5 on the 5th Interview Heidi Garland

5 on the 5th Interview: Heidi Garland

This month’s 5 on the 5th Interview is with someone who I admire as a fearless businesswoman. I got to know Heidi Garland through various social media groups over the years and enjoy watching her work tirelessly for her philanthropy – the American Cancer Society. This is an organization near and dear to my heart, having co-chaired our local Relay for Life for three year and being involved in our local chapter for almost seven years. As cancer survivor herself, Heidi uses her the benefits of owning a social media marketing company to further this amazing cause. I’m lucky to know her and you will be too!

 

Name: Heidi Garland

Company: Guild West Agency

Website/Blog: guildwest.com

Twitter handle: @guildwest

Question 1: Why did you choose to work in this industry?

My decision to work in the social media industry was actually part of an evolution. Originally Guild West (29 years ago) was a Graphic Design firm/Ad Agency yet in 2008 I discovered Facebook and I was hooked. Social Media gave traditional marketers the ability to have an open dialogue with potential customers with immediate feedback for our efforts.

Question 2: How do you keep continuing your education and staying up on all the latest trends and changes?

I continue my education with social media the same way that I started with a combination of online training including the Social Media Examiner First Facebook Marketing online event in 2009. I studied with Mari Smith in San Diego for 3 days, I attend in-person events including, BlogHer where I spent an hour speaking one-on-one with Michael Stelzner,  Social Boom with Kim Garst in Chicago and Social Media Marketing World in San Diego. In between, I read some incredible books written by my social media friends.

Question 3: What do you love the most about working in your industry? What bothers you the most?

With social media I love 99% of what I do. I adore the people whom I never would have met without Facebook and the other social media portals. I make a point of finding a way to meet many of them in person!  I’m not too fond of trolls and other haters who attack without provocation.

Question 4: What is the hardest situation you’ve encountered in your business and how did you handle it?

The hardest situation that I encountered in my 29 years in business evolved into my biggest victory. I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer late 2008. I shared with a few clients and let them know that I would be out for a week or two and then back at work. Clients who had worked with me for many years fired me because I was sick. Instead of taking my time, I was back at work 4 days after a double mastectomy.

I used the time during my dozen + surgeries and cancer treatment to study and master social media. Guild West evolved from a traditional agency into a Social Media Marketing Firm that also provides traditional graphics and marketing services. After my experiences sharing my diagnosis with several clients and being fired I stopped sharing that I had cancer. I would take client calls from just outside of the operating room and tell them I would get back to them when I was back in my office after my “off site meeting”. I had several of my surgeries without being put to sleep so that I could be on a conference call within 30 minutes of leaving the operating room. No matter how sick I was, I would act “well” in front of clients. My cancer experience helped me land a contract launching 6 major medical centers on Facebook. If you think it’s hard to land clients when you are healthy, try doing it during a down economy while in cancer treatment.  

Question 5: What is the best business advice you’ve been given and why has it stayed with you?

Always go with your gut. If your instinct is to walk away then walk away. The few times that I didn’t take that advice, I regretted it. The other advice is hire an accountant and make sure that you file all of the necessary documents accurately and on time!

One for the road…

Bonus: If you could come back to life as any person from the history, who would it be?

I’m going to answer this a bit differently.  As someone who could tell you what’s on my ceiling, not on my floor or what’s in front of me instead of behind I’d like to say who I would be in the future…always looking up and forward. IF I could travel through time and become someone in the near future I would be that incredible American Cancer Society researcher who finds a cure for cancer. Possibly I would start with one of the most virulent strains first and then work towards finding a cure for all cancers. We are getting closer every day. My personal mission has always been to take cancer from treatable to curable and from curable to preventable or we could just leap frog on to preventable I’d be good with that!

5 on the 5th Interview Dorien Morin-van Dam

5 on the 5th Interview: Dorien Morin-van Dam

This month I interview a fellow Southern transplant, Dorien Morin-van Dam. Of course, she’s from the Netherlands, not the Midwest like myself 🙂 I got to know Dorien through the now-disbanded Social Solutions Collective. Just one state over, Dorien is doing some great work in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina doing work on TV and adding more and more video to her brand. Watch for her to do big things this year!

 

Name: Dorien Morin-van Dam

Title: Social Media Consultant

Company: More in Media

Website/Blog: moreinmedia.com

Twitter handle: @moreinmedia

Question 1: Why did you choose to work in this industry?

When my youngest (of 4) children started Kindergarten five years ago, I looked for a second career. I had been a stay-at-home-mom for nearly 14 years and wanted to continue to have that type of flexibility. My husband has been an entrepreneur since the age of 10, so he encouraged me to start my own business. He was already working from a home office and he suggested I do the same.

The ‘easiest’ business to start as I saw it was in the growing field of social media. I kind of rolled into it by taking various online courses and learning on-the-go and now I am so glad I stuck with it!

Question 2: How do you keep continuing your education and staying up on all the latest trends and changes?

