Rising Pro

Rising PROfile: Cady Marsh Gets Social

Have you ever thought, ‘If only I could get paid to manage all my social media accounts!’ That’s something Cady Marsh will never have to wonder about. Cady Headshot

Cady, a Dominican University alumni and Bay Area local, is a social media insurance specialist at CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer, whose love for connecting people online helped her land a job in social media.

“I make insurance fun every day! I support our AAA Partner Clubs all over the country and drive our social media strategy forward for insurance. For me, social media is about connecting with people in real-time. Although the industry might determine the content, it doesn’t change the connection.”

However, Cady didn’t always make insurance fun. Previously, she worked in social media at Juice Beauty for many years. Although making the jump from beauty to insurance seems like a big change, Cady says it was more about the experience of a small versus large company.

“At a smaller, rapidly growing start-up like Juice Beauty, you wear many hats and have your hands in many projects. There is nothing sweeter than when those projects come to fruition and are successful. However, in my current role at CSAA Insurance Group, I am able to really focus on my role. I still cannot decide what I prefer, which is why I consult for local companies so I can have the best of both and learn new industries.”

In addition to managing social media for CSAA, Cady also has to make sure her best practices, skills and experience are always on point. She does this by keeping up to date with all the new and evolving social media platforms.

“It is absolutely overwhelming! I have my favorite blogs and news sources I check each day. I have to give a shout out to my amazing team of individuals from all over the country. Each one of us bring a different niche talent and interest to the table and we constantly keep each other in the loop. I attend conferences and network as much as possible both offline and online. I also have to keep my own personal channels going to stay close to everything and test out different ideas.”

Even though Cady is always hustling at work, she also makes sure to stay busy outside the office.

Cady has been a job shadow host with Junior Achievement of Northern California since 2013, where she hosts students and speaks at career days. She has also spoken to future Dominican University students about her experience being a graduate and undergraduate student at the school.

As if that’s not enough, Cady also recently started a blog to get out of her comfort zone. 

“I started to realize how uncomfortable I am with long-form communication, as in over 140 characters. So I made it a personal goal this year to keep up my writing skills and start a blog, CadyDid. I wrote my first post on International Women’s Day and I am really enjoying it. I do not have an overall theme, which makes it easy to just start writing, but my goal is to figure out what readers enjoy and make it a space for open dialogue, versus a 1:1 communication blog.”

Needless to say, Cady keeps busy sharing and honing her expertise in social media both online and offline.

As more socially-fueled generations grow up and enter the workforce, Cady has some advice for those looking to make a career of connecting with others online.

“If you have a creative spirit, want to learn every single day and enjoy connecting with people, you’re in the right spot! There are so many specialties in social media, like analytics, advertising and content creation. Find out what you enjoy, but don’t forget to roll up your sleeves and get in on the other areas. Social media is all about taking risks (often in real-time), learning from those risks and trying again. You’ll be constantly connected and it’s exhausting, so make sure you take time to disconnect and be with yourself and loved ones.”

In addition to being a Rising Pro, Cady also always makes time to have fun.

“I’m a social butterfly and love planning events and being out and about. I was a figure skater growing up and still enjoy skating and coaching during the winter season. Turning off my cell phone and disconnecting is very scary, yet also very fun for me.”  

If you’re interested in learning more and connecting with Cady, visit CadyDid, and follow her on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

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Get Inspired to Give Better Help

After years of sharing career advice online with Rising Pro, I’ve finally decided to share my advice offline as well.

I’m doing this by volunteering with Dress for Success San Francisco, a non-profit that provides a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and life.

I’ve been eyeing this organization for over a year now and finally decided it was the right time to get out of my comfort zone and share my career advice/experiences with people face to face. Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 2.31.49 PM

Wasting no time at all, I volunteered to be a guest speaker at the organization’s Professional Women’s Group, which gathers once a month to share career advancement opportunities. I delivered a presentation on How to Advance Your Career In and Outside the Workplace (pictured on right).

I’ll admit I was nervous to share my advice.

I didn’t know if I would be able to relate to these women who are 10-20 years my senior and have experienced many more barriers and hardships in their lives.

However, I was met with acceptance and appreciation by this amazing group and many came up to thank me afterwards, wanting to stay in touch. It felt great and I asked myself why I hadn’t done something like this sooner.

Later that week, still feeling invigorated, I decided to give more. I signed up to be a career mentor, where you meet with a woman 1:1 to help with their resume, interview prep or offer career advice.

