Rising Pro

Three Thoughts from Joe Garvey

This week, I had a nice e-mail exchange with Joe Garvey, founder of San Francisco startup, Clash, a JoeGarvey_headshotcompany that challenges the status quo of team building for the likes of Apple, Google and FitBit with city-wide scavenger hunts that get coworkers out of their comfort zones.

I asked Joe three quick questions for my new series ‘Three Thoughts,’ which gives readers a peek inside the minds of smart and talented Rising Pros around the world.

 What podcast are you listening to and/or what book are you reading right now? 

I’m listening to the Serial podcast. It’s the first podcast I’ve ever listened to and it makes long drives seem short. I’m reading the book Raise the Bar, which is the foundation for bar economics. I opened a bar last year and there are countless nuances to running a successful venue that it harps on – how lighting drives sales, that liquor reps will pay you not to carry a competitors brand, what the goal of interior design is, and how important security is.

What was your worst job, and what was the best lesson you took away from it?

My worst job was as a legal assistant at an immigration law firm that dealt with asylum cases. I was fired after 3 weeks. It made me realize I’m not meant for a desk job.

What do you want to be remembered for 4o years from now?

I’d like to be remembered for being unpredictable and kinda crazy.

Check out Joe’s company Clash for ‘Team Building That Doesn’t Suck’ and grab an expertly crafted cocktail at his bar, Romper Room, the next time you’re by Union Square in San Francisco.

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Rising Pro

How to Be Successful by Staying Healthy

I always leave work right at 5:30 p.m.

It’s not that I’m a clock watcher or don’t have more work I could do. It’s because I know my downtime is one of the most important aspects of being successful.

We all want to perform well, stand out and get respect from our boss. But that doesn’t have to come at the price of your personal well-being. This concept is especially hard for young professionals to grasp because they are hungry to learn and want to prove themselves in the workplace. But not allowing yourself the time to take care of yourself can work against you.

Deepak Chopra, M.D., an American bestselling author, public speaker, and prominent alternative medicine advocate, recently wrote on the topic of mastering self-care as a busy professional.

“…don’t let the work overwhelm you. Don’t compare yourself with others to your detriment. Avoid unproductive stress, the kind that has no beneficial outcome. Don’t let your relationships suffer from the job. Don’t bring your work home if you can help it.”

As a renown physician and businessman, his advice makes you think twice about what really makes you successful in your career.

I believe you need to work hard, but also allow time to recharge so you continue to stay productive and passionate about your work. Here are a few ways I manage to stay healthy and successful.

  • Don’t be a slave to your e-mail 
      Unless I have a specific client matter I need to attend to, I don’t check e-mail on my way to the office or after I leave for the day. This helps me unwind and eliminates unneeded stress.
  • Take breaks
      Don’t stay in the office all day. Get out for at least 30 minutes and take a walk, window shop or grab some lunch. Taking some time to recharge will help you be more productive throughout the day.
  • Reward yourself after a long day
      I give myself something to look forward to every day after work. From a relaxing yoga class, to dinner with a girlfriend, to watching a few of my favorite shows, I make sure to reward myself for working hard.
  • Exercise
      I cannot say enough about exercise as a stress reliever. There has never been an instance where I have regretted working out after a long, stressful day. It’s one of the best ways to reenergize and prepare for a new work day.

Being successful doesn’t mean long hours and constantly being plugged in. If you work hard during your normal hours, but also make the time to take care of yourself, you’ll always come out on top.

How do you take care of yourself and stay successful?

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Tips for Hosting a Successful Networking Event

Last week, I hosted my first networking event for PRSA San Francisco at MSLGROUP, and the feedback was unanimous; it was one of the best PRSA networking events.

As the organizations’ new event’s director, I wanted to start the year off with a bang and host an event that would get people excited about networking and come to more PRSA events in 2015.

When I started planning, I thought about all the best aspects of each mixer I’ve attended, and developed a must-have list for the event. After meticulous planning, and a lot of help from MSLGROUP, I was hopeful my event would be a memorable.

I was right.

Within 10 minutes, I knew this networking event was a success. Attendees were coming up to me left and right saying how much fun they were having and how the venue made networking more pleasurable.



