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(DON’T) Follow the Rules – One woman’s guide to success – NYC BWN

1 – My Dad Always Said “Feelings are over-rated”
When I started in the technology industry via IBM almost 15 years ago 2 things stood out to me:
  • I was surrounded by men, an attractive concept in theory
  • While I liked being challenged and working with bright and interesting people I didn’t actually ‘feel’ anything
But, being an obedient daughter, having gained my MBA, and in “big business” for a short time, I stuck with it. I was successful, praised for my work, and continued to move up.
2 – Passion Pit
I found that, like many people I could easily get some pretty powerful motivation from recognition as well as monetary rewards and salary. Fast forward a few years, I continued my path at SAP, more interesting people and still surrounded by men (which I had gotten pretty used to and frankly prided myself on my ability to “hang”). I was falling into what Erika Anderson calls the PASSION PIT. Of course I want to move from director to vice president – that’s what all dedicated professionals are passionate about.” I was more focused on what I thought the organization wanted from me than what I wanted myself.
3 – ser·en·dip·i·ty (n. an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident)
/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/caleb_forgrass_418952.jpg After baby #3, I knew I needed a change, expand my network and my purview. Serendipity stepped in and I had the opportunity to work closely with colleagues from CSR finding real passion while now building on the great foundation from 12 years in B2B marketing. Picking up that thread I’ve spent the last 2 years exploring other parts of the business – everything from leadership , to employee comms and engagement, to CSR. What’s amazing is that I believe it’s made me a better business person, influencer, etc. Even more interesting is that this ‘exploration’ is nowhere in the rules for success.
4 – Going (RED) and Trusting Your Gut 
At the start of 2014 I had the opportunity to bring it all together – marketing, leadership, influence, CSR- while doing some onsite work for one of our NGO 196.JPGpartners (RED), an organization founded by Bobby Shriver and Bono of U2 (no I never met him) focused on eradicating the mother to child transmission of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa  by 2015. For two months I was part of their team – doing marketing, bringing to bear what is core to my role at SAP – audience analysis, strategy, project management – while learning a ton from this 14 person organization. I got my hands dirty in partner relations, got real experience from a bunch of millennial’s about social media and what it takes to drive a message, movement or business.
What happens next? I’m off to Africa with (RED) this Sunday to see how our funding helps the world run better and improves people lives. The rule for success is … there are no rules – the key for me is to find something that moves you, makes you feel something and go for it!
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  • Hello Deb,

    great story and I couldn't agree more with your last sentence:

    The rule for success is … there are no rules – the key for me is to find something that moves you, makes you feel something and go for it!

    I think there is no bigger motivator than caring for something. If you care for something, you'll automatically give your best to help achieving goals connected to it. And if those goals are reached, then the satisfaction of being part of that is such a great reward. And I find it quite addictive. 😀

    I hope your journey to Africa will be rewarding and give you another push of motivation to keep going your way! 🙂



      • Your story is also another wonderful example of how it's never to late to change your life, your way and try something new. But it's important to be brave enough to do the first step of the known path and go for it. You can absolutly be proud of where you are today! 🙂

  • My quote above (Feelings are over-rated) is missing the context from which it springs - someone using some inchoate feeling as a reason for some failing. Of the many thing that Deb has going for her two of, in my not so humble opinion, of the most important are that she does not fall into this particular trap and that she lives in a time when the male domination of the levers of power are loosening. She has seized both and they have worked to her benefit. I cannot even begin to say how proud (a feeling) I am to be her dad. 🙂

  • What a fantastic Journey Deb!!!!.

    I could imagine the great feelings when you are working such a wonderful initiative. It is a great privilege to work for such a cause and purpose of humanity. It is really rare opportunity, glad that you got it. Money has nt meaning when we are working for such humanitarian cause of this world. Keep up your high spirits, surely you are going to rock. 🙂

    All the best.

    Kind Regards,