helluva windstorm on Thursday, our community is still cleaning up from the many downed trees that created a lot of messes and a few power outages to boot (we were in the dark for a good 8 hours, oy vey!). This shot I snapped at the park near our house - notice how it fell 'perfectly' - avoiding the basketball hoop!

After one helluva windstorm on Thursday, our community is still cleaning up from the many downed trees that created a lot of messes and a few power outages to boot (we were in the dark for a good 8 hours, oy vey!). This shot I snapped at the park near our house – notice how it fell ‘perfectly’ – avoiding the basketball hoop!

 

Steinem Saturday

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“Many drug programs were designed for male addicts. Our stereotype of an addict is male; we fear men who become destructive to pay for drugs more than women who become self-destructive as prostitutes to pay for them; and in a male-dominant culture even male suffering dominates. Yet, according to some urban surveys, at least half of addicts are women, and many are not only destroying themselves but giving birth to drug-addicted…babies besides. Moreover, if a female addict does recover, she probably ha a tougher time being accepted into society than her male counterpart, especially if she bears a double stigma as an ex-prostitute. I point out this example as one way that biased values underlying our social welfare budgets, both public and private, punish not only those directly involved but the rest of society too.”

~ from “Revaluing Economics” in Steinem’s book, Moving Beyond Words

EcoGrrl-icious

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My husband made this for us from the bit of trunk trimmed off with the saw when we were evening it up to fit in the tree stand :)  We're thinking each year we'll do this to mark our little family :)

My husband made this sweet thing for us from the bit of trunk trimmed off with the saw when we were trying to even it up to fit in the tree stand nicely. As the one weekday we had a Zipcar reserved to go cut down a tree, it was POURING and so we didn’t make the trek down to the Salem area where the only SERF-certified tree farm was open (most of the U-Cut places are only open on the weekends which stinks for us since my hubby usually works those days!), we ended up driving to closer-by Sauvie Island Farms, a 3rd generation farm where we pick our blueberries each year, to get the tree instead. We’re thinking each year we’ll take a tree trunk slice to mark our little family – including how it grows since by this time next year we hope to have a bun in the oven!  :)

Happy December!! With the continually odd weather we’ve been having, I can’t say it exactly feels like winter is on its way – right now it’s 53 degrees which is very mild for PDX just 9 days before the solstice, and last night’s 70 mph windstorm that knocked out power to our neighborhood for almost 12 hours was interesting to say the least (nothing grosser than the house overwhelmed with the scent of cheap scented emergency candles from the store down the street since I only had two beeswax tapers on hand!). But hey, the year is coming to a close and all in all, life’s pretty dang sweet for us, so no complaints!

Here are some new discoveries I thought I’d share this week…

* I’ve never had a tree topper, so my husband & I are thinking this weekend we’ll make something similar to this star twig topper – definitely easy with the jute twine we have on hand and all the fallen branches in the neighborhood from last night’s windstorm! We are agnostic in beliefs, so angels don’t really do it for us, and would rather focus on the natural elements when celebrating the season :)

* Digging this article reviewing “eco” baby books. I have noticed there are a zillion around and just wanted one that went beyond what I already know about the environmental risks to people out there that are magnified for kids. So I’ve got a few of these on my PaperbackSwap wish list and we’ll see what one comes up first!

* Tis the season for my socks to start getting holey it appears, so I totally relish the ideas in Top 58 Ways to Reuse Socks! I love the one for using my knee high socks for dusting !

* Found out that this sustainable coffee company, Three Avocados, was following me on Twitter, and immediately enamored at their nonprofit business model and social responsibility efforts!

* A longtime fan of Dr. Christiane Northrup (Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom should be on every woman’s bookshelf), I was super interested reading her article on iodine and thyroid health.

* The always thought-provoking Yes! Magazine talks about the urban comeback of cities and what folks in towns like mine are doing to combat the problems of the world.

* And finally, here’s a large corporation making genuine, significant efforts towards environmental cradle-to-cradle type of thinking: check out what Bridgestone Tires is doing and why they’re being honored this year.

The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.”
~William Blake

Workin’ 9 to 5 (…and some career advice from Sales pros)

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“Make a customer, not a sale.”
~ Katherine Barchetti

I’m back this week continuing my series highlighting specific professions. Last week, I shared conversations with Marketing professionals who represented a wide variety of industries, from companies of all sizes.

This week, I’m focusing on a career path that often is highly stereotyped, and so because of that I decided to feature five participants who all work in the same industry – technology – but bring very unique personalities, success stories, and other aspects of their lives into who they are.

As a recruiter, I’ve collaborated with Sales in a variety of ways. I’ve hired them, I’ve coached them, I’ve worked with them on recruitments for their teams, and I’ve even partnered with them during my early recruiting days when I moved from an HR career into my first technical recruiting job.

Once again, I sent out five questions to longtime sales professionals whose advice is great for both those at the beginning of their careers, as well as those who are considering a career transition to this profession.

