Last week I had the pleasure of meeting an amazing woman by the name of Madison Cork. With fiery red auburn it surprises me a little she hates being called, "red," but what do I know, I always wanted to be a red head. Needless to say, Madison Cork taught me a lot of things about myself in the course of a few hours.
First, I was lucky enough to have her provide me pointers regarding my interview habits on television. She encouraged me to be myself, ease up and ignore the camera. I loved her advice. But moreover, I really loved what she taught us during our June ModSocial. Madison encouraged us to work in groups and figure out a way to tell others why we do what we do. The process is simple and I would highly encourage you to try it on your own if you missed our event. Here it is:
Answer this question: What do you do? Answer this question: Why? Answer this question again: Why? And again: Why? Eventually, you hit a point where you uncover your story. Now tell it.
WHAT ARE A FEW OF YOUR FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT NASHVILLE?
The people! I have always received a friendly and welcoming vibe when I visit Nashville. There is a genuine love for the city that exudes from the people who call it home and they are eager to point you towards a great restaurant or funky shop. Speaking of shops - I LOVE the shopping, great local vendors with everything from trendy clothes to old school antiques.
WHAT TIPS CAN YOU OFFER ABOUT SUCCESSFULLY ADVANCING YOUR CAREER?
First and foremost - have a passion for what you are doing. If you don't, move on until you find that one thing that really makes you feel alive when you are doing it. If you are passionately pursuing a career, the work it takes to make yourself successful doesn't feel like work at all, but amazing progress. Second - surround yourself with a great support system. Know your weakness as well as your strengths and look for people who compliment what you can and cannot do to advance your self forward. Last - always be fair and honest. The people you step on as you move up are the same ones who smack you on the way back down. Don't take shortcuts or lay blame somewhere else when you have made a mistake, your clients, co-workers and leaders will trust and value you more if you take responsibility and are honest.
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF PROFESSIONAL OR PERSONAL ADVICE YOU'VE BEEN GIVEN BY SOMEONE ELSE?
Ha! Well, I have to say this quote from my Grandmother is the one that sticks with me - "Just remember, there is always going to be someone smarter, prettier, quicker, thinner, funnier, and better than you are. Just give it your all and pray to God that she's not standing right next to you!"
WHAT ARE THREE THINGS WE WOULDN’T GUESS TO BE TRUE ABOUT YOU?
- I absolutely HATE the word "moist". It makes my skin crawl.
- I have 64 cousins between my mother and father's families (most of which still live in West Virginia), and I am the only one out of all of them to not only graduate high school, but go on to earn both an undergraduate and graduate degree. The fact that I am female, makes me even more proud of that.
- Sometimes I sneak into my kids rooms and hold their baby blankets close to my face and breath in really deep. Then I cry. Because they will never be those little babies again!
HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK/LIFE BALANCE?
I try very hard to not work for my resume', but instead for my eulogy. When I am dead and gone, I certainly do not want people to say things like "She worked really hard", "Her kids never saw her", or "Wow, she sure did know how to turn 40 hours into 80!". I hope they will remember me as being kind, loving, courageous, adventuresome, silly, and yes, of course, successful. When life feels out of balance, I ask myself - how am I prioritizing my time and does it have a positive impact on my top priorities? Those priorities are my significant other, our kids, our work lives, our friends and families. If the answer is no, then that thing has to go.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BIGGEST ISSUE CHALLENGING WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE?
Their own insecurities. That little voice inside that tells them to hang back, or not stand up for themselves, or not take a risk, or that they are not the best person for the job. Men don't seem to struggle with that as much as we do. Most of them think they can just naturally conquer what's in front of them. Women need to change the voice inside their own head until all they hear is - YES I CAN.
Madison Cork equips clients to influence their audience with authenticity and confidence. As a leading executive speech, political, business and media coach, Madison brings a vast knowledge of vocal and movement techniques such as Linklater, Fitzmaurice, Alexander and Le Coq. She has over 15 years of professional experience with clients that include Fortune 500 companies, private companies, and non-profits.
Kirsty Hughan is the founder of Seamless Marketing, which provides marketing services and consulting to small businesses, startups and agencies, ensuring they align with brand and stay in budget. She is also the co-founder of Mod Nashville, a women's networking group in Nashville, TN.