Happy International Women’s Day!

March 8, 2017

I am fortunate to work with so many wickedly smart and talented men and women. But today marks International Women’s Day, so I wanted to use this post to celebrate the brilliant women of Fast Horse. They are strong, caring, trailblazing go-getters and they inspire me every single day. Their passion for their careers, families, friends and coworkers is contagious, and their ability to juggle it all with such grace and positivity is so inspiring.

I respect these women so much and was curious to know even more about them! So I interviewed a handful of Fast Horse ladies to find out things like who they look to for inspiration, what some of their career highlights are and how they’ve conquered some of the challenges thrown their way. Read on to find the answers to a handful of questions I asked them.

Q: Is there a woman who inspires you most?  

A: I am inspired by my best friend. She has a day job as a marketing manager for a local company, but she’s pursuing her passion for writing and is publishing her first book this spring. Hennepin County Library has already ordered several copies and they’re all on advance hold. I admire her courage for investing time and resources into a passion project and seeing it through to the end. She’s a fearless dreamer and a tenacious doer. She is living proof that this combination is unstoppable.

A: I consider myself lucky in that I’m constantly surrounded by inspiring women, and that’s been the case my entire life. I’ve grown up with strong, independent women as my role models – my mother, who continue to inspires me with her creativity, thoughtfulness, drive and ability to overcome life’s obstacles while still managing to stay sane. My grandmas for some of the very same reasons and the fact they’re 90-plus years old and are still kicking ass and taking names. My daughter inspires me to be the very best version of myself I can be so I can be her role model. My cousin, because she will always stand up for what she believes in and is the definition of a strong, independent woman. My friends and coworkers inspire me for their tenacity, smarts and humor. I could go on!

A: Funny enough, I can’t name just one. There are so many incredible women in my life but there isn’t one that embodies everything I aim to be. I guess in a way, I take my favorite things from so many different people and use that as inspiration.

Q: What was your dream job as a kid and why?

A: When I was really little, I wanted to be a “lady butterfly” because I didn’t understand science but had an active imagination. Upon learning a bit of biology, I wanted to be an archeologist who discovered hidden civilizations and tombs full of treasure. I was going to be a lady Indiana Jones. Indiana Jane.

A: I wanted to be a marine biologist so bad. I was absolutely in love with animals in general, but especially dolphins. My obsession ran so deep that my mother painted a mural in my bedroom with all sorts of marine wildlife. I guess you could say 8-year-old me thought I’d be living in the Galápagos, swimming with turtles by now.

Q: What do you love most about having a career? What are the challenges?

A: I can’t imagine NOT having a career. I feel fortunate to have been raised by a community of women who valued education and self-sustainability. Grandma Millie always said,”They can take away almost everything, but they can never take away your education.”

A: I love producing great work, overcoming challenges, providing solutions to problems and bringing order to chaos. I love the feeling of bringing value to a project/team and accomplishing a task.

A: I’ll be the first to admit that I get a lot of personal satisfaction from having a career. I enjoy feeling like part of a team and contributing to something bigger, and having people rely on me. The challenge is finding the right balance in my life for all the non-career things. It’s different for everyone, and I just have to listen to my gut and find the right flow and schedule that works for me.

A: I love having a career because it gives me purpose — and to live a full and happy live, you have to have a sense of purpose.

Q:  What is one of your most memorable career highlights?

A: When I think back on the moments that really mattered, it’s rarely about flawless execution of client work. It’s the moments in between that stand out – setting a colleague or your team up for success, watching someone you’ve mentored in some way grow personally or professionally, or speaking to an industry or academic audience and sharing your POV and helping others learn. Work grows old, some clients will leave, but helping people sticks with you.

A: My most memorable career highlights always started with me feeling incredibly insecure and overwhelmed. And every damn time it worked out. It always works out. So whenever a new project starts and I feel insecure or overwhelmed, I get excited because I know what lies on the other side.   

Q: What is one challenge you’ve encountered in your career and how did you navigate it?

A: When I was fresh out of college, I took a job selling print ads for a local home magazine. My clients were home builders, architects, remodelers who had no interest in talking business with a twentysomething woman. I was regularly hung up on, told they have socks older than me, and asked if my father was joining me for our meeting. Needless to say, I had to grow up and develop a thick skin quickly. And I did. I doubled my book of business within the first year and grew my sales continually.

A: One of the biggest blessings I have had in my career is being laid off. It provided me with perspective, empathy and strength. What felt like a blow to the gut and the ego turned out to be a blessing in disguise. 

Q: Any last words of advice?

A: Trust yourself. Speak up. Be your own advocate. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

A: If you want something – go for it! Figure out what it takes to get there, voice your desire and get it done.

A: Use your vacation time. No excuses.

A: Be your authentic self.