The contributors to this week’s post :

Below is what they had to share with me about their work in the Sales field, what they’ve learned, and tips for those looking into a career in this profession. Enjoy!!!

1. What helped you the most in getting (and succeeding in) your current job?

My Network

“My network got me my current job.  I was recruited by an ex-colleague.  In fact, the last two positions I have held have been through people I worked with in the past.”

“My father gave me my first job in IT as a Receptionist at his IT Staffing company.  I wouldn’t have hired me – I was a loose cannon! I owe my father a great deal and thank him all the time.”

“I had a dynamite recruiting introduction from a fantastic lady named Aimee Levens!”

My Background

“The VP of Sales liked that I had a logistics background – he felt some of the best salespeople in the e-commerce space had come from that space. Having a software tools background, I was able to engage the VP of Engineering about their applications – the development languages, lifecycle and methodologies used and evolution of the system.”

“My skillset, history of success, and personal brand.”

My Personality & Work Ethic

“What sealed the deal for this position was relating to the hiring team. I felt relaxed and in my element with the hiring committee – the vibe and the office environment were a good match with my personality and I think that came through in the interviews.”

“Being genuine, open and honest.”

“Succeeding usually results from hard work and working efficiently.  Recognizing, understanding, and acting upon opportunities in the marketplace.”

“While I still am (a loose cannon) to a certain degree, my staunch individualism and spirit has kept my clarity and integrity strong even with the prime directive of generating revenue. Revenue generation, when taken without honor and care, can be destructive, but with heart, compassion and a genuine need to help others succeed, is part of a cycle that helps people in turn help business in turn help more people.”

2. What is one of the most common misconceptions about working in Sales?

That We’re Only In It For The Money

“That greed rules all.”

“Some think that we don’t care about our reputations.”

“They think that we are in it for ourselves and will sell at our clients/customers expense.”

That We Don’t Care About Customers

“A great many successful salespeople have had careers that span decades have flourished because they truly care about their clients success – the proverbial “Win – Win”, excellence, integrity, respect for the individual, and not just their own commission.”

“Most view sales as a role where you are always trying to talk or convince someone into doing or buying something they might not necessary want.  The reality is that selling is really communicating a message to an appropriate audience.”

That It Doesn’t Require Real Skills

“Some think that there’s a finish line – i.e., that you can know it all.”

“I do not think most people realize how much planning, research, and time management sales people have to do to be successful.”

“People don’t always understand that it’s a craft.”

3. What advice would you offer those wanting to get into this line of work?

Focus on Your Customers

“Approach sales from a place of service. It’s a small world – your reputation counts like crazy. Always put the client first. If your product or service isn’t a good fit – say so and refer them. Even to your competition. Your stock will rise exponentially.”

“Be honest with yourself and your clients about what you do, along with what your product does and the value it brings.”

“Take the long view.”

Do What Excites You

“Always represent a company, product or service you believe in and can stand behind.”

“Find an industry or a company that you feel passionate about (or that you can come to care about).”

“Love it or don’t do it!! Whatever you do it should make you want to get up in the morning and GO DO IT with JOY and FUN and PASSION!”

Understand What’s Needed to be Successful

“You will need a high tolerance for pressure/stress.”

“Choose an industry that is growing and vibrant.”

“Take initiative.”

4. How has the work changed since you entered the Sales profession?

The Technology Difference

“The competition is now a click away.”

“The internet has opened the door to global competition.”

“The pace of work has changed with the Internet, social media, increased competition and industry consolidation.”

Relationships Still Matter

“Know-how and service make the difference.”

“Relationships still matter enough of the time and they certainly drive my passion, and that at the core, has not changed and has continued to provide me with business and tremendous satisfaction and passion to help improve the lives of the people I work with.”

Product Perception Has Evolved

“Consumers are more educated than ever.”

“Sales has shifted focus from commodities and capabilities to value. What problem do you solve and how does that benefit your client?”

“Many products, even software are now commodities.”

5. Why do you do what you do for a living? Any other dreams out there you still want to pursue?

“I have 2 kids in college! There’s a world to see and photograph. I’m trying to do a little bit of good and leave the ship a better place than when I showed up.”

“I love solving problems and working with people. The income also is disproportionate to education, experience etc. You get paid what you are worth. There are always dreams to pursue – work enables me to do so.”

“To help people while at the same time it provides a lifestyle that allows me to live an incredible, passionate, FUN life! TONS!! And I am pursuing them!!!”

“Obviously income is a big factor but I do enjoy good work/life balance.  I do really enjoy discovering and learning about companies (prospects and clients) in this market and about what they do, how they impact the local economy and the people that they employ.  I like building relationships and working with people I like & respect.  In this field, there are always opportunities to be discovered and hopefully captured. There are many things I still want to pursue – some are personal that have nothing to do with work, others are entrepreneurial and community service activities.”

