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How did you get to where you are today? What is your story? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Mon Oct 12 2020
um, thank you. Thank you so much for having me a swell I'm I'm so grateful to be able Thio share my path so that, um it may inspire onboard support the confidence of students, um, to just kind of step into the unknown and trust their instincts. Um, and I say that because when I when I began my career, um, I had initially been a luxury fashion buyer and the women's space and been working with a really prestigious store and help build a multimillion dollar business. Um, I was really just desire ing so much too. Do something much more strategic in the design space. And that's all. I had a sense off, and I was very, very lucky in that my high school had a fashion marketing class, and I had come across Parsons School of Design, which is a very respected design school and in the world, with offices all over the place, mainly and based in based in New York City s Oh, by the age of 15 I was very clear where I wanted to go to school, and I knew I wanted to study design and management, design and strategic management was the It was actually a business program at the school. So it was a very interesting perspective. Um, so I attended on guy Got my bachelor's in business. Um, most of my professors were Harvard MBAs working and having businesses, not full time professors. So it's really very entrepreneurial. Very creative. Half of my classes. Warren Warren, design. I focused my, um my my career Maurin communication design because I love that you can use design to solve challenges. I thought that was just, like, tremendous. Coupled with my passion for business strategy. I was like, Okay, there's got to be something here that I can do that I'm gonna love. So I I realized I think the best place for me to start my career would be at a huge agency. Um, advertising agency. So I started working at Ogilvy and Mather, and I was very tenacious because they wouldn't speak to me. Um, and I was still in, and I was still in college, so I knocked on the door, send emails and faxes, told everybody I knew I wanted to work there, and I was very lucky because I had a ah, professor. After I had been kind of hitting a wall. Um, for 10 months, and at the time I was working at Prada, the Italian fashion house, and I was working in their sales and marketing department, and I was like, This is not going to be for me. Um, it was a very, you know, in fashion in general, Um, because I still have friends from from that experience who I deeply love and admire. It was just like, you know, I need to be in a place with people that really enjoy what they're doing and that they're happy. And I found that working with designers, um, they're definitely workaholics, though, eh? So I started. I had a professor. Help me, um, realized that the board of directors, um, two of those people that were on the board of Parsons actually worked at Ogilvy. And so we got we got an invitation to come and listen to them speak and introduce the advertising agency to us. And through that, I got an internship right away, which turned into a paying job where I want, I think, twice a week. And I had an office in a phone and I started working on Levi's the rebranding of Ogilvy itself, Um, and Motorola and just kind of Levi's. Barbie is just like all these incredible legacy American brands to some degree. And I was just like, Wow, okay, I am. And I worked there for about three years, and I worked on a lot of large large companies helping to build brands for American Express. Um, rebranding Goldman Sachs internally, which was a fascinating project, Um, and Coca Cola. And my favorite was Dove because I was part of the small team that rebranded Dove to champion riel Beauty. So we we recommended the strategy of, you know, no longer using models, but of using riel women. And we also created programs, um, for for young girls to support their confidence and and, you know, feeling wonderful and appreciating themselves for for just incredible how they are, how beautiful they are, and so that you know that work has just really done a lot to change the beauty industry. And I'm so grateful I was a part of that movement. Andi, That project in particular lead me to really understand that we could shape culture through Brands Week because instead of using this work of strategic planning, which is what I do to manipulate in a negative way. We could actually create positivity and support all sorts of psychological goodness instead of, you know, making people more attracted to something unhealthy in terms of food and things like this. It took me a few years to really realize, um, that I didn't have to work for just anybody. And that's when we also with the practice of yoga over the last 25 years, um, and meditation. It's been so supportive because, you know, it's like what I do, you know, it's it's to really support the happiness and freedom off of all beings. And how can I work with businesses and nonprofits and government agencies where I can be a part of this and be supporting this kind of cause? I mean, I would say my my purpose within that is to really support brands to build brands that are also really shifting. We have a big issue in America, in particular with, um, with loan, the loneliness epidemic. Over half of our population is suffering from loneliness. Um, and that's really like the sense of connective it Ian community like That's my real passion toe help. Other brands, you know, really put some light on that so that they can do good work there to support people in coming back together. And I know it's a very strange time, but even through this we could do this like why I'm here right now. It's It's wonderful. So, um so these experience really shaped things? I would say the biggest thing that really shaped everything, however, was the economic crash in 2000 and eight. That's when I was practicing yoga, probably once or twice a day. Um, Meditation, XI Gong, um, prayer and most of other things. And I realized I could really just put, like a big stake in the ground on do conscious branding. And this was not a time Thio really do anything quite quite like that because it's It was a very I Lost had lost pretty much all of my work at the time. And, you know, it was amazing because within a few months the first call I got was from Alicia Keys, people from my partner, and then we re branded Alicia and I built her holding company with my partner, Um, and we worked with her for about three years, and she still follows the strategy that we all created together. Eso you know, I'll just say that that's a really important thing when you're when you're building a brand to really have the CEO or the face really be so interconnected with that process because you're essentially like my job is to see inside and pull out that essence and be able to, like, verbalize it and to guide design teams and PR to really support what that vision is and then to just have that consistently shared over time. So that was really like a big turning point. And since then I worked with a lot of startups. Um, and I do work with some, you know, medium sized businesses. But I really focused on on startups for the most part and mainly women, I would say, 90% of the time

