Quantcast

Leading Ladies - Amber Naslund

AmberNaslund_LeadingLadies

Social Fresh 2010... Can't believe it's been that long ago that I first got to meet Amber Naslund. Amber was one of the first people I started following on Twitter back in 2009. She was an inspiration to me as another woman in social media and the amount of things I learned from her are too long to list.  Always approachable, kind, hilarious, honest, dynamic speaker, and most of all, thought-provoking. Amber continually drove me to dive deeper into everything as I was learning because I saw her do the same. 

She's shared some goodness with us in her feature, so if you haven't already, meet Amber

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START?

Accidentally! I was a music education major in college, and afterward, didn’t really want to teach or perform. So I went and knocked on the door of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, willing to take whatever entry level job they had. Turned out it was in fund development, which is kind of the marketing arm of a nonprofit organization! I did that for several years in arts organizations, then for social service organizations in Chicago. That eventually led me into more corporate-focused marketing roles. All along, I had a strong affinity for the digital world and how it was shaping communication, fundraising, marketing, you name it. In 2008, I left my corporate gig to pursue freelance digital communication and content work, and Radian6 became a client. The next year they offered me a job…and so began my career as a technology marketer. I’ve never looked back!

WHAT RISKS DID YOU TAKE?

The better question is what risks DIDN’T I take? Ha! First one was probably quitting my unfulfilling corporate marketing gig in 2008 as a single mom with a 1 year old daughter, a mortgage and zero plan (I don’t recommend this approach). I made a go of it on my own when I realized that my career path wasn’t challenging me enough nor letting me do enough work with the digital marketing strategies I came to love. Then I took a risk abandoning the freelance path and a growing business a year later to take a full-time job with startup Radian6 (later acquired by Salesforce.com). Then AGAIN I started a business in 2012 after the acquisition, one that failed spectacularly and cost me nearly everything. My career has kind of been one long exercise in risk, loss, and reward.

WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT SCARES YOU?

Disappointing my daughter, or failing her as a parent. None of us are perfect parents, but I’m hoping I can guide her into adulthood with as little damage as possible. I used to care a lot more about what people thought of me, then I had a child. I used to fear failure a lot, until I failed…and survived. Once you’ve hit rock bottom, you realize that the only thing you can’t undo is death. The rest is negotiable, and largely recoverable.

LOOKING BACK ON YOUR CAREER, WHAT WAS A MAJOR TURNING POINT FOR YOU

Definitely when I quit my job in 2008 to pursue the kind of marketing I believed was going to shape the future. It led me to everything I know and love about my career today, including entrepreneurship and technology and the people that both of those things brought into my life.

WHAT ARE THREE PIECES OF ADVICE YOU'VE RECEIVED THAT YOU'VE CARRIED WITH YOU THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER?

  1. Always hire people smarter than you. Then get out of their way.
  2. Everyone was a beginner once, and if you do it right, you’ll find ways to be a novice all over again throughout your career.
  3. No one dies wishing they’d worked more.

BIGGEST MISTAKE?

Trying to start a business for all the wrong reasons, and ignoring my instincts about product-market fit (or lack thereof). It never felt “right” and, as a result, it never worked. I lost a lot of money, a lot of confidence, a lot of friendships. Lesson in all of it was to stay true to who I am and what I know works for me, and never let my heart speak louder than my head when it comes to business. Passion is great and can make a good business outstanding, but it doesn’t pay the bills if everything else is broken or fundamentally flawed. I learned a great deal, but it’s not an experience I’d ever like to repeat!

Leading Ladies - Aliza Licht

AlizaLicht_LeadingLadies

I'm not sure you could go a week without seeing this branding icon gracing the internet with features in Forbes, Harper's Bazaar, Women's Wear Daily, and Glamour, just to name a few. Aliza Licht, best known as the voice of DKNY PR Girl, is now leaving her position as senior VP Global Communications of Donna Karen International to start her new journey as Founder & President of LEAVE YOUR MARK LLC. In her first book, LEAVE YOUR MARK, Aliza wrote the ultimate playbook for those seeking advice on personal branding as well as guidance for your career in this contemporary working world.  

Want to enjoy some sarcasm and whit on Twitter? Give Aliza a follow to connect!

 

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START?

Graduating with a BS in Neurobiology & Physiology was not exactly a great entree into the world of fashion. So I had to apply cold, without any connections or real knowledge of the fashion industry. I wrote what I thought was a great, honest cover letter and pretty much pleaded with the editors at Harper's Bazaar to give me a chance. Luckily for me they did! I started in fashion as an accessories intern at Harper's Bazaar.

WHAT RISKS DID YOU TAKE?

I threw away my pre-med education for a dream to work in fashion. I had no real plan or backup plan for that matter. I worked hard though and made great connections. My risk paid off.

WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT SCARES YOU?

You mean besides coffee not working? My biggest and most important goal is making sure my kids turn out great. That to me is my most important job.

LOOKING BACK ON YOUR CAREER, WHAT WAS A MAJOR TURNING POINT FOR YOU?

There have been many milestones, but creating DKNY PR GIRL and Donna Karan Atelier have been the highlights. 

WHAT ARE THREE PIECES OF ADVICE YOU'VE RECEIVED THAT YOU'VE CARRIED WITH YOU THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER?

Say thank you sincerely and often.

Mind your reputation.

Don't burn bridges.

BIGGEST MISTAKE?

I've made a million mistakes but they are all disguised as choices.You can look back and say this was a mistake or that was mistake but just like Gwyneth Paltrow in "Sliding Doors", you never know where that mistake led you to. I don't have regrets.