Weekend in Pictures

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Ahh, a dog's life, full of walks, treats, and sleep. Not bad :)

Ahh, a dog’s life, full of walks, treats, and sleep. Not bad :)

Our new favorite hot sauce has been discovered: Marshall's Haute Sauce with Serranos, Ginger, and Lemongrass. Insanely tasty and made right here in Portland!!

Our new favorite hot sauce has been discovered tucked away at New Seasons Market: Marshall’s Haute Sauce has serrano peppers, ginger and lemongrass. It’s insanely tasty – plus it’s made right here in Portland!!

With sunset so early, taking this walk around dinnertime in my neighborhood showed me a pretty cool moon. Taking this while walking the dog meant a wee bit out of focus though :)

With sunset so early, taking this walk around dinnertime in my neighborhood and noticed some pretty cool moonlight. Taking this while walking the dog meant a wee bit out of focus though :)

I've never shot evening very well since I always just take advantage of natural light, so the moon is a bit shiny, but it was sure calling attention to it's fullness!!

I’ve never shot evening very well since I always just take advantage of natural light, so the moon is a bit shiny, but it was sure calling attention to it’s fullness!!

Well well, I have a new love - take a sweet potato or a yam, nuke it for 5 minutes, cut it open and add black beans that have been sauteed with garlic and chipotles, and topped with a little fake sour cream (no dairy for me!). Gorgeous little bitta comfort food and vegan to boot!

Well, I have a new love – grab an organic sweet potato or yam, nuke it 5 minutes, cut it down the middle and add black beans that have been sauteed with garlic and chipotles in adobo, then top with a dollop of vegan sour cream. Gorgeous bit o’ comfort food on a cold night!

Well, the husband is down with a cold but...unlike many fellas out there, my hubby has been an absolute trooper. *I* am actually the one making him take it easy and pace himself, as he's still biking to work through it and even did a small landscaping job on the side this weekend. (image source)

Well, the husband is down with a cold but…unlike many fellas out there, my hubby has been an absolute trooper. *I* am actually the one making him take it easy and pace himself, as he’s still biking to work through it and even did a small landscaping job on the side this weekend. Dosing him up big time with elderberry syrup, echinacea, vitamin c, and zinc, along with hot tea and chicken soup to keep him going strong since he doesn’t have any sick time yet. Seems to be working well and the best thing is – I’m not sick at all! Woo hoo! (image source)

With a whole bunch of apples left over from Thanksgiving (something makes me very happy I didn't end up doing a 2nd dessert!), I made these lovely gluten free apple oat muffins with cinnamon swirl on top. The recipe isn't vegan but it can easily be veganized. Ping me if you want me to publish the recipe - they are soooo moist and tasty!!

With a whole bunch of apples left over from Thanksgiving (something makes me very happy I didn’t end up doing a 2nd dessert!), I baked up these lovely gluten-free apple oat muffins with cinnamon swirl on top. The recipe isn’t vegan but it can easily be modified (the recipe isn’t GF either, but I use Bob’s Red Mill GF flour mix as a 1:1 sub on everything and it’s awesome). Ping me if you want me to publish the recipe – they are soooo moist and tasty!!

With a bit of extra pounds weighing me down in this first year of wedded bliss, I wanted to put together a strategy to drop them in a way that not only is attentive to the physical (exercise and nutrition) but also the other ways I need to ensure my own wellness. (image source)

With a bit of extra pounds weighing me down in this first year of wedded bliss, and wanting to be as healthy as possible before getting pregnant, I decided to put together a strategy to drop them in a way that not only is attentive to the physical (exercise and nutrition) but also the other ways I need to ensure my own wellness. As we know, losing excess weight is not simply “eat less and exercise!” as many of the never-been-there folks like to tell us. While my husband loves my curves, for me I just don’t feel as strong and agile as I once was, and that’s what I am really aiming for now. And with that, I need to address the things in my life that I often don’t ensure that I get, so that the time is spent in ways that respect all of who I am, that what I put in me is done so in a more mindful way. So I designed and implemented a Holistic Health Strategy for myself, with requirements that are reasonable yet challenging, and different than the typical weight loss plan. Things like turning off the TV by a certain time, reading a book for 30 minutes a day, making sure breakfast always includes fruit and dinner always includes a vegetable, taking at least 2 bike rides a week with my husband, and limiting my gluten and pork consumption to Sundays (in other words, bacon only once a week!). With that I also write down all of these things and rather than mandate them ALL, I try to fulfill at least one on the exercise, nutrition, and mental list I’ve created, including how I feel at the end of the day. I feel good about this – because it’s about wanting to feel more powerful – not fit into an item of clothing (that’s just the icing!) or fulfill some kind of new year’s resolution. It’s about my own peace within. (image source)

Liebster Award for Bloggers

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liebster-award

Coolness! I have been nominated for a Liebster Award by the wonderfully inspiring blogger over at Family Yields – One Family’s Approach to Permaculture ! My blog is actually six years old, so probably doesn’t qualify as “new”, but I will say when I moved over from Blogger to WordPress two years ago it definitely was a new experience :)

To receive this award, I have been requested to nominate blogs I love, answer 11 questions provided by the nominator, and then provide 11 random facts about myself.

