Meet Amanda Guralski
Amanda's career has transformed from her first entrepreneurial pursuit as the co-founder of an online career coaching magazine bizMe.biz, to author of the book I am NOT a Smartie Pants to hosting Tucson’s popular entertainment/lifestyle show, The Morning Blend. She pivoted into becoming a powerhouse account executive for two Fortune 500 companies and currently is working in the technology space. Amanda is also the newest host of Discover Wisconsin.
Throughout your career, you've definitely been a big believer in developing a strong personal brand. How has that helped you with your networking?
Personal brand, I think is really everything. Setting up who you are as a person and being not only transparent on who that is and what that looks like, but being consistent in that. So if you want to put the persona as a positive, upbeat person that wants to be a voice in the community, that's exactly how you have to show up every single day. And there are times where I don't feel like showing up like that. So guess what, I don't show up. Because the reality is, is that as much as we like to say I don't want people to judge who I am, first impressions are based off exactly that. So developing a strong personal brand is vital, I think to building up your network of community.
You've definitely pivoted into different industries and worlds. How have you leveraged your network for that, and how has your brand, maintain consistency while you've done that?
So when you look at my hot mess of a resume on paper, you're thinking this girl is crazy and can't figure it out. But when I articulate what I've done in my career, every single position that I have gotten has been through my network. I started out with an online magazine, the Field of Dreams, if you build it, they will come and they did not come shockingly enough. I realized that I had to really get out there and pound the pavement and put the feet on the street and get out there and promote myself or promote my brand, promote my mission and be a voice in the community. And that's exactly what I did is I started getting out there I was going to colleges and professional groups and universities and anyone that would give me an opportunity to speak in front of an audience and talk about my mission and what I was trying to accomplish, is exactly what I did. And from there as you begin to meet more people and start this conversation, you show up in a very genuine, authentic and sincere way, people start gravitating towards you.
You want to share a little bit about what you're doing in the technology space?
I fell into technology through a friend of mine who I went to college with. I did pharmaceutical sales and then from there the most recent president of the Journal Sentinel reached out to me on LinkedIn was like Amanda, we've got a great opportunity. You know the space, you know digital advertising, and we've got a sales manager position open and at the time I was in sales, I'd been in sales way at the beginning of my career. And I did that for about a year and a half and then a friend of mine reached out from Salesforce and was like Amanda, we're really looking for people that have a digital advertising background and you do. Would you be interested in coming here and I did my research and I was really impressed with the suite of products. So I applied, I got that position. And I was there for about a little over a year. And then through networking of friends I really wanted to get into the services space. And I find that the services space what I am now that I'm able to really have very deep conversations where not only are you educating clients on the technology space, specifically marketing, automation space, but also like challenge them on at some level, their education, their historical education on what they know, because what you know, is not what it is today.
Can you share with our listeners, one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?
I was in my early career in college, I was like, I am going to be the publisher of Vogue. And so if you know anything about the publishing side, it's like that's the sales generating revenue side of magazines. And so I had this dream and this vision and as it started to come together, I started networking, different internships and things like that. And I landed at Decker Publications, which was a small publishing house up in Minnesota. And while I was there, I got to attend this magazine day. I went there, but as I was there, I took advantage of the people that were around because it was all of the sales executives from every single one of these magazines and publishers and editors and so I just started working the room and I met this fantastic gentleman, his name was Frank Wall. At the time, he was a sales rep for Time Magazine. I networked with him, and I kind of told him what I wanted to do. And he was like, well, you're speaking to the right person, because I can help you get there. And he was really the one that introduced me to all of these wonderful people that were all working in that space.
How do you stay in front of invest, nurture your wide network?
I'd be lying if I said it's not challenging. It is. I mean, we all get very busy. And depending upon where life is taking you, your priorities shift. So there is no secret formula to doing it. I just think that there are people in your life that are always going to be a part of your network. Letting people know that you're still around. And like how you nurture any sort of relationship. I mean, yes, there's different degrees of relationships, but at the same time, we all want the same thing, right? We all want to feel like we're bringing some value to someone else's life at whatever level that looks like.
What advice would you offer the business professional who's looking to grow their network?
Get out there. And I know that it's scary, but practice makes perfect. There are so many opportunities in the Milwaukee community to meet really great people. But sometimes it can be very overwhelming because networking events back in the day were like no networking events. We formed our own events to get together. And now I mean, there could be three or four a night, right? I don't want to say like, limit yourself. So like, in my case, I wanted to learn about the publishing industry because I wanted to be the publisher of a fashion magazine. But I also had this idea to start my own. So logically, you would think you have to put yourself in a space where I'm going to be able to meet those people, so that I can articulate to them how they can help me. So I think that's how people can really start to grow their network is have a vision, know what you want, know how people can help you and then just start putting yourself out there and meeting as many people as you can in that specific space and being direct on how people can help you.
Do you have any final word or advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?
I know that it's scary. And all of us come to the table for different reasons. And there are different expectations and fears that hold us back. And you might be listening right now thinking, I don't know what I can offer other people. Well, guess what? It doesn't necessarily matter. You can figure that out. All of us have started somewhere. All of us have relied on someone else to help us meet other people or open some doors for us. And yeah, when I started out in my career, I really had nothing to offer either. I needed people to guide me along the way. But now I'm at a point in my career, where I can mentor someone else. So if you feel like you don't have anything to offer, but you've got a goal or a dream or you know anything, just get out there and start talking about it and people will gravitate towards you and people are going to help you whether you can give something in return or not.
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