My Day as a Gymnast at Badger Gymnastics

I gravitate toward gymnastics because it requires an insane amount of fearlessness.

 

I didn’t grow up a gymnast. But I was always obsessed with the sport. As a kid, I’d sit so close to the TV as the tiny teenage gymnasts would appear one by one, each of them so powerful and confident and mega talented.

I grew up on a farm in the “middle of nowhere.” I was the oldest of five so there was no talking my parents into driving me 30 minutes away for class. My elementary school offered a gymnastics unit once a year and my eyes would light up at the sight of the vault, four-inch beam and foam mats set up across the floor. That excitement has never waned, even through my adulthood. And that is exactly how I found myself at Badger Gymnastics in Madison. It was the only place around that offered adults (with or without gymnastics experience) the opportunity to feel (and be!) a real gymnast.

Welcome to my workout with Jessie Carlson, owner and coach at Badger Gymnastics.

A Roadmap to Building Influence

You don’t need a fancy job title to make a positive and powerful impact. Let’s talk influence. First, what is it exactly?  

influence

[in-floo-uh ns] noun

the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior and opinions of others.

Quite simply, it’s “knowing the heart of the person you wish to influence and ordering your words (or more generally, communication) so they’ll act.” What I’d add here is: when they don’t have to.

The interesting thing about influence is you can be influential without being the leader. The old way was: the one with the power had the influence. Now though, the one with the influence has the power.

 

Why should you care about influence, you ask?

You’re influencing people every single day whether you realize it or not: at work, at home and everywhere in between. Employees are influencing their bosses. Parents are influencing their children. If you’re the type of person who is interested in moving the needle, you’re going to want to hone in on how to change others’ behaviors and outlooks.

Cruise through my Keynote presentation below for a deeper dive into some of the themes relevant to building influence – from self-awareness and likability to collaboration and authenticity.

Unlocking Potential #12: Q&A With Mariah Haberman

You’ve really gotta own it and believe in yourself, and when you make mistakes, you assess and move on.

This article originally appeared on garthbox.com. {Interview by Garth Beyer, @TheGarthBox}

Welcome back to another Q&A with a remarkable marketer as part of the Unlocking Potential series. I heard about a woman named Mariah Haberman when I first moved to Madison, I found out she worked at the PR agency I hope to work at, and then I got to see her speak not too long ago. (Post about impressions and link to her presentation here.)

Mariah has drive, excitement, and more passion that I thought one person could have. It will be clear as you read on. Without further ado, welcome Mariah.

Q: What motivates you to get out of your bed in the morning?

Mariah: Caffeine! And lots of it! I am so not a morning person so the fact that I make it into work before 10 a.m. is a miracle in itself. That said, I can honestly say I have never dreaded a day of work. Getting to discover Wisconsin is a cool gig but I think working alongside amazing and talented people is just the best thing ever. (Also: Free Sprecher root beer :D)

Q: What business would you say you’re in and how did you get there? What’s your story?

Mariah: I have a weird hybrid role: I’m both a television/radio host and a PR and social media marketer.

I always dreamt of working in television. In fact, I can recall writing my sixth grade career report for Mrs. Herbers about my aspirations of becoming a news anchor. In college though, I threw those dreams out the window after coming to the conclusion that a television career in Wisconsin during a recession was a ridiculous dream to have.

So I picked public relations. And upon graduating from UW-Oshkosh, I threw a few suitcases in my tiny ’02 Corolla and with my shiny, new diploma in tow, I made the trek to Chicago. There, I worked as a temporary assistant at an entertainment PR firm. Next, I decided to freelance back in the Madison area and then I worked at a wonderful marketing agency in town.

Meanwhile, I spent three years competing for the title of Miss Wisconsin. That endeavor really reignited my desire to pursue television. So, I reached out to the one contact I had at Discover Mediaworks and asked if, by any chance, they’d ever consider letting me guest host an episode or two. After several months of back-and-forth, the crew finally invited me to come in for an interview and audition. Apparently, they saw something in me, and the rest, as they say, is history!