After the event, I took all the feedback and compiled six tips for planning a successful networking event:

  1. Pick an appropriate venue: I hate networking in a cramped bar that’s loud and dark. I hosted my event in an office because it’s quieter and you have control over the lights and space. This proved to be one of the biggest pros of the event. We piped in ambient music, introduced colored mood lighting and set up the networking area in a large space were people could wander between conversations. It’s also important to pick a place that’s easy to get to from public transportation.
  2. Help promote the conversation: I made sure to help people connect in two ways. First, I created colorful name tags that included two blank spaces; one for ‘Name’ and one that said, ‘Ask me about…’ to give attendees an icebreaker. Secondly, I personally introduced attendees I knew had similar interests, which resulted in long conversations and follow-up meetings.
  3. Get your food and alcohol covered: Since MSLGROUP sponsored the event, they footed the bill for food and drinks. That meant endless beer and wine poured by staff and delicious appetizers, which wowed guests and made them stay much longer. Even if you don’t have a sponsor, using your budget for alcohol and food expenses is a good way to get people to come and stay longer.
  4. Establish a flow: If you have enough room, don’t put all your food and drinks in one place. We had the bar at one end of the event space and the food at the other. This forced people to circulate and meet more attendees to get the most out of their experience.
  5. Don’t do everything on your own: I made sure to enlist the help of MSLGROUP in ordering food and drinks, setting up and overall logistics. This made my life so much easier and freed me up to check in with attendees, jump around the event and not feel (or look) stressed out.
  6. Document the event: I was fortunate enough to utilize MSLGROUP’s resident photographer who helped capture the event. The next day, he provided me with beautiful photos to post on social media and PRSA’s website, so everyone could relive the night online. This is also a great way to encourage those who missed the event to attend the next one. If you don’t have a photographer for your event, document the fun with a smartphone camera and encourage attendees to take their own photos and share them online.

Hosting the first PRSA networking event of 2015 was so much fun, and I’m so glad attendees had such a great networking experience. I’m excited to apply these tips to all my upcoming events and I hope you find them helpful too. (See more event photos here)

 Do you have more tips for planning a successful networking event?

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Rising Pro

Rising Pro Celebrates 5 Years with a New Look

I can’t believe it’s been five years since I started the Rising Pro blog.

I remember writing my first post on a friend’s couch as a student/intern in college. I felt like it marked my entry into the professional world, and I was excited to see where it would take me and how it could help others.

Five years later, I’m now writing my blog as a professional with extensive work experience in marketing and public relations. Over the years I’ve noticed that as my career has evolved, so has my content. Therefore, I decided it was time for a change in 2015.

In celebration of Rising Pro’s five-year anniversary, I completely revamped the look and feel of the blog. Get the full experience here. I really hope you enjoy the new format and I’m excited to bring you more insightful posts in 2015, inspired by workplace experiences and challenges.

I’m also open to content suggestions. If you have a post idea or want to write a guest post in 2015, submit your ideas here.

Thanks for your continued readership and I look forward to another five years!

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Rising Pro

Make it a ‘Happy’ New Year

Last year, I made two types of New Years’ resolutions.

In the final days of 2014, I'm already smiling more!
In the final days of 2014, I’m already smiling more!

I had multiple yearly goals for both my personal and professional life. This year, I’m doing the same thing, but I have just one resolution for both; smile more.

Throughout the week, I catch myself sporting a deadpan look on my face all the time. I do it while I’m working, commuting, cooking and exercising, among other activities. It probably makes me seem like I’m annoyed or indifferent, and my guess is that it doesn’t make my life more enjoyable.

So this year, I pledge to smile more. In meetings, when I write, while walking, doing chores or traveling to work. There is no reason to look so serious all the time.
As I tackle this resolution, I’m also excited to see the effect it will have on others. For instance, when you smile at someone, whether a stranger, coworker or loved one, they can’t help but smile back (most of the time). You can have a positive effect on others just by simply smiling more yourself. Sometimes a kind gesture is all you need to turn someone’s day around or make a situation more enjoyable for yourself.

This year, I’m smiling more at work and at home. My hope is to not only make every mundane situation more enjoyable, but also make other people’s lives a little bit brighter too.

What’s your resolution for 2015?

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Rising Pro

Top 5 Rising Pro Posts of 2014

It’s that time of year again.

The month when I look back on all my posts from the past year and share the ones that were read the most over the past 12 months. In 2014, I wrote 20 posts and enjoyed reading all your thoughtful comments and e-mails. It was also neat to see some of my posts reaching professionals from many different corners of the world, most notability the U.S., India, Canada, Mexico, Jamaica and Japan.

It’s so fun to look back over the year and see which posts you all liked the most and share them with you again.

I hope you enjoy reading all these posts as much as you did the first time, and if you missed some of them, hopefully you have a chance to read them this time around.

Without further ado, I give you the top five posts of 2014, in order of popularity:

  1. Rising PROfile: Olivia Blends Business with Winemaking
  2. Three Pros Give Advice to Their Younger Selves
  3. What Happens After You Get Promoted
  4. 3 Ways to Grow Your Career Outside of Work
  5. Two Things My Mom Taught Me About Business

What’s your favorite Rising Pro post from 2014?

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Rising Pro

Rising Profile
Lorel Grande Keeps Her Heart in Mind

When faced with the choice of pursuing a career in business or psychology; Lorel Grande went with her heart and decided to study the mind. 

Eight years later, she has a B.A. in psychology from Dominican University of California (DU), hundreds of counseling hours logged and is on track to finish her Master of Science in counseling psychology, with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy, in December 2014. During this time, she also worked in the Athletics Department at DU for over five years, and is currently a head coach with the Marin Juniors Volleyball Club.

It’s been a long road, but when she decided to pursue psychology, Lorel knew it was a career she would love.

“I love having meaningful conversations with people and understanding why people do what they do. Psychology enables me to have those meaningful conversations and offer guidance to people who are searching for it.”

After almost a decade of undergraduate and graduate work, Lorel shared that she made the decision to get a master’s right after her bachelor’s degree so she wouldn’t lose momentum. And apparently getting a master’s degree in psychology is essential.

“In psychology, you basically have to gain a higher degree to continue to work in the field, especially as a therapist…Patients also want to know that the individual who is helping them has the education and competence to work with them and the current issues they are facing.”

Looking back over the years, Lorel reflected on some of the challenges she faced along the way to a higher degree.

“Getting through the task of juggling all of life’s challenges and my co-workers, while completing a very mentally and emotionally heavy school load feels like nothing short of a miracle. I had to plan ahead in all things and make extra efforts to communicate with all parties involved. I also had to prioritize, decide which piece of the puzzle was more worth my time; school work, paid work, family, friends or myself. What I learned from prioritizing is that you can never under value the importance of taking care of yourself. Feeling like you are taking care of and valuing yourself enables you to participate more fully in all other aspects of your life.”

Conversely, Lorel shared that the most rewarding aspect of her work was witnessing a client’s personal progress.

“Most of the time being a therapist can feel like a thankless job. You are entering into very peculiar and personal relationships with people, and often will never know how you have helped them make changes for the better. However, it is moments when you see a client’s personal progress or where they actually verbalize what has changed and how you have helped them to make that change that make all those other times worth while.”

After receiving her master’s, Lorel is excited for life after school and applying her experience in a professional setting.

“My current goal is to find a paid position in my field. I am also very much looking forward to reconnecting with friends and family without having to think of what homework is due. At some point I may turn to the Human Resources arena of the corporate world based on my developing area of expertise in happiness within the workplace and interpersonal communication and development. However, until that time arises to pursue my license I have to stay in the clinical world.”

Some other passions she looks forward to devoting more time to include coaching and playing volleyball, cooking delicious meals with friends and family, and reading more good books.

As Lorel prepares to end her master’s work, she offered some advice for Rising Pros considering a higher degree and career in psychology.

“A master’s degree in counseling psychology is a noble career path. Should you choose to pursue such a degree it will serve you no matter what career path you eventually find yourself on, and in your daily life. To understand people and what motivates them to make their choices will always give you a competitive edge in the job market and will help you when managing teams.”

Connect with Lorel on LinkedIn or e-mail her at lorelgrandemfti@gmail.com if you have any questions about pursuing a master’s in psychology or if you’re hiring. 

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Rising Pro

KISS Your Communication Style Goodbye

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci

Content is king in the business world. The more, the better.

Long winded e-mails and drawn out presentations are among the biggest offenders. They steal our precious time and also subconsciously teach us to get to the point slower when it’s our turn to write or present.

In a business world that loves its content, I think there is something to be said about brevity, aka keeping it simple.

As a seasoned professional and speaker, my dad taught me about a handy acronym he uses when writing or presenting: KISS. It stands for ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid.’ This simple saying really works when I develop e-mails or think about how to present something.  Another mantra I like to tell myself is, ‘Get to the Point!’

Not only will keeping it simple help make you more efficient, but it will also make you look and sound like a leader. In a recent Inc.com article, author Sims Wyeth states that if you keep your communications short and simple, you’ll gain people’s attention, consideration and respect. He also shares 10 great tips on how to keep your communications short, but also interesting.

Since this post is about brevity, I’ll keep it short, but I will leave you with this: Don’t get caught up in content. When developing any type of communication, remind yourself to KISS and ‘Get to the Point!’

Got it? Now go out and get your message heard sooner.

Do you keep it simple?

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How to Thrive Under Pressure

The Giants won the World Series this week.

Game 5 of the World Series
Game 5 of the World Series

It was an amazing thing to witness actually living in the city, and I was lucky enough to go to game five. After seven grueling games, ending with an exciting win that lit up the city (literally, in some areas), the Giants showed us that even under great pressure, you can come out as a champion.

