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communications

Déjà vu

 

deja

If you were offered the opportunity to do something that could change healthcare and save lives, would you?

It’s never an easy decision when you’re already doing something you love, but it was too good of a chance to let it pass me by.

Early this year, I left the American Heart Association to work for an amazing enterprise software company, Sprinklr. Since then, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to advise a handful of Fortune 500 organizations on creating and implementing digital strategies using our software. Plus, I’ve had the privilege of working with an amazing team who never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up on creating the best experience for their brands.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago – I got a note from someone I really respect at AHA about a new role. I wasn’t looking. I love #SprinklrLife. But I said I’d hear them out.

And the rest is history… again.

I’m heading back to the AHA as the Director of Marketing, for the Patient-Powered Research Network for the Institute of Precision Cardiovascular Medicine. It’s a position at the crossroads of innovation, tech, big data and healthcare. And I couldn’t be more thrilled to re-join an organization that is changing the face of healthcare.

It’s bittersweet – I still love Sprinklr and where it’s going. I still think it’s the best in the business and they have the best team on the planet. I will forever be their cheerleader. The best part: I still get to work with them as their client again.

So cheers to new beginnings, big changes and giant leaps. I’ve never been one to take the easy road. I love the excitement of doing something big, and taking on a new challenge. This is that opportunity. I’m looking forward to the future. Who knows where it will take me?

To answer a few questions I’ve already gotten…

So what will you be doing?

I get to lead the marketing for patient-centered research at the cross of big data, innovation and cardiovascular diseases and stroke. In normal fashion, it’s a new position that I get to help craft, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Didn’t you burn your work clothes when you started working from home?

Outside of a handful of my favorite dresses, I definitely slimmed down my wardrobe. Something tells me that yoga pants won’t cut it in this role, so I’m going shopping.

Going back to a past employer? How does that work?

Actually, it’s becoming quite popular. I recently found some research that shows more than 76 percent of employers are looking at past employees for new roles.

5 things future social media professionals should know

Every year, I have the wonderful privilege of speaking to a group future marketers at my alma mater, the University of North Texas.

Let’s take it back to when I was in college for a second. I was the cheezy kid in the second row (the first row seemed a little too presumptuous) asking all the questions. I was a nerd when it came to classes I was interested in. And the thought of getting to connect with well-networked people who were already in my field, was an idea that I loved.

When I started my career, social media was barely a thing. We had Myspace (I’m not that old), but the rest were yet to come. There definitely weren’t classes in social media.

My career started in public relations, at an agency.

I think agencies can be beneficial if you want to try a lot of things, for a lot of clients. My experience was valuable, but the grind wore me down and I wanted to move to the brand side of things and move to social media… which was a fantastic idea.

On the brand side, you get to dig deep and hone your skills. I was able to step in and build a social media program from scratch – growing it from a community of 38,000 to an audience of 60.4 million. It’s been quite a journey; and I couldn’t have done it without an amazing group of people along the way.

I’ve always been thankful for my mentors, family, former teachers and communications/social media friends who have supported me. I feel like I owe it to them to pass along the knowledge, advice and good vibes I’ve gotten along the way.

Now, it’s my turn on the other side of the desk.

It’s crazy to think that this year, millennials are expected to overtake the majority of the workforce according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. By 2030, the generation who won’t remember the time before dial-up is expected to make up 75 percent of the workforce.

The world has been changing the last decade, and social media has been leading the charge.

The newest graduates are joining the workforce as digital natives. And here’s some of the advice I gave to them:

  1. If you aren’t passionate about it, don’t settle for it. When I think about my career, there are three things I’ve needed to be successful (and it took me a while to figure this out, which is why I’m telling you now): the culture, the team/boss, the job. If you can find the trifecta, you’re set. Remember during interviews you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Find out as much as you can about all three to see if it’s a fit for your personality and work-style.
  2. Learn quickly and fail fast. Sorry to use corporate jargon, but it’s true. You’ll make mistakes. Take ownership. Move on. And don’t make them again. You’ll need to make an impact quickly to be successful. So find out what keeps your boss up at night and solve that problem.
  3. Have a plan. If you look at the most successful people in business, they have a plan of where they want their career to go. Each job you have in your journey should get you closer to that ultimate goal. Keep in mind that sometimes one step back will help you take two forward.
  4. Think about your personal mission. Do you have a personal mission statement? It’ll help you think about where you want to go. I want to squeeze every ounce I can out of life – both personally and professionally. This is what drives me: “Live life to its fullest – with integrity and passion in everything I do.”
  5. The best and brightest around you aren’t your enemies, they are your mentors. Find them and stick by them. They’ll show you the ropes. If you model your work-style after them, you’ll also be successful.

A Lesson in Leadership: Things I learned from a great leader

When you leave an organization, what will people say? Will they gossip about your failures, or will they mourn your loss?

If it’s the latter, you are probably a great leader. I’ve had the wonderful privilege of working for one. When he left, we definitely mourned. Over the last few years, my mentor managed crises, supported staff and inspired his team to do things we would have never imagined. I’ve watched closely, and have tried to implement those characteristics into my management style. He always made it look easy, but I know he made a conscious decision to care for his team every day.

Here are a few things I learned along the way:

1. Family first.

This one is easier to tell your team to do than to do yourself. Work is important, and if you love your job, it’s easy to do. But it’s a job. And it can’t take care of you when you’re old. At the end of the day, family matters more – every time. Turn off and tune in.

2. Learn how to tell a great story.

Stories can engage your imagination. One of my favorite talks from my mentor was about his vision for the future. Every time he gave the presentation he would read the audience and tailor it for them – speeding up sections if they were losing interest, or going more in-depth if the audience was engaged. And today, we still talk about it.

Another great example of fantastic storytelling are TED talks. They explain often complicated subjects in a very energizing and memorable way. This is one of my favorites:


3. Sometimes you just need to listen.

At the beginning of every update, my mentor always asked about the kids, my husband or what was going on in life. He also remembered what I told him. It was a simple gesture, but one that I will always carry on.

4. Be authentic and transparent.

He didn’t beat around the bush. You always knew what was on his mind. And for that reason, I always trusted him to be honest. I still do.

5. Be loyal to build loyalty.

A good leader fights for his or her staff. I often have crazy ideas – I’m all for “failing fast” or finding success and learning from both. I always think about one that went all the way to our board. He fought for me all the way up. I saw him do that for my colleagues day-after-day. And because he had our back, we’ll always have his.

6. Be visible.

He would always say to be visible. Practice what you preach. Show your team what you want to see in them. If you can’t live to your standards, they’ll never buy in.

7. Stay calm.

We’re in communications. We deal with crises. When we’ve been in the trenches and urgency is pressing in, he has always been calm and resolute. Even if I would be under a lot of stress, he would calmly help me think through a solution.

8. Take risks.

I came to the organization when social media and digital was still a new thing to the organization. My role wasn’t in his background, so I would often ask him to take a risk and trust me. While I “failed fast” a few times, we certainly nailed it a lot. And we’re better because of it. I taught him a thing or two. And he taught me it’s OK to trust and leap.

9. Show kindness, even when people don’t deserve it.

I watched this one in awe. Sometimes people make stupid mistakes that can be costly to their career or their personal lives. My mentor had a fantastic way of addressing an issue; but made it a quiet, teachable moment for people. As I work through my career, I often take a step back and think how he would address it. I always see better results.

10. Be hands on, but hands off.

He would bring coffee, stuff bags for media drops or pick up trash. Not once did he complain. But he gave us the space to do our thing and produce results. So, we did. By being willing to get the job done, he earned the respect and loyalty of everyone who worked with him.

 

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