How Did They Do That?

Over 200 people were in attendance last night when the 2016 Mpls MadWomen event series opened at Lakes & Legends Brewing Company. It was the first time an event has been held somewhere other than an agency. This year will be a year of many firsts for Mpls MadWomen. We're seeking larger venues to accommodate more people, sponsorship to make events possible and support from eager advocates to help share our mission.
Our #HowDidTheyDoThat? panel of speakers have taken on a variety of challenging endeavors. Everything from taking on a job with unique and unfamiliar territory, quitting a job to go freelance, starting a business from the ground up, navigating a career path across for-profit and nonprofit sectors and overcoming personal challenges to, ultimately, find professional success—not easy tasks. We asked them for the hard truth. What did they do when things came up that weren't easy to figure out? How did they do that?


Manage discomfort

Taking on new and different challenges can help manage feelings of future discomfort. Jennifer Corrigan, Account Strategist at GoKart Labs, spent time living in new places, developing in new and unique roles and saying yes to opportunities when she originally felt self-doubt. Through those experiences, she was able to better understand her strengths and weaknesses and trust herself to make big decisions. Taking risks and making requires a little planning, but when the time comes to take the uncomfortable leap, it isn't as scary, because you’ve learned how to manage being uncomfortable.

There is a critical importance of being comfortable with being uncomfortable.

When learning to be a premium product, show people what you can do and know when to defend your brand. When Ellie Taylor went from working in marketing at Red Bull to working freelance, it was sink or swim; everything was in her hands. She had to establish a rate of pay and decide how much her work was worth—a terrifying concept when transitioning to independent work. Building her brand meant strategically formulating everything from emails to social media communication to everyday conversations. An all-encompassing strategy when creating a business you have to be willing to fight for when necessary. She’s now the Communications & Marketing Director and Partner at Carmichael Lynch.

Stand up, build your brand, and defend it.

Go for it & learn as you go

A life-changing opportunity presented itself when Jeremy and Krista Carroll were exposed to extreme poverty and difficult conditions while spending time in Haiti. Both quit their jobs to start a business dedicated to elevating people in 3rd world countries. It was a messy and challenging journey without the conventional expertise of putting together a sustainable business plan. But with the support of family, and a partnership built on the fundamentals of leveraging the strengths of one another, they've learned how to run Latitude, a creative agency with 48 employees and have donated over 2 and a half million dollars in relief efforts.

When I feel like I'm least equipped to be CEO at an agency, I come to the door with humility, heart and passion.

Lessons learned throughout careers aren't always fun, in fact, they're often shitty, but those lessons teach us the true art of negotiation to get to where we want to be. Jobs with inequitable pay, no work life balance, toxic work environments and poor leadership, push us to advocate for ourselves in areas where we've previously failed to. Pamela Brown works in Brand Licensing & Partnership Management at General Mills and emphasizes the importance of a toxic free work zone, including, knowing what you can't afford to sacrifice. When you love and respect yourself, others will do the same; teach people how to treat you.

Always love yourself enough to wait 24 hours to respond to that ridiculous email

Redefining success

Hiding insecurities? Forget it, because all news comes out in advertising. Kalei Gaines, works in Business Engagement for Target Style. She started her career right out of college as a single mother, determined to succeed in the agency world. She hid the fact she had a child because she didn't want to miss out on opportunities to advance. This meant a lot of late nights at the office. And despite a trashcan full of Taco Bell wrappers, she was able to reach all of the aggressive goals she set for herself in a short period of time. After the fact, she realized the impact the time spent focused on work had on her relationship with her daughter. She quit her job, changed her focus and redefined her plan with a new set of values. Don't be afraid to redefine what success means for you

How do you want to spend the next 10 years?

Let it go

Sharing stories of personal challenge is important and it doesn't have to define you. Lisa Lynch grew up fiercely independent and grounded to succeed. She found high levels of both academic and professional success, but more importantly, through life experiences, including the loss of a friend, she's learned to show compassion, offered to help people, welcomed help when necessary and kept looking forward regardless of the circumstances. Today, she owns a marketing agency called, Lynch Strategies. When it comes to grief, shame and guilt, let go of what doesn't serve you.

A good leader understands how people feel.

Understand there's a difference between discomfort and regret. Susan Wollan was hand selected for a dream opportunity at a global company, but soon after taking the role, she realized the fit was wrong. There was no discovery and no inspiration. She eventually traded power and prestige to start her own adventure at Mango Mentors. She's now having the time of her life and gives you permission to do the same.

I only stay in a job as long as it feeds me.

How they did that

So, how did they do that? It's about being okay with not knowing everything, because half of it—you stumble into. Think about the people you know that seemingly have it all figured out. The truth is, taking risks gets messy. It involves faking it and sometimes falling flat on your face. It's all part of the process of conquering career shifts and getting to the next level to get to where you want to be. Thanks to all of our sponsors, Lakes and Legends Brewing Company, Latitude, Volt and everyone for joining us last night and sharing your stories.

written by Kim Miller