Music to my ears

I Can Hear the Music

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”

 

If you spend any time with me, it is pretty easy to figure out that music is an important part of my life. I hate driving without music, I carry my iPod (yes an actual iPod not just my phone) with me everywhere, and despite being well past my high school years, I still identify as a band geek. Whether I need to pump myself up, calm myself down, or create background noise for better focus, music is my go to. I even tailor my playlists to specific times and activities. Playlists for running are designed to keep me on pace or change it up to make it tougher, work playlists are often a little more chill and sometimes only instrumental. Classical is awesome for studying and of course I have my pumped up, loud playlists for getting ready or cleaning the house. It is still amazing to me even after all of the time I have spent around music the impact that it can have. Music can be empowering, calming, thrilling, comforting; and the impact of the same piece of music can differ greatly person to person. It can suck you in or transport you to a different time or place. I for one am someone who becomes totally absorbed by seeing the symphony live. I have been told that I don’t move for the duration of the entire piece. I can’t say for sure that I don’t move, but I do often become mesmerized by watching the instrumentalists play and allowing my mind to wander with the music.  Other shows have sucked me in with songs that remind me of a person, time, or even a dream. I recently had the opportunity to see The Piano Guys live (I highly recommend them) and it was incredible how even the songs that I had heard from them before completely pulled me in. It is not just live music either; there are songs that as soon as I hear them there is a memory or feeling that is triggered. There are other times when a particular genre is exactly what I need to put myself in the appropriate mindset. When it comes to keeping things balanced, music is an important tool in my kit.

Recently, my musical needs have been rather eclectic. I’ve been super busy at work and thus been hooked on Pandora stations like Lindsey Stirling and The Piano Guys that provide a nice soundtrack without being distracting. On the contrary, when I get home and need motivation to get my butt into gear for a workout, I’ve been blasting songs like Demi Lovato’s “Confident,” finding that a pumped up beat with catchy lyrics is what I need to push through. I may be tired, but I know I will feel better after a workout.

As confident and determined as that sounds, I have to admit that the past two weeks have been draining. It took me several days to recover from San Diego and the red eye flight back; days that were filled with big projects at work, trying to stay on top of Accounting, and getting the everyday chores and responsibilities out of the way. I also agreed to participate in the Tone It Up Bikini Series with a group of friends and I have found that combining my Blogilates schedule with the Bikini Series is tough. This is not helped by how busy I have been this week, making me feel rushed through my workouts so I can get everything done. Weeks like this are where the importance of balance are emphasized. I fell out of balance last week, not getting enough sleep and stressing about work and my Accounting final. I needed a little time to reset. Luckily, I was able to play golf both Sunday and Monday and while I was working and studying I kept a steady stream of good music pumping through my headphones. I can see the light at the end of these crazy few weeks. My Accounting final is tomorrow and while work is still hectic, a few big speed bumps seem to be disappearing. Life is good.

 

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. Let me know what makes up the soundtrack to your life!

 

 

Friday Highlights

Sleep: 7ish Hours

Work: 8 Hours

Study: 1.5 Hours

Workout: Tone It Up Daily 5, 2.5 mile run, walk the stairs at work (16 flights), Blogilates Stretching

Current Soundtrack: The Piano Guys Pandora station

 

San Diego Harbor Social Media World 2016

Social In San Diego

Trying to keep my eyes open while typing…

Oh it’s been a crazy week so far. Social Media Marketing World was a 2 day (3 day if you count Sunday afternoon) whirlwind of learning, networking, and brainstorming hopefully great ideas. Somewhere in there I managed to do a little blogging and attempt some managerial accounting. For the record, sitting at the airport waiting for a red eye flight is the wrong time to try and do your capital budgeting homework. My cue to stop was when I read a question 3 times and still didn’t process what the question was asking me. These are the moments that make balancing a career and grad school tough. On top of already being exhausted, I know that when I get home I not only have to debrief my team on what I learned and develop a recap blog for our site, I have to jump back into several large projects that have end of week deadlines. It is going to be a crazy few days, and that isn’t even taking into consideration that my accounting final is a week from Saturday. My level of exhaustion is increasing just thinking about it.

