When I started in the technology industry via IBM almost 15 years ago 2 things stood out to me:
I was surrounded by men, an attractive concept in theory
While I liked being challenged and working with bright and interesting people I didn’t actually ‘feel’ anything
But, being an obedient daughter, having gained my MBA, and in “big business” for a short time, I stuck with it. I was successful, praised for my work, and continued to move up.
2 – Passion Pit
I found that, like many people I could easily get some pretty powerful motivation from recognition as well as monetary rewards and salary. Fast forward a few years, I continued my path at SAP, more interesting people and still surrounded by men (which I had gotten pretty used to and frankly prided myself on my ability to “hang”). I was falling into what Erika Anderson calls the PASSION PIT.“Of course I want to move from director to vice president – that’s what all dedicated professionals ... I was more focused on what I thought the organization wanted from me than what I wanted myself.
3 - ser·en·dip·i·ty(n.an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident)
After baby #3, I knew I needed a change, expand my network and my purview. Serendipity stepped in and I had the opportunity to work closely with colleagues from CSR finding real passion while now building on the great foundation from 12 years in B2B marketing. Picking up that thread I’ve spent the last 2 years exploring other parts of the business - everything from leadership , to employee comms and engagement, to CSR. What’s amazing is that I believe it’s made me a better business person, influencer, etc. Even more interesting is that this ‘exploration’ is nowhere in the rules for success.
4 – Going(RED) and Trusting Your Gut
At the start of 2014 I had the opportunity to bring it all together – marketing, leadership, influence, CSR- while doing some onsite work for one of our NGO partners (RED), an organization founded by Bobby Shriver and Bono of U2 (no I never met him) focused on eradicating the mother to child transmission of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa by 2015. For two months I was part of their team – doing marketing, bringing to bear what is core to my role at SAP – audience analysis, strategy, project management – while learning a ton from this 14 person organization. I got my hands dirty in partner relations, got real experience from a bunch of millennial’s about social media and what it takes to drive a message, movement or business.
What happens next? I’m off to Africa with (RED) this Sunday to see how our funding helps the world run better and improves people lives. The rule for success is … there are no rules – the key for me is to find something that moves you, makes you feel something and go for it!