Is There an “Executive” in the House?

Is There an “Executive” in the House?

I will never forget those feelings of fear and uncertainty in that final semester before college graduation. Even the local grocery bagger seemed to be pressuring me about what I was planning to do after graduation. And the truth was… I had no idea!

Now, 11 years later, I was asked by my alma mater to come back to speak to students in those exact same shoes. As a part of the University of North Dakota’s “Executive-In-Residence” series, I spoke to eight different classes lecturing on everything from B2B social media strategies, to the practical applications of marketing research.  But I think the one who was learning the most, was me…

1. The more educated the audience, the harder it is to reach them. Reaching a core target audience with a message that will uniquely resonate with them is tough… but when they are staring you in the face, it is even harder.  Luckily, I think we hit it off.  Whew!

2. The plunge into the deep-end is inevitable. All well laid plans still require a leap into the unknown. The trick is to surround yourself with a few lifeguards to provide help as you doggie paddle to the nearest wall.

3. Change isn’t always planned. Day by day it is easy to feel like nothing is changing. But suddenly, you are standing in front of 100 students and realize your life looks nothing like you had planned it to be when you graduated.

4. Follow your passion and you will find your tribe. My journey to Primer 180 wasn’t all a smooth path, but I have always stood true to who I am and what ignites my flame both personally and professionally. And now, I find myself surrounded by the most creative, entrepreneurial, strategic, and humble people I have ever met. And I get to work in an industry that I love!

5. You can always come home. I had mixed emotions about going back to UND. Was I going to add any value for the students? Would I have a message the students even wanted to hear? After speaking to the first class, I knew that I had come home. The rest came easy.

Congratulations to the class of 2016!