Scrappy Sings a New Tune

“Scrappy is being the first Marketing role in an organization, at your first job: I am the Marketing Coordinator at Work Effects, a business consulting company located in Downtown Minneapolis. I am focused on public relations, creating marketing materials, and running our website. Trial and error is basically built into my job description, and that’s what I love about it.” This was the first bullet point of my About page. Until about 5 minutes ago.

In August, I moved into my new condo, started a new job, and changed my entire teaching schedule. I had a really good answer when people asked, “So, whats new?”

My new favorite view of Minneapolis


When life is moving so fast, the hardest thing to do can be slowing down. Let alone slow down long enough to write, and that’s why we’re all here for a 3 month delayed update. Luckily, I did take many conscious moments to process this transition, and stay present as I watched all that was familiar be put into a jar and given a good shake.

With this shake up came the release of some pieces of my identity, as I tried on a new look for size. Deleting the paragraph above made me pause. Removing myself from the Work Effects website- a site I had designed, wrote, and maintained- made me pause. Pressing send on my first mortgage payment made me pause.

And I’m so glad it did.

When I redesigned my blog to be S is for Scrappy, it was inspired by a thought to reclaim my confidence in myself at my making-it-up-as-I-go-along job. Scrappy is not having all the answers but charging ahead anyway, it’s playing 6 different roles within one day, it’s about making confidence contagious.

Just over 90 days ago, I left my 11-person company for the very similar Fortune 50 Comcast NBCUniversal and gained 159,000 coworkers.

Those 90 days have been pretty scrappy. I didn’t question whether to take part in the labor day potluck/cooking competition, and promoted my Panzanella salad to anyone who would listen, including the VP of Sales and Marketing.

The appetizer gold trophy went to “the newest Comcaster,” and will forever stand out in my mind as a moment where I remember thinking, I feel at home.

Scrappy is being brought in on the tail-end of a project, but leading set design and answering probably too many questions with “trust me, I can see it in my head.”

The set of our live broadcast for the finale of a Talladega Nights themed sales incentive

Scrappy is adopting a mantra of “what if we made it fun?” the first time in a corporate setting. Good news- that mindset is contagious, and effective.

Recently, I’ve been in a few conversations of friends who feel stuck in their jobs, and it’s made my recognize how truly significant this journey has been. I could have never guessed that my path had this in store. I would have never imagined I was exactly where I needed to be; gaining the experience I’d be able to speak to during a phone interview with a recruiter in Denver. That something about my scrappy mix of specialities would be the perfect fit for a thriving sales and marketing team at Comcast’s Twin Cities Region office.

You are exactly where you need to be. Something I don’t get to speak to as often is how the Om tattoo on my back captures that sentiment. “Om” has three syllables, and it represents the three stages of any experience, situation, and life- beginning, middle, and end.34550

When you are in the middle of anything- good or bad- it’s difficult to picture that ceasing to exist. This is why the bad times in our life stick out so distinctly, the seconds crawl by with no end in sight. But everything is temporary.

As I enjoy beginning this new stage, I must recognize that it will shift, grow, and change. Rather than half-heartedly enjoying this moment with the caveat of “but nothing stays perfect,” I am diving in with a present mind and full heart to allow this stage to be as glorious as it wants to be. So that the joy, beauty, and discoveries of this stage do not go unrecognized. So that I pause.

This seemingly ordinary weekend was filled with all of my favorite things- yoga, time outside with Maya and Brandon, teaching, hosting friends and family, Alpha Gam- and it made me realize how extraordinary this life I created is. 



How Did They Do That?

IMG_4986Always in amazement of Minneapolis Mad Women events, I’m not surprised I’m still sharing, connecting, and gaining inspiration from the March #HowDidTheyDoThat? session. Six women and one redefining-the-term-power-couple made up the panel that shared their journeys of how they got to where they are today.

Journey doesn’t mean read me your resume, for these speakers, it meant sharing stories of vulnerability, doubt, missteps, and embracing risk.