Can you walk us through your first few weeks, especially challenges, when you started working as a consultant? How did things change over the next few months?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Mon Oct 12 2020
Wow, this was about probably 17 years ago. Eso It's quite a long time ago. Um but I would say, you know, it comes down to something very simple and its discipline and having structure. And I think because of my spiritual practice, I was able to create a very strong sense of discipline. Um, and, you know, I'm gonna add one other thing here a big, big insight. If if I could just support everyone that that that will be watching and listening is that need to set up a few times a week And in the beginning, maybe five days a week, The first hour that you sit down at the computer. You don't do email necessarily. But you do it in a very focused way. You focus on new business, you focus on revenue generation like riel. This is this is time when you are really focused on just bringing in revenue. And that means what does that mean? You're in business, so you're creating connections. You're reaching out to people you're connecting. Maybe with new people. You're doing cold calls, cold emails, or you're picking up the phone and talking like really talking to people that you know, that could maybe connect you with other people and setting up those those times and blocking them out on the calendar. It is a game changer because there's a real formula to create success in a business, and it's really by setting up these times and having them on the calendar on Bequia. Klay you'll start to see, you know business is going to be coming in and you need to do this consistently so you can, you know, do it two or three days a week. But in the beginning, I recommend five you know, five days a week if you have a project, great. But set aside an hour every every day to be reaching out to people and make a spreadsheet, or use some sort of service where you're able to have, you know, a sense of one you connected with that person or that company who was with what did you talk about? And you can really go back to that. And I think, you know, I had to learn all these things over the years, and this was the biggest challenge was how are people going to find out about me? Because I don't advertise. It's pure word of mouth in my business, and I, you know, in my own way of doing new businesses. I'm just, you know, I love what I do and that passion comes through when I talk to people. It's very simple.

What tools (software programs, frameworks, models, algorithms, languages) do you use at work? Do you prefer certain tools or services more than the others? Why?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Mon Oct 12 2020
I mean, I'm going to say this. This particular question doesn't suit so much to me because it xyz this right here, and and it's my heart. I am very creative. So I you know, I do use some software programs, but, um, you know, I'm also a designer, so I use in design Photoshop illustrator. Um and, um, you know, I kind of like to be and I don't like to use templates system so much so I like to be able to, you know, design the way that I'm thinking my own way through. Like, I use illustrator, um, after I've sketched out the concept. But those air primarily the tools that I use because, you know, it's really what's inside. And it's my creativity and my way of kind of, you know, having things work through me as I am connecting with a business and really understand that essence. Um, so, yeah, it's very straightforward

