RTP: What do you spend your days at work “doing”?
Emily: I like to tell people I run a small but mighty PR firm acting as a publicist, creating memorable media campaigns, putting a spotlight on our clients. Then I also coach entrepreneurs – doing media training for clients, drafting press releases. It runs the gamut. I work in the business and then I run the business itself.
RTP: In a nutshell, how did you initially connect with Barbara?
Emily: I had heard of Barbara long before I ever met her. In my head I had this idea of this executive coach who made a huge impact on my colleagues and I was always so intrigued by her. People who had worked with her talked about this magical Barbara Rapaport. But we finally connected because she reached out to Richett Media for PR for her ten-year business anniversary. At our first meeting, we set out to plan a celebration but what we discovered is that she was ready to create a new program to reach a new audience. So I helped her develop digital programming aimed at millennial leaders called the Next-Gen Leadership Coaching Experience. And then later she invited me to a Coaching Conversation with other young professional women on the topic of Personal Branding, which I attended.
RTP: What’s it been like for you to have Barbara as a client, as well as to watch her interact with her clients?
Emily: As a business owner it was really inspiring to have this inside glimpse of how she works, how she runs her services as a business. Here she was, incredibly successful, and most of what I know of her was from other people. She didn’t walk into a meeting and brag about her milestones, but I knew she coached locally and internationally.
Also, it was fascinating to me that she was open to reinventing her business so she could make her services available to a new audience who otherwise wouldn’t have access to her level of coaching. So she’s a perfect example of someone who saw an opportunity to reinvent herself. She took on learning a completely new platform to create a completely online program. In three months time, she committed to it, built the program, and put the services that are normally up in her head online so anyone in the world can now engage with her at an accessible level. That surprised me a bit. She was already successful and didn’t really need to create something new.
RTP: What have you learned from Barbara’s coaching style?
Emily: She’s able to identify what could be holding someone back. Instead of giving people answers, she encourages them to dig around a bit and discover the answer for themselves. I was a little surprised by that; I might have expected you’re paying for advice. She helps you coach yourself, at least in the group setting I did. It was really neat. I had heard about it from other people, but it was cool to see light bulbs going on.
RTP: You’re a member of Gen Y. What do you think your generation is doing particularly well, professionally?
Emily: I do think we’re changing the norms of a traditional career path. We don’t have to settle for it if it doesn’t make us happy. We can consult, create, make an impact, and run a financially stable business for ourselves. Technology has made access easier than ever, and we’re especially good at using that access to collaborate, bring brands and partners together to get results. We’re even seeing more traditional workplaces changing the way they incent their young employees. They’re not as motivated by traditional financial incentives as they are by flexible work hours, remote working, or collaborative projects that inspire them.
RTP: What advice would you give to other millennials looking to move ahead in their careers?
Emily: First, to not get distracted, to focus on what works. There are so many opportunities now, it can be easy to want to do it all. Focus your energy on that sweet spot where your talents, enjoyment and customer needs meet – go a mile deep there, instead of an inch deep everywhere. I recommend the book “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown. Second, know when it’s time to unplug. Some of us run all our business online and our social interactions happen there, too. It’s easy to strive for approval, recognition, and success watching our social media following. I don’t want us to miss out on life because we were so busy documenting, packaging, and selling it. I make it a priority to unplug sometimes. 95% of my work is done online and it’s easy to get sucked up in that. You can sell your lifestyle but how are you actually living outside of that online world?