This week’s Featured Onepager is part of the solution!
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October 16th, 2014 - Featured Onepagers
October 7th, 2014 - Featured Onepagers
October 1st, 2014 - Customer Spotlights
If you were to give advice to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell her?
To not box yourself in or think that you have to follow a certain path. Just because there’s one traditional path in an industry, doesn’t mean that you need to take it. The best thing you can do is figure out what your strengths are and where those strengths are valued. You can be in companies where the people that get the most attention are the people that bring in the most business, but you don’t have to be good at new business to succeed in a company. If you’re really great at customer relationships, that’s really important too. Where the most noise is isn’t necessarily where your biggest values and successes will be. It’s really more about figuring out what your strengths are, what you like to do. Then figuring out where those are valued so you can really flourish and grow.
Also, not to get sidetracked by what everybody else is doing. And to put money in your 401K or savings or whatever you have. Just to know that there’s always going to be more opportunities. Every time you have a failure, it feels like the end of the world, but pretty soon you’re like, “Ah.” If you go through enough ups and downs, you know there’s going to be an up. Just know—as hard as it is at the time—there will be an up, and if you’re relatively smart and good at what you do, you’ll be able to create something.
Is there a past failure that you’re really grateful for now?
When I was in my 20s, I had a career at the job that I started after college. It was at an agency here in New York City, and I progressed pretty quickly and was doing well. Then, as things happened, I was thinking, “Okay, maybe I want to switch.” I was in advertising, but I wanted to switch from media into account work. Strategic planning didn’t exist yet, so I was still working my way towards that. Anyway, I was a little bit afraid to quit my job. It was bad times. There was this fear of, “What if I quit and don’t get another job?”
Then my boyfriend got transferred to California and he wanted me to move with him. At first I was thinking no, but then I thought, “What the hell.” I quit my job and I moved to California and got a job over there. Then I decided, “Shit. I really miss New York.” I never thought I was going to stay in New York, but moving away made me realize how much I loved it.
Where’d you grow up?
Ohio. I came here by accident. I always was like, “I’ll live here for a while, then I’ll move to Chicago.” When I came back to New York after California and got a new job, it just took away any fear of quitting and gave me so much more confidence. It also made me realize how much I love New York. I had friends that would say things like, “I’m sorry California didn’t work out for you,” but I’d tell them it was the best thing that ever happened to me. If you’re successful, you’re ambitious, you’ve done something that shows that you’re learned something new, don’t be afraid of quitting to do something.
The same thing happened with 40:20 Vision. I would worry, “What if it doesn’t work out?” So what? What if it doesn’t? I built something. I did something. I went around the country and talked to 200 women. I have something to show for it. Some people would consider that a failure, but I consider one of the best things to ever happen to me.
Sometimes it’s easier to worry about the known things you’re going to “lose,” rather than the unknown things you’ll gain. Why do you think that happens?
Just because you had dreams or you had a plan of what you thought your life was going be at 20, doesn’t mean you’re the same person when you’re 30. You’re holding on to what you thought your life would be like, but maybe where you want to be has changed. It’s important to not have such a set path. To think, “Maybe I’ve made some decisions that got me here. Why did I make those decisions?” There must have been some reason why you did, so you must have enjoyed the things that got you here. How do you look at that and reassess and make new goals?
I guess that’s one of the biggest things that happen during a big change. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, why not focus on what you do have? It just opens so many more opportunities and creates better energy.
September 29th, 2014 - Customer Spotlights
The Forty Women to Watch Over 40 list is an outgrowth of your organization, 40:20 Vision. When did that get started?
That started four or five years ago. I worked at a consultancy and we did a lot of work with generational research and trends, helping companies develop new white space or better positionings that are more future-focused.
I was out to brunch with some of my friends, all 40-somethings, and we were waiting for our table when these two younger girls, who were also waiting, started asking us questions about careers, boyfriends, dating in New York City, all that. We sat down, and I thought, “I wish we could just bottle it and give it to them.” They had this bravado, but they still didn’t have confidence. They were still asking the same questions we asked—they just didn’t know how awesome they were.
When I started talking about my idea, everybody was saying, “Oh, you can’t. You have to live it to learn it. 20-somethings don’t want advice.” I wondered where that came from. When you look at generational research, the boomer attitude was, “Don’t trust anyone over 30. It’s us versus them.” With millennials, it’s much more of a friendship with their parents, not an authoritarian relationship. They’re more focused on continual learning. Why wouldn’t you want to get more perspective from people who have been there and done that?
But I also didn’t want to be telling them what to do. At that brunch, I thought, “Look at us, there’s seven of us around the table. We’ve each made completely different decisions. There’s people who are married, not married, having a baby on their own, getting divorced, just getting engaged, starting a company, consulting. We’re all in totally different places, but the one thing we have in common is that now we’re making decisions for ourselves. Now we have that confidence to say, ‘This is what I want to do,’ rather than, ‘Oh, everyone’s getting married. I should get married.’” Our generation is the first that really had so much freedom to make the good choices.
How long did it take you to start 40:20 after that?