So lets start with SMMW. Day 2 was a bit calmer than Day 1 (be sure to check out my recap of Day 1 as well), but no less interesting or thought provoking. Live video was still the talk of the town today and while some of it was a repeat of sentiments shared yesterday, there were plenty of great sound bites that made you stop and think. First big point, everyone can learn to be successful in live video. Going live can be scary, and it may not come naturally to everyone, but practice makes perfect. Second, live vide demands authenticity. Shaan Puri of blab emphasized that “no one wants to read your press release, they want to see what you’re all about.” The insights weren’t just tips though; Mari Smith posited that we will see Facebook Messenger and Live merged to offer the ultimate customer service experience. Those are the types of high hopes that marketers have for this burgeoning medium.

My second session of the day was on Google Analytics and was a bit of a let down so I’ll skip over that and go straight to the session dedicated to discussing how marketers can use Facebook Live. Specifically, the session offered 25 ideas for content types that brands can create using Facebook Live as well as best practice tips. Some of the ideas were the obvious ones, behind the scenes, product reveals, but the exercise of going through the different ideas encouraged attendees to actively think on the spot how they would use each suggestion. That in the moment brainstorm can sometimes be the breeding ground for the best ideas. Moore important in my opinion than the ideas presented at this session was the presenter’s enthusiasm, and I think this is something that was apparent throughout the sessions. My favorite thing about going to conferences is being in a place where you can share your enthusiasm with other people who have the same passions and desire to succeed in your space that you do. My favorite sessions were the ones where the presenter was so excited about what they do that you couldn’t help but get excited about what you could do if you implemented the strategies they were talking about. To that point, Marcus Sheridan, aka The Sales Lion, followed up his awesome session with Gary Vaynerchuk with an equaling engaging session on creating compelling content. I knew about Marcus and his story before the conference, but I did not know the level of his passion and enthusiasm. Even before the session started, he was walking around and talking to people and taking an active interest in why they were there and what they had already learned. His motto for content creation is “they ask, you answer” and it is something that he has thrived at in his own business. But it is not just for show, you could see that mindset as he talked to people, finding out about his audience and building the answers to their questions into the session.

This recap may seem a bit out of place on a blog dedicated to balancing career and grad school, but this type of conference is in fact part of my career and my learning curve in growing in my industry. It is also a source of inspiration for me. In the past few days I have been surrounded by the people who are the best in the field that I operate in. They have put in the effort and climbed the hurdles to become the respected professionals that they are, and that is motivating. Seeing their success only fuels my fire to do the same, and I know that getting through school and receiving my MBA is a piece to my success puzzle. So yes, I am totally exhausted and going home to a large pile of work and homework to finish and the next couple days may not be the most fun in my life. However, those are the days that show me that I am strong enough, smart enough, and driven enough to not only get through, but thrive. My Monday Motivation for next week may in fact be looking back at my notes from this week and plotting my next step towards the top of my game.

Here’s to everyone who is chasing their dreams and making it count. I’m sending you good vibes and a bit of the inspiration I absorbed this week.

 

Best,

Katherine

 

#smmw16

Social Media Marketing World -Part 1!

What do you get when you take 3,000 marketers and bring them to a conference in San Diego? Apparently a lot of fun and some great conversations. At least that has been my experience.  Starting off with a welcome party on the USS Midway and continuing today

Social media marketing world opening night uss midway
Opening Night on the USS Midway

with engaging sessions, my time in San Diego has been well spent. I’ve met marketers from around the globe and even some from back home. I am proud to say that Michiganders are well represented at SMMW both in number and in expertise.

The largest trend of this year’s conference is live video, in particular Facebook Live, Periscope, and SnapChat. Content Marketing as a whole has also been a popular topic of discussion. They aren’t just overarching discussions though, the speakers and attendees alike are focused on finding the meaningful and innovative ways to connect to fans and consumers. Live video can be a great tool for marketers, but as with most tools in this industry, you have to be able to identify your space in the field and connect to the audience in an authentic way.  As Brian Fanzo said today, “social video is about the conversation, not just the broadcast. ” Adam Rucker from Southwest Airlines had what I thought was a great example of this with his story about how Southwest used live video during Storm Jonas to take fliers behind the scenes at their command center and have the experts answer the questions of why flights were delayed. Instead of apology tweets and please be patient posts, Southwest was able to bring the meteorologist making the decisions to the fliers and explain in a coherent way why their flights had to be rerouted. Southwest delivered valuable information to their customers in an easy to consume format that would not have translated nearly as well in text form.

