I write this update from the 38 degrees and sunny mountains of Durango, Colorado where I’ve spent the last few days with my two brothers and close friends (though, mostly falling on my face as I've finally been learning how to ski!). It’s been too long since I updated this blog, and it was about time to send my annual end-of-year email to my friends, mentors, and colleagues, near and far.
Here’s a quick reflection on 2017 - a year of big changes, indeed - and some looking ahead into 2018:
SOME 2017 Highlights (in mostly chronological order):
I transitioned from working for my friend Kaneisha Grayson at her graduate school admissions consulting firm, The Art of Applying, with SO many lessons learned (in business and in life) to join the team of a coding school startup.
I was elected and served as Prospanica Austin’s Executive Vice President to continue to, resulting in a successful 15th annual Texas Lead Conference in August, new community partnerships, and local momentum for this Latino business professionals group.
I worked out of Capital Factory, Austin, TX’s hub for technology, startups, and innovation in the heart of downtown Austin, where I met many incredible new friends and connections, all trying to make big things happen.
In March, I attended the SXSW Interactive Fest. Most memorably, I heard Dan Lyons speak, one of the writers of the HBO show, “Silicon Valley”, and read his book Disrupted, critiquing the startup and venture capital worlds in ways we should be thinking about (check it out!). Also, I also attended a secret meetup with Tim Ferris in Kyle, Texas.
In May, I traveled back to Amherst College in Massachusetts for the first time in years to attend my 5-year college reunion. I felt all of the nostalgia, judged all of the new buildings, and had a BLAST reconnecting with old and forging new friendships.
I visited Nashville, TN for the first time to hang with my childhood best friend, Suz. Ate hot chicken and cried the entire time doing it.
My company downsized in June 2017, which turned out to be the push I needed to reconsider staying in Austin, my hometown. I decided within 3 weeks to move to New York City (a move I’d been considering for almost two years) to reconnect with my college friends and network, and to see where the city’s limitless energy and potential would take me.
In August, I said a bittersweet goodbye to my amazing network Austin in a #lit Monday going-away party for the books!
I sublet my Austin studio, moved to New York City to crash in Brooklyn (with the help of bff Katie Kovas), then found a great apartment on the Upper West Side, two blocks from Central Park, and a business development role for a human-centered design consulting firm (Openbox) within a month of the move. To say that I am lucky and grateful for these opportunities and supportive friendships would be an understatement!
I saw my favorite late-night TV host, Seth Meyers, live and am low key now interested in late night television, improv, and comedy. More to come on this ;)
I finished the Forte Foundation’s MBALaunch program to prepare women for MBA programs. (Still TBD if grad school is in my future.) I met amazing people through this!
To round out 2017, I learned to ski, which served as a great reminder to keep pushing myself to do what scares me, enjoy the moment, and to always get back on my feet - falling is a part of the process, after all!
Some lessons from 2017:
- Start before you’re ready - one of the attributes of New York City that I love is that life moves so fast, I many times just need to act, rather than obsess about details, or if a certain plan of action is “perfect”. There’s a certain confidence grown that comes with needing to make game time decisions and realizing that, no matter the result you’ll be able to figure it out.
- Choose to be happy - what we decide to focus on dictates our experiences. The last year has certainly had its ups and downs. Forcing myself to learn new practices of being aware of how I'm feeling and how I can control this has helped me get out of more than one slump (e.g., learning how to break negative spirals, utilize gratitude lists, meditation and mindfulness, etc.).
- Confidence > Competence
Some 2017 reading highlights:
The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google - Scott Galloway
Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less - Tiffany Dufu
Some Plans for 2018:
I’m attending SXSW Interactive in Austin, TX mid-March. I’d love to meet up with you, if you’ll be there!
I’ll travel to Vietnam/Thailand/Malaysia in March/April to celebrate my friend Jenny’s marriage. (First international trip in an embarrassingly long time.) - among some other trips to celebrate friends tying the knot!
My dad’s 60th birthday in Austin, TX in September 2018. You bet I’m planning a celebration!
I look forward to continue to focus on personal and professional goals and growth. I have loose plans to join a Toastmasters (public speaking club), improv, and perhaps even train for the NYC marathon (a long-time goal of mine).
How can I help?:
I’m always excited to help others however I can. Particularly, if you, your company, and/or organization is interested in human-centered design (even just learning what this is) and how it can improve your products, services, and systems to solve business challenges, I’d love to talk. Reply directly to me here! And if you're in NYC, please don't be a stranger.
Thank you, as always, for your support. Here’s to healthy and happy hustlin’ in 2018.