Q: What are four life lessons you’ve learned from following your muse?

1) Make things happen for you.

2) Be nice to people.

3) Own up when you’ve messed up.

4) Never take yourself or your work too seriously.

Q: You’re constantly putting yourself out there. How have you dealt with fear – be it of rejection or failure or even success?

Mariah: I hate to quote the most buzzed about kid flick of all time, but when it comes to being in front of crowds, you really have to just let it go. I’ll get nervous from time to time during the preparation of a big shoot or speaking engagement, but once I am on stage, or those cameras are rolling, I don’t even let myself go to that place of self-doubt. You’ve really gotta own it and believe in yourself, and when you make mistakes, you assess and move on.

So much of the television business I think is listening to your own gut. You are going to get people who absolutely adore you and your work. And the opposite of those people are Internet trolls :). I take it all with a grain of salt—both the compliments and the critiques.

Q: What do you do to continue growing in your field? Are there a few special practices or habits you think people reading may benefit from doing too?

Mariah: The idea of being stagnant or out of the loop as both a host and marketer downright scares me. I am constantly trying to learn and get better at my craft whether it be through improv classes or online marketing research—you name it. Regardless of how long you’ve been in the biz, learning is essential.

The beauty of working in the agency world is that you’re surrounded by folks who specialize in all sorts of things that you may not necessarily be an expert in. But making an effort to understand their work inherently makes you better at your own.

Q: What has been a major highlight of your work?

Mariah: A viewer reached out to me on Facebook the other day to tell me that he and his daughter make it a weekly tradition to sit down every Saturday morning and watch Discover Wisconsin together. Hearing things like that – from people who make our show a part of their lives – is the kind of stuff that sticks with me.

Q: What is one characteristic you’ve noticed every successful marketer has? Better yet, what the heck does it take to become a remarkable PR pro or marketer?

Mariah: Great marketers want to learn; they are asking questions. They are paying attention not only to what other brands are doing out there, but more importantly, they’re noticing what people care about, why they do the things they do, buy the things they buy, and hang out with the people they hang out with. I think a marketer has to be easily fascinated by and curious about the world around him or her—and I’d say the same thing applies to great TV/radio hosts.

When you understand why people do the things they do, the ideations, strategizing and executing for brands comes a whole heck of a lot more naturally. (It’s still a tough gig, don’t get me wrong!)

Q: Would you tell us about a time you almost gave up and what you did instead?

Mariah: Interestingly enough, I actually have to tell myself to let go of things more often. (Noticing a theme here?) I get invested too easily. I love to dream big and I think the upshot of dreaming big is that you tend to bite off more than you can chew. So while “giving up” often has a negative connotation, I really have to continue to remind myself the importance of walking away from the stuff I can’t or shouldn’t fix.

Q: How do you try to live your life? Do you have a life motto or a particular quote you stand by?

Mariah: Nah. No life quotes really. I just try to live life to the fullest…you know, find the silver lining in even the crappiest of days!

Q: What is a dream you have or a project you want to create that you haven’t had the time for?

Mariah: Sooooo many. I want to write my own book(s). Open a wine bar. Learn French. And piano. And how to cook (better). And more time for travel would be lovely!

Q: Where can people find you and your work? (Shameless self-promotion here!)

Mariah: Why, you can watch “my work” every weekend on your TV screens (or laptops or tablets or smartphones)! Broadcast guide here: www.bobber.discoverwisconsin.com/broadcast …and because social media is my thang, I’m pretty easy to find on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram 🙂

 

Stay Positive & Curiously Alive

 

Garth Beyer is a Madison-based writer and Public Relations Strategist focused on telling stories, running through trend-making PR strategies and trying new things in life.

