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Emily Cornell

Emily Cornell

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

Hello from The North! (We've rebranded MN, have you heard?)

My LinkedIn page will tell you that I'm an account director at Fame (an experiential marketing agency), a brand champion for Sword & Plough and that I do some freelance consulting work as well. But I like to think of myself mostly as a connector — connecting people to other people or to ideas or sometimes just connecting the dots as they appear.

Lately, I'm focusing on making sure I'm spending my time and energy making a positive impact in my little corner of the world. Whether that's growing as a leader/manager/mentor or humbly learning from others.

What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?

The agency world can be a tricky place — it's not just about being smart and driven, it's a lot about being in the right place and the right time (getting the chance to work on the next "it" campaign, etc). But if I think about all the successful people that I most admire, they share a few traits: curiosity, intelligence, determination, tenacity, and confidence balanced with humility.

We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?

I used to joke that I was a "law school refugee." I graduated from the University of CO, Boulder in 2005 with an English Lit degree and was completely unprepared to find a job. Knowing that I didn't want to be a teacher, I did the only other thing that made sense and headed to Boston to join my 1L section.

It didn't take me long to realize I was miserable and I dropped out of law school at the end of the first semester (after taking my finals - wanted to keep the door cracked open, just in case!). I headed to Mpls and moved into my grandparents' house while I broke into advertising (with a few low-paying internships). Eleven years later, I'm still in the ad/marketing agency world and I've had the pleasure to work on brands ranging from Porsche to 3M (healthcare) to Harley-Davidson to Charter Communication.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I really love managing a team. There's something about drawing from a bank of experience and passing down the wisdom I've gained from others over the years. I joke with my mentor that I channel her at least every other day as I give advice and guidance.

Who are your role models?

I really admire women who have figured out how to follow their dream. Some have been able to find fulfillment in their "day" job and others have had to find a balance between the 9-5 and a side hustle. Others look for a role that pays the bills but allows enough time for them to raise a family. Most of my career role models are women that I know personally — I find that it's easier for me to learn from them when I can reach out and ask "how did you do that?"

What is your morning ritual?

My morning ritual actually starts the night before as I pack a lunch and think about my day ahead (and what I might wear). I'm an early riser (partially due to Hector the Cat, who insists on a 5am breakfast). First stop is always to turn on the coffee pot. I spend about 45-60 mins getting ready (which includes taking some time for a 5-10 min meditation) and then head out the door. I like to get to the office early before the hum of the day starts up. I do my best and most focused work between 7:30 and 10, and then take a mid-morning break to stretch and have a snack before tackling the rest of my day.

What is your favorite social media site? Why?

I really love Instagram. I'm a storyteller at heart and I love the chance to take a picture and tell a short story through the caption and hashtags. It feeds my creative side with a pretty limited time investment.

What would you say your personal superpower is?

Disentropy — I bring order to chaotic situations or problems. I'm able to see what needs to be done and then create systems/processes to help things move a little more smoothly.

I'm not sure where I picked the skill (talent?) up from... Maybe it's because, as a lit major/writer, I'm constantly thinking about how best to structure a communication. Or, maybe it's because my early childhood was influenced by my parents' occupations at the time (my father was a Marine and my mother ran a Laura Ashley store).

What does success look like to you?

I tell those who work for me that I'm just as concerned about how they show up outside of work as I am about how they perform at the office. I want them to be global citizens who think about ways they can make our world a better place. I hold myself to the same standards.

I used to think success was about chasing the next title and paycheck. I've shifted my thinking quite a bit lately. Dr. Brene Brown, Glennon Doyle Melton, Pema Chodron and a host of other amazing women have been teaching me through their writings.

What is the best career advice you ever received?

Don't ever be ashamed of, or hide, your intelligence — even if "they" don't get it. But make sure that you walk humbly; show, don't tell people that you're smart.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

I'm thrilled to be the Communications Manager for the Twin Cities (Mpls/St. Paul) chapter and working to help grow our chapter after our Summer 2016 launch. After attending one of the chapter's monthly First Friday coffees last summer, I *knew* I had to be a part of the network. I consider joining Ellevate one of the best investments I've made in myself lately — I have met some amazing women (and made a few friends) and have tapped into a network of ideas and energy.

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