Three very important lessons I've learned in my career, which started in the pump industry over a decade ago - (1) Authority is not given. It's taken. (2) Know your worth. (3) Never stop growing. These are lessons I hope to share with this community of Empowered Women - a group that I also hope to learn from. Part of learning is sharing...so I will share with you and hope that you will do the same - because whether we realize it or not, we learn
from one another when we share our stories.
Back in 2005, I got hired 10 minutes after an interview with a pump rebuild company after I told the VP that their company website was terrible and that I could fix that for them. It was bold and gutsy, but came easy at the age of 22 when you're mentally prepared to conquer the world. Upon starting in that position, I was told by a co-worker, someone I greatly respected (and still do), to keep my head down, keep quiet and just get my work done. I kept quiet at first, but I did more than what was required and I paid attention to the dynamics - how people worked together, who moved up and how they climbed that ladder.
I realized that I needed to let my bold, 'ballsy' self back out to grow my marketing department - and I did. We went from a 2-person team to an entire department that supported sales growth to double the numbers of previous years. By taking the authority to make decisions without checking with supervisors on every little thing, I eventually worked directly under the President and Vice Presidents of the company. I learned so much from them, and to this day, I appreciate everything they taught me.
Life in your 20's is very different from life in your 30's; working 12-hour days does not work when you have a little one at home who is depending on you. Even after trying to work 20 hours in the office and 20 hours remotely, it was clear that schedule was not satisfactory to the leaders with whom I had set such a high standard. After 9 years at a company I loved, I made the very hard decision to leave because my lifestyle and priorities had changed. But it wasn't fair. I did not want to stop working. I knew I could raise my daughter and still use my brain, exercise my skills, grow my talents...I did not want to stop. This is why it's so important to know your worth - and Charli K. Matthews knew my worth even before I did.
Charli reached out to me after she found out I had left that company, and we met for lunch when she was in Chicago for an FSA meeting. She held my infant daughter while I ate a hot meal, and she asked me if I'd be interested in working with her. She extended to me a lifeline when I had none. She helped keep my career from completely fizzling out - and for that I have eternal gratitude to her and all she has done. And the amazing thing is that ever since I joined her team, I keep seeing what Charli *does* for people. She has helped me to grow, pushed me out of comfort zones, and inspires me endlessly. I am so passionate about Empowering Women in Industry because I want to grow. And I want to grow together.