I could go on forever about the details of each stories (ask my friends, I have) but what sticks with me two weeks later is rather than checking all the boxes and moving through the motions, trust your instincts to follow your own path. Here’s a highlight of how they did it:

  • Kalei Grines, Business Engagement for Target Style, shared that she began her career hiding that she was a single mom, and later having her daughter think of the office as a second home. Once her daughter’s 10th birthday rolled around, Kalei realized she had crossed off all the goals and positions she wanted, but didn’t see her own work in who her independent, extroverted and gifted daughter had become. If something feels like it’s missing from your work/life balance, it probably is. Redefine success to include the life you want to live.
  • Jeremy and Krista Carroll, founders of Latitude, were inspired after spending time in Haiti to leave jobs they weren’t connected to and start their own business dedicated to elevating lives in third-world countries. For this leap to be possible, they asked themselves, “What’s the worst case scenario?” After confirming moving their family into Krista’s parent’s basement was indeed an option, the plan seemed less crazy. Krista credits Latitude’s success to purpose driving talent.
  • Pamela Brown, Brand Licensing & Partnership Management at General Mills, wrote a hilarious letter to her 22 year-old self that prepared her to reframe her career experiences that were to come. She called these “gifts wrapped in shitty ugly paper,” such as receiving a bad boss, terrible pay, no work/life balance; all of which helped her know what to look for in her next role. These shitty, ugly, gifts prepared her not to compromise on what mattered to her most.

After the eight panelists shared their stories, someone asked what their two non-negotiables are in a job. After brainstorming on the way home, and for the last two weeks, I’ve decided my non-negotiables are creative outlets and work/life balance

  • While I currently create content, webinars, graphics, white papers, that is not the only way creativity must show up for me. It’s thinking creatively as well— finding a new solution, trying things that haven’t been done— that make me feel like my whole self is coming to work.
  • Work/life balance isn’t actually a matter of balance. An amazing mentor once told
    me, “If something is in balance, it’s not moving.” So for me, it’s having an employer that allows for flexibility and life outside of work, and for me to be an employee that doesn’t make them regret that. I’m a better employee when I have IMG_4539time for early morning yoga, and evening hours spent away from screens.

I’m lucky that my first role and organization offer these two non-negotiables. At #HowDidTheyDoIt? I realized how many different paths and experiences people come from. We are all too unique to march to the beat of someone else’s drum, or cling to a set in stone five year plan.

For me, remembering that is like a full body exhale. Rather than worrying about being behind or getting ahead, get the most out of every experience and opportunity so you can one day be the panelist saying, this is how I did it.

My Why

“I don’t know why anyone does what they do,” I confessed to my coworkers, “I know why you’re good at your jobs, but I don’t know how you ended up in them or why you’re passionate about them. So here’s my why.”

Hosting a marketing lunch & learn for my coworkers, I realized what drives every element of my life—passion—has yet to be communicated to the majority of the people in the room, despite the small size of our group.

H&C 2014 - CopyI explained that I was originally drawn to Work Effects for the apples and discussion of “health” I saw on the website. It turned out this referred to organizational health (aka not being a toxic workplace) and with time that has caught my interest as well. 40 hours a week (and often more) is a lot of time to spend in one place, and I take pride in contributing to those 40+ hours being healthier and happier.

The presentation was designed to give people an idea of what I do, but that couldn’t be explained without why I do it-

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 10.45.10 PM1. Brands tell stories: There is so much more that goes into why you buy one brand over the other, which brands you follow on social media, and how you think of an organization. I love interpreting, creating, and telling these stories. Whether that’s through writing, images, or events, stories draw me to content creation.

2. Create the best version of oneself: This is where my worlds cross. Out of the office, I am dedicated to helping others nurture the best version of themselves through health and fitness. I get to do this in a very different way with brand management, and make strategic choices to create a brand’s story.

3. Plan to execution: There’s something extra rewarding about being involved in each step of a process. Expertise is proud in when needed, but I love playing an active role in the strategy, creation, fine-tuning, and execution of an idea.
Webinar 1 Promotion

4. Give attention where it is deserved: I think marketers have the unique opportunity to decide what and who is in the limelight. For example, Work Effects was recently asked to speak at an Organizational Development Network event. There was many other similar organizations being considered, but they were most interested in our approach to culture and wanted to reward that quality of work.

There is so much about our daily lives that is unique to who we are. Even if the activity, role, or organization is the same, how each person got to the present moment is a different journey. I believe in sharing these stories, which sometimes calling for going a bit off script and blurring lines of our personal and professional lives. I don’t want my coworkers (or anyone for that matter) to understand my role, I want them to understand me.

So, tell your story. What is your why?

5 Ways to Revamp the Workday

IMG_3282As Labor Day wraps up, there are backpacks being zipped up, PB&J’s getting sliced into squares, and butterflies circulating as many wonder what a new chapter will bring. This marks my first fall without classes, schedules, and bus schedules occupying my mind.

Rather than partaking in sorority recruitment, I was supporting a few chapters from afar. I swapped back to school shopping for a weekend outdoors filled with celebration and family. I entered the famous “first day” knowing what it would bring. Until I remembered I was in complete control of what I would bring to it.

Change is as constant as we make it. Here’s how I’m keeping things fresh for fall-

1. Know your stuff: In college when I had mostly major-focused courses and found myself often surrounded by Ad/PR peers, it was easy to live and breathe strategic communications. Being up to speed with agency news and marketing campaigns boosted my confidence in classes and my abilities.

However, working for a business consulting company has shifted my lens to HR and organizational development, an area I would otherwise know little about. As a result, that confidence I found when voicing my opinions about brands or ads doesn’t make as many appearances. So I have to work to uncover it again by reading Harvard Business review, LinkedIn pulse articles, and staying tuned into conversations even when I don’t understand the context. It’s not reinventing the wheel, but rather rediscovering what you know is already there.

2. Get your Z’s: I need to sleep. It’s not negotiable, no matter how many times I tried to argue it was, with all-night study sessions as my proof. That was then, this is now, End of story.

3. Be an expert:  I am in a unique and fortunate situation- I am the only one in my position, team, and department- I am Work Effects marketing. While I get to lead projects, vision cast, and make decisions, I lose the brainstorming and collaboration that comes from another perspective.

Like any millennial, I assumed the internet would have the answer to my hopes and dreams, and IMG_1835have made bloggers and writers worldwide my coworkers. By researching the best ways to produce webinars, tricks for hmtl coding, and staying updated with marketing news, I can present and execute ideas with the same confidence as I would after bouncing and rebuilding my idea off my cube-neighbor.

4. Take productive breaks: Skyway walks, creative writing bursts, and taking the time to have lunch away from my desk energizes me to stay focused the rest of the day. Not giving my body time to move or my brain time to run wild, I end up taking a break via Instagram, which has proven to have no positive impacts on my work.

Sometimes, I feel guilty for being “off task,” but if getting a burst of social interaction will make it easier for me to find spelling errors before I email hundred of consultants, then everyone wins. Furthermore, I almost always return with better ideas, solutions, and approaches. We need a little white space sometimes in order to see what’s in front of us.

5. Let passion lead: This one’s simple- go where there is energy, and bring your energy to where there isn’t. As a 1-person department, if I can get the dept to rally around something I am really excited about (lolz like that is hard) and I can get the key decision makers excited about it, soon enough it comes onto my plate. Direct towards passion and energy, and you direct towards quality.

Sometimes my projects get logistical and tedious, but bringing positivity to the task and taking productive breaks (ahem ^^) I can get them done faster and with more attention to detail- meaning rework’s time to shine has passed.

It won’t work perfectly everyday, but I’ve learned to stop waiting for perfection. I’d rather practice trying new things, fall down a few times, and find progress than wait for the perfect day, project, opportunity, job, or people to fall into my lap before I make moves. Let’s do it, September.