Editor's Letter: April 2018

"Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back."

"Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back."

Instead of a traditional 'editor's letter' this month, I thought it's only fair to share my own experiences, as I've asked so many inspiring entrepreneurs and independents to do the same. My major takeaways from this exercise? You can always discover something new about yourself by asking the right questions and it's definitely not as easy to talk about yourself as one would think! Enjoy. xx KMP

Tell us a little about your path so far— where are you from? Where are you currently?  Share a few career highlights. Williamsport, PA à NYC and back to Williamsport again.

After winning one of three spots in a national correspondent search for Dove and Marie Claire magazine, I left my first post-Penn State job at a local advertising agency for New York, scoring a gig as the publicity and social manager for Time Out New York.  Shortly thereafter, I began contracting remotely/ independently for many different organizations in and around Manhattan, then around the world.

I got to play a Dove model for  Marie Claire  once; it was as fun as it sounds. 

I got to play a Dove model for Marie Claire once; it was as fun as it sounds. 

Now, for nearly a decade, I've consulted for a multitude of constructs, from infant startups to major retailers as a strategist and 'virtual voice’; I’ve worked with dozens of unique brands, and my expertise encompasses all aspects of digital marketing and content curation.”

Where do you find inspiration? In life’s nuances; and in stories of the grand, serendipitous successes and triumphs over adversity of every unique, wonderfully interesting person that I’m lucky enough to know.”

How would you describe your personality? “Perpetually peripatetic; I like to put down deep roots and create ultra-meaningful relationships, but I truly feel most alive going which way the wind blows. I’m a boundary-pusher to be sure, much to my husband’s ‘rules are necessary,’ chagrin.”

Erick and me in our East Harlem apartment

Erick and me in our East Harlem apartment

What does being an ‘entrepreneur’ mean to you? Having that brave balance of brilliance and insanity that makes you believe that you can bring something new or unique into the world; working your tail off while knowing that there is no guarantee that what you’re doing will actually even succeed.”

What’s the biggest misconception you face WFH or as an entrepreneur? “There’s a ‘You’re so lucky’ sentiment that many times accompanies conversations I’ve had about working from home and for myself over the years. That bothers me a little bit, because it’s not by random chance that I ended up on this path. Yes, at first, it was happenstance, but dedicating myself to an independent life, feast or famine, for nearly a decade, is what created the opportunities I have now—it was more than just a stroke of good fortune. It was a whole lot of determination.”

Who was the last person that inspired you and why? “My baby sister, Jess; she’s a fighter. She’s 27, but has been through more in the last ten years than most people go through in a lifetime; her fiancé was a Marine, so she dealt with several overseas deployments in her late teens; had two kids, one at 21 and the other at 23; bought and operates her own ice cream shop empire as a young mom;  was diagnosed with lymphoma at 24, went through chemo/radiation for nearly a year; and now just, as the dust settled, gave birth in the beginning of April with my twin nieces, Maddeline and Roxanne. I don’t know how she does it, but she shows up and makes it happen every single day; I’m so proud of her determination to succeed. And can’t leave my middle sister, Chrissy, hanging—she’s a filmmaker in LA and is the most organized, creative, adaptable and hilarious human I know. I’m infinitely blessed to share my history and future with these incredible women.”

My amazing sisters and me 

My amazing sisters and me 

What’s your favorite ‘me-time’ or ’self-care' activity? “I love to read—and definitely don’t do it enough. I like to carve a little time out each day with my nine-year-old Tortoiseshell cat, Kiwi, because we both enjoy the mid-day company and she keeps me centered. I also love to write down some of the wild stories that have been swimming around in my mind for as long as I can remember; I have, literally, hundreds of pages of fiction saved in print and digitally.”

Kiwi

Kiwi

What is the biggest lesson you learned in your 20s? “Competition is fruitless when it is only with yourself.” I’m not sure when this mantra came to me, but after recently entering my 30’s, I realized that my own advice-to-self was what I really needed back then. I’m very fortunate to have always been a confident person (thanks for that, Mom!) but I have also always had deep-seated anxiety about how my success matches up with others’. I try to be really mindful of it, but I’m still always working on improving my outlook.” 

What is your outlook on your future career? Your career industry? “Working remotely and independently is a lifestyle—not a commodity. The idea that transcription gigs and MLM are the sole opportunities for office or entrepreneurial independence will soon be a thought of the past. The future is curating niche communities of like-minded creatives and entrepreneurs—I hope to be on the forefront of that revolution.”

What’s your favorite quote?  “Love of beauty is taste.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is the biggest contributor to your personal, inevitable self-doubt? “That I’ll never live up to my own super-high expectations of success and personal fulfillment.”

If you could give one piece of career advice what would it be?  “If they don’t offer you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” – Shirley Chisolm

Who do you find in business, a personal mentor or celebrity figure to be most intriguing? “I find Chrissy Teigen to be the perfect juxtaposition of sugar and spice; she’s not afraid to be a ‘real woman’ with a bold opinion— even when she knows it may get her into a bit of trouble now and again.”

If you weren’t pursuing your current career, what would you want to be doing? “I have a professional writing minor; I grew up sure I’d be a journalist because I’ve always been a storyteller. Towards the end of college, I switched gears and became passionate about learning about how all of this brand new ‘social media’ worked in its early years and got a bachelor’s in ‘Media Studies’; the way I looked at it, journalism would always exist, new technology is only popular for so long— I still debate whether or not I made the right decision sometimes.”

If you could give younger self any bit of wisdom what would it be? Don’t worry too much; it may all be different tomorrow.”

How do you define success? “Being able to sit quietly with yourself.”

What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses as an entrepreneur and/or WFH? “My greatest strengths are my tenacity and ability to communicate ultra-effectively; my greatest weaknesses are managing my time most efficiently and not always being as assertive as necessary.”

What do you believe most prepared/inspired you to work solo—i.e. corporate experience, college, friends, family, etc.?  “My family is very entrepreneurial—my dad has run his own sales consulting business for the last ten years after a nearly 40-year, stellar corporate sales career. I’m the oldest of three girls; I’m an independent writer and contractor for digital strategy; my middle sister Chrissy is an independent filmmaker and film company owner with a full-time production job to boot; and my youngest sister Jessica owns a half-decade old ice cream shop that’s a nostalgic staple of our hometown—and a mommy; she has 4 incredible kids,  five and under! And my mom, God bless her, is the balance; keeping all of our wild oats somewhat sown.”

The whole gang. 

The whole gang. 

What is your favorite Instagram to follow? Favorite brands on social? “I’m obsessed with the @Gucci rebrand of late; @girlgaze, and the mother of make you hungry, @Food52.

What’s something few people know about you? “I have a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the history of The Beatles and their cultural impact from the first time they stepped stateside to present. ”

The Crackerjack Collective is a series of informal interviews for These New Walls, featuring my entrepreneur and/or work from home network that continuously inspires me. These interviews are meant to, in turn, inspire others looking for similar insight on what we do and the motivation to get started. Know someone extraordinary that you want to see featured in the CJC? Send us an email.