I had two appointments and went in determined to inspire them. But what I didn’t expect was how much they would inspired me.

These women had each been through so much in their lives, both personally and professionally. However, they were still determined to overcome their challenges, grow and succeed in their careers. As a result, they were incredibly open to my advice and proactive about how they wanted to stay in touch.

After my sessions, I felt so much more informed about the struggles women are experiencing in today’s workforce, especially when it comes to gender, age and disabilities. This made me reflect on what I know regarding these topics and what these women and others may be interested in receiving guidance on.

After a full week of speaking, mentoring and learning, I’m excited to give better help online and offline by getting inspired by these amazing women and all my readers in the coming months.

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Millennials: Take Your Time Getting to the Top

As a kid, I always wanted to cut corners and go straight to the top.

For instance, when I would think about my career, I wanted to start out as the manager or boss. I didn’t want to do my time and work my way up to that point, I just wanted to be at the top – my parents can attest to this.

Side story: When my dad first asked me what kind of car I wanted, I replied ‘A limo.’

He asked me, ‘You want to drive a limo?’ And I quickly said, ‘No, I want someone to drive me.’

That makes me sound like a total brat, but I’m happy to report I don’t get driven around in a limo. I actually don’t even have a car.

The point is that I didn’t want to put in the work, I just wanted to automatically be the boss and get driven around.

But that’s not usually how things work.

You have to get the experience you need before you can get to the top, or else you won’t know what the hell you’re doing when you get there.

Millennials like myself are arguably the most entitled, lazy and self-centered generation to date. It’s sad to say, but I do see a lot of my peers thinking they deserve things they haven’t even worked for.

I’m no exception, especially since I’m both a millennial AND an only child. I have to constantly humble and remind myself that growing your career takes time, hard work and a lot of experience.

Many millennials are all about instant gratification, and you can definitely advance faster than others if you put in the work, but it’s important to make sure it’s not too fast. Take the time to understand what it means to be on top, what will be expected from you and how you can make a difference once you’re there.

Just remember; no one owes you anything. If you want to be on top, climb up with your own two hands, rather than taking a helicopter.

It’s not going to be as easy, but putting in the work, falling a few times and being a little patient will make getting to the top all the more rewarding, and better yet, you’ll be ready.

Do you think Millennials should take their time?

Rising Pro

Be Picky About Your Career Moves

When I was looking for my first job out of college, I wasn’t picky.

I didn’t care what kind of company it was, what industry it operated in and I didn’t even really care what I did. This is probably why my first job was in HR at an organic pork farm.

I was so focused on just getting a job and being independent that I didn’t take the time to research my options and determine what would most likely set me up for success later on.

This is a mistake I still see a lot of people making; and it’s not just recent grads.

It’s tempting to take an offer in an industry you don’t care about, at a company you’ve never heard of, for a role you don’t really understand because you need to get experience and pay the bills.

But if you take a little time to figure out your ultimate career goals when job hunting, instead of taking whatever you can get now, it will pay off down the road.

So where do you start?

First; figure out what industries you’re into.

Think about which industries you get excited about and would like to work in. If you’re not sure, set up some coffee dates with people in industries you’re interested in, check out an industry event or read some trade publications. Once you target a few you’re interested in, you can narrow down the companies you should go after.

Next; research companies within those industries.

Look at the main players, mid-size companies and start-ups in each industry and determine which culture is right for you.

Sites like Glassdoor help with this by giving job seekers unbiased reviews from real employees about what it’s like to work at a certain company, insights about salaries and benefits, and even what the interview process is like. When you start your job search, sites like these are a great starting point to see if the company is inline with your values and what you’re looking for in the long term.

Lastly; find the right opportunity within a company.

If you target a specific company and know you want to grow there, it’s ok to take a role that’s more of a stepping stone to your actual dream job. But remember, when you do get enough experience or figure out your ideal role, don’t settle. Go for what you really want, whether that’s at your current company or outside of it.

You can afford to be a little picky because it will ultimately lead to your dream job. If you’re not, you may find yourself jumping from job to job over the years and not really getting anywhere.

If you have a general idea of where you want to go in your career, before you make any major decisions, ask yourself, ‘Could this job help get me where I want to be?’ If you’re struggling to answer this question, then it’s time to be a little picky.

Have you been picky in your career? 

