Now’s the Time to Look Back, Instead of Forward to Decode Your Value



Wendy Glavin, Founder & CEO, Wendy Glavin Agency

My marketing communications journey started 30-years ago working for General Electric, small-medium-sized agencies, and for Burson-Marsteller (now Burson Cohn & Wolf). Despite working at GE, surrounded by engineers, technologists, programmers and software developers, I never thought of myself as a tech person.

Do You Know How You’re Perceived?

However, over the years, I continued to get technology accounts, like a division of DuPont, a division of IBM and others in B2B sectors. However, I still didn’t “own” the fact I was a technology person since I have more soft than hard skills.

After taking time off to raise my three boys, we lived in the South of France for ten summers and visited towns, villages, beaches and immersed ourselves in the culture. While there, I discovered what the French call, “bijoux fantaisie” (costume jewelry) and arrived home wearing bracelets, earrings and necklaces from France.

Each year, when my children returned to school in the fall, parents asked where they could buy the jewelry? Realizing there was an untapped niche, I started a business importing jewelry from France to the U.S. with a partner, which we managed successfully for ten years.

I learned about building relationships with customers, long before it became the buzzword, “customer-centric.” We attended trade shows, exhibited at holiday events, had trunk shows at women’s magazines like Vogue, Vanity Fair and Glamour and hosted shows at investment banks, law firms, country clubs, hospitals and more for roughly ten years.

This experience helped me realize that I was an entrepreneur and led me to become a business consultant.

Reflect on Your Life and Career Journey to Discover Transferable Skills

As a consultant, I worked remotely for national and global agencies across a wide variety of industry sectors. I learned that marketing communications; the umbrella term for marketing, public relations, social and digital media, was the same regardless of my clients or the industry sectors in which we worked.

Don’t get me wrong, whenever I was given a technology account in industries such as SaaS, financial services and financial technology (FinTech), I was uncomfortable and felt I couldn’t do the work. My father, a prosecutor who died at 68-years-old, always said, “What you’ve accomplished in the past proves what you can do in the future.”

So, I do what I always did: read and do a lot of research. If you’re driven to learn, you will. I did whatever it took. For example, you may remember the show, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” The show included “lifelines” where you could call friends for help and that’s exactly what I did throughout my career.

The Importance of Building Communities of People with Diverse Skill Sets

Similarly, I’ve always had several “phone-a-friends” who can provide in-depth information on a subject. For example, I have friends on Wall Street who know finance and global news, and other colleagues and friends who have expertise in the law, medicine, publishing, marketing technology, broadcasting, podcasting, retail, blockchain, artificial intelligence, mobile app development and more.

As Richard Branson says, “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”

What is a Growth Mindset?

Carol Dweck coined the term in her book, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.” In her book, she illustrates how success in almost every area is influenced by how we perceive our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset believe that abilities are set. Those with a growth mindset know abilities can be developed.

For me, having a growth mindset means to always be learning by reading, doing research, perusing social media and growing by listening and watching people who are ahead of me. Having a mentor provides an objective view of what you want to achieve. Mentors can be colleagues, friends, family, teachers, coaches, business advisors and people you admire.

We all have different ways of processing information. In 2011, I read Howard Gardner’s book, “Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences,” which includes eight intelligences: linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalistic. Knowing your learning style helps you build on your strengths.

Top Five Reasons to Adopt a Growth Mindset:

  1. Each one of us has our own story, which includes our background, experiences, relationships, interests and perspectives. Once you realize that your only competition is yourself, you’ll identify your unique competitive advantage.
  2. When I founded my agency, people told me, I had too much competition. Of course, there are many marketing, PR, social and digital media agencies, but people choose to work with someone for who they are, rather than what they do. The same philosophy applies across most industries.
  3. In the 21st century, it’s never been easier to learn. For example, years ago, it took a day to read the Sunday Times. Now, with Twitter we can read trending news in an hour. Using Google, we can search for anything. Online courses, like Coursera, enable you to learn in-demand skills, get a degree or a certificate from top universities for free or with cost-effective options that are flexible and easy-to-use.
  4. During the pandemic, many of us have more free time. Why not take advantage of the opportunity to pursue a passion, a side gig, a new career path, or learn how to use your skills in different ways? Despite the fact that I’m outgoing and a public speaker, I realized I needed to learn how to show-up live on broadcasts and create live videos. For me, the skillset is different, but I continued to practice and now am a “resident guest” on a global Live show.
  5. When you look back, you’ll find common patterns, as I’ve done. After acknowledging the fact that I understand technology, I became a technology columnist. I’ve been writing throughout my entire career. Once I realized it, I started covering and writing about events and became a published writer.

You can increase your self-awareness by paying attention to how you think and react to others. Are you a creative person that is more abstract than linear? Are you open to others’ perspectives or do you feel criticized? Are you willing to take risks and make mistakes to help guide you in the future? Or, are you someone who’s waiting for a prospect to find you rather than building relationships?

Many professionals plow forward to seize opportunities without looking back and miss defining moments. For example, several years ago, when I became a technology columnist, I wrote landscape pieces about a wide variety of industry sectors.

Since COVID-19, I decided to shift my focus into writing different types of articles like, “The Unexpected Perks of Working Remotely” and “The Future of the Workplace: Lessons Learned in the Time of Coronavirus” because during tough times, people are looking for more positive and motivational pieces.

Since the pandemic has changed how we work, think and do business, we can’t be on the go like before. If we remain curious and adopt a growth mindset, our world gets bigger. Many people get their best ideas while showering, exercising and doing activities rather than working. If you allow your mind to wander, and are open to discovery, you’ll have “aha” moments.

What do you need to recognize? If you’re interested in learning more about how you can identify what’s important to you and identify your core value, please go to

#SXSW - Wendy GlavinAbout the Author: Wendy Glavin is Founder and CEO of Wendy Glavin, a NYC full-service agency. Wendy is a 30-year veteran of corporate, agency, consulting and small business ownership. She specializes in B2B2C marketing communications, executive writing, PR and social media advisory. Her website is: Contact her at:

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