(If you are a nominee, at the very bottom you’ll see YOUR questions to answer when you post and nominate others, woo hoo! If you’re not listed, hell, participate anyhow! Who cares, spill yer guts!)

My Nominees:

My Responses to Family Yields’ Questions:

1. Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging in November 2008, when my father had a stroke. A coworker of mine, a writer, encouraged me to talk about it via my blog, and it did wonders for my healing as he died a week later. It blossomed over the years from a journal to having some fun columns, interesting interviews, professional tidbits to share, photographs of my world, and whatever words flowed out of me creatively as well.

2. What is your favourite blog to read?
That’s a tough one, as it depends on the space I’m in. Right now I’m kind of obsessed with Dig This Chick, Family Yields, and The Minimalist Mom, because so much of my life right now is about getting ready for 2015 which will be all about starting a family. Learning from their experiences and getting inspiration for wherever our road will take my husband and I is truly priceless and very warm ‘n’ fuzzy. That being said, I’ve been a longtime fan of the women who write the amazing blogs Small Measure, Reduce Footprints, and Renaissance Garden. They embrace the sustainable, simple, continuously-learning-and-exploring kind of lifestyle that my hubby and I are immersed in here in our little hometown of Portland, Oregon.  Side note: it USED to be my hubby’s blog before he closed it down. He promises he will kick off something new soon…and I sure hope he does, as after all, it’s how we met :)

3. What is your favourite book?
Yikes, I’ll have to make that a Top Five! This past year I read Gloria Steinem’s Revolution From Within and it’s stayed very close to my heart as an ever evolving woman on this earth focused on always moving towards being closer to who I’m meant to be. Shannon Hayes’ Radical Homemakers blew the friggin’ lid off my life and pushed me towards goals and perspectives I never previously had imagined. The things that are now possible reading these stories of ways we can live that get at the heart of simplicity – boo ya! Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon was the first book that ever made me cry out loud while reading it, and if you’ve read her, you know that her use of language is so amazing that sometimes you have to read the sentence a few times to really digest its beauty. Jim Carroll’s The Basketball Diaries showed me a world so far from my 14 year old self that I never realized at the time would ultimately help me understand some of the people who’ve walked through my life. And, finally, the poetry of ee cummings is what drew me to my creative self through words. No rules, just express yourself with truth and fervor. Most of these books and others I adore are linked on my blog here.

4. How did you select the name of your blog?
My nickname of EcoGrrl was created as a dedication to the women who broke through the music scene in the early 1990s, the riot grrrls, defined as women “who felt empowered, who were angry, hilarious, and extreme through and for each other.” (Beth Ditto).  I took one of the r’s out to make it my own and of course the eco is all about what courses through my veins when it comes to living sustainably and simply. The importance of knowing the term “grrrl” has been interesting as I learned that the younger readers often have no idea and misspell me as “Girl” which drives me nuts as I’m 100% NOT referring to myself as an adolescent female :-).

5. What single quality do you admire most in people?
Genuine kindness to others, no matter who they are. It’s a hyper-critical society we live in and I am always inspired by the people in my life who have seen it all yet continue to look at the world with a smile. The two people that always come to mind are my dear friend Michelle, and my former mentor Jo, who passed away in 2012. They exemplify that authentic openness to love and life that comes from being truly nice to those around them, and we need more of that.

6. What movie have you watched the most times?

Grease. It was one of the first movies I ever saw in the theater and my family always teased me for years after because I got up in the aisles and danced.  I loved Rizzo and was terrified by ChaCha. And hey, after all these years, it’s kind of sweet that it was the story of an Aussie falling in love with an American :)

7. What is your favourite quote?

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8. Who is your favourite musician/band?

I’m a Madonna gal going way, way, WAY back, and always will be. I don’t judge her as many do – I love her music, I love her imperfections, I love her creativity, I love how I got to dance to a medley of her music when I was on dance team in high school, I love how so many moments of my youth AND adulthood can be described with one of her songs. As Susan Sarandon said, “The history of women in popular music can, pretty much, be divided into before and after Madonna.”

9. What do you admire most about yourself?
I would say it’s that I’ve learned how to really trust my gut when it comes to people, both in my personal and professional relationships. If something feels right, no matter what anyone says I will listen to it. If something feels wrong, no amount of confrontation or passive denial will change that. While I have learned to remain open at the same time, I now am much more mindful and able to create boundaries that once were very difficult. A long time ago someone said when evaluating the people you spend time with is to ask yourself, “Do you feel better or worse after spending time with that person?” It’s served me well as I get better at addressing rather than ignoring the signs of toxic people, and it’s served me well as I focus on the bliss of sharing time whose positivity kicks some serious ass!

10. What’s your favourite way to procrastinate?

Pinterest. Blogging. Television. Going to the cafe down the way and writing lists in my journal instead of book fodder.

