First, tell us a little about yourself: Name, Title, Company, How you got there, Volunteerism. We want to know your story.
Oh, hi. I'm Lindsi. I run a little digital marketing-focused operation called gish&co., where we help good people get good work done. Usually, that's in the form of outsourced communications and marketing strategy and execution for nonprofits and small businesses. We like to like our clients, and it's important for us to care about the work they're doing in the world.
I change my title with the wind. I usually just say "owner" or "doer" unless my lawyer says that a document should say "president" (Which is still weird because I mostly work for myself so, president of what, exactly?).
My "company" is called gish&co., for a few reasons:
- Because my last name is Gish and I have a solid network of partners and contractors who I work with on client projects. It's rarely, if ever, just me working on a project.
- Because when I started my business, it was more important to me to get to the client work than to spend time coming up with a clever name that I'd inevitably have to end up explaining anyway. And
- Because gish.co was available as a domain and firstname.lastname@example.org is the shortest and best email address I will ever have.
gish&co. pays the bills and fills most of my work week, but I also tend to be hyper-involved in various other community activities. Iâ€™m on the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) board, I've spoken at a number of community-based marketing- or nonprofit-focused events, including Social Media Breakfast, I've been volunteering with Ignite Mpls longer than anyone besides the founder and his wife, I'm a CoCo supporter and enthusiast as a few examples.
What's your personal and professional mission statement(s)?
I don't know that I have a "mission statement" in the true sense of the world. Here are a few things I believe in:
- I believe in being an introspective, self-aware human being.
- I believe in the value of humility.
- I believe in assuming people have good intentions.
- I believe in making intentional choices about how to spend your finite amount of time on this earth.
- I believe in taking risks.
- I believe that when you approach your work and your relationships with humility and grace and you present your whole self, that the universe will help you get where you need to go.'
What is your personal definition of what makes a "MPLS MadWoman"?
Honestly, I hear the name and I just think of Joan from Mad Men, which is partly intriguing but mostly horrifying. If I can extrapolate a bit, though ”the mission statement" stuff above is what I care about. When I think about the professional women I respect the most, they have most of the following traits in common: humility; audacity; compassion; drive; energy; transparency; kindness. They remember when they meet people, even if they can't always remember names. They don't assign a value to people based on what the person can do for them. They stand up for what they believe in. They say yes to requests for coffee and lunch and happy hours, with people who want to know them better, to learn from them. And they have no ego about their reputation or the respect they've garnered because they just are who they are.
How do you strive to embody what it is to be a MPLS MadWoman, in both your professional and personal life?
I'm a perpetual work in progress, and I hope I can still say that when I'm on my deathbed.
At times, I'm a little more crass than I'd like to admit. I react emotionally (and recover quickly). I'm bossy and stubborn (and, yes, an only child). But I try, as best I can, to develop authentic, open, supportive, honest relationships with my business partners, with people who do work for and with me, with people I do work for, with people I meet (anywhere). I try to lift others up, and share my opportunities when circumstances allow. I try to give back to others in ways that people have given to me.
What's the importance of volunteerism in growing your career?
I don't think "volunteerism" as its own thing is something that I've chosen to prioritize in my life. It's more about filling the proverbial moral bank account I've taken plenty of withdrawals from a number of organizations and communities over time, and I think it's important to give back. We all have unique strengths to contribute, and we should.
What advice would you give to those searching for a greater meaning and purpose within their professional careers?
Figure out how you can pay the bills doing something you don't hate, and do that. Hopefully you can do something that you usually like to do, and hopefully, you respect and admire most of the people you do it with. But more importantly, it should enable you to create the life you want to live. My mom says, â€œI work to live, I don't live to work.â€ And while it sounds like a simple philosophy, in practice, it's actually a really difficult choice.
Honestly, people ask me all the time about my "career path" and about how I made the decision to make the leap into independent work. Here's the thing:
Your life is a series of choices. And there's always a choice to take the cliche well-worn path, which, in theory, will be easier because you can explain it to your relatives and you can count on someone else to pay your bills (until they don't) and you can go home at 5pm and not feel at all emotionally invested in the way you just spent the very best hours of your day.
The path less traveled is a whole lot more confusing and scary, because who are you, exactly, to think that you can do things differently than everyone else? And yes, your relatives will ask you what you "do" (over and over again) and your parent will express concern about you leaving the "stability" of the other path, and, yes, you'll have moments of panic and you'll feel like a total imposter because everyone does.
Only you get to decide how you want to build your life. And I think the only thing scarier than taking chances is staying exactly where you are.
What is one characteristic that you believe every entrepreneur should possess?
Well, first, let me say I think that word (entrepreneur) is totally overused. I don't call myself that, despite technically fitting the dictionary definition. I think it actually can alienate people, because most of us already have an idea in our heads about what and who an entrepreneur is, and therefore, we probably also have already decided whether we are, or could be, that.
To answer the question more directly, though, I think it's audacity. The audacity to believe you are capable of, and worth more than what someone else handed to you. The audacity to trust in the world is big enough to support you in making your thing happen. The audacity to push, evolve, adapt and push again — through the critics and the moments of panic and the imposter syndrome. The audacity to take full ownership of your life, your failure, and your success.
MadWoman of the month is a monthly series of interviews highlighting an amazing woman each month in our community, voted for by the community, and published on the Egotist. We’re thrilled to shine a light on inspirational women. Nominate the next MadWoman of the Month on twitter.