10 Tips and Tricks to Conquer Your Fear of Public Speaking

I don’t know a single soul who was born a brilliant public speaker…

I live for a great speech. I think that to write and give a speech confidently is a powerful talent to behold. It’s a big deal to me. I was probably one of the first people to follow Obama’s original speechwriter on Twitter. (Hi @jonfavs #iswearimnotastalker). And my penchant for watching commencement speeches on YouTube has turned into a full-blown side hobby. (All-time favorite? Eh, it’s a toss up between Conan O’Brien at Harvard and Jim Carrey at Maharishi University of Management.)

So yeah…to summarize: One could conclude I have a bit of an appetite for communication, specifically public speaking. I suppose it’s something of an obsession. 🙂

And truth is, I’m not the only one obsessing. According to The Book of Lists, “speaking before a group” is the #1 human fear. For point of reference: Death is #7 on this list! Jay Leno put it best: I guess we’d rather be in the casket than delivering the eulogy.

I’ve been pretty fortunate to hone my public speaking skills by way of my profession. Thus, I thought it might be helpful to share a few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. Here are 10 ways to channel that executive presence while all eyes are on you:

  1. Practice. Practice. Practice.
    The most boring and obvious tip on this list is also, undoubtedly, the most essential. I’d credit about 95% of the growth I’ve made as a public speaker to practice. Rehearse in front of your significant other or kids, in small groups at work, at your local non-profit…just put yourself out there. And be warned: To practice does not mean to memorize. When I’m getting ready to speak – whether it’s a premiere party for Discover Wisconsin or a speech at a wedding – it’s not uncommon for me to just make an iPhone note of three to five points I want to make or stories I want to tell. If I’m more anxious than usual for whatever reason, I’ll practice out loud several times in my car. (I’m sure those who pass me on the beltline are all sorts of confused when they spot an animated orator in the right lane! 😂)
  2. Watch Yourself Speak
    One of the “luxuries” of working on-camera is I have easy access to playback footage of my own work as a communicator. This has been incredibly helpful. But I was doing this long before I had a job in TV. In college and throughout my pageant days, I’d film my speeches and interviews and solicit feedback from my peers and professors. A major mistake people make is spending 80% of their time writing their material and only 20% of their time rehearsing it. You need to flip those numbers. Surprise! It’s less about what you’re saying and more about how you’re saying it. We’re getting a bit into paralinguistics here but people really have a tendency to mirror your emotions as a presenter. If you are communicating in an animated, exciting, cheery way, chances are, you’re going to notice some smiles on people’s faces. If you’re going for a more solemn, dramatic mood, expect some pensive crowd reactions.
  3. Study Others
    Whether it’s a bridesmaid speech or the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, I’ve learned as much from others as I have my own speeches. There are always little nuggets to glean. For example, by watching a speaker I admired, I learned to be okay with a little silence – to embrace it actually. When I was in front of a group and unable to come up with a way to wrap up a point I was trying to make, I’d feel my face get real hot and search for words – any words – to fill the silence. But a little break in your flow is just fine. Take President Obama, for example. An incredible orator, inarguably, but one thing that has struck me about his speeches and interviews is the fact that silent pauses are trademark Obama. You can tell he is searching around for the perfect word, the perfect way to wrap up what it is he’s trying to communicate and it sticks with you because it comes across as authentic and not rehearsed (even if those dramatic pauses are indeed rehearsed).
  4. Tap Into Self-Awareness
    While studying others is helpful, knowing yourself is essential. Capitalize on your strengths – are you an amazing storyteller? Do you have a sense of humor? Are you able to simplify complex concepts? Or do you have a flair for drama?
  5. Consider the Audience, but Don’t Overthink It
    Knowing your audience is paramount. It can be daunting to try and guess what it is they’d like to get out of your talk. If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to ask the host/moderator/event planner: “Is there anything in particular your group wants me to address or share?” That said, don’t overthink the audience factor. I find a lot of people focus a little too much on the audience and not on their own material. Don’t worry so much about them – they are not there to watch you fail.
  6. Ruminate Over Your Transitions
    Ah, the transitional trap…Picture this: The Best Man is at the head table – mic in hand. He’s really getting into a funny story about the groom and he’s telling it pretty well! But now we’re nearing the end of the story, and you can tell he’s unsure how to transition to the next point. He didn’t think that part through and this is where you usually get an awkward “So…yeah. I thought I’d share that…with all of you…” Gah, facepalm, we were off to such a great start! One of the biggest differences between a great speech and a mediocre one comes down to the orator’s ability to smoothly transition from point to point. In other words, he or she has built a roadmap for the entire speech and didn’t just work on the individual topics/stories.
  7. Get Your Audience Involved
    If it makes sense, consider asking questions in the middle of your talk. This shift in your presentation pace may re-energize the audience and also give you a chance to recalibrate. Plus, fun fact: people learn best in 20-minute chunks…which is a major reason why TED Talks are as popular as they are.
  8. Do not personalize the audience reactions.
    This lesson was a BIG one for me. I’ve always considered myself pretty attuned to how people are interpreting my messages. So during my first talk with an Alcohol and Other Drugs class at UW-Whitewater about a highly personal topic (alcoholism in the family), I was a little discouraged when the 75 students I spoke to seemed rather apathetic and incurious throughout my talk. As I would speak and make eye contact with each student, their expressionless faces had me thinking: “I’m not getting through to them. They’re not interested in what I have to say.” This is probably the worst feeling to have as a presenter. With every passing word, my confidence further dwindled while my anxiety gained momentum.Two weeks later, I received 75 feedback forms in my mailbox from the professor of that class. I dreaded looking through them, so sure these college students would rip me apart. But I was numb with emotion after reading every last one of those feedback forms; they told me what I had to say really moved them. Some of them shared their own personal stories with me that were over a page long. I was shocked. They weren’t at all disinterested…they were simply concentrating hard on what it was I was saying.

