Brittany and I met when we started at the same PR agency on the same day. I have since admitted to her that I wasn't a huge fan of starting work the same day with another brunette named Brittany and therefore decided I didn't think we'd be friends. Well the joke was on me because she's now one of my besties and was even a bridesmaid in my wedding party.
She's the funniest gal I know and I'm so glad you get to meet and learn from her today!
Tell us a bit about yourself/your career
My career has been a windy road with no straightening out in sight. And that's ok! I've been working in some form of marketing and communications since I was an intern at AARP Nevada while I was in college at UNLV a number of years ago that I don't care to share. My original passion was journalism and writing, I ended up choosing PR as a major and started my career in traditional PR, so of course now I would be working in healthcare marketing. ;) By the time I finished grad school, I wasn't as interested in traditional PR and digital marketing was on the rise, so I started gaining experience in social media, content marketing and web in a pretty wide variety of industries including nonprofit, retail, tech and now healthcare. At work I love to write, project manage, collaborate with my team and work for a cause I'm passionate about. Outside of work (and inside of it), I am obsessed with pop culture and am known as the pop culture guru in the office. Most days someone can be heard shouting a random question into my office from down the hall. "Brittany, who was the supermodel Billy Joel was married to?!" And I will always gladly answer. (It's Christie Brinkley, by the way.) I love to read, shop, watch TV and movies, go to concerts, eat out at restaurants old and new, and spend time with my awesome circle of friends.
How does your community of women you surround yourself with support you?
I know I am really fortunate because I have an amazing network of female friends that are smart, successful, unique and supportive. One thing I really value is having people to bounce ideas off of and get advice from ladies I trust - whether it's in the office, over lunch, or during commercials while we watch Hallmark Christmas movies on my couch. One time my friend and I sat down to watch The Bachelorette and ended up spontaneously writing an entire business plan in our sweatpants. I know I can ask them anything without judgement and get honest and insightful answers. We all have different skills, different backgrounds, different perspectives on life and I know if I'm struggling, I have a group of strong women that will be at my side (or in my phone) ready, willing and capable to help. We root each other on and bask in each other's successes. That might not fit into some narratives out there about how women treat each other, but I know that women are the best at supporting and lifting each other up.
My first boss ever - as a waitress in high school - was a woman who owned a restaurant in the small town I grew up in. Since then, I've had many amazing women mentors who guided me in my career and personal life. My boss at my first industry job was (and still is) one of the smartest people I've ever met, and took great care to teach and mentor me, which I never forgot. We're still friends to this day and I admire her and know I could turn to her for support whenever I needed.
All of the women in my family have or did have careers - my mother, all of my aunts, both of my grandmothers. I didn't appreciate it as much when I was younger because it was simply the norm to me. Now that I'm older and a career woman myself, I appreciate so much more what they have accomplished and the example they set for me. I'm excited and inspired to continue this legacy of working women who help each other on a personal and professional level and hope some day I can mentor young professionals (or maybe even a daughter) in a supportive, collaborative way like the inspiring examples I've been shown.
Why did you decide to get involved in a side hustle? (No, she's not a drug dealer, Brittany helps people rework their resumes to get better jobs!)
Money. Haha! But seriously, that was one of my main motivations if we're being honest. I've always been interested in freelancing, but am admittedly bad at finding and following through on freelance work. This opportunity was perfect for me because it's a contracting job for a resume writing service (owned and operated by a woman, by the way!) and the clients come to me instead of me having to seek them out which I just know I'm not good at.
I work about 5 - 10 hours a week (on top my normal full-time gig) depending on the client load, and get to talk to a lot of interesting people and help them with the materials they need to succeed in their career, which I enjoy. I also enjoy stretching my writing muscles, which I don't always get to do in my current job. It provides variety in my life and options if I ever need or want a job change or have a need to work part time. Plus, I have a little extra money to help pay down my student debt. Sometimes it's hard to balance it all, but as long as I discipline myself and don't let my procrastination tendencies take over, I'm able to manage it.
What do you wish you could go back and tell your younger self re: your career aspirations?
I don't know if I have great advice for my younger self yet, I'm still learning! One thing is to know when to throw punches and when to roll with them. As women, we often have a steeper hill to climb, and it can be hard to navigate certain situations and know when to proverbially throw a punch and when to sit back, go with the flow and let things play out. I think committing to be discerning in those situations is valuable advice for anyone - I've certainly gotten better at it over the years and wish I had realized the value in it earlier.
Something I wish I had done more and am going to try to do more as I continue to progress in my career, is take more risks. I am NOT a risk taker and there are a lot of things I wish I were doing or could do that would require big risks. It can be hard and scary, especially when you have financial responsibilities, but it's worth taking the time to figure out what you can and can't make work to do something that you love. Other than that, I would say: always speak up but listen carefully, be humble but confident, insert yourself and make room for others, work hard, be kind, and invest in therapy earlier in life. Haha!
What's your career-related mantra?
I have a few actually, mostly based on quotes from women I admire. One is a favorite quote of mine from Tina Fey: "Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don't just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles." We've all worked with someone who is perpetually negative and always the one pointing out what is going wrong or could go wrong. I never want to be that person. I want to be the person helping figure out what to do and then helping do it.
Which leads to my next mantra à la Mindy Kaling: "Work hard, know your shit, show your shit." Some people think it's important to be the smartest person in the room, but in my experience being someone that everyone knows will work hard, is way more important and valuable. I think one of the reasons I've been even moderately successful in my career is because the people I work with know they can rely on me, I will jump in and lend a hand literally anywhere necessary and they know I will work just as hard as they will, if not harder. I also know my shit. When I don't, I say so. When I do, I say so. I let my work speak for itself, but if it goes unnoticed, I speak up and "show my shit." People need to know how hard you work!
Finally, a quote from my smart, hilarious and hard-working late grandmother, Marlene Warnock: "How do you expect to find anything out if you don't ask questions?" My family was known to tease my sweet grandma for the sheer volume of questions she was always asking. And boy did she love to ask questions. When I would see her or when I was off to college and would call her on the phone, I would settle in for a long line of questioning. There was no limit to the amount of information she required and she had no problem asking for it. And when we would laugh or tease her, she would simply say "How do you expect to find anything out if you don't ask questions?" I think about that and her often. Don't be afraid to ask questions! That is how we learn, that is how we get better at our jobs, show our bosses we care and are willing to grow and be better, show that we're humble and don't have to act like we know everything. The only way to get answers is to ask.
By the way, if you ever need a mantra of your own, or just some inspiration and a good laugh, may I suggest doing a Mindy Kaling quote search on Pinterest. I will close with another of my favorites and a shout out to all the amazing women reading this. "You're a warrior and your warrior name is Beyoncé Pad Thai."