Live Lessons: Find and Follow Your Passion

Feb 1, 2023

Welcome to Pass the Mic and the Live Lessons series. Life happens in the moment—and so do opportunities to pass the mic. We’re having live conversations with powerful female leaders, giving them the opportunity to share their wisdom and mentor the masses.

Ready for a master class with amazing professors? Get ready to take notes. We kicked off the year at CES, partnering with the Female Quotient (The FQ) to show up with a kick-ass Pass the Mic lounge. Our very own Director of Content and Digital Marketing, Jocelyn Hudak, interviewed some of the most impressive, powerful women in the industry. These full-length interviews will be available soon (come on, you knew we had to do a podcast eventually). While you wait, we have some awesome advice to help you find and follow your passion.

Be passionate in what you’re doing.

Christine Croce, Pass the Mic

"Be passionate in what you're doing. If you have the passion, and you have the drive, then I think you'll continue to do amazing things—whether it's passion for people, passion for brands, passion for your personal life, and just being a good mom; it all intertwines. You think about it, you work so many hours in a week; you want to be a good person no matter what you're doing and where you're going. So passion, make sure you're true. And if you lose the passion, ask yourself, maybe it's time for a change, or maybe I need to take a couple months off, or take a year off and kind of recalibrate and think about how to get that passion back. Because I think passion is really key and important.” – Christine Croce, Director of Marketing, Consumer Activation and Engagement from Philips

Christine leads the activation team, the engagement strategy team, and the shopper team to fully pull together the omni-channel experience and ensure consumers feel a deep and meaningful connection to the brand. 

Open doors.

Allison Ausband, Pass the Mic

“There was a major initiative for Delta that I was passionate about, and it was about our employees and engaging with our employees. And I raised my hand to say, ‘I want to go do that. I don't have all these skills, but I want to go do it.’ And it probably was that defining moment because it opened doors, and just the network that it offered me, and the opportunities it offered me.” – Allison Ausband, EVP and Chief Customer Experience Officer from Delta Air Lines

Allison oversees the end-to-end customer experience that includes the 60,000 team members in Delta’s Airport Customer Service, In-flight Service, and Reservations & Care divisions who deliver that experience. She began her career at Delta as a flight attendant and now successfully creates an exceptional customer service experience with the true knowledge of what it takes to connect to consumers and create value in their day-to-day interactions. 

Make a difference.

Catherine Sullivan, Pass the Mic

“If you are not passionate about what you do, there are a hundred other people who do love what they're doing. And do not spend your career doing something that you're unhappy with. And if you don't like the people you work with, finding that mentor, finding somebody in that organization. I don't care if you're selling #2 pencils, or if you're in media, but find something that you really can make a difference in, something that you want to wake up and do, because we spend so much time at work, driving our businesses forward that I think it's just so important to follow that.” – Catherine Sullivan, CEO from PHD

Catherine leads the media vision for her company, focusing on client needs and ensuring their objectives are met. She saw an opportunity to jump into her career, continuing to grow her linear/digital strategy, advertising sales, and marketing skills to become a proven executive leader. 

Have constant curiosity.

Christine Guilfoyle, Pass the Mic

“I was downsized in October of 19; the year I became an empty nester. And I was working on the Martha Stewart Living brand and had the great pleasure of traveling with Martha. She came to my St Patrick's Day party. We had a really great relationship, and she taught me about this constant curiosity. I always kind of had it. I didn't quite know that it was that. And during my sabbatical, if you will, I realized that I could have hobbies. Imagine that: doing stuff for yourself. And it was, when I traveled with Martha, never did she just get to a destination and go to her room and rest. There was the restaurant, there was the art gallery, there was the feed store. Her and I went to a feed store in Des Moines, Iowa, which was pretty amazing, and held chickens. And there's Q-tips for cows ears. You know, again, who knew any of this? 

