How to Catapult Your Career in the Real World - Carney

How to Catapult Your Career in the Real World

As women, we are trained from a young age to be peacemakers and not to speak up. As MissFits, not only do we need to advocate for the women around us, but we also need to learn to advocate for ourselves. Each day, we get the opportunity to stand up for ourselves, whether that’s in an interview, at a meeting, or on stage in front of thousands of people. 

We talked to Salpy Talian, Art Director for CAUSEBOX, and Kiersten Hathcock, Founder of Mod Mom Furniture about their careers and what it takes to be an advocate in the professional world.

Here’s what we asked:

Q1: What’s one thing you must do every day to reset from the hustle of a full-time career?

Q2: Are there any books, podcasts or articles that have left a mark on you as a professional?

Q3: What is your advice regarding negotiations? (promotion or salary)

Q4: How have you dealt with gender-bias situations in your career?

Q5: If you had a do-over, knowing what you know now, what would you have your younger self do differently?

Q6: If you had the attention of every young, career-driven woman who was just getting started, what would you say to them?

Check out the advice Salpy and Kiersten have for fellow women in business👇

Q1: What’s one thing you must do every day to reset from the hustle of a full-time career? 

Salpy Talian Art Director for CAUSEBOX

“This changes over time, so it isn’t one specific thing. In general, it’s always doing something that has nothing to do with my day-to-day and everything to do with making myself happy. It’s ‘me’ time

Sometimes it’s exercising, other times its watching tv, sometimes it’s working on a hobby. Other days, it’s simply painting my nails or even putting laundry away! It’s making time for the little (albeit monotonous) things.”

Kiersten Hathcock Founder of Mod Mom Furniture

“Ah, the hustle. Sometimes I thrive on it and sometimes it kicks my butt. I find myself, at times, sitting in my chair working non-stop without even realizing I haven’t moved for hours. It’s those days that I try to get outside and walk around a bit, even if it’s only for 15 minutes or so. 

Walking has always been so grounding for me and I find it also acts as meditation at times. Some of my best ideas have come in when I was just walking around the block.”

Q2: Are there any books, podcasts or articles that have left a mark on you as a professional?

Salpy Talian Art Director for CAUSEBOX

“Early in my career, I was heavily influenced by art books (before the internet became the sole resource for exposure to new and exciting things).  Of note, Bryan Ray Turcotte’s “Fucked Up + Photocopied: Instant Art of the Punk Rock Movement” and Stefan Sagmeister’s “Made You Look.” 

They completely changed how I looked at design mediums and how I approached thinking conceptually. It helped me realize there isn’t one perfect formula to yield the results you want. There are no dumb questions or ideas. 

Almost a decade later in my career, I came across “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson. After reaching a breaking point that left me feeling stagnant and unsure of where to go next, Manson reassured my belief in failing forward. The whole “fake it ’til you make it” thing is real. Growing up my dad always said, “when someone asks if you can do something, you say yes.” …Within reason, of course. 

If I didn’t quite qualify or have the experience to do something, I said yes and figured it out along the way. I watched my peers do the very thing I wanted to do, I googled it, I watched tutorials, I went to the library— I said f*ck it, I’m going to try and see what happens. And guess what? I regret nothing!

Kiersten Hathcock Founder of Mod Mom Furniture

“I don’t listen to podcasts as much as I probably should so I’m going with books, here. Honestly, the books that have made the biggest impact on my professional life aren’t work-related; they’re life-related

  1. “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz reinforced “not taking things personally” as a way of living and being. He says, Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.”
  2. My other favorite book is “Bossy Pants” by Tina Fey. It’s brilliantly written and funny as hell.”

Q3: What is your advice regarding negotiations? (promotion or salary)

Salpy Talian Art Director for CAUSEBOX

“No one will advocate for you except you. Working hard and being kind absolutely gets you on the right path, but you have to help yourself navigate to the next stop. 

I approach this like I approach design—presentation is everything and this goes for yourself, too! Spell it out and speak up because managers aren’t mind-readers. This doesn’t always work out, though, so keep in mind the next biggest promotion is an entirely new job.”

Kiersten Hathcock Founder of Mod Mom Furniture

As a reformed people pleaser, I can tell you that negotiating wasn’t my best skill back in the day. I’ve gotten much better at it but it was hard to push for anything that I knew might cast a negative light on me when I was starting my career.