11. What post that you’ve written is your favourite? (please include a link!)

Screw Rejection: “Leap, and the Net Will Appear” was a piece I worked my ass off to write that would encapsulate the emotional experience of starting my own business. I am now 2 1/2 years into this and have seen so much, and know there is so much more to come. This blog is one I still refer to for a reminder of where I was and how small those worries now seem that were so huge at one time. Looking into my next chapter of incorporating motherhood into my career? Now that will be a blog post…

Honorary mention – the other favorite blog post would be this old imagination blog post from spring of 2011. This is twofold, first because that’s when a certain blogger fella who’d started following me two months prior was becoming a friend, and second because this post was sweetly (yet at the time unknowingly) describing this blogger fellow who three years later became my husband :)   

11 Random Things About Me

  • My maiden name is Pick (it’s German). I hated the teasing growing up so much that after I divorced my first husband, I didn’t go back to it.
  • I’ve had my Betty Boop tattoo on my shoulder blade for 20 years – so long that I often forget which side it’s on!
  • I’m terrified of doing a handstand and have never successfully done one.
  • I’ve been having pregnancy dreams about once a year since I was 17 years old. Not mushy maternal visions, more like I’ve woken up to this massive stomach and am 8 months and not a clue what I was going to do.
  • Speaking of motherhood, I’ve never changed a diaper and had no interest in babysitting growing up (I chose yardwork!). My husband, on the other hand, has changed his share of – adult – diapers as he spent 16 years taking care of the disabled. So he’s good to go with the littler poops. Did I score or what?!
  • If I stretch enough, I can get back into the splits.
  • I’ve never owned foundation or blush, I haven’t currently own mascara, eyeshadow, eyeliner, or powder in 10 years. I slather on SPF 15 moisturizer, brush my hair and that’s it. I own one sad tube of MAC Paramount (deep red) lipstick which is probably 3 years old and worn on special occasion, and a matching lipliner that I primarily use to write notes on the bathroom mirror.
  • I love going to movies by myself. Got that from my dad.
  • My bucket list includes someday owning a horse. Yes, I will always be THAT ten year old girl.

11 Questions for the Nominees

  1. What is your favorite childhood memory of the holidays?
  2. Who makes you laugh more than anyone else (personally or a celeb, either is fine!)?
  3. What food do you hate that most folks like?
  4. If you had a new animal in your household tomorrow, what would it be and what’s its name?
  5. What celebrity annoys you the most?
  6. What is one thing you really want to learn to do?
  7. What’s your favorite article of clothing?
  8. What is your favorite song to get up and dance to (even if you’re not a dancer)?
  9. What are you most proud of in your life?
  10. If you could pursue any other career besides what you do now, where money is no object, what would it be?
  11. What makes you awesome? (No being humble allowed!)

EcoGrrl-icious

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Eyes

“Every day offers the opportunity to listen for our truth, stand up, hold each other accountable and recognise what in fact we long for, instead of succumbing to the reactions that belong to centuries of institutionalised misogyny, prejudice and fear.”
~ Jeremy Meltzer

OK, so it was one helluva week in the news, particularly in one of the areas close to me: equity. So while there is so much to talk about, this week I wanted to focus on the issues that are seriously impacting us all on a social basis. Yes, all of us. I’ll be back to the other topics next week.

* “The mainstream media has framed collective amnesia over these accusations as an exceptional phenomenon, an effect of Cosby’s wealth, fame, and iconic status—rather than putting the lackluster public response in the broader context of rape culture, or the intersections of gender, power, and violence in American society at large.” This RH Reality Check article, Bill Cosby’s Alleged Assaults Hurt More Than Our Feelings, really hits the nail on the head because nearly all of the articles out there focus on HIM, and HIS “downfall” (as if somehow it’s a recent phenomenon) rather than focus on the 20 women who have all come forward, and the fact that people are easily dismissing women, as has been done for years in cases of rape against supposedly high ranking members of the community.  I’ve seen, as many women have, first-hand of how men of influence and popularity are put up on pedestals as can-do-no-wrong in our society. Think about how many cases you see of the “star football player” committing a crime – as if his ability on the field has ANYTHING to do with who he is as a person. Think about how child abusers like Joan Crawford and Bing Crosby, molesters and incesters like Woody Allen, and abusive partners Chris Brown and (killer) OJ Simpson, and how many people idolized them (and still do) despite what they’ve done. If any of these people had not played those characters or showed talent in their field, they’d be just a bunch of sick bastards. Yet they, like Cosby, have almost all shown to be untouchable. Some still even up for awards. Gross.

* The Minimum-Wage Worker Strikes Back. This is a fantastic post about the reality of those making less than a living wage – the kind that can allow one to pay the bills as a grown-up, to put it bluntly. While my husband doesn’t work at minimum wage and has great working conditions, work he likes, and good benefits with a sustainably-focused company, he is making an hourly rate that, like many in the service industry, has not kept up with inflation over the years. Or as I like to say? When we have a baby, I will have to save an exorbitant amount of money from my own job to take the time off and he will have exactly one week of vacation to use while on parental leave, as the rest is unpaid. My gratitude is that I’ve done a lot of work over the past 2 1/2 years to pay off my student and home equity loans, so it’s just our mortgage, utilities and food that we have to cover, but if my husband was able to make the living wage proposed in a number of cities around the country, he could actually pay our house payment without pressure on me to get back to work!