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Volunteer Your Brains Instead of Brawn

Volunteering is usually something we all want to do, but don’t.

Between a busy work schedule, exercising and maintaining a social life, it can be hard to set aside a few hours to make a difference.

I admittedly only volunteer a few times a year, but every time I complete a shift, it makes me feel the same way I do after a long run; energized and wondering why I don’t do it more often.

But the reality is giving up your Saturday morning after a long week to clean up a beach doesn’t sound as good as brunch with your friends.

But helping others doesn’t always have to mean giving up part of your weekend and manual labor.

Nonprofits also need your business skills during the work week.

This could be guidance and help with planning events, social media strategy, writing, administration, marketing/PR, finance, HR and so many other areas.

Some nonprofits also like to bring in speakers to present to the people they serve. Recently, I was invited by Dress for Success San Francisco to speak to its Professional Women’s Group on the topic of career advancement. I love this because I can give back by building a presentation instead of a house.

I also did skills-based volunteer work a few years ago when I sat on a marketing committee for the Boys & Girls Clubs. I gave up just one hour a month during lunch to discuss how we could better promote BGC to increase donations.

That doesn’t sound so bad does it?

Once you start looking, you’ll find there are a lot of organizations in need of many skills. And you’re not only helping them, you’re also helping yourself. Skills-based volunteer work is a great way to continually build your skill set and challenge yourself in new ways outside of work.

If you’re concerned with taking an hour or two every month to volunteer during the work day, talk to HR or your manager to see if there are any employee volunteer programs or philanthropy initiatives like Salesforce’s 1:1:1 model. If there aren’t any, you can still do skills-based volunteer work before or after work, and on the weekends.

It’s easy to think of volunteering as building, cleaning and planting, but it can be so much more.

Give back with the gift of knowledge.

Have you ever done skills-based volunteer work?

Rising Pro

Why Women Should Help Each Other Get Ahead

“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” ― Madeleine Albright

I usually write about career topics that affect both men and women.

However, I think it’s important to call out the amazing strides women are making in the workplace and beyond right now, but also address how we’re in danger of losing our momentum.

In the past few years, there have been amazing triumphs. Three in particular come to mind:

  1. Facebook COO Sheryl Sanberg’s extremely popular book, Lean In, brought to light many ignored issues around workplace inequalities, but also served as a rallying cry for women to take control of their careers and lives. As a result, she inspired a generation to take a seat at the table, ask for more and know their value.
  2. Actress Jennifer Lawrence addressed equal pay in her essay featured in Lena Dunham’s newsletter, Lenny Letter, where she discussed the astounding wage gap in Hollywood after learning about her male co-star’s salaries. In effect, her essay has challenged women in Hollywood and beyond to demand salaries that reflect their value.
  3. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff made history when his company spent about $3 million in 2015 to match female employees’ salaries to those of their male counterparts. Just as Salesforce has led the way in cloud computing, it’s dedication to equality in the workplace will hopefully serve as a model for other companies in the years to come.

Women are also taking on leading roles outside the workplace.

In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we were introduced to the franchise’s first female protagonist, Rey, who proved she was just as badass (if not more) than her male counterparts. My favorite line of hers was, “I know how to run without you holding my hand!”

Bringing it closer to home, I’ve been seeing more of my female friends doing things you typically see men doing. I know women who build their own furniture, write their own code, play (and understand) football, have engineering degrees and black belts in Karate.

Needless to say, there have been countless examples of women realizing their full potential and going for what they deserve in recent years.

However, I’m scared we might hit a wall. It’s not because I think men will get in our way; I think other women will.

Over the years, I’ve been a part of many different teams; both male heavy and female heavy. They both have pros and cons, but I definitely feel more on edge when I’m working with other women.

Why?

When women feel insecure, jealous or overlooked, they tend to tear each other down. Also, many of us feel there are only so many places at the top, so we fight to make sure there’s a spot for us when we get there. It happens in high school and it’s still happening in high rises.

I’m no exception.

I’ve definitely talked negatively about female coworkers because I’m jealous or insecure about my own performance. We’ve all done it, both men and women, but I think it’s more apparent among women because we feel like we have more to prove to get ahead.

We can’t have this attitude anymore.

We shouldn’t tear other women down just because they got promoted faster or received an awesome opportunity. Instead, put that energy into advancing your own career, while helping and encouraging others along the way.

I have been lifted up by many amazing women throughout my career. If they hadn’t given me that kindness, support and encouragement, I’m not sure I would be so driven and accomplished in my career today.

I truly believe if women are nicer and more supportive of each other, we will all get where we want to go a lot faster.

Do you think women are getting in their own way? 

 

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Three Reasons Why You Should Be Networking (Even if You Love Your Job)

I love going to networking events.Networking3

No matter where I’ve moved over the years, one of the first things I’ve done is look for professional networking events in my area in hopes of finding a new career opportunity.

But after getting my dream job at Salesforce last year, I started to wonder, ‘Do I really need to attend networking events anymore?’

After all, I was mainly attending to make business connections that would hopefully lead to a new job. After that happened, I found it hard to commit to continually going to networking events. All I could think was, ‘What’s the point?’

After settling into my new job and taking a break from networking, I realized there are actually many other important reasons to attend professional events, other than finding a new career. Here are three reasons you should commit to networking, even if you love your job.

  1. Find new talent – Networking events are a great place to find people who are looking for a job. Even if you’re not in recruiting, most companies offer a referral bonus for finding new talent. That right there is worth an hour of your time after work. Also, if you have enough time before an event, talk to HR or check your careers page to see what positions your company is hiring for. Then you’ll know what to look for when you’re talking to new people.
  2. Connect other people – Often times you meet people at events that don’t have much to offer you. But that doesn’t mean they can’t help a colleague or a friend! Try and connect the dots when you’re talking to see if they can help other people in your life. If they can, get their info and make the connection!
  3. Find friends, partners and fun – When I first moved to the Bay Area, I attended a Young Professionals of San Francisco networking event and met someone who invited me to play on his volleyball team. That led to many seasons playing together, new friendships and even meeting my current boyfriend. In addition to new career opportunities, networking events can also lead to friendships, relationships and finding fun things to do when you’re off the clock.

What are some other reasons to attend networking events? 

Rising Pro

Rising PROfile: Jen Dewalt Writes Her Own Code

Jen Dewalt is not your typical developer. final_square_600

Unlike many of her peers who have degrees in computer science/engineering or received extensive training, Jen has a background in art and taught herself how to code.

Originally from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Jen moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in the summer of 2011 to help launch a hardware company. 

Although the company didn’t make it off the ground, Jen realized she loved working in tech and decided to find new ways to immerse herself in the industry.

After working on some user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design in her next job, she had a revelation.

“I loved working on the products I was designing, but I really wanted to be able to build them myself by learning how to code. I tried reading textbooks and working through online courses in my free time, but nothing really stuck.”

Then she had a crazy idea.

“I decided if I was going to learn to code, I needed to do it seriously. I quit my job and decided I was going to do something self directed.”

Jumping right in, Jen came up with the idea to build 180 websites in 180 days.

“It was a great motivator to keep me on task and moving forward. Self directed learning isn’t for everyone, but I’m a huge believer in learning by doing. It’s the fastest way to really absorb something new.”

After several frustrations, mistakes and triumphs, Jen successfully built all 180 websites in 180 days.

And thankfully, her theory of putting all her focus on teaching herself how to code worked. She learned several coding languages, like HTML, CSS, Javascript and Ruby on Rails. She also learned about running her own server on Amazon, using git and GitHub, how to work in the terminal, interfacing with APIs, and how to build a rollout strategy.

When asked about some of her ‘failure days,’ she responded,

“In a sense, every day was a failure day because every website I shipped was unfinished. They all could have used more design, more features, but because I had a deadline for publishing them, I had to get comfortable with releasing something that wasn’t perfect.”

After she wrapped the 180 project, Jen started YumHacker, a restaurant discovery website, as a follow up project to explore how to build a full web product.

Then after a short stint as a hacker at Wit.ai, Jen co-founded her current company, Zube, a project management tool for software development teams that love GitHub. The core of the app is a board where you can organize and visualize the task your team is working on. Everything on your board is two-way synced with GitHub in real-time, so everyone has a clear picture of the project’s state.

“We started Zube after our experiences working on small to mid-sized development teams. We were having trouble communicating what was going on with bugs, features and other work that needed to be done…[so] we started Zube to make a project management tool that’s designed for the way developers work.”

Jen still codes every day to keep her skills sharp and takes on a lot of side projects. She has also spoken about the 180 project at conferences like South By Southwest (SXSW) and JSConf Argentina (watch it here). 