The big win got me thinking about performing under pressure and how that translates into the business setting. Unless you have nerves of steel, we all feel pressure from time to time in our jobs. It comes from our managers, peers and even ourselves and it’s what constantly pushes us to perform and grow.

However, some of us can cave under pressure.

Giants' Fever
Mad Bum Under Pressure

Sometimes it’s hard to rise to the challenge and prove to everyone that you can accomplish a task, especially when no one thinks you can handle it. Feeling under pressure is stressful, it can even make you give up. But the next time you feel like you can’t take the pressure, instead of throwing your hands up, make it a point to prove to yourself and others that you can get the job done and even exceed expectations. Here are a few sure-fire ways to get you motivated when you’re under pressure:

  • Look sharp: When I know I have a big day ahead of me, I make it a point to look sharp. When I put on a pair of heels and a nice outfit, and actually do my hair, I feel unstoppable. Spending extra time in the morning to look professional and put together makes me feel more confident and in control.
  • Press play: On your way to the office or during little breaks throughout the day, listen to a few upbeat songs that you know will pump you up. There are certain go-to songs I listen to that make me feel like a true bad ass. Giving yourself an extra boost can help you stay energized to be productive throughout the day.
  • Amp up: Have confidence in your skills when you’re under pressure. When I get tossed a challenging assignment, I try to move past the feeling of stress as soon as I can and move into a state of ambition. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a minute to remind yourself that you can do it and then set a plan of attack to get the job done.
  • Get organized: When you’re getting a lot of pressure from your boss on a project, create a list of to-dos and deadlines. Make calendar reminders that alert you when you need to focus on a certain aspect of your assignment and set goals for the end of the day. Staying organized in a high pressure situation will make you more efficient and it will most likely yield great results.
  • Reward yourself: Give yourself something to look forward to after a long day. I like to plan a happy hour or dinner out when I know I’m going to have a long day. It makes me focus and work harder, knowing that I have a prize waiting for me. The promise of a reward can give you the motivation throughout the day to make things happen.

    The big win!
    The big win!

It’s been an amazing few weeks of baseball. The Giants have shown the city and the world how to thrive under pressure and come out on top. You can do the same in the workplace. If you can get yourself in the right mindset going into a project, you will come out on the other side as a winner.

How do you thrive under pressure?

Giants' Victory Parade
Giants’ Victory Parade
Posey in the Giants' Parade
Posey in the Giants’ Parade
Mad Bum Ending the Parade
Mad Bum Ending the Parade

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How to Give Yourself a Performance Review

The performance review.

A staple in many corporate cultures and something we all have to endure at least once a year. It’s a time to reflect on all you’ve accomplished and where you’re falling short. It’s also a time to set future performance goals and talk about how to get to the next level in your career.

But why wait for your yearly review to do this important exercise?

My first list of goals when I joined MSLGROUP in September 2013
My first list of goals when I joined MSLGROUP in September 2013

Just because your company requires you to undergo a review once or twice a year doesn’t mean that it’s the only time you should reflect on your work. Enter do-it-yourself (DIY) performance reviews, conducted by you!

How will a DIY performance review help your career?

It helps you see your progress, accomplishments and mistakes in real-time, not months later, so you can adjust or maintain your performance level throughout the year. This leads to fewer mistakes, more accomplishments and getting ahead quicker.

Here’s how to conduct a DIY performance review:

1. At the beginning of each month, jot down a list of goals (big and small) associated with your personal and professional growth. The list can be long or short, depending on how much you can realistically accomplish in a month. If you’re unsure with how many goals to start with, try three, like:

  • Complete project X with limited revisions from my manager
  • Help win a new client account
  • Set up one coffee date with a mentor or professional contact to touch base

2. At the end of the month, revisit your goals to see how you fared. Make comments below each goal, noting if they were accomplished or not. If not, explain why and what you could do better next time to meet this goal. If you do reach your goals, explain what the outcomes was, like a job opportunity, praise from your manager, or an award. Also, check in with your managers or teammates and ask them about your performance to add to your notes.

3. After you’ve revisited all your goals and add follow up notes, see if you want to carry over any of the goals you didn’t meet to the next month and/or if you want to create new goals. It’s also great to have standing goals for each month that don’t change, such as attend one networking event.

By cataloging your personal and professional performance and development throughout the year, this exercise helps you keep track of your accomplishments to share with your managers during a required yearly review. Also, if you’re not meeting certain goals throughout the year during DIY performance reviews, you’re able to adjust your approach immediately and start meeting your goals before your next review.

Have you ever given yourself a DIY performance review?

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