    Side note: This is also why, as an audience member, I always try to make a point to give presenters non-verbal cues while they are on stage. Whether it’s in the form of a head nod or even a smile, I think it’s important to let presenters know: “I hear you. And I like what you have to say.”

  9. Just Breathe
    Man, adrenaline is one hell of a hormone. When your mind and body are under stress, your fight-or-flight response kicks in. When I’m nervous, I pace back and forth. I tend to make everyone else around me nervous but I need to move around, it helps calm me down. Take deep breaths and reassure yourself that all the preparation you’ve done up to this point means you’ve got this.
  10. Know That It’s Okay to be Nervous
    Actually, nervous energy is a good thing. It means you care about this thing you’re about to do. Even though it’s my job to speak in front of people and on camera, I still get nerves – sometimes it’s just an adrenaline rush before I walk on stage and sometimes it’s full blown chest-tightening, hand-wringing nerves. I’m not convinced it’s anything you’re ever completely “cured” of. In fact, of all the speeches I’ve given, there is a handful of which I felt a bit disappointed with my performance and of those, there was one common thread: I didn’t feel nervous beforehand.

Most importantly, don’t just decide that this is something you’re bad at. I don’t know a single soul who was born a brilliant public speaker. It’s a learned skill and like any learned skill, practice makes perfect. So get out there!

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16 of the Craziest Things I’ve Done on Discover Wisconsin

Cheers to another year full of adventure, mishaps and fearlessness!

One of the more popular questions I get asked is: “What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done on Discover Wisconsin?” There’ve been so many wild moments, but here are 16 that come to mind:

