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MakerSights Community

Second Life

Katie Howard

December 10, 2018

Every Monday morning...

After sprinting a block to catch the bus, I snag a seat, if lucky, attempt to stifle heavy breathing and hit play on a podcast series called Second Life. Second Life is a weekly series spotlighting successful women who’ve made major career changes - truly mastering the art of the pivot. I’m always inspired by the stories, wisdom, and sheer hustle of these fearless females, which certainly makes for a great #mondaymotivation.

But beyond the impressive career achievements and advice these second lifers share each week, I gravitate to these tales because I recently embarked on a second life of my own. To expectation set for a moment, by no means is my second life synonymous with the game changing creations and pivots of women like Alli Webb of Drybar, Ty Haney of Outdoor Voices, or Tracy Sun of Poshmark, but I do identify with the desire to follow your passion, overcome your fears, and leap into a second life.

My second life landed me in the beautiful city of San Francisco, and given the tech-centric nature of this city and that I’m writing a blog post for MakerSights, I’m sure you’re all surprised to read that I now work in tech. But perhaps the more surprising piece of this story is that I made my pivot into tech from the wild and wonderful world of retail. Prior to joining MakerSights, I worked in buying and planning at Neiman Marcus so not only was this a pivot in careers - and from 100 degree Dallas days to a perpetual fall climate - but this was a pivot from a 100-year-old, well-known, department store to a 3-year-old, relatively unknown, tech startup. Despite these very apparent differences, I never doubted the pivot - do read on.

Neiman Marcus holds a near and dear place in my heart. Neimans gave me a stellar retail foundation, it affirmed my love of the retail biz, and it introduced me to lifelong friends and mentors. But perhaps the greatest takeaway from my time at Neiman Marcus is the burning passion it sparked in me to contribute to the evolution of retail. While I was at Neimans, the organization went through quite a bit of change, positioning itself for the future. I grew fascinated with the seismic shift happening around me, trying to adapt to these new industry dynamics - the byproduct of a more tech-savvy, more informed, and more decisive generation of consumers. With this new world of retail, my peers and I needed to adopt a new mindset, skillset, and toolset to excel. Cue the pivot. I wanted to be part of the digital transformation of retail, helping to equip my fellow merchants with a set of tools and technologies to succeed in this new era.

I spent a year or so pondering how exactly I could make this dream a reality. My search was all over the map - literally. I never seriously considered San Francisco because who really wants to live in the most expensive city in America, am I right? But after a visit out to SF and gaining exposure to the insanely contagious passion of the MakerSights team, I was a goner. As I mentioned earlier, I never doubted that this was the right path for me and despite the risks often associated with startups and the very real challenges associated with picking up your life, leaving your friends, and moving to a new city - I lept.

I can report that I’m just over a year into my Second Life and wow, what a year it’s been. Yes, there have been tough times, there has definitely been some self-doubt, but I have grown personally and professionally in ways I never expected. I’m inspired everyday - by my team members, by the work we do, and the road ahead. If I can impart a small piece of wisdom on you fine readers, don’t think you have to make a major life pivot to reach nirvana, but simply take note of what inspires you, big or small, surround yourself with people that inspire you, and to put it plainly - just find ways to get more of that good stuff in your life.

Katie Howard
Solutions at MakerSights

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