Cole Godvin

Member Spotlight

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

I've worked throughout my career in both media and education. A former photo editor at the L.A. Times I taught journalism and headed the student communications departments of two major independent schools in California before moving to Austin to pursue an MA in Museum Studies where I am currently focused on researching the impact of digital media on cultural institutions. I also serve as the Digital Marketing Manager for Emergent Academy, a new, cutting-edge school in southwest Austin.

How would you define your professional mission?

My professional mission is to complete my masters degree in Museum Studies and launch a digital platform that furthers and supports the social mission of cultural institutions.

What are some career challenges on your radar?

I am essentially in the process of a pivot and I recently became a mother as well. In a sense my daughter is driving me to push my career in a direction where I can have a larger and more lasting positive impact on the world. But she is also and always my top priority. Balancing these two concerns is tricky -- but there is a real synergistic dynamic between pursuing a great career and being a great mother.

What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?

The student publications I worked on at the Crossroads School were finalists for the National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker Award. This is basically the Pulitzer Prize for student journalism — I allowed the students to take the news publication in unexpected directions — it was very different than standard publications and I was thrilled that their creativity was rewarded.

What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?

The masters research I am undertaking is an opportunity for me to dig into two questions that have been of increasing concern for me both in my work in media and education — "what is social media doing to communication and social habits?" — and, "what role do cultural institutions such as museums play in an increasingly digital world?" Working as a digital media manager allows me to continue to have a hand in the independent school world while working directly with the material for my research.

Who are your role models?

Louise Bourgeois — she was such a phenomenal, powerful artist, unapologetically feminine and she didn't come into her own until later in life and that was as much a part of her mystique as anything. Whitney Wolfe — a total badass who is showing the Silicon Valley bros how it's done.

What does success look like to you?

Success is a "seat at the table," the ability to shape the world for the better. This power comes in limited forms, position and money, ideally a combination of both. I've been successful in the independent school world almost by accident, it was a by-product of the fact that I was absorbed by work. My lesson there is that success is elusive if you are just hunting it directly. Success comes to you when you find a field and a role in which you can fully invest.

Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?

It can be. Realistically there are times in life where you are going to need to sacrifice the work-life balance. Some jobs require being on all the time, and there is no way around it. The thing to work out is how long you are going to stay in that kind of job. No one wants to live a life of nothing but work, or few people do, but working non-stop is more bearable when you know it is for an end goal and not forever. Once you are in a position or company that allows for work-life balance you shouldn't have to fight for it. My no-fail tactic now is scheduling things on the weekend that can't be missed.

What advice would you offer future leading ladies wishing to break into your industry?

I've worked across industries, media and education, but I've noticed a few rules that are universal to any position I've held. 1) Assemble a great team, encourage them to collaborate and give them ownership over the final product. 2) The less you *need* a job, the more likely you are to get it. 3) In truth there is no one path anywhere so you don't *need* any one position. 4) When you admire something someone has done, tell them. 5) Credentials open doors, but they don't keep you in a position. 6) Trust in the power of deadlines. They are your friend.

What is the best career advice you ever received?

I was talking to a friend in LA who is an art director for films and TV about the insane schedules and turn around times people in the film industry need to meet. He told me about an overnight build that seemed simply impossible to complete — when one of his crew asked how in the world they could complete the set on time he told her "just keep sawing". And they were done by the 5 AM call. Those words always resonate with me — they apply to any field. You can freak out, wondering how ever you can complete a project, or you can just keep sawing away at it. The zen and grit of that expression inspire me daily.

What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?

Don't feel guilty for working. Your kid needs you to be you, and being the perfect kid caretaker is a skill and a talent amongst a wide range of skills and talents the vast half of humanity can possess. A good mother carves a path for her child in the world as best she can, and a happy, fulfilled mom is a good mom.

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

I first encountered Ellevate when living in Los Angeles and was drawn to the culture of mentorship and positivity Ellevate promotes. I met Lauren, the chapter president in Austin on January 1, the very first day I moved to Austin with my partner and baby daughter, down by Town Lake. I was so impressed with her vision for the Austin chapter that I knew I needed to get involved. I plan to help bridge commerce and the arts in Austin through my role as Events Lead.

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