  1. Completely bombed a waterski jump on Lake Arrowhead…three times in a row
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  2. …but redeemed myself by waterskiing behind a seaplane!
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  3. Kept the bulls at bay as a rodeo clown in River Falls
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  4. Competed in a smooshboarding competition in Hudson
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  5. Judged a “Show Me Your Fur” Contest during Fun on the Frozen Flambeau in Rusk County
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  6. Kayaked these CRAZY rapids in Black River Falls…
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  7. Floated above Lake Geneva in a hot air balloon
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  8. Motorcycled my way around southeastern Wisconsin
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  9. Toured Lambeau Field with former Packers kicker Chris Jacke
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    Dressed up as an 1800s dame at the Baker House in Lake Geneva
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  11. Competed in a barrel racing competition in Buffalo County
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  12. Buzzed around Lodi’s Smokey Hollow Campground in a giant shopping cart
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  13. Made my way around the backwaters of La Crosse by airboat
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  14. Flew over Oconto County in a helicopter
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  15. Played snowshoe baseball at Blizzard Blast in Conover
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  16. Performed with the Rock Aqua Jays Water Ski Show Team in Janesville
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Ah, the memories! Hats off to the #DWcrew for putting up with my shenanigans 😀 If you have a favorite moment or episode, comment below. Let me know if you have a destination you’d like to see featured on the show, too!

Cheers to another year full of adventure, mishaps and fearlessness!

What I’ve Learned From 13 Jobs in 13 Years

Work work work work work 🎶

There’s a lot I have yet to figure out about life but here’s one thing I know with absolute certainty: having as many varied experiences as you possibly can is a major and direct contributor to personal and professional growth. It is so much of what determines how quickly (or conversely, how slowly) one develops.

Many of the jobs I’ve held seem, at least on the surface, rather unremarkable. Others truly put the “odd” in “odd jobs.” Each – while diverse in the skill-set required – has impacted me in a pretty profound way. First, the super quick rundown:

Skipping the years I spent baby-sitting, my first “big kid” job was as a cashier for Piggly “Shop the Pig!” Wiggly. (I can still recite a handful of PLUs. Bananas: #4011) In high school and early college, I also was a waitress at a few different restaurants. (And subsequently, was quickly made aware of how sucky my multitasking skills were.) Then my dad, who worked at Oscar Mayer for 13 years scored me a stint as an assembly line worker in the factory’s ham slice department. He told me this job would teach me to stay in college. He was right. That same summer, I also worked the p.m. shift as a retail associate at Hollister at West Towne Mall. (Not sure which environment I hated more: 40 degree, smoked ham-smelling basement vs. the “So Cal” cologne-infused teen dungeon.)

Later, my lifelong obsession with gymnastics would draw me to a kids center near my hometown where I worked as a gymnastics assistant. On campus at UW-Oshkosh I worked as a journalism assistant as well as a phonathon caller, where yes, I called and convinced alumni to fork over some cash. (i.e. “I totally understand $50 won’t do but how bout a tax-deductible $5 gift to the UWO annual fund? Every dollar counts!”) And then there was the summer I was an MMA Ring Girl. (It wasn’t as interesting as it sounds but…$$$) I was also a bartender at a couple different golf courses as well as a bar in downtown Oshkosh. And then post-college, came all my recent stuff AKA social media consultant, marketing strategist, TV host and producer, etc.

And now for the analysis.

The thing is, in my early 20s, I was pretty insecure about how many jobs I had already held for my age. I had to defend my ADD-inducing resume at almost every interview I had. Working consistently at the same place for multiple years seemed to be the idyllic route – decided by my peers, my employers and by society. There is something to admire about that, for sure, but as you’ve probably guessed, I’m here to tout the opposite 🙂

For starters, working this many various jobs throws you head first into a lot of weird, wacky, frustrating, challenging, stressful, exhausting and rewarding situations. You’ve gotta buckle up, adapt quickly and brush off the stress when you show up for your waitressing shift, and the only two other scheduled waitresses called in that day and it’s Mother’s Day and you have the ginormous patio all by yourself and oh my God, you just spilt the entire pitcher of ice cold water on THE MOM and it’s MOTHER’S DAY. Shit. She’ll give you a good tip though because she pities you. Not all is lost.