I read, a lot! I subscribe to most major news outlets and check my RSS reader several times per day for new articles and trends. I have Google alerts on certain platforms and of course, I monitor Twitter for industry news. I also attend webinars when I need to learn something specific. I make it a point to attend several live industry conferences each year so I can learn from the best leaders in social media – in 2015 I traveled out of state to three large social media conferences and spoke at one. Lastly, I follow all of the social media influencers closely; I have them in a Facebook interest list and on several Twitter lists so I can access their latest posts whenever I need to, quickly.

Question 3: What do you love the most about working in your industry? What bothers you the most?

I love – being social on social! The social media industry is really a great group of awesome people! I enjoy being online all day and despite the fact that I work alone in my home office, I am never more than a few strokes on my keyboard away from a real conversation. The comradery I feel is real and I’ve met some really great colleagues online.
I get bothered by – negativity and ignorance. I also get bothered by people wanting to barter for my services. I usually ask them how that works out for them when they go to the electric company, or when they go to pay their phone bill. Lastly, that request for doing social media ‘on commission’. yuck! I do all the work and you only pay me when you make a sale? That’s sales. That’s not how social media works.

Question 4: What is the hardest situation you’ve encountered in your business and how did you handle it?

The hardest situation happened when I had to travel to Europe to say my final goodbyes to my dad on his deathbed, with only a day’s notice. I was servicing seven social media clients and did not have a VA or anyone else to fall back on. I was able to pull it together while waiting in the hospital – schedule a week’s worth of posts and notify my clients of my absence – and then pick it back up after the funeral. I was able to stay in Europe for two additional weeks and work from my parents’ home to support my mom. It ended up working out alright, but I learned a big lesson that summer. I now have systems in place, accounts access carefully recorded and a part-time assistant who can help when needed

Question 5: What is the best business advice you’ve been given and why has it stayed with you?

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over yet expecting different results.”


To grow your business you have to be willing to try new things and in our industry that’s especially true! The social media landscapes changes so quickly and if you don’t try new platforms, new tools and new ideas, you get left behind. I love training and educating people; I have done in-person workshops, google hangouts, Periscopes, Blabs and I am currently recording and building a digital product. Change is good!

One for the road…

Bonus: If you could come back to life as any person from the history, who would it be?

Laura Ingalls Wilder

5 on the 5th - Sarah Voiselle

5 on the 5th Interview: Sarah Voiselle

I have know this month’s interviewee since she was in high school. I first got to know her and her awesome family through dance – she was one of the principal ballerinas at the dance studio my daughters attend. I told her when she got to college if she needed an internship (knowing she was going into PR) all she had to do was let me know and she’d have one. Two years later she’s doing a lot of behind-the-scenes for ME Marketing Services, learning tools that will help her when she graduates.

 

Name: Sarah Voiselle

Title: Intern/Student at the University of Georgia

Company: ME Marketing Services

Website/Blog: http://memarketingservices.com/author/sarahvoiselle/

Twitter handle: @sarahvoiselle

Question 1: Why did you choose to work in this industry?

I am a third year Public Relations student at the University of Georgia, so I have yet to fully cross the threshold from school to work. While Public Relations is a large encompassing field, each branch of it has one common theme: relationships. From a very young age I loved meeting and connecting with people, it always came naturally to me, and it fascinated me. So when I got to UGA and they told me I needed to declare a major, it didn’t take me long to decide on Public Relations. So far, I think I’ve made the right decision. I become more interested in my area of study every day.  

Question 2: How do you keep continuing your education and staying up on all the latest trends and changes?

Please excuse my urge to drop the obvious, but I can’t resist. I continue my education by finishing my education. I still have a year and a half and a possible Master’s degree until I’m completely done with school, so I still have a lot to learn. However, I don’t think you ever stop learning even after you’re out of school. I try to educate myself with unlikely tools. For example, I could go look at blogs about changes Facebook is making, but I choose to investigate the platform myself and use the new tools or look at different settings that they offer to learn more about it, and then go see what other people have to say about it. I think it is important for you to make your own opinions before you start digesting everyone else’s thoughts.

Another thing I try to do (I say try because sometimes college life consumes me and I have to crawl my way back out and reconnect with the world) is to stay up on current events around the world and think about what kind of PR strategies I would use to solve the specific problem (when it calls for one). I love doing this because then I get to think about what would work and most importantly why it would be successful or not so successful. I think creativity is essential to not only continuing your education, but to improve your own projects and ideas. I truly believe you are your best motivator. I like to try to out-do myself with every new semester or class project or paper. Even if I don’t succeed, at least I know the effort is there.

Question 3: What do you love the most about working in your industry? What bothers you the most?

What I love most about this industry is ironically what I hate most about this industry. I love that this industry is alive. It is living, breathing, and constantly evolving which means that it is rarely ever boring, and brings to life new challenges that allow us to open our minds and create new solutions.