I also attended a session on personal branding by Guy Kawasaki that was not only informative, but also incredibly entertaining. The man is very good at what he does, but he has no filter. I actually loved that about him. It gave the session a relaxed and authentic feel. He had some great tips on establishing your personal brand and having an effective Guy Kawasaki Social Media Marketing Worldpresence online. I felt validated by a lot of his tips as they are things that I already do, but I also learned some new things I can try. One of my favorite moments may have been his explanation of how he deals with negative posters on his content. Instead of deleting them, he hides the comments, which on Facebook means that the poster and their network can still see the post but no one else can. That way, you receive the benefit of their engagement when Facebook’s algorithm looks at your content, but their negativity is not on display. Guy was a little more colorful in his explanation, but I’ll just show the picture of his slide as explanation.

How to deal with haters

 

Now, for possibly the top highlight of today, I met Gary Vaynerchuk aka Gary Vee aka the CEO of VaynerMedia. For those who are not in the  digital media world, Gary is an incredibly smart businessman who has made huge impacts in the world of digital marketing and most recently the growth of SnapChat. He is also completely unfiltered and unapologetic about it. His one on one session with Marcus Sheridan produced several very funny moments in addition to an insightful session. One of my favorite quotes was  in #AskGaryVeeanswer to how Gary feels about and if he worries about what happens when the channels that currently elevate his presence and brand are no longer on top. His response? “We are thinking about the platforms in the wrong way – they are here now and that is what matters.” His mindset is that while something is number 1 he is fine putting energy into it because it has a high return. When it no longer has that return, then he’ll stop. I think he is right, SnapChat, Instagram, Periscope, they may not last forever, but right now if that is where your audience is then don’t be afraid to go after them!

The final event for today is a cruise around the harbor on a yacht, which is what I am heading off to now. Be sure to check back tomorrow for that recap and more from the conference!

 

Goodnight All!

 

Best,

Katherine

 

Find Your Path -Overcoming Being Overwhelmed

Breathe In, Breathe Out.

Overwhelmed. This is a feeling that many a grad student is familiar with. Overwhelmed with that amount of work to get done, overwhelmed with choosing classes, overwhelmed with figuring out what they want to do with the rest of their life. Some students, particularly some MBA students, are already well established in their careers and are set on where they want to go. They may be pursuing their MBA as a step to reach the next level or maybe just because their company will pay for it. Others, like me, are at an important point in their career, experienced enough to know what they like and what they’re good at, but maybe not so experienced that they know exactly where they want their career to go over the next 10 years. I’ve been asked several times in the past few months what I want to do, where do I want to end up. I used to know for certain what my answer was to that question. I wanted to work in the Marketing department of a professional sports team with the goal of becoming the Director or Vice President of Marketing. My dream job was Vice President of Marketing for the Detroit Red Wings. That job is still incredibly appealing, but as I’ve expanded my skill set and experienced the professional world outside of sports, I have found other paths that are also appealing. I have found that I am good with data and analytics, and turning the insights from data into a story and then a strategy. I have found that I am incredibly passionate about digital media and finding new ways to connect to fans and consumers in a meaningful way. I was never much of a techie, but my fascination with how tech is developing and how it can be used to communicate and make lives easier is ever increasing. While these expansions in interests and skills are great, they also make the decision of what path to follow more complicated. No longer am I 100% sure that sports marketing is where I should end up and where I will thrive. Long term goals could keep me in the agency world or see me switch to the brand or even publishing side of marketing. The possibilities are exciting but at times intimidating. I am a point in my life where a choice of direction could impact the rest of my career. While it is possible to change direction a year or even several years down the road if I feel as though the path is no longer the right fit, it becomes much more complicated as I commit time and energy to developing my expertise in a given area. I chose to switch my concentration in my MBA from Marketing to Information Systems Management because I believed (and still do believe) that the classes in that track are more closely aligned with the digital marketing skills I am most passionate about enhancing and pursuing. I am confident that digital marketing is a field that I can build a happy and successful career in and requires skills that are applicable across the industries I am interested in. My question and choice comes when I decide which area of digital marketing will become my home in the short and the long term. Some of the pressure I feel is self imposed; I worry about making a “wrong decision” and ending up in a situation that is very different from what I was looking for. I worry that I will choose something that I may be qualified for and even good at, but that does not make me happy. Now, I have been in similar spots before and know that all big choices in life come with some risks, whether they be career choices or not. I took the risk to go away for college where I knew no one, I took the risk to move back to Michigan for a job knowing I was leaving a certain comfort and life I had built in St. Louis. There were some bumps in those choices, but I have come out on the other side and know now that those were risks worth taking. I will never know for sure if a path is right until I start down it, and that is a risk I will have to accept. The alternative is to stay where I am which, while comfortable, will eventually become unsatisfactory as I will be leaving my potential unfulfilled.