When you work a lot of jobs, you’re never anywhere for too long. This means you’re always the new girl in a foreign land, which is translation for: learn how to have thick skin, especially when the veteran lady line workers at Oscar Mayer gave you major side eye when you stack up 3 feet of ham because sweet jesus, the bubble packages on the line MOVE SO DAMN FAST. Next thing you know, they’re shutting down the entire line because “COLLEGE GIRL CAN’T KEEP UP.” And because you’ve learned how to adapt well in previous roles, you’re able to shamelessly retort, “My dad is the maintenance guy here…just FYI” any time those nasty ol’ ladies get real out of line. Works like a charm!

Working this many jobs as a teen and through my 20s, also helped me weed through what I was looking for in a career and in the team I wanted to surround myself with. I mean, let’s be honest, you don’t have to hold a lot of jobs to know that terrible bosses are a dime a dozen. I’ve certainly got a real vivid depiction of “Manager I Don’t Ever Wanna Be” but unlike a lot of other professionals (so it seems) I’ve also had the good fortune of working for some amazing people. And as much as I learned from the bad eggs, I also eagerly consumed every ounce of leadership lore that I could from the really great ones.

And these are just paid gigs we’re talking about. If job-jumping has you feeling uneasy, there are umpteen other ways to take in a variety of experiences like volunteering, travel and classes, just to name a few. However you decide to weave in and out of your own lane, I think these experiences will make you more sophic, open-minded and perceptive of the big picture.

Speaking of the big picture, here it is: The more people, places and positions you experience, the better you’ll be for it.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think below.

 

Please Stop Saying “You Complete Me”

To have a partner in life is a bonus, not a prerequisite to survival.

“You’re my other half.”

“My life began after I met you.”

“You complete me.”

No. Just, no. These bathetic, saccharine phrases may sound romantic at first pass. They’ve been written into narratives, scripts and screenplays. They’re repeated at our own friends’ wedding ceremonies as if they were plucked right out of the “How to Write the Perfect Wedding Vows” article on TheKnot.com. You may think I’m being cynical but I’m not; these phrases don’t offend me personally. They just evoke a major bout of, “Do these people truly believe this about themselves? Or, is this the best way they know how to write/speak romantically?” If its the latter, said offenders may be forgiven because I realize some of us pay more attention to wordage than others. I totally get it. But if there are masses of people in relationships who think they’re only half of something awesome, that to me, is a really big problem – societally speaking.

Bottom line: If you’re one half of something, you’re broken. Broken people should not be in relationships. They should be working on healing and becoming whole by knowing themselves.

I get that “You magnify my best self and also call attention to the areas I need to improve and together, we as a couple are extraordinary!” doesn’t quite roll off the syrupy tongue in the same way “You complete me” does.

And I know that “I can handle life without you but man, I really, really, really love experiencing things with the love of my life by my side.” doesn’t quite pack the same punch as “I can’t live without you.”

I held on to the hope that women younger than me were sure to embrace the importance of being whole. And then the Twilight series blew up and I became seriously concerned. I was concerned because Bella from Twilight is not cute. She’s pathetic. Perhaps you read the books too; if so, you also know the storyline is as pedestrian as they come but the real tragedy is Bella’s character. She was literally physically weak every time her guy left the room…she irked me to my core. She’s everything that is wrong with men and women who put too much pressure on equating self-actualization with their significant other. Had she said, “You complete me” in her wedding vows to Edward, I’d have believed her, sadly. But to have a partner in life is a bonus, not a prerequisite to survival.

If you need to idolize a fantasy couple, it needs to be Elizabeth and Mr.Darcy. Bella + Edward < Elizabeth + Mr. Darcy

What do you think? I’d love your thoughts – Chime in below please!

How I got my Job as a TV Host

It didn’t happen by accident.

Q: “Sweet gig. How’d ya land it?!”

A: Here’s the CliffNotes version:

It all started with a dream…as most things do. It didn’t happen by accident. Since I was in middle school, I dreamt of working as a journalist. I wrote my 6th grade career report about the role of an anchorwoman. I fan-girled over seeing Susan Siman in person. But in high school, I told myself a career in television was not realistic. And according to early 2000s world wide web research, it didn’t pay all that well. And so I shelved the idea. I don’t think I ever told a single soul about my ambitions…perhaps, I was too worried I wouldn’t be encouraged to pursue them.