But I think it's like that constant curiosity is what got me through this point in the downsizing and figuring out that there was so much more that I could do, which then led me to SeeHer. And since April of 21, I've had three different roles. And recently the president, and what a fantastic next act to have.” – Christine Guilfoyle, President from SeeHer, ANA

Christine leads SeeHer, the global movement to eliminate gender bias in marketing, media, and entertainment. Christine oversees the development of high-impact tools and resources, thought leadership and member engagement to help marketers and media organizations increase the authentic representation and accurate portrayal of all women and girls in content to reflect and transform society and drive business results. She is a seasoned strategic marketer, corporate leader, storyteller, and DEIB champion.

Be a sponge.

Latraviette D. Smith-Wilson, Pass the Mic

“I think for me, it's about always staying curious. I think for all of us, we all have to be in a learning posture at any stage of our careers, no matter what level of quote, air quotes, success we've achieved. If you're not staying curious, and you're not open to learning, then what's the point of doing? It's the only way that we grow. Even now, every single day I'm reading; I'm a professional student. Actually, if I could go back to school for the rest of my life, I would. I'm like a sponge. I want to understand. I seek that level of understanding because then that's the only way that you can understand the context of a thing, to then be able to understand how to impact it.” – Latraviette D. Smith-Wilson, Chief Marketing & Equity Officer from Horizon Media

Latraviette is changing the DE&I world by ensuring it's a business imperative, showing up in all aspects of the company. She was named as one of Forbes’ “Black Women Leaders to Follow” and awarded the Café Mocha “Celebrating Women: Powerhouse Award” and Black Enterprise’s “Next Generation: Women of Power.”

Stay relevant.

Sheila Buckley, Pass the Mic

“One of the pieces of advice that I have been saying for years, and particularly since we're at CES, it's relevant, is actually the word relevancy. I'm pretty obsessed, since I was around 40, that we’re in a business, and now in a world, that is moving really fast. Whether it's technology, and knowledge, and everything is going so fast. And the advertising media business being about the consumers and advertising to them is, how do you as a leader, whether you're a CEO, or what I've done is running sales organization, is staying relevant in the business requires, I feel like, a natural curiosity to constantly be learning.

And so for me, one of the reasons why I’m at CES, outside of needing to be here for business in addition to many other things that I do, is I go to school, if you will. A year ago, I started with the metaverse, before a couple of years ago with blockchain. And to remain relevant is to me what needs to start that natural curiosity. When you're in your thirties to be able to stay relevant for the business that we're in. You don't think you're old until you start talking to people that are actually well behind you. So reverse mentorship is something else that I've started in many places that I've worked, because that's another way to stay relevant in addition to being well-read or going to school. And that's really key, particularly in the business that we're in.” – Sheila Buckley, Founder and Principal from SMB Oyster Wharf, LLC

Sheila’s company offers media and ad tech advisory and consultancy practices to companies. Although she had no previous consulting experience, she now successfully supports the sales and marketing side of the business.

Know when it’s time to move on.

Leah Meranus, Pass the Mic

“So I think for as lucky as I've been to be selected or moved into certain roles, there's also moments where there isn't an opportunity. And finding that situation, and also recognizing where there's not opportunity, and being brave enough to say, even when you're comfortable and you have equity in a place and you've built a rapport and relationship, knowing when to say, ‘It's time to move on, and I am more than this’ is really important. And I had one of those, too. Eventually, I didn't see the next step. And it was important to move first, before there wasn't a next opportunity, before I was bored, before I was resentful. And turning around and saying, ‘What's next for me?’ And then saying, ‘I don't know, Leah’ is a big cue to say, ‘Go find it.’” – Leah Meranus, Leah Meranus, CEO, North America, dentsu X

Leah started in consulting before reconnecting with her passion for marketing, learning how to jump into opportunities and pivot along the way. She works to converge her marketing ideas across different disciplines. Recently, Leah was promoted to CEO.

Are you ready to find and follow your passion after hearing from these amazing women? If you need more inspiration, check out our ever-growing catalog of Pass the Mic content.

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