I cannot say for sure where I will be in 5 years, life throws curveballs at you on a regular basis, I can however choose to make the most of the opportunities I am given and go after the moments that will propel me upwards and onwards.

Healthy Living Meal Prep

Sunday Shenanigans 4/3/16

Dear Mother Nature,

It is officially spring…STOP SENDING SNOW!

I don’t about you, but I am tired of cold weather. I am ready for skirts and cardigans instead of layers of sweaters and boots. I know I live in Michigan and I should be used to the cold and springs like this, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. We had a couple weeks of nice weather and I do not want to go back. Rainy and cold days are hard after a few days of gorgeous weather; they make it tough to be productive at the office and even tougher to come home and study or workout. There is something energizing about a pretty spring day, something that makes that run or homework a little more appealing even after a long day at the office.

However, we all must continue despite the dreary weather. My Sunday Shenanigans have consisted of meal prep and cleaning so far, with a POP Pilates workout still on the docket. Of those activities, meal prep is by far the most fun (cleaning the kitchen afterwards is the least). Recently I have been on a streak of actively going through my Pinterest boards to find new things to try, instead of pinning them and forgetting them. Some of the recipes I stick to, others I’ve added my own twist to. I also still make a regular practice of looking at my fridge and making up recipes as I go.  My dad and grandma taught me how to cook and most of our favorite recipes are of our own creation. This week’s menu includes asian inspired chicken quinoa bowls, tarragon chicken, and egg muffins for breakfast. The egg egg muffinmuffins were a Pinterest discovery and I am curious to see if they hold up as well as promised. Fresh out the oven they were pretty tasty, though if I were to make them again I would add a bit more seasoning. That is a personal taste though. I also whipped up another batch of honey vanilla granola. In case you haven’t noticed, homemade granola has become a mild obsession. So far I have made honey vanilla and cinnamon maple, but I have three or four more flavors I intend to try soon. While both of the flavors I have made were good, the cinnamon maple was my favorite. However, it is also the less healthy option since there is a higher amount of sugar in it, figures. That will not stop me from making it again, I will just have to be mindful of how much of it I eat.

The kitchen has not been my only productive room this weekend. A couple times per year I go on a cleaning spree that involves tearing my entire closet/desk/office/etc apart and reorganizing. This spree is usually not planned, but rather grows out of general cleaning plans. Yesterday was one of those days. While my plan had been to do laundry and clean the whole house, it turned into taking apart my bedroom. Part of the reason was not being able to find one of my swimsuits. I know it has to be somewhere in my house, and I’m sure I stored it someplace where “I’ll remember it” but now can’t remember. So, my closet has been reorganized according to the type of type of clothing and subcategories of where I wear that clothing, my donation pile has grown, and I still haven’t found my suit. I also still need to finish cleaning the main floor of the house as Tucker’s shedding only gets worse in the spring. Oy vey.

On the school front, I am registered for classes through the fall, with two management classes, corporate finance (yuck), and Inbound Information Technology occupying my academic life for the next few months. I am actually very excited for the management seminar I am taking in August. It is a two weekend class, which is nice because it gets one of my classes out of the way in short time, and it is taught by one of the most popular professors in the business school. It is the same professor who taught the class on persuasion that I had wanted to take in January but couldn’t. It should be an interesting few months. In the near future though, I have to finish my accounting class. My final is April 30th which is coming up much more quickly than is desirable. We just had our midterm and the final is already looming. I suppose that is the peril of shorter grad school semesters.

Alright, it is back to the grind for me. I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday.

 

Best,

Katherine

 

Sunday Highlights:

Sleep: 10 hours (alleluia!)

Work: Not today

Study: Need to read two chapters this week…

Workout: POP Pilates Leg Day