I’ve learned over the years that if I go into negotiating (salary, promotion, sales deal) with the idea that I authentically want the outcome to be a win-win for both sides, it always works out as it should. And very favorably for both parties.

I had to negotiate with producers what I was going to wear during my appearance on the TV show Shark Tank which meant fighting for what I knew I’d feel most confident in. Producers wanted me to wear jeans, a tank top, and my tool belt. I knew I’d never go into an investment meeting like that so I pushed back and said I’d wear a dress and heels and add the tool belt on top. 

After all, Mod Mom Furniture wasn’t built on carpentry alone even though I was the one designing and building. It was my experience in marketing, sales, and graphic design that helped me build a brand from our garage. Stand your ground on what you know you’re not willing to sacrifice and trust that inner voice that won’t steer you wrong.

Now, folks recognize me as the woman in the dress and a tool belt on Shark Tank which is a true representation of who I am. I’m equal parts sawdust and boardroom.

Q4: How have you dealt with gender-bias situations in your career?

Salpy Talian Art Director for CAUSEBOX

“I recently worked in a very male-dominated company and learned first-hand about gendered differences in emails and meetings. Communications from men were short and to the point. Those from women were peppered with exclamation points and :-)’s. 

For a while, I was guilty of the latter until it became utterly exhausting. It took so much of my time to make sure I wasn’t sounding overly aggressive or, wait for it… bossy. Why was I inserting qualifiers where they weren’t needed? Why did I have to start an email with, “Hey sorry but…” 

While I didn’t aspire to succumb to male corporate culture, I did aspire to just being myself. Sometimes that wasn’t always smiley faces and friendly banter. Once I stopped giving a f*ck about how I sounded, it opened up opportunities to focus on the task at hand.” 

Kiersten Hathcock Founder of Mod Mom Furniture

“Oh boy. Well, this is a particularly loaded question for me. I built a furniture company from our garage without carpentry experience or know how in a male-dominated industry. 

The eye rolls, brushoffs, and “I know better than she does” attitude has been infuriating and strengthening at the same time…and a true test for me to not take things personally. I learned to stand proudly and not take any sh*t from anyone. 

Early on, I gave my power away thinking some of these men with oodles of experience knew better. They didn’t. I still find myself in situations where I have to push back and stand up but it’s much easier now that I’ve had so much practice.”

Q5: If you had a do-over, knowing what you know now, what would you have your younger self do differently? 

Salpy Talian Art Director for CAUSEBOX

“I’d be much gentler on myself for not being as far ahead as some of my peers. Everything has its time.”

Kiersten Hathcock Founder of Mod Mom Furniture

“I would definitely tell my younger self to TRUST HERSELF. To trust that inner knowing we all have called intuition. It’s been a roadmap for me even when I felt inspired to do something (like build furniture in our garage) that others deemed crazy. 

Surround yourself with smart people who are full of integrity but always filter advice through your own heart and mind. If it feels off, it is off.” 

Q6: If you had the attention of every young, career-driven woman who was just getting started, what would you say them?

Salpy Talian Art Director for CAUSEBOX

“Take time to be uniquely you and figure out what makes you happy. Genuinely happy. It’s important to know you’re the captain of your ship and you can go anywhere you want to go. Even if you’re not sure where that is yet, enjoy the view.” 

Kiersten Hathcock Founder of Mod Mom Furniture

“I’d say to every woman: you be you. And step through fear every chance you get. Over the years, I’ve found that if I’m scared to do something, it’s likely exactly what I’m supposed to do. (We’re not talking about fight or flight fear like when a bear is chasing you, but rather the nervousness that comes with putting yourself out there and being vulnerable.) 

Own all of your story and journey—the good and the bad and keep in mind that you’re not always going to have a plan or see the way forward, but if you feel it in your heart, keep going no matter the roadblocks along the way. I’ve lost multiple deals and partnerships that later turned into the best “failures” ever because it led to something I never saw coming. Something better and more authentically me. 

Oh and one more thing, take ownership when you screw up. We’re human—we’re going to do that but true character is shown when you apologize, learn from it, and own it.

New to MissFits?

Feel inspired by Salpy and Kiersten? You’re going to hear from these amazing ladies again. Stay tuned for the MissFits Fall eBook💪📖

MissFits aims to help women reach new heights in their career by providing reputable resources and tools. 

We’ll dig for the uphill battles and celebration moments with real women in all aspects of a business from the creative to the operations manager. We want to break the same old, same old interview questions to give you the right mix of inspiration and real talk. 

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