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In high school, I ended up getting my poms team’s picture in an issue of CosmoGirl magazine and my coach joked that I should go into public relations. I was intrigued by what seemed to me at the time a somewhat mysterious field…(cue daydreams of girlbossin’ Olivia Pope-style).

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I’ve kept the copy all these years. Still makes me giggle. FYI: Katie Holmes and Usher were on the cover of this 2005 issue. One of the headlines also read: “Kanye’s Life Advice”

So that’s what I did. I attended UW-Oshkosh and majored in Journalism with an emphasis in PR and advertising. I’ve always been excited by marketing and PR – even to this day. I’m fascinated by how and why people do the things they do, say the the things they say and buy the things they buy. The very fascination with the “inner thinking” of people is exactly what I believe also intrigued me about hosting. There’s actually quite a bit of overlap between the two, at least for me.

Anywho, I digress. I graduated from UWO in 2010. That year pretty much sucked for college grads. I ended up finding a Craigslist post from a PR agency in Chicago that was looking for a temporary assistant. It was a foot in the door and that was all I needed at the time.

Then I moved back to Madison and continued working in marketing for the next couple of years. During that time frame, I was also competing for a spot at Miss Wisconsin. It was my pageant journey that re-ignited my desire to do something a bit more public-facing…

I started flirting with the idea of doing some on-camera work. I heard Discover Wisconsin was recruiting a new host and so on a whim – without any expectations whatsoever – I submitted a video. And – surprise, surprise! – no one called me. (Womp. Womp.) But I did become Facebook friends with the digital guy there. (Hi, Michael! 👋) I reached out and again – without any expectations – asked whether there’d be any chance they’d let me guest host an episode. They didn’t say yes but they didn’t say no. We did keep in touch for a year and a half. Eventually, the managing producer (sup Chadd!) reached out and asked me to “dust off my video camera and record a few lines.” And that’s where this gem of an audition video comes into play:

Shout out to Alan Ruby for graciously helping me out ☝️ I can’t believe this was four years ago. (FYI: The cell phone number featured in the video is no longer mine.)

And then to play the rest of this out like a 1980s conversation between two teens…

They go: “Part-time gig as an on-camera host?”
And then I go: “Full-time or no-time.” (Totally would’ve accepted part-time…)
And then they go: “Alright, fine.”
~End Scene~

Thanks to my marketing background, the production company offered me a full-time position that involved on-camera hosting as well as marketing strategy. (I’d say 90% of what I do revolves around marketing and brand management in general. Hosting is my fun ‘side job,’ if you will.) In other words, I marketed both skill-sets to my prospective employer:  my marketing know-how + half-developed knack for being in front of the camera – plus my passion for all things Wisconsin.

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Filming at the beautiful Campo di Bella in Mount Horeb, Wis. during the summer of 2015.

This is the most important thing. For anyone looking to break into TV/media: Don’t try to mimic my path. What worked for me probably won’t work for you. I wish someone would’ve drilled that into my head 10 years ago because I found myself obsessively researching the career paths of people that were doing things I wanted to do. No two people experience the exact same path. HOWEVER, there are always – without fail! – several underlying common themes, like perseverance, hard work, laser focus, open-mindedness, entrepreneurship and even dumb luck.

Sadly, there’s no magic bullet for getting exactly what you want out of your career. But to quote one of my favorite late night TV hosts: “If you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.” This is a formula that does work every time – I’m sure of it.

Why this Year’s Election Was the Best Thing to Happen to America

There is some sunshine to relish on the other side of this politically-languished rainbow.

 

Before I begin, let it be known that I do not identify with neither the Democratic party nor the Republican party. Throughout my adulthood, I have voted for candidates from different sides of the aisle. And like a lot of my fellow Americans, I, too, thought both of this year’s main contenders were outrageously unfit to be Prez.