* “Racial profiling is real. Disparate treatment of black and brown men by police officers is real. Grotesquely disproportionate numbers of killings of black men by the police are real.” The New York Times editorial piece, The Perfect Victim Pitfall, succinctly hits on what we’re dealing with in a completely messed up system where cops are getting away with murder and racism prevails. I see it all the time in my own diverse neighborhood, with people of color getting the doubletake and stops, while the white junkies at the neighborhood band house and registered sex offenders are ignored by cops on a regular basis. I’m tired of “cameras” being the answer. We’ve all known since Rodney King that it doesn’t matter what you see in front of you – there is always a loophole or a racist to make murder acceptable if it’s in the hands of a police officer. And what’s also sad about this? Along with what’s happening with our communities, the overall distrust of cops has created a stereotype, hurting the good ones in the mix trying their best to make a difference. What is the answer? Is it getting rid of the unions that are all-powerful in allowing these men to get paid? I don’t know.

* “I’ll rape u if I see u cunt” is one of the many threats received by game reviewer Alanah Pearce. For those not in the tech/gaming world, these comments are par for the course and not a damn thing is done by the websites or law enforcement in the name of “free speech”. She took matters into her own hands and contacted their mothers on Facebook. And while good for her, we all say, what’s sick is that no one is out there protecting the safety of women. And I’ll bring this back to the Cosby situation. Chris Rock, who I have admired for a long time, got it so, SO wrong, saying that “we kind of lost Cosby this year” along with the comedians who had died (Williams, Rivers), not saying a damn thing about the women who have finally come out to talk about how he raped them in the past. Not saying a damn thing about how Cosby already settled with one woman in the 1990’s. It’s always about those poor male perpetrators. and how they’ve “fallen”, rather than the women who have suffered at their sick hands. WHERE IS MEN’S ROAR?????????

Workin’ 9 to 5 (…and some career advice from Marketing pros)

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“We’re all learning here; the best listeners will end up being the smartest.”
~
Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff (authors of Groundswell)

This week I’m kicking off a new series on my blog highlighting specific professions. A big part of my work as a career coach is connecting my clients with those who are in the know about their area of interest. Not just people who work for the companies they are interested in targeting, but those longtime professionals who have “been there, done that” and can offer certain subject matter expertise that can be worth its weight in gold.

So with that, I wanted to start with a profession that is oft-misunderstood, cross-functionally driven, vital to a strong business model, and way more tech-savvy than many realize: Marketing.

I sent out five questions to longtime marketing professionals in my network, targeting those who have been in leadership roles and have a diverse set of backgrounds that I strongly felt would benefit those at the beginning of their careers, along with those who are considering a career transition to this profession.

The seven contributors to this week’s post come from the following areas:

Below is what they had to share with me about their work in the Marketing field, what they’ve learned, and tips for those looking into a career in this profession. Enjoy!!!

1) What helped you the most in getting (and succeeding in) your current job?

Networking / Relationships

“Having solid relationships with people in my industry and of course, a career coach. During my search I met with as many business leaders as possible – those I already knew, as well as ones I didn’t. Once in my new position, I found success by being a humble, eager learner and through being extremely collaborative.”

Constantly reaching out and being open to new possibilities. I found my current job through a neighbor of my mother’s!”

“Reconnecting with my professional network helped me land my positions. It is always critical to articulate my pitch (what I want and need), so my network can assist me.”

Staying Open to Learning/Growth

“Maintaining a growth mindset is crucial to success. I work at a small startup where priorities and goals are constantly changing. Letting go of dearly held assumptions and beliefs about what you think will work can be scary, but ultimately it liberates you to try lots of new ideas and run with the best ones. Not, of course, at the expense of your principles – don’t relax those for anybody!”

“All my stops along the way have required me to know at least a little about all areas of marketing and communications. What helps me succeed is maintaining a “lifelong learner” attitude. If I don’t know something that can help my organization, I learn it or I hire a resource who can help me learn it while they implement.”

“Being open, flexible and trusting my instincts.  When I realized I was not passionate about nursing school, I changed course, followed my instincts and graduated with a BS instead and soon after got my first job in Marketing. This (flexibility) allowed me to capitalize on opportunities that allowed me to end up in career that I love. When recently presented with a new role, one that is not yet clearly defined in the industry, I had the great privilege of creating a new position – one that is a hybrid of marketing and customer success.  Had I been resistant to change, I would not be in this new position that is one of the most exciting of my career.”