However, I have never liked change. I think it is because of how I grew up. I came from a great home, I never moved until I went to college, I grew up with a lot of the same people, and until this summer I had never left the East Coast. I know what you’re thinking: classic small town girl. And you would be 100% correct. However what is uncharacteristic of your classic small town girl is that she can’t change. I, however, adjust seamlessly once it’s time for change, but I hate the idea of it. The appreciation and love I have for our changing industry outweighs the dislike I have for it though.

Question 4: What is the hardest situation you’ve encountered in your business and how did you handle it?

I must come clean and say that I haven’t encountered many difficult situations yet, but I know there are plenty of rocks and hard places that I will find myself wedged between in the coming years. So far, I think the most challenging thing I have encountered in my school work and group projects is time management as a team. Public Relations courses at the University of Georgia are littered with group projects. This past semester I had five different group projects. I must say that juggling all of those different times, and coordinating everyone’s schedules was [damn] near impossible. So I handled it by taking on a lot of the work and communicating electronically (God bless Google docs, GroupMe, and other group communication tools). Even after all of our efforts, I pulled two all-nighters, staying up until 5:00AM for two consecutive nights and losing most of my brain function. It was well worth it though because we got an A, but this was one of those things I had to learn the hard way unfortunately. Time management is extraordinarily important in this field.

Question 5: What is the best business advice you’ve been given and why has it stayed with you?

Being a student, the majority of the advice I have been given mostly consists of getting, and keeping a job. However I think the most useful piece of advice I have ever gotten about life and entering “the real world” was from my mom. She told me to always write thank you notes, even if you think you shouldn’t. So simple, I know. According to the wise Marianna Voiselle (my dearest mother) it is a dying art, and people will perceive you as a classy, elegant, and humble human, even if you’re a terrified twenty-something who has no idea what they’re doing. The most important keys to writing a good thank you note are 1) spell the person’s name correctly, and know their correct title, 2) Actually write it…by hand; thank you emails are okay, but blow them away by going old school. It shows you took the time to show your appreciation.

One for the road…

Bonus: If you could come back to life as any person from the history, who would it be?

I think if I could come back as anyone from history I would come back as Audrey Hepburn. I am a huge movie buff and I think it would be amazing to have a knack for acting. Apart from her talents in acting, dancing, and drawing (what a renaissance woman),  I also am in awe of her selflessness. From an early age, she acted as a humanitarian and worked for those who didn’t have a voice. My favorite fact about her is that when she was young she worked as a ballerina and raised money for the Dutch resistance to the Nazi rule during WWII. The memories she had from WWII helped to make her such a loyal advocate for UNICEF in her later years.

 

5 on the 5th - Sara Nickleberry

5 on the 5th Interview: Sara Nickleberry

I love this month’s interviewee. We first got to know each other through a social-media-“expert”-who-shall-not-be-named’s private group and later bonded over our not-so-great experience with this person. We were both part of the now-disbanded Social Solutions Collective and have stayed in touch. Sara is extremely talented and doing great things up in Michigan. Below is my interview with her, so when you’re done – go follow her 🙂

Name: Sara Nickleberry

Title: CEO

Company: Social with Sara

Website/Blog: www.socialwithsara.com

Twitter handle: @socialwithsara

Question 1: Why did you choose to work in this industry?

I chose to work in social media marketing because I had a genuine interest and enjoyment in it. Before I started doing social media marketing, I was doing automotive marketing events which were definitely fun and always something new at each event. I studied Public Relations, Advertising and Communications long before social media was a thing, and social media marketing has been the most enjoyable work I’ve done so far.

Question 2: How do you keep continuing your education and staying up on all the latest trends and changes?

I read and study a lot. Books, articles, anything that keeps me up to date on the industry. I stay engaged with the digital marketing community through social media and online groups. I also like to take online courses and workshops. My alma mater, Eastern Michigan University has a Center For Digital Engagement where they collaborate with business and community partners on the evolving nature of digital engagement. They’ve had speakers like Chad Wiebesick, Head of Social Media for the award winning Pure Michigan site, representatives from the Detroit Tigers and Fifth Third Bank. I like it because you get to hear firsthand from people who are currently working in the industry. So much of what they share you can relate to and immediately apply.  I’ll be attending their upcoming Search Marketing Workshop in November.

Question 3: What do you love the most about working in your industry? What bothers you the most?

I love the AHA! moments the most. When your efforts yield results, when relationships are built and collaborations are established.

What bothers me the most is when people use social media the wrong way. When people spam, annoy, oversell, are self-serving. People don’t understand that social media marketing is more about providing value and building relationships.

Question 4: What is the hardest situation you’ve encountered in your business and how did you handle it?

Letting clients go. Sometimes it’s just better to part ways. When clients don’t hold up their end of the bargain, or don’t follow your recommendations, or “go rogue” :), then it makes your job nearly impossible.

Question 5: What is the best business advice you’ve been given and why has it stayed with you?

“If it ain’t right don’t do it and if it ain’t true don’t say it.” This has stayed with me because it just makes sense. It will help you avoid a whole lot of trouble.

One for the road…

Bonus: If you could come back to life as any person from the history, who would it be?

Hello! Beyonce! 🙂