Leading Ladies - Jenn Herman

LeadingLadies_JennHerman

When Jenn Herman saw an open opportunity in the marketplace to train on Instagram marketing, she jumped on it. She now runs a social media consultancy business and her blog, Jenns Trends has been awarded a Top 10 social media blog in both 2014 and 2015. Find out more about how she got her start, her turning point, but best of all...her advice! 

Connect with Jenn on Twitter and of course, Instagram!

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START?

I started my blog in January of 2013, mostly because I wanted something else to do. I'm not one to sit idly by doing nothing on the weekends and even though I had a full time job (I still have this job on top of my own business, Jenn's Trends), I wanted to something to keep me busy. At the time, I was going through some challenges getting upper management at my company to understand the value of social media marketing and how it could be used to benefit our company. As I overcame these issues and explored the value of social media, I realized I could share these experiences with others. And so, sitting on my couch one random day, I said to my husband "I'm gonna start a blog". And I did. I had no idea what I was going to do or what I expected from it but I winged it and got it off the ground in one weekend. I have an extensive background in customer service and sales so the concepts of "marketing" on social media come naturally to me and the blog posts started flowing. I started writing about all things social media and my perspective on them. I had no strategy or content schedule though. That took a little while to develop. As I grew my audience and gained exposure, I realized I needed a more strategic approach and started focusing on my blog as more of a business and less of a hobby. And then, after endless urging from friends to finally get on Instagram, and realizing that I needed to understand this platform as a blogger, I hopped on the bandwagon. And I got hooked! I fell in love with Instagram and I wanted to learn more about how to use it as a marketing tool. But there was nothing of value out there for blog posts or tutorials. But here I was with a powerful platform in my blog and so I took it upon myself to create the content that was lacking from, well, everywhere. And within a relatively short period of time, I became the forefront blogger on Instagram marketing. 

WHAT RISKS DID YOU TAKE?

One of the biggest risks I ever took was when I moved to California to pursue my education. I moved from Victoria, BC, Canada to San Diego not knowing a single person or having any idea what life would bring me. It was scary and exciting all at the same time. And although that was now 12 years ago, it was one of the best things I ever did because it gave me the opportunity to have this life and these experiences. I know I wouldn't be doing Jenn's Trends and running my own business if I hadn't taken that leap of faith back then. But, to be honest, I am so not a risk taker! I am not a gambler and freak out at the thought of "risk". I hyper analyze every single situation to assess all possible outcomes and determine my best course of action. And I think if I took a few more risks, maybe my business would be even further along. But, on the other hand, I love where I'm at with my business and my life and I'm grateful for the growth and opportunities I've had to get to where I am. 

WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT SCARES YOU?

I'm honestly scared to take some bigger risks with my business. There are a number of things I want to do but that will require bigger financial investments, bigger time commitments, and development processes. But these would push me way out of my current comfort zone and the fear of them not paying off, financially and otherwise, are legitimate fears that still hold be back from taking the final leap. Especially now that I have a daughter and I want to provide stability and comfort above all else. 

LOOKING BACK ON YOUR CAREER, WHAT WAS A MAJOR TURNING POINT FOR YOU?

When I started my business, I didn't have a strategy or real plan for a "business". I started my blog for fun more than anything and didn't apply any real business practices. Yes, I promoted my blog posts and put myself out there, but it wasn't with a strategic growth plan. Then in April 2013 I showed up at the hotel where Social Media Marketing World was being hosted (it's in my city so it was easy). I just wanted to meet some people I had met online and see what it was all about. But I had that epiphany moment when I realized that day that I wanted to do this - I wanted to be a speaker, and a person that people would hire to train them and build their businesses. I literally said "I will be on that stage one day" and two years later, in April 2015 I spoke at SMMW15. It was a huge achievement and validation of my goals. But it took me getting strategic and building out a real plan for building a business.

WHAT ARE THREE PIECES OF ADVICE YOU'VE RECEIVED THAT YOU'VE CARRIED WITH YOU THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER?

The biggest piece of advice I've had to "learn" and that I've carried with me is learning to say NO to people. This is something I still struggle with but I've learned that saying yes to everything doesn't help anyone or please everyone because I'm stretched too thin and can't do the things that matter most or do them nearly as well. It's ok to say no every now and then and focus on what is most important. 

The second lesson that I live by is "when do you need this done?" Whether it's been at earlier jobs in my life or now in my own business, knowing when someone's due date is for a project is the key to success and prioritizing. Everyone's "soon" or "immediately" or "when you get to it" is a different definition. Don't settle for a vague response. Find out when they really need it done and plan accordingly. 

Thirdly, and this is kind of a two-parter, you need to both believe in yourself and find the right team to support you. You have to be able to advocate for your own strengths and abilities and promote yourself. But to build that confidence we often need the right support behind us. This can be family, friends, co-workers, mentors, or others along your business path. Rely on them to strengthen your confidence in yourself so that you can put your best self out there for the most success.

BIGGEST MISTAKE?

While we all make mistakes, they are also our learning lessons so I don't dwell on my mistakes. But believe me, I've made them. I try to learn from them. Sure, I could say I wish I had done something earlier, or waited to do something else, or said something differently (or not at all), or not taken on a certain project or client. But if I had done those things differently, I wouldn't have learned those lessons and wouldn't have gotten to where I am today. I have to trust that when the next situation arises, I'll avoid that same mistake and make a better decision. But knowing that I will again make a mistake - I'm only human!