Today I’m following up on my 5 personal highlights with 5 professional ones that have shaped my work. Enjoy the ride!
1 / PLANNING FOR LEMONADE
I’m a lover of plans. The funny thing about plans, though, is that they’re all lemons. They often run sour, making you wonder if the effort they require is worth it. To me, the answer has been a resounding yes. Because without lemons, you just can’t enjoy lemonade!
When I set my mind on attending Journalism School, just over a dozen months after immigrating to Canada from Brazil, I was told I needed a portfolio. It’d be an understatement to say I was self-conscious about my English at that point in my life. So… No. I didn’t have a portfolio. And after writing and tearing up umpteen drafts of the required autobiography, I didn’t have that either. So I did what any reasonable dreamer (is that an oxymoron?) would do: I submitted a single sentence inviting the school to interview me. They did call, and I did get admitted.
From J-School onward, this dynamic has repeated itself at every turn and milestone. Through my professional journey, I’ve stumbled upon the secret of enjoying lemonade: you need to be hard-headed about your highest why, but soft-headed and soft-hearted about the what, when, and particularly the how goals come together.
2 / running a business
My first taste of entrepreneurship was in the bank. Yup. You read that right. Amidst the highly bureaucratic fiber of a Canadian bank lay a creative, innovative strand dully named Circular & Manual Control.
CMC was the sleepy publishing house supplying over 35,000 employees with the rule book for banking. Oh, and what fun I had redesigning its services, service level agreements, templates, and style guides for the brave new world of online publishing! But the best part? Hard. Selling. The roadshow-loving, phone-hungry kind of selling that had me memorizing 250+ extension numbers and cutting deadline deals on the daily.
Here, I learned about process, workflow, and operations. CMC is where my love of heady, pragmatic order first bloomed. It’s also where I understood the full potential of creating something totally tailored to a real person’s needs from scratch. I was hooked!
3 / going grassroots
Through my work at CMC, I accidentally discovered the world of management consulting. A serendipitous connection and a few conversations with a neighbor who worked at McKinsey led to my resolving, one frigid New Year’s Eve, that that was the year I’d become a consultant.
And that I did. In April, I crossed Toronto’s Bay Street and joined a competing bank’s internal consulting team; their change management and performance improvement group to be precise. It was like bread meeting butter for the first time! I abandoned myself with gusto to learning the ins and outs of large-scale change. I was sobered, and heartened, to confirm that even large-scale change begins with small steps.
My favorite assignment from this time was designing a mystery shopping program for the bank’s top executives. Through it, these powerful, busy men and women got to spend an entire morning out in the field wearing the shoes of our own and our competitors’ customers. It was gratifying work for its own sake, but also because the CEO took attendance. Ha!
4 / GOING IVY & BEYOND
Though I realized from day one that I was the most junior person on the floor, it didn’t take long to grasp what I was missing: an MBA. All my peers either had one or were busily planning their applications. One day, someone at the office made a suggestion: you should really consider Tuck, you’d love it there.
A new horizon fell into place ahead of me. An MBA. At Dartmouth. Who dis?! I decided that this was to be my next step. It was Tuck or bust. (To be fair, my very vague but comforting back-up plan was to study design in Florence.)
We all know how that went down. I’ve been in the Upper Valley for nearly 10 years now, but not without first taking a detour to Seattle, where I was a cog in the Amazon.com wheel, before heading back East to marry an excellent man and take a WFH job operating a small business.
5 / ANSWERING MY HIGHER CALLING
Just like in my personal highlights, the sum total of my professional highlights brought me back to answering my highest calling. After nearly seven years with the small business trying my had at anything from cash management to contract negotiations, from product design to sales, it was time to make it personal.
My mission is to help you create the home you need for the life you want. That is how I am to serve you, to create value in your life. But that mission is a child calling of the absolute, higher charge I’ve been given: To uphold and elevate family and home, or as I refer to it in my inner dialogue with God, the domestic church.
REVEAL METHOD is not my latest stop, it’s my life’s mission.
Until next time,
PS – ICYMI, here are 5 personal highlights about me.