Career and Confidence Tips from a Digital Communications Manager
Held each year in New York City, the Forbes Women’s Summit brings together a select group of women for the annual conference where female leaders discuss hot-topic issues and collaborate on creating positive change in the workplace. The 2017 event was no exception, bringing innovation and positive change to the forefront of organizational conversations.
At the Summit, we had a chance to sit down with Lauren Amaio, Manager of Digital Communications for Global Strategy Group, where she supports the firm through research, strategic planning, and implementation. Lauren gave us the inside scoop on how she arrived at this exciting point in her career and the career advice she wants to share with others.
How did you get to where you are today?
“I went to college at the University of Connecticut. I studied communications, and I minored in Spanish. I have had a love for the Spanish language since I took classes and went to Spain in high school, and then I studied abroad in Seville in college. I wanted to continue using the language, and I felt like the study of a language and degree in communication was a nice cross-over for communicating with people, regardless of what language you are speaking. So when I graduated, communications is so broad that it is applicable anywhere. I started out by working for a woman who owns a cross-cultural language and training business in New York, and I learned a lot from her.
“Then my first job at a big agency outside of college, I worked in digital and social media for two different agencies, one a multi-cultural ad agency and one a Spanish ad agency. This was around the time when digital, and particularly social media, was still such a new sort of taboo that people weren’t really sure how to navigate it from a business perspective. So I started out there thinking, ‘What have I learned from internships and just personal use of digital and social media?’ I did that for a few years, and I knew about Global Strategy Group and was really interested in the work that they were doing, particularly as it relates to non-profit issues, issue advocacy, and helping people win with campaigns. I came to GSG with my digital expertise, and I was hired as a digital associate. Now, almost four years later, I’m a manager with the company in New York.”
What challenges did you overcome?
“For me, it was learning how to not second-guess every little detail and really just having confidence in myself and what I’m doing, putting my best foot forward. It can be a challenge, not only for women but for everyone, when you’re moving in a fast-paced environment. Attention to detail is so critically important, but you can’t let that get in the way of doing something successfully and having confidence in yourself. You’re going to drive yourself crazy if you do.”
How did you gain confidence?
“Gaining confidence has taken a mix of things. I think it’s the experiences you put yourself in and the people you surround yourself with that build your confidence. It’s important to push yourself out of your comfort zone as incredibly awkward and uncomfortable as that might be. I can recall being put on a new project, trying something or having to learn something new, and thinking to myself, ‘This feels so foreign to me. How am I going to figure this out?’ And now, having to do the same thing over and over again, it feels like second nature. It’s about taking the risk, putting yourself out there, volunteering to do things that you wouldn’t normally do, being true to yourself. That helped me become the more confident person that I am in comparison to when I first started my career.”
What advice do you have for others?
“Something my first boss and mentor said to me has always stuck. She told me that all you have to do is pick one priority. Just pick one thing to focus on. Identifying one priority helps you clarify what really matters. So if you’re job searching, for instance, and have one priority on the top of your list and make sure the job, no matter what you choose, fulfills that priority. For me it was Spanish, and I wanted to speak Spanish at my job. I didn’t want to be a teacher at the time, and I didn’t want to move abroad and teach English, even though there were plenty of options. And so, I would not settle until I found a communications, public relations, or an advertising type of job that allowed me to speak Spanish and learn about other cultures. Thinking this way helps you keep what matters in mind, while narrowing down and focusing on where you want to move next. If you try that priority for a few years and then want to try something else, you’re not kicking yourself years down the road, wondering what it would be like if you ever reached for that first priority.
“My other piece of advice is to really just purposefully pursue something out of your comfort zone. In terms of networking, in terms of getting to know and work on projects that may be outside your normal day-to-day, the people I get to work with here at GSG are so incredibly smart, and I have learned a lot from them. Absorb others’ experiences, and it not only makes you a better colleague, but it also helps you widen your skill set.”
Ashford University applauds the accomplishments of strong women such as Lauren Amaio and other female leaders. At the Forbes Women’s Summit, at our own Women’s Week hosted by faculty, and in practice every day, Ashford University celebrates diversity and many voices coming together for education and innovation.
Written by Kelsey Bober, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education