I ended up quitting my job and going around the country and interviewing 150 to 200 40-something women on what they know now that they wished they knew then. It was originally going to be a book. I met with a couple agents and they said, “This is great, but you need a platform.” So I ended up starting the blog and getting involved in mentoring events here in the city. As I interviewed more entrepreneurs, I realized that there’s so much more mentoring and sharing and freedom of knowledge exchange. I certainly didn’t have that growing up in advertising.
I came up with this insight that everybody deserves to have their own advisory panel, and I decided to create them. I got seven older women and seven younger women together for a night focused around career growth. I flipped the model of the panel where you listen and then ask questions. Instead, I made the 20-somethings’ questions the event for the evening. The seven of them would come with one question each, and we would sit at the table and moderate the discussion.
That was called “7 on 7.” That’s when I first started using Onepager, because I had my blog that somebody else had designed, and I didn’t know how to build on my own. When I wanted to publicize the 7 on 7′s and was doing them regularly, it became a great way to easily go in and change the content, then link to the page on invitations.
Then I had the idea of Forty Over 40 and found a group of women to start it with. I told them we could just use Onepager. It’s easy. I just made a logo and played with it. But when we started getting ready for this year’s nominations, we needed to migrate to a bigger, multi-page site to be able to show not only last year’s winners, but this year’s winners, too.
What do you look for in nominees?
Whitney, the woman I partnered with, works on disruption. She worked for a consultancy with Clayton Christensen, who wrote The Innovator’s Dilemma. She had also written the book called Dare, Dream, Do and had started her own practice around personal disruption, looking at how to take the same theories and apply them to your life. Actually, if you look at the stages of development, the period in your 40s to 50s is a very productive era. It’s where you’re harnessing all the knowledge that you’ve collected and you’re better able to apply it to a broader arena.
I had a stake in thinking about being a good role model. We didn’t want it to be Arianna Huffington and Hilary Clinton, people that have already achieved a lot. We wanted it to be up-and-coming. You also hear the same stories of Sheryl Sanbergs of the world and the stay-at-home moms, but there’s never anything in between.
In the end, we decided on three criteria: one is that you’re creating momentum, impact, or new growth in your area of work. Another is that you’re creating a new type of role model and that you’re bringing new women up with you. The last one is a sense of personal reinvention, taking stock of your life or taking on new challenges, not resting on your laurels or repeating the same things.
The first year, we just opened nominations up on social media. People asked why we didn’t align ourselves with a magazine and get sponsored by them. We wanted to do it on our own the first year, and we were really passionate about it. We had a thousand nominations, and we had to get everyone that contacted us to fill out the official form. We’d get their names, and then send them our Onepager site where they could find the link to the form.
How did you determine the winners?
We had a committee of four of us. We got 20-somethings involved because we wanted it to be cross-generational, too. Once we narrowed down all of the nominations to 80 or so, we got a panel of judges to provide an outside perspective.
Where did the judges come from?
We just went for the stars and asked. We got Dave McClure from 500 Startups, the CIO of GE, some really good people. We also made sure that it was all people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. It was 50/50 men and women.
That’s so cool. There are all those “30 Under 30” lists which are limiting because it poses an arbitrary age as an end point. But then you get there and it’s not.
I talked to so many 20-somethings and they’re like, “Oh my God, I’ll never have the chance to be on the 30 under 30 list.” That’s so depressing. You have so much more in front of you. So many women believe their choices are getting narrower and narrower in their 20s, but they’re actually not.
September 22nd, 2014 - Featured Onepagers
September 15th, 2014 - Featured Onepagers
September 8th, 2014 - Customer Spotlights
Tell us a little about Turn the Pages and why you started it.
Turn the Pages is a non-profit dedicated to improving the pursuit of knowledge for students who lack access to essential school supplies. Every year, we collect supplies from sponsor schools, which we call “Page-Turners,” and match them with the needs of underserved schools, both locally and globally. We collect notebooks, pens, pencils, markers, binders, art supplies, textbooks, and reading books.
Lack of access to basic school supplies is a big reason children at underserved schools fail to advance to the next level, which is why we started the movement. We also wanted to give people who traditionally throw out supplies the opportunity to recycle by allowing children to reuse them.
August 31st, 2014 - Featured Onepagers
It’s August, which means the “embers” are around the corner—that’s what we lovingly call September, November, and December (October is an honorary ember member). So it’s time to hold onto summer for dear life and squeeze in those tennis lessons you’ve been meaning to book, or at least take a moment to appreciate Lilia’s beautiful site.
August 26th, 2014 - Featured Onepagers
With the Emmys this week, we got awards on the mind (Julia Louis Dreyfus, we’re rooting for you). But what about us non- TV stars who could use a little credit? Sydney-based company The Award Writers can help the rest of us get nominated for the awards we deserve.
August 19th, 2014 - Featured Onepagers
Pilates with Wendy is a Pilates studio located in Pasadena, CA. Through a variety of tools and equipment (which include some killer names like the Reformer, the Cadillac and the Wunda Chair), Wendy’s routine will bring balance to your life and strength to your body. No matter a your level of experience or lifestyle, she’ll design a routine that exactly fits your needs. We wonder what she’d prescribe for someone who’s been eating ice cream every other day and rewatching all five seasons of Breaking Bad. No reason, just curious.
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