Hands-on Experience

“Having a good education certainly creates a solid foundation, but there’s no substitute for hands-on experience. Organizations and hiring managers care about what you’ve done. The type of projects, the size of projects, and – most importantly – the results of projects.“

Strategy AND Execution

“Strategy is key, but being able to execute is essential too. The most successful projects and campaigns that I’ve been part of involve marketers with a smart up-front plan but who can also find a way to make it happen.”

Teamwork

“I can’t think of a single successful project or program that didn’t take a team to plan and execute. Combining your own good ideas with a talented team takes everything to the next level. It’s hard to be brilliant in a vacuum, and even the smartest marketer is challenged to make his/her plan work without support.”

2) What is one of the most common misconceptions about working in Marketing?

That We Don’t Have Good Business Acumen

“That we’re not good at strategic planning, project management or budgeting! The best marketing generalists excel at all of the above.”

That Anyone Can Do It

“That anyone who has marketing in their title can write award-winning copy on the fly, and graphic-design a masterpiece in 15 minutes.”

“It’s humorous to me when engineers, scientists and other technical professionals assume that it’s a simple task to plan an event, build a website or run a campaign. They have no conception of how essential it is to plan a cohesive messaging strategy or how to use multiple channels to deliver those messages. I certainly have no idea how to write code or manage a network, but I realize that it takes a specific and practiced skill set to do it. Few realize that marketing is also an art.”

“I’ve seen people put in charge of marketing who have no marketing background.  Just because someone is smart or charismatic they can lead a marketing department.  Unlike other career paths – engineering, for example – I have not seen leaders inserted who don’t have experience.”

That It’s Not Analytical

“A lot of non-marketers think that marketing is all about designing ads, attending conferences, and playing on social media. It’s actually a lot more analytical than most people realize! I spend a good chunk of my day in spreadsheets and using various tools trying to understand campaign performance. Creativity is important, too, but at least in the B2B world, marketing is becoming less of an art and more of a science by the day.”

That It’s Not Hard Work

“Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely creativity in our field, and generally the people who work in Marketing are pretty enjoyable to be around. However, there’s a lot of planning and effort that go into executing our work well. It’s actually one of the things I love most about my job – I get to be creative and analytical – i.e. I get to face, and overcome, a different challenge every day!”

“They think we get all the fun jobs…and get all the “cool” giveaways.

That A Marketer is a Marketer is a Marketer

“Today’s marketing organizations are complex with very different roles – Digital Marketing, Product Marketing, Programs, Lead Generation, and more. Each require different personalities and skill sets. Regardless of your role, however, you can’t be amazing unless you know your product and your audience.”

3) What advice would you offer those wanting to get into this line of work?

Hone Your Writing Skills

“Hone your writing skills, from ad copy to creative writing to technical writing. Center your thinking around, “the customer comes first” rather than “this is what we want to say/sell.””

“Learn how to write for businesses. Marketing always needs good writers.”

“Learn to write and clearly communicate.  Everyone thinks they are a writer.  Seriously.  You might not be the best writer, but it’s imperative to your professional growth. “

Focus on Diverse Work

“Gain as much experience as you can through volunteering for a diverse range of projects; the best marketing practitioners I know have a range of skills to help tackle the really odd or enormous projects.”

“Get involved in juicy projects. I’ve worked in food marketing, technology marketing and now healthcare marketing. There’s something interesting about each industry.”

“I have found that taking the projects nobody else wants can be a huge career opportunity.  A few years back, I was given a product line that nobody wanted, but it had great potential.  It gave me a lot of freedom to grow the business and build my brand internally.  This served as a great foundation for new opportunities. “

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

You must be willing to take on just about anything – even if you are a specialist. Be comfortable managing ambiguity. “

“Regardless of the industry, find companies where you’re challenged and allowed to take chances. Challenge yourself to create interesting and engaging products and/or programs that provide compelling experiences for your audience. There’s nothing like creating a unique campaign with amazing copy/creative that actually gets customers to respond or buy or engage. It’s the best thing.”

“Remain flexible, open and seize opportunities that excite you.  If you are passionate and engaged, you’ll find the path less traveled might be the one that gets you just where you want to be. “

“Be passionate and willing to role up your sleeves to make whatever happen! Every day could be different, so be open to the possibilities and think BIG IDEAS!”

Focus on Relationship Building

“Meet with as many people in the field as possible. Get ready to buy a bunch of coffee for people all over town.”

“Test your people skills. Half my day is making sure everyone is onboard with the ideas that are moving forward. I’m interpreting feedback, both verbal and non-verbal, navigating personal tastes, and quite frankly spending about half my time in a conference room. I said before – this job isn’t always sexy – but it can be rewarding!”

“Learn to influence.  Understand what motivates them and build sustainable authentic relationships.”

Focus On Continuous Learning

“Embrace data. Learn how to set goals and measure progress against them – it will help you far more than you realize. “

“Stay open.  It’s the only way to learn from all the amazing people around you.  Like it or not, everyone has a gift – and maybe it’s simply learning what not to do.”

4) How has the work changed since you entered the Marketing profession?