Jen has come a long way since she first landed in the Bay Area, and she credits a lot of that success to her support system.

“I find my friends and peers are the best motivators and inspirers. Surrounding myself with great people who are interested in the same kinds of challenges keeps my creativity flowing. Seeing my colleagues succeed is a great motivator.”

The idea of learning how to code can be daunting, but Jen shared some advice for those who have thought about trying it.

“Do it! It can be super intimidating, but push through and get started. I’m a big fan of building real things. Setting your goal to ‘Make this thing’ rather than ‘Learn this fact,’ makes it much easier to push through confusion and frustration. Also, don’t feel like you have to do something massive to get started. Start with something small and then grow from there. But most importantly, #JFDI.”

Outside of coding and cofounding companies, Jen is an amazing volleyball player, which she says is a huge stress reliever, and has also been known to enjoy cigars and tequila.

Although it hasn’t always been easy, Jen is continuing to write her own code and shows no signs of slowing down.

Interested in connecting with Jen, learning more about Zube or recruiting her for your volleyball team? Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter and GitHub

Rising Pro

Top 5 Rising Pro Posts of 2015

I can’t believe 2015 is almost over!

A lot has happened this year and I hope you’ve enjoyed my advice and experiences over the past 12 months. Every year I like to take a look back at my posts and see which ones you enjoyed the most.

It’s no a surprise two of the five most read posts are profiles on rising pros who were kind enough to share their personal journeys and helpful career advice with us. I’ll make sure to keep profiling folks in 2016. Feel free to e-mail me if you know someone who would make an interesting profile (even if it’s you).

Ok, the wait is over. Below are the top five posts of 2015, in order of popularity:

  1. Rising PROfile: Appstem CEO Robert Armstrong
  2. Goodbye MSLGROUP, Hello Salesforce
  3. Three Thoughts from Joe Garvey
  4. Stop Saying ‘Sorry’ at Work
  5. How to Leave a Job with Grace

What was your favorite Rising Pro post in 2015?

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How to Find a Mentor (Who’s Not Your Boss)

Mentors are great, but they aren’t always who you’d expect them to be.

Having a mentor to champion and guide you is one of the best ways to advance in your career. But finding someone on your team to play that role isn’t always easy.

Sometimes the person you want to be your mentor is too busy to adequately help you navigate your career. Other times the people who are available are not ones you really respect or trust.

So what do you do?

Go up and out.

If your immediate boss or colleagues are unable to be a good mentor (for whatever reason), look up inside your company.

Is your boss’s boss someone you look up to? Is there an executive or an experienced pro on a different team who you aspire to be?

If you’re looking around and don’t see anyone, go outside your company. Identify people you already trust and admire, who may offer good career guidance.

This could be a past boss or colleague, someone from a professional organization you belong to, or even a friend or family member who has a successful career. Once you start looking, you’ll probably see there are a lot of people who are willing to help you.

Once you find a mentor, how to do approach them?

I like to start by sending a short e-mail or text to a would-be mentor. Ask them if they have 20-30 minutes for a coffee during the workday to talk about [insert subject]. If they don’t work close to you, ask to arrange a phone call.

This short amount of time makes this ask seem doable and believe me, people love making time to offer advice and talk about their past experiences. If you don’t hear back from them, don’t be afraid to follow up after a few days.

Once they agree, make sure to always pick a time and place that’s convenient for THEM. After all, they are doing you a favor.

Before the meeting, develop a few talking points to stay focused so you don’t waste their time.

During the meeting, have a pen and notebook handy to jot down their insights. A laptop or tablet is fine too, but sometimes it can seem like you’re not paying attention in a face-to-face meeting.

At the end of the meeting, thank them for their time and ask if it’s alright to reach out for advice periodically and they best way to do so.

If you discover they aren’t the right mentor for you, keep searching. There’s a ton of professionals out there who can help you in your career. In fact, don’t limit yourself to one. You can have multiple mentors who offer you different things. Maybe one is your career path guide, one is your work-life balance guru and another is your industry expert.

Lastly, your relationship with a mentor should be ongoing. Make sure you continually stay in touch, even if it’s not career related, like wishing them a happy birthday or sending them an interesting article. This builds your relationship and shows you care about them, not just their advice.

Don’t get discouraged if your immediate boss isn’t fulfilling all your career needs. If you look up and out, you will find a wealth of information all around you.

How did you find your mentor?