What are the profiles of your clients? What kind of projects do you handle? What skills are needed in these projects?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Mon Oct 12 2020
the profiles of my clients. Um, they're they're mainly women, I would say there probably early thirties to mid fifties, Um, and for a few of the men that our clients, same same age groups, sometimes old, much older men connect with me to support them. Aziz. Well, where I may need to support them a little bit more with technology and how they how they work with it, to connect with people on din. Those case, those people are usually healers or their therapists. Those those men, um, but the profiles of my clients, their creative, they're making, um, products. Or they're offering services where it's not just creative, but there's there's ah, there's a healing aspect to what they're doing. There is a much bigger intention. So even if it's a jeweler, because then we'd be using crystals or, um, let's say, in the case of one client now she's a coach for mothers. But there's a much bigger type of business that might be available because a lot of mothers need help. It's like especially young mothers, so there's a lot of tools that could be created. That's where I bring in technology partners and things like this so we can build, um, ways of working and and I would say, going back to your previous question. It's more like I plug in technology partners in those respects where they know those they know those types of tools better and work with them often. But yeah, the skills needed in these projects. I mean, my process involves research, which I call understanding and insights because it's my time to become a much of an expert aan den. Through that process of being a sponge, I I really gather insights. You know, just lights go off and it's like, Okay, I make notes of that and it's like that is then going to guide the creation of what the brand is going toe look and feel like That's the strategy and what's the soul of the business. And then the next step would be, let's, say, a business model. I do business plans to, but I prefer to do business models because I really wanna just give someone a very tight game plan to go run. Just go run and build this. I want you to print this out. I wanted to be like, you know, dirty and flipped corners. You know, really use this as your guide book. And then from there we build the visual platform. So the logo and all those other things the color palette, typography, photography style, photo shoots, packaging is needed. We do that, then website, um, communication plan and what? Anything. And then I do team building if, you know, people need to be hired or agencies need to be hired. Um, you know, I e kind of do a lot of different things. Um, so I have to wear a lot of hats.

How do you reach out to potential clients? What are the roles of people you reach out to? What are their typical concerns and how do you address them?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Mon Oct 12 2020
so clients reach out to me usually because it's word of mouth. Um, and sometimes that it might be a friend and they're like, I want to become a non entrepreneur on I'm working in corporate. You know, it's like, Okay, I'll help you. You know, it's really funny. So I love it. I love it. You know, I love doing secret projects, you know? It's like what a project toe work on. It's amazing they get thio, you know, be very passionate. So, um, you know, it's interesting. I worked with a range from, you know, mothers to who are like Okay, I'm ready to start a business and they might be younger mothers or the Children are about to go off to college or I have clients where their moms. But you know, they're working very high up as senior executives within large large businesses, large corporations, Um, and they want to build a business, and, you know, they have they have an exit from corporate that they have in mind. Um, and I would say in those respects, you know, I'm also like a coach in a way, because I have to help them keep up the positivity and and really kind of, you know, they're doing double duty in a way because they're holding space with their full time job. I'm building all the all the things, but maybe only need them for an hour, but that's a lot of space toe hold. When you're creating a business, it is like giving, giving, being pregnant with a child. In some capacities, I would say So, Um, my clients are are very interesting there. Either they have time on their hands. To some degree is moms or they're in corporate and they're they're about toe kind of create a new path for themselves and live their dreams.

What are the roles of client's employees you routinely work with? What are the challenges in working with them? What approaches help to overcome challenges?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Mon Oct 12 2020
I mean, I'll speak not to most of my clients, but to the larger businesses that I've worked with. Um, because the clients that I have usually it's just one person, and I have to help them build out a team. Um, in some cases, um, sometimes they want to stay small, and that's perfect to you. Could have a gem gem business and make do very well financially create quite quite a bit of success. But in respect where I work with a larger business, um, the employees, I mean, I would say they work in a marketing capacity. Um, and whether that's external facing communications or its internal communications, and we're doing internal branding, you know, I I do. I do both, um they're the challenges in working with them. There are no challenges. You know, I I would say everyone's, you know, this is the fun stuff that you get to do inside a business. So it's usually quite fun, and everyone is, you know, very happy. Um, and you know, some people, at certain times in their life, they might be going through a very, um, challenging moment, and that happens. And I think that that's where the superpower of the future comes in, which is compassion. And that's where we really need to practice patients and and not judge. And really, um, do our best to be supportive and see each other as one big family, especially right now, so yeah.

