It was my junior year of college and I was still lost on what I wanted to be when I “grew up”. I originally declared Political Science as my major, but after just one class I quickly realized that wasn’t the path for me. In fact, I spent the first two years of college learning something important: what careers I would fail miserably with. Yeah, anything that requires even a little bit of math or science…I’m out.
I started to wonder if I would ever really find my place…if I would ever figure out what I’m good at and what I enjoyed.
Miami University in Ohio is known for its prestigious business school–so not really knowing what else to do, I took a few business classes. I barely survived Finance and Accounting–still to this day, my eyes gloss over just at the sight of a financial statement.
But then a light bulb went off.
I took a class that was actually fun. We talked about things like why Michael Jordan was the best spokesperson ever and the product placement genius on Seinfeld. Now these were conversations that interested me.
And this began my love affair with Marketing.
When most people think about Marketing, they think about advertising and commercials. They think of tag lines and logos. And sure, Marketing obviously plays a role in these things.
But to me, Marketing is so much more.
Marketing is about truly knowing and understanding your audience, your customer. It’s about creating a message that strikes their heart and gets them to do something: to buy something, to go to a website, to click a link…to believe something, to feel something.
I honestly feel lucky that I found a successful career in an area that I absolutely love–that never gets boring to me, that allows me to be creative, and to have fun.
But over the years, there have been times when I’ve second-guessed my profession. See, my friends and family are off doing amazing things. (Remember my sister?) They’re doctors for the homeless, they start non-profts to help orphans in Nepal (I’m not kidding!), they’re teachers, doctors, nurses…they’re working with kids, they’re helping people. They’re making a difference. They’re spending their lives making the world better.
And me? I write brochures. I edit videos. I plan communications and employee programs. These things just don’t always seem to measure up.
But today, I didn’t feel that way.
Today I felt like I was able to take my Marketing expertise and put it to good use…to help others.
After going “Over the Edge” for Big Brothers Big Sisters earlier this year, I wanted to find ways to continue to support this organization…just with both feet on the ground.
So I talked with one of their directors and found a way I could help. Turns out, they need some Marketing help…a lot of it, actually.
I joined their Marketing committee and was immediately asked for my advice on how to improve their collateral pieces.
So today I had the pleasure of helping to lead a workshop session with the Big Brothers Big Sisters team.
Joined by two other Marketing professionals, we spent over an hour talking about all the things that us Marketing geeks love–their target audience, their communication strategies, their messaging. It was a chance for me to stretch my Marketing brain cells and to work as a consultant, helping to support an organization that changes lives. And while I know it was in a “Little” way, I felt like I was able to still make a “Big” difference. (Sorry–couldn’t resist the pun.)
Today is “Giving Tuesday”–after “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”, today is a day that gets back to focusing on what this season should be about–generosity and kindness. It’s a day when people are encouraged to give back to the organizations that they believe in…and I was so happy to have been a part of it.
Michael Jordan and Jerry Seinfeld may have been my first Marketing inspirations, but today I’m inspired knowing that regardless of your profession, you can always find a way to give back and use your talents to help others.
Another reason why Marketing really clicked with me is because it gave me the chance to write. I love writing–actually I love words in general. You’ve probably realized this based on how long some of my posts are (I do try to keep them short, but most of the time, I can’t help myself–just ask my co-workers!).
I believe words are very powerful.
I thought long and hard before starting this blog. I knew I wanted to challenge myself to do acts of kindness, but sharing the stories was something I hadn’t planned on doing. I didn’t want people to think I was doing the acts of kindness for the wrong reasons–I thought I should keep these moments to myself.
But I’m glad I didn’t. Kindness is contagious–I’ve always believed this. People want to help, they want to make a difference…sometimes they just need a little inspiration to get started.
So last year I completed 30 acts of kindness, which is great. But this year, it’s so much more. Why? Because my 30 has already multiplied to 120. One of my friends from high school decided to take my challenge this year (read her amazing blog here!), the family I met while waiting tables, the mom committed to doing the same thing. And then yesterday, I got an email that made my day–a note from one of the directors at URS, the center that I volunteered at earlier this week: