Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Kathleen Grandfield's Career Combines Chocolate & Jewelry

Kathleen Grandfield's career choices has led her to combine two of her passions: chocolate & jewelry. What's not to love!?!

A gifted jewelry designer, she conceived her first handcrafted line after collecting vintage jewelry while living and working in London. She recently moved Chocolatecture and Red Texture Jewelry Designs to the Houston, Texas Area.

You can view more of her jewelry and chocolate designs at her company's website:

Or you may want to ask her a question at her blog: La Vida Cocoa.

I just think that it's super to find a way to combine your passions to find the work you love, so I wanted to interview Kathleen as a guest here at Real Women -- Real Careers.

I was able to ask her a few questions about her career to help other women who are considering something similar.

What is the best thing about your job?: The best thing about my job is the enjoyment of being able to use my imagination to create designs in two different mediums. By consolidating both businesses under one website I am able to pursue and market both careers I am passionate about.

What's the best advice you ever got?: The best advice I ever got was to “Invest in Myself”.

Do you have any words of wisdom to other women?: To young women who are embarking on a career path I would recommend doing a Mind Map. Recognize your strengths and passions. Be true to Yourself! Also if possible hire a career coach to guide you and give you seasoned advice and empowerment tools.

For those older women faced with life’s challenging twists and turns, have perseverance and never be afraid to “Re-invent” youself. And remember….it’s never too late to achieve your dreams.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Encouraging Young Women to Consider Engineering as a Career

This career event is sponsored by Lockheed Martin, the Girl Scouts and The University of Akron:

Kids Career Day is just around the corner so don’t miss out on this unique and exciting chance to touch science!!! Kids Career Day is a ½ day program that is designed to involve children in interactive activities related to occupations in engineering, science, technology, and math.

It will be held on February 23rd, 2008 from 8:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. (registration begins at 7:30 a.m.).

Each activity at Kids Career Day showcases professional women who are currently employed as scientists, mathematicians, and engineers.

Enjoy a morning filled with the fun side of science and math sponsored by Lockheed Martin, The University of Akron and Girl Scouts! To join us just click the link for a registration brochure.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

How Did you Get Started in Your Career

I recently was emailed by a young man from University of Washington with Career Questions from a New Marketing Grad. I thought I'd share his questions and my answers here so that it may help more people too:

How did you start your career? My major in college was public relations. In high school I always enjoyed writing. When I was in scouts I sent some announcements into the town paper and got them printed. My senior year in high school I was the school newspaper editor, so when it was time to pick a major, PR seemed to fit my skills and what I liked.

What was your career path to your current position? After I graduated from college, as soon as I got a job, I found that PR wasn't what I expected. PR didn't have the control over a company like I wanted so I quickly went back to school to study marketing. I worked in marketing for many years on consumer products before starting my own marketing company.

My path by title was 1) production coordinator 2) news reporter freelance writer (few months) 3) publications/promotions manager 3) technical writer (few months) 4) copywriter 5) assistant product manager 6) product manager 7) senior product manager 8) brand manager 9)marketing services director 10) entrepreneur/business owner of marketing firm.

What is your typical day consist of? About 50% client work, 10% managing employees, 40% running my business (sales, marketing, accounting, IT, finance, R&D, strategy.) First meeting is usually breakfast, throughout the day I'll have about 15 phone calls, 50 emails, 3 meetings and a very quick lunch/or a longer lunch if it's a meeting. Lots of writing. Many 1 minute conversations with employees. I usually start my day with a cup of coffee and blogging to get the brain cells functioning. Filing the papers on my desk at the end of the day is always a challenge, but if I don't keep up with it, I get piles stacked all over and it looks messy. I like to keep it clean and neat. I make a list of to do's for the next day. Each week I try to spend 5 hours on strategy/big picture.

What do you like most and least about your job? Most: Getting a new client we really want and doing a GREAT job for them. Least: Having to "fire" a client that just isn't working out.

What are the best strategies to break into the marketing field?
1) Volunteer for organizations you're already involved in so you have tangible skills you can show in a portfolio and meet other people who are in marketing. Help the library, the chamber of commerce, the blood drive, your church, the relay for life, community festivals, city council, or any of the non-profit organizations with a board of directors.

2) Work hard and don't complain about doing the "grunt" work like stuffing envelopes or packing bags to hand out that trade show. Do a good job so people will give you more. Look for ways to help. Watch how people do things to get things done.

3) Ask for letters of recommendation from the people you worked for (but only if you really helped them so they will RAVE about you. Ask them to write it on company/organization letterhead if possible. Ask them to mention specifics and give them a cheat sheet to help them write it.) Make a portfolio of your work. Take digital photos of "results" so you can tell a little story (less than 30 seconds each story) about different volunteer products you did. Put the photos and the letters of recommendation into a portfolio along with 2 copies of your resume to take to interviews. I like this portfolio personally because it looks so neat and professional to showcase your accomplishments. Cardinal presentation FLIP books or traditional books.

4) Get informational interviews where you ask questions like these (What Color is your Parachute) Ask each person who else can I talk to who could help. Use networking to get more informational interviews. Use LinkedIn and Facebook. Take off any "bad" pictures on Facebook or MySpace.

5) Figure out what companies you'd like to work for. Send the VP of marketing a letter expressing your interest.

6) Make job hunting a job with a strategy, plan, daily to dos, and follow ups.

7) Look for internships. Try to get 2 or 3 of them in different areas of marketing: communication, research, web design/seo, consumer products, social media, fundraising, etc to try on different areas. Marketing is very different specialty to specialty.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Transitioning the Workplace from Baby Boomers to Generation Y

Although I don't like stereotyping, I do believe that in general different generations view work in a different ways.

A good job: Baby boomers like to "complain" how they took work home all weekend, worked thru the holidays and put in extra hours. In their mind it shows how committed they are, how important their job function, how crucial they are to the overall workings of the organization. "Oh it's really busy at work, I'm really busy, but wouldn't want it any other way."

On the other hand, when the Generation Y group (Milleniums?!) talk about work, it's more about what work enables them to do on their time off. It's not live to work... it's work to live.

I read an interesting article about how to manage Gen Y at work... because baby boomers sometimes don't understand the motivations and what's viewed as a reward to one generation will be seen as a punishment by another. I think the more individuals within the same organization but in 2 different generation groups understand where each other are coming from, it will be a smoother transition into a stronger, happier workplace.

Here's some insights the article offers -- do you agree?

Communication style: Gen Y employees speak a different language, so hiring and department managers need to practice a new style of communicating. Gen Y employees respond to humor, passion and the truth: don't even think of "spinning" a message with this audience. As Gen Y employees increasingly dominate the workforce, people who work with them should also realize how important direct and timely feedback, frequent encouragement and recognition of efforts are to 18-30 year olds. While this may feel like pampering to some, the outcome is a set of employees who are engaged and motivated to show their best work.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year -- 2008

New Years resolutions are just goals in disguise! So what career goals are you looking for in 2008?

Figuring out:

- What you love to do?
- What you have skills to do?
- What the world needs?

Where these 3 collide is the sweet spot. Here's to a successful 2008!