Over the weekend I had the opportunity to speak at the GW Women In Business Spring Conference about Entrepreneurship.
Here are some of my thoughts about the questions that they asked:
I am a political campaign strategist and I help people get elected to office. (Going back to the templates of ways that you can introduce yourself in under 20 words).
What is a risk you have taken in your career path?:
I got into politics and then I left politics to pursue a job in another industry which I thought was interesting (I started a catering business & worked in a James Beard winning restaurant) and then I left the hospitality industry because I wanted to get back into politics. My career hasn’t been linear. I’ve left my 1st career choice because I felt burnout and I thought I needed to try something different that I thought was my passion. It taught me to maintain relationships and to listen to my instincts. It’s OK to not have all the answers and even when you think you know what you want to do, you may find that it’s not cracked up to be in reality. Everything in life is a learning experience and you can do whatever you set your mind to do, but you also need to recognize what makes you passionate about your work. Since my return to politics, I haven’t had the sense of burnout like when I was in my 20s because I better understand myself and my limits. That’s not to say that my goals won’t evolve into something totally different from where I once started. That’s life – people change and how they want to approach life. “If you get tired, learn to rest not quit.” – Banksy
What advice do you have for students who have a passion for starting their own business but fear that it won’t achieve long term success?:
Have a clear vision and definition of your success. Success is a personal goal. Do not become consumed in comparison to someone else’s instagrammable life. Long term success can be 6 months, it can be 2 years, 4 years, 15 years – a lifetime – it’s all up to you. If you know that you have a quality product or service that resolves a challenge or is innovative then you can go to the market place ready to compete. Try to be socially responsible. Always be a student and learn from others. I still take other people’s classes on subject matters where I’m considered the subject matter expert. I don’t have the answers to everything and neither should you.
How did your experiences in college and your early career impact your drive to create the Arum Group?:
When I was a child, I skipped a grade and later tested into a math and science high school program. I was an athlete and was student body president. So, I was basically every single Type A person with the grades and extracurricular activities to go with it. My father passed away when I was 15 and from that moment, I became an adult. Fast forward to turning 17 then starting college 4 months later so I have always been quite independent. I was a bit naive which only helped me to dive into the deep end without much fear. I was fortunate that I was raised with enough praise and expectation that whatever vision I had for myself was always positive and that my own ambition wasn’t questioned. My parents instilled in me that I have value and that whatever project/job/career I chose, I would make an impact. So that’s a lot of self worth. Temper that with a bit of curiosity, willingness to learn things that I knew were my weaknesses and a lot of go get it attitude. All of these ingredients mixed together with a dash of I don’t want to have one boss created Arum Group. I couldn’t find a job that allowed me to be the things that I knew that I could be so I created my own luck (with everything that I try to do) so that it could lead me to the opportunities that started my own consulting firm. There are times when I think I want to close up shop but I know that I wouldn’t be happy so I have to continue to create opportunities that I find fulfilling so that Arum Group can be a company that fulfills my definition of success.
If you’re beginning your professional journey and in your 20s, you have a lot of life ahead of you to experience a lot of different things and even as you get older, you need to keep learning. Like I mentioned earlier, you need to be willing to be a student at every opportunity. A former colleague of mine was featured in the NYT about her journey as a seasoned professional at 52 and how she used her network to find the right opportunity for her.
Do you have any questions you want answered about being an entrepreneur or working in politics? Drop me a line and I’ll give them a go!
More Tuesday Truths!
It’s #EqualPayDay and we “celebrate” it so that people can be made aware of the causes and impact that are created by the gender wage gap between women and men. I’ll be training about Salary Negotiation in DC and if you can’t make that training, my colleague and friend, Tanya Tarr will be doing a free webinar on Negotiating as well. There are ample opportunities to get trained in these skills so take advantage of learning how to value your worth. If you can’t join either activity, you can read how science teaches us when to make the first offer.
Since I was talking about Entrepreneurship to a Women’s Conference, I wanted to highlight the challenges that women face in this space and guess what, the challenges are somewhat similar to what women face when running for elected office: ability to raise capital for their venture (campaign fundraising), starting earlier in life, as well as how women spend more time as a caretaker.
There are days when I can’t get my sh*z together and need to reflect on how I can better optimize my day. If I ever get to this point, can someone send me a life preserver filled with a trunk load of vodka or gin? I’d rather drown drinking a cocktail, thank you very much!
Thanks for reading/sharing & let me know what’s going on in in your world!