What skills and qualities do you look for while hiring? What kind of questions do you typically ask from candidates?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Mon Oct 12 2020
I mean, I'm very intuitive, so and I have very high standards. So I'm just gonna look at the quality of work. It's not necessarily where you went to school and where you've worked in the past. But the quality of the thinking or the quality of the design, the quality of the work is it Does this person really walk around with a deep sense of humanity? And does that come through in their work? Um, that's a big one. Um, and you know, is this person down to earth? Um, is there, you know, a level of humility? E think that Zatz very important to the work. Um, yeah. And I mean, in most cases, I'm I'm hiring for others because I do pretty much everything on my own. I After 17 years, I've gotten kind of tight with things. I have a few couple people that I that I have support me, but it's very kind of straightforward and what's needed in terms of support, but yeah,You know, I I ask I ask about stories. I wanna I wanna hear how that how people, Um I think I do more. I don't ask so many questions. I go by how I feel when I'm sitting with the person, Whether it's, you know, through Zoom or some other sort of, you know, videoconferencing. Or if I'm sitting in person with someone, I really go by how I'm feeling. Um And also, you know, I asked, I asked questions. You know about successes and challenges, and I tend to get a lot of insight by asking those types of questions. Um, and you know, I mean, it's really important to do your reference checks as well. Very important. Don't rush. Take your time. Really make sure it's the right kind of person. And you're, I think, just listening to stories and asking about successes and challenges. You're you'll learn quite a bit

How has the demand for certain skills and technologies changed in your field? What kind of consultancy work or jobs would see big growth in the upcoming years?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Mon Oct 12 2020
Okay, This is great. You know, I think when I started doing branding, everybody was like, What do you dio like? What is that? And now everybody does branding on, and, um, it's very interesting. So I you know, I mean, as long as people can really bring the humanity into the work and respond to also how culture is at the time, for example, where we are right now, like having more compassion and brands needing Thio to really share that quality is, Well, um, I think I think that that's changing the field right now. And and you can see if someone is really tone deaf. Um, for example, in the pandemic really hit and people were still selling, it was just I mean, it was very distasteful to say the least. Um, e think what's been very interesting is a lot of people are sharing thanks for free and free a very low cost education. So I think, um, you know, a greater sense of humanity coming together, having a sense of the tone of the times. Um, that's really changing the field very much. Um, and I think that really again the superpower here, the skill the super skill is compassion, and it's gonna help you with the most radical way of doing anything in the world, which is having compassion for yourself and having compassion for others as well. And and that's that's going to just help you help everyone. You work with your family and friends and just all the work you dio because that's that's that's the quality that's needed now, um, big growth. I mean, I am working on something, and I have been for quite some time, but now it's It's amazing because it's really, um, the time has arrived to do a lot more internal branding. Um, and I'm going to say it goes much deeper than branding. It's really supporting business cultures, and it's supporting people where they're at because they're spending most of their lives at work or working. You know, since we're at home working and people need a lot of help right now, and the government is not going to come and help you, um, you know, different parts of the world, um, spiritually or religious practices air not not so common, and businesses can come at things with the more science based approach and how toe work with the mind and help people reset their nervous systems. In some sense, where and I think that that's that's what I'm working on building. And that's where I think there will be big growth in the coming years because people work a lot and they really need to be supported at work, because what happens when you do that, The person then trust the organization so much more and the leadership and then they're going to be more productive, like it's like it's very, very simple.

What responsibilities and decisions did you handle? What were the top three priorities and pain points? What strategies were effective in dealing with challenges?