It has been an election unlike any we’ve seen before. Clinton and Trump set the precedent with their charming attack ads and ridiculous campaign rhetoric. From there, we saw pretty crappy journalism. And then, we watched in horror as adults in our very own social circles acted like fools on social media. It really did feel like the political apocalypse that just would not end. We’ve endured 18+ months of incessant ads, flashy clickbait, groan-worthy debates, fancy pantsuits, erratic tweets – and that was basically just the prelude.

But beyond all the nasty women, pussy-grabbing, crooked Hillaries, orange turd/tangerine/insert ridiculous adjective to describe Trump here: ______, etc., I think there is some sunshine to relish on the other side of this politically-languished rainbow. Indulge me for a minute or two, will you?

  1. The death of the Super PAC (?)
    …well, hopefully. Thanks to both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, I think future politicians are going to have a lot more to answer to in regard to how their campaigns are funded. Here are two politicians that made it to the national political arena sans big dollars from special interests groups. (I’m talking to you, NRA/Wall Street/Big Pharma!) This is huge (yuge?). Even if you are a devout Trump hater, this is one thing about him you ought to stand behind. Time will tell as to whether he keeps his promise to ensure politics and big business sleep in separate bedrooms, but it was certainly refreshing to witness Trump and Sanders break the cycle and denounce the concept of Super PACs.

    (Need a breakdown of how PACs and Super PACs work? Read this.)

  2. What doesn’t kill you…
    …you know the rest 🙂 I pray to God our country doesn’t face an election as divisive as the one we just swallowed. And if we do, well, we’ve got this lovely, thespian chapter to refer back to I guess. We gulped – and it hurt going down. But we got through it. And while the smoke from anti-Trump signs and “Make America Great Again’ hats is still wafting about, I think there’s something to be said about the way we go about things here in America. We go all in here. We play from our heart.
  3. The people have awoken.
    I was really hoping to see record-breaking numbers in terms of how many people turned out to vote this year. That didn’t really happen. So that’s the bad news. But the good news: This election got people talking. Amiright? It is painful to see ignorant Facebook statuses and horrendous journalism but overall, the fact that people care at all is a hell of a lot better than not paying any attention.

    From Trump supporters to Hillary supporters and everyone in between, our ears are perked. We’re all asking the same question: What will happen next? You have more eyes on you than ever before, Washington. Don’t screw this up.

Thoughts? Comment below.

15 Songs I’m Working Out to These Days

I don’t think I could run more than two minutes if I didn’t have music blaring in my ears. I know what you’re thinking, “That’s a tad melodramatic, Mariah” but I ain’t lying. I just don’t move my feet without music nope nope nope cannot do it, I refuse. And because I realize a great workout song is the difference between a lazy jane “how many more crunches do I gotta do?” workout vs. Teyana Taylor’s glistening gymrat regime, I’ve gathered up some jams I’ve had on repeat as of late.

Speaking of Teyana Taylor…my first suggestion:

  1. Fade – Kanye West

  2. Starboy – The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34Na4j8AVgA
  3. MATANGI – M.I.A.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTOADPPywq8
  4. Slumber Party – Britney Spears ft. Tinashe

  5. Alive – Sia

  6. I WILL WHAT I WANT (Under Armour) – Misty Copeland

  7. Spectrum of the Sky – Break of Reality

  8. Daft Punk – Pentatonix
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MteSlpxCpo

  9. Cobrastyle – Robyn

  10. B* Better Have My Money – Rihanna (SICKICK VERSION)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHRpR_0Hl_s
  11. Diva/Bowdown (LIVE) – Beyonce

  12. Amazing – Kanye West

  13.  I Need a Dollar – Aloe Blacc

  14. Bia’ Bia’ – Lil Jon & The Eastside Boyz
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czpZvVyQN5o
  15. NEW DORP. NEW YORK. – SBTRKT ft. Ezra Koenig

I could probably add 100 more. What are your go-to workout songs? Let me know please!