Brewing Beer to Get Noticed – An Interview with Brennan Gleason

Name: Brennan Gleason
Current Job: Creative Director at Techtone
Current Location: Vancouver, BC
Takeaway from interview:  Cater your resume, however creative that may be to the audience that’s actually reviewing it. Brennan was connecting with creative minded professionals and using his home-brewed beer (w/resume packaging) with his design skills really helped him get noticed.

Turn Your Mess Into Your BOLD Message – Guest Post from Chrishan Wright

In 2009, at the height of the economic downturn, I like many Americans was blindsided by the fallout. First, my then-husband lost his job and to add insult to injury, six days later I encountered the same fate. Figuring out how to survive and care for our two children, while keeping a roof over our heads, food on the table and clothes on our backs was the biggest challenge either of us had ever faced.

Prior to losing my job as Government Relations Director at a large national health insurer, I began volunteering with the Centennial Circle of the American Red Cross in Greater New York (ARCGNY). The Centennial Circle was the brainchild of Rosemary Mackey, then-Chief External Officer of ARCGNY and Amanda Pullinger, CEO of 100 Women in Hedge Funds. The Circle, as we affectionately call it, is a group of civic-minded women in business, dedicated to making emergency preparedness top of mind for residents in New York City. We focused our initial efforts in Harlem, conducting a series of ‘Mega Preparedness Day’ training sessions with our community partner, The Harlem Children’s Zone, each time providing life-saving emergency preparedness skills to over 200 attendees in order to inform and empower residents on what to do in an emergency situation. Now, I was faced with my own personal emergency.

Out of professional courtesy, I reached out to all of my contacts to let them know I was no longer with my employer and sent my personal e-mail address to stay in touch. Contessa Brewer, a member of the Centennial Circle also hosted her own show on MSNBC and was a true friend during that time, lifting me up emotionally. In an act of immense generosity, she offered to have me on her show to share my story.

Once upon a time I was a fill-in traffic reporter at Time Warner Cable’s Capital News 9 (now YNN) before becoming a stay-at home mom. Filling 60 seconds of airtime talking about an accident with a deer on I-787 was one thing. The thought of being on national television sharing my personal plight on what was the lead story in every news cycle was something else. I agreed, then backed out and offered my husband to be the sacrificial lamb. However, when the crew arrived it was me they came for and away I went.

I spoke of my then crumbling American Dream. How I’d overcome the shame of a challenging childhood filled with domestic violence and the death of my father to drugs, but achieved personal and professional success even in the most unlikely of circumstances. I suppose it was the raw honesty of my story that resonated with viewers. Minutes after going off-air my inbox was filled with e-mails from people who were going through a job loss or other economic hardship and appreciated my story because it helped them stay strong.

By education I am an M.S.W. and the social worker in me wanted to channel all of the energy that was coming my way. The next day, never having done so before, I decided to write a blog called “Diary of a Displaced Worker”. Each day I mused about how it sucked not having a job and dealing with a spouse without a job while raising two children. Six days after my first post, I received an email from CNN. Apparently a producer had read my blog, done some digging (behold the power of Google) and found out I had a lengthy career in politics. CNN wanted me to watch President Obama’s first speech before Congress, which was airing the next night, blog about it and be prepared to share my insight live on-air with CNN anchor Tony Harris. Say, what!

Of course I agreed and as chance would have it the morning of the interview I attended a breakfast in honor of the Centennial Circle at the home of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Diana Taylor, also a Centennial Circle Member. I remember thinking, “I have no job, no money, I’m in the home of a billionaire and in a few minutes I’m going to be on national television for the second time this month. God, what’s this all about?”

Immediately following my interview with Tony Harris, CNN was kind enough to arrange a lift back to New Jersey because I had a job interview. When you show up to an interview wearing what feels like 10 lbs. of TV makeup, it makes you pretty unforgettable. I landed the job where I stayed for four years. In that time, I was on MSNBC again as a follow-up guest and named one of the “40 Under Forty” by The Network Journal, just as my employer notified me that I was being downsized.

This time around I didn’t fret. My external circumstances may have changed a lot since the first time around but what has only gotten stronger is my resolve. Today’s job market has changed significantly in the year’s following my first lay-off. A heavy reliance on applicant tracking systems and automation built to improve the efficiency of human resources management has only complicated and dehumanized the “human resources” it claims to serve. Add to the mix, Congress’ failure to extend federal unemployment insurance benefits to displaced workers, will only result in more economic hardship as public assistance and credit become the only lifeline of survival to these individuals. It was the culmination of all of these systems failures that ultimately propelled me to strike out on my own as an entrepreneur, which has been empowering.

I commend the authors of ‘BOLD: Get Noticed, Get Hired’ and human resource champions like Liz Ryan for shining a light on the brokenness of how we treat our greatest resource, our human capital. Our country is overflowing with talented individuals who’ve invested time, money, years of education, and in many instances sacrificed their health in order to make their version of the American Dream a reality. We mustn’t standby silently and watch those dreams die or become living nightmares. We each have a power and a duty to be bold, be different and share our stories with the collective, and be a demonstration for others trying to make it.

Turn your mess into your BOLD message and together we will all rise like a phoenix on the road to prosperity.

About the Author: Chrishan Wright is an entrepreneur and Principal at Propel Media Group, LLC., a digital marketing firm. She is currently a Semi-Finalist in the Rising Tide Capital Start Something Challenge for her latest venture, WE Biz, an upcoming podcast and online community for women entrepreneurs. In 2013, she was recognized by The Network Journal as a ‘40 Under Forty’ Achiever.

Name: Chrishan Wright
Current company/job:Propel Media Group / CEO
Personal Twitter: @imnotforgotten
Company Twitter: @propelmediagrp
Accolades: Chrishan was recognized in 2013 by The Network Journal Magazine as one of the “40 Under Forty” and has been featured on CNN and MSNBC

Finding and Creating Inspiration – An Interview with Reshma Saujani (CEO of Girls Who Code)

Name: Reshma Saujani
Current Job: CEO of Girls Who Code
Current Location: New York, NY
What is Girls Who Code? A company that works to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the needed computing skills to get noticed and get hired when they pursue 21st century career opportunities
Takeaway from interview: “You have to really pursue people and stalk people to get your foot in the door. In my life I never get things the first time.”
A few more fun facts about Reshma:  She wrote the book, Women Who Don’t Wait in Line, she was the first Indian-American woman to run for Congress, and she went to Yale Law School

Writing Your Own Career Story – Interview With Dan Canfield

Name: Dan Canfield
Current Job: Entrepreneur
Current Location: Minneapolis, MN
Connect with Dan on LinkedIn: Click Here
Takeaway from interview: We all have a story to tell from the smallest to the largest events in our professional and personal lives. Write your story before someone else writes it for you and make sure it’s creative.

Here’s an example of a cool company based in Australia that can help you create your very own Story Resume (click it)