Based on experience at: Co-Founder, Brand Development, PURSOMA LLC
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Mon Oct 12 2020
Yeah. I mean, this was a brand that I I co founded with with another woman. Um, and we She was a very dear friend of mine, and we basically I supported who her through the process of, you know, doing the research toe. She wanted to create a clean beauty business and have it be focused on detoxing. Um, and there was a lot of research done. Ah, lot of research on herself as well and how to do detox and figure out at what type of products she wanted to create. And then, you know, through that she had a sense of things. And then, you know, I held space for her to create the name. I didn't want to create the name. I wanted this to really come through her. And so that's the name evolved from that. That time when I held space for her, um, in this case, I supported the business with, um, also thinking about what was going to be the design of the business three identity. So we ended up, you know, choosing a new identity which just very easily conveyed that this was here to help you, which was, you know, the plus symbol, and we created a ah color system to describe different products so people would immediately know which product to grab based on their love. So, you know, if you really, really need a big detox, he'll probably choose the red one thing. Extend an example, Um, and working with, you know, hiring and working with the copywriter toe set us very specific tone of voice. Also coming up with, you know, a sales strategy where, you know, what are the retails retailers we're going to go after so that we can be respected right out of the gate And this business Really, um, came at a time when in America we don't have such a bathing culture because baths and that this business started out, you know, very, very focused on taking baths because we're just so impatient. Eso After we launched this business, a lot of other businesses came to market or existing businesses created baths because it was like, Okay, people are ready to start slowing down and taking great care of themselves. Um, and you know, it's that was pretty much my my role in the business. And then I stepped out. I had just had my son. So I was very limited with time at the at that at that particular time in my life.the priorities were really building a detox beauty brand when we initially got started. Um, you know, we we talked quite a bit about also creating products that would be rejuvenating. Um, I had an intention is well to create experiences where we would help women reconnect with their beauty and, you know, work with yoga, meditation and other practices and and kind of hold live gatherings. I was I was limited because I was living a few hours from New York City at the time, and my co founder, she was also very busy. So we that was something that we didn't really work on. But I really do wish we had, um and I would say, you know, it's interesting. Maybe in this case, I'll shed more light because this person had been a very good friend of mine. Um, we simply just worked together, and the friendship wasn't nourished enough. So for any students who are creating businesses with a friend in a very dear friend, make sure you set that time aside every week or every other week so that, you know, you could just have lunch or go for a walk or a hike or swim, Do something together, Sit. Have a cup of tea. You know, it's it's really important. Um, and we didn't do it. And it, you know it. It dramatically affected our relationship. So that that's probably the biggest pain point is just if you're doing this with a friend, make sure you still create the time to be friends.

What three life lessons have you learned over your career? If any, please also discuss your experiences facing adversity, or trying something unusual.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Mon Oct 12 2020
um, three life lessons I've learned. Um, having more patience with myself, I moved very quickly, and it's important to slow down. Mm. I would say, you know, compassion is directly connected with that, and it's also separate as well. Um, for for oneself, for their clients, for the world at large. And those two, you know, really through meditation, the certain, very particular types of meditation that will be supported during times of adversity. And and you know, there's there's light in the darkness. We all know that. But I'm just here to remind you. So when you're really being squeezed, you know, it's just because you're becoming a diamond, that's all. Um I mean, my goodness, my life. It's like we've all We've all been touched by very, very challenging times. Whether it's individual, it's in our families, throughout with our Children, whatever it would be, you know, you just have to have hope, and that's what I'm going to say is probably the three. The third life lesson is. Have hope. Have hope. It's especially right now. Have hope in our humanity have hope in the light it will rent. Oh, yeah,

What starting job (after internship) would you recommend to students who hope to grow professionally like you? What other parting advice, dos, and don'ts would you give?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Mon Oct 12 2020
um, I you know, it's so interesting. It's a world is very different from when I first started. So I would say if you could get into a big company, which is what I did when I started. Do it, Make it happen. But if you are really drawn to be an entrepreneur, fabulous, go for it because you're going to learn so much and someone at a business. If things don't work out, they're going to see that time. And there's a certain grip and level of creativity and tenaciousness that they will want within their business. Hopefully, some companies are much more entrepreneurial than others. Andi, I've learned that on my own when I've gone to work with other businesses and support them, especially in my first job. But, you know, if you feel like you need to start a business, please go for it. Also in having worked with Northwestern University, um, in the last couple of years and helping them with their innovation, um, and kind of ah, startup incubator. It's called the garage. Ah, lot of universities. If that you're attending, um, they may have an incubator and it's a way that they could also compete with other universities. So look for it. Do do something there and And really think about what you're going to build because I'll give another insight just from working on that experience. Um, don't just do it to put it on your resume, your CV really do it and give it everything you have. Um, pour your heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears into it because it's going to be an amazing, amazing story to share when you're looking for a job and people will really respect you for it and fail and fail hard when you're doing it, don't be don't be afraid, because you're gonna learn so much more than you would if you had succeeded. So at the garage, you know, they asked the students when they failed and everybody claps, and it's like, That's That's really the future, because that's when you're gonna learn a lot. And and it's important way. Also teach our Children this, so keep that in mind for later. A swell. It's very healthy to failThank you so much. It was so, so lovely toe support you all. And thank you so much for holding the interview. It was It was great. Enact with you. Thank you.