Technology & Analytics

Marketers must be able to use technology to not only improve personal productivity, but also understand how technology has transformed marketing.”

“The foundation of what we do has remained the same, but the tactics we implement have changed significantly. Almost everything has gone digital, and more importantly, what we do must have analytics and MROI tied to it.”

“When I first started out, we were just beginning to talk about analytics and ROI. Since then, data has completely transformed the profession. Intuition and good judgment still matter, but the ability to measure your campaigns and tie them quantitatively to revenue is incredibly powerful. It’s also raised the value of marketing in the eyes of the C-Suite – we’re seen as more of a strategic partner, not just the people who host events and make things look pretty.”

“There’s definitely more weight given to digital marketing these days. We’re not required to just be good communicators any longer, we need to have a minor in technology. While print experience is still invaluable, it’s never going to be a standalone solution any more.”

“Marketing has gained much more credibility since we can measure ROI. The availability of technology and the improvement of marketing automation and tracking tools have made this possible.”

Complexity & Mediums

“There are far more mediums to reach audiences, but also a lot more competition/noise.”

“It used to be that you worried about your brand and/or products and marketing them effectively across events, advertising and PR. And then came the web, and that grew into a whole new set of disciplines and opportunities to reach customers. Now no marketing plan is complete without thought for digital properties like web pages, email campaigns, webinars, blogs, slideshows, online ads, etc. Don’t forget social media either. What started with Facebook and Twitter has grown into myriad ways to reach customers with compact and compelling messages, videos, images and infographics. And mobile. Not only do all of the above digital experiences need to be mobile optimized, but may also be delivered by a mobile app. A marketing plan doesn’t necessarily need to have all of these elements to be complete, but it’s not complete until you’ve thought all of these elements through.

“In product marketing, we used to just have one platform (software) but now there are multiple platforms (tablets, phones, etc.), and each have different requirements.  The complexity is not linear – it’s exponential.  Launching a product has changed dramatically with SaaS and the advent of smartphones.  Also, marketers have more information by which to engage customers, but customers have more information and tools to return the engagement – good or bad. “

Customer Focus

“Marketing teams need to move to a customer-centric engagement model – it is just too easy for them to find another company to give them what they want. It used to be a customer bought software, now it’s SaaS and if they decide at the end of the contract or month they don’t want to service, it’s much easier to turn it off.  Probably still some pain involved, but it’s nothing like it used to be.”

“Marketing requires a broad range of skills and it’s critical to always be interested in technology and how your brand is going to be different from the competition but at the same time, how is your company going to capture the hearts and minds of your customers.”

5) Why do you do what you do for a living? Any other dreams out there you still want to pursue?

“I love the mix of solving problems, building beautiful but simple solutions and truly believing that the work we do helps to make the world a better place. Dreams? I want to continue to learn how to fly, to watch my children be happy and healthy and see many more corners of this remarkable world. And, I hope I leave a legacy of being a trusted friend and loved one.

“ I’m doing it! This is my 17th year getting paid to be a marketer. And getting to combine marketing and creative while reducing environmental impact is pretty darn rad.

“I fell into marketing by accident, but I stayed because it turned out to be pretty fun. I love to write, and even though I’m not a copywriter, marketing gives me lots of opportunities to do that. Someday, I might devote myself full-time to writing, but until that day comes, I have no intentions of leaving the marketing field.”

“I find now, 20 years into my career, that things have come full circle for me. I started with a degree in journalism because I like writing and delivering good copy – and back then it was largely about appealing to the masses. Now content marketing puts a whole new emphasis on things. It’s still about delivering good copy to engage audiences, but these messages are now targeted and personalized. It’s about the 1:1, not as much the 1:many. My goal is to continue to grow more practiced in content marketing and evolve into a Chief Content Officer.”

“I do it because there’s something that makes me smile every day. I love the challenges and opportunity to be ingrained in every part of the business I work for. I get to be a solution for other departments, and conduit for our customers to interact with our products and services. I connect people, and that makes me smile. When I was young I wanted to be an optometrist – mainly because I LOVE wearing glasses. In my next life – I might be the next hot eyewear designer.”

“It is the combination of marketing + high tech. It moves fast, almost at a blinding rate. I have had the fortune to be in the center of product, customers and sales, and am able to interact with almost everyone in the organization. It is always changing, moving and it attracts really smart, passionate people, and pushes me to find my best and work through my ‘worst’. It’s rarely easy, but it’s always interesting. My job is to help customers market our solution within their organization, and I would likely never have gotten his opportunity in any other industry (basically kick-off a beta program, build it and execute). I don’t have a different dream than my original dream right out of college. It’s a state of being versus a destination. I firmly believe by following the formula that got me here I’ll stay on track for the rest of my dream to unfold.”

“I love brainstorming big ideas, securing and executing the plan, and delivering service excellence to customers. I still want to purse working for a global brand that is making an impact in the fight against cancer or be a part of a technology company that is making a huge impact in our society.”