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How Kanye West’s Presidential Candidacy Announcement Relates to My Career – Story from our Founder, Laurie Michaelson, APR., M.Adv.

If you live under a social-media rock, you may not know Kanye West has announced (again) he intends on running for president. How in the world does Kanye’s Presidential Candidacy relate to my career, you might ask?

Well, let me break it down for you.

Kanye’s Presidential Candidacy Announcement
Illustration Source: United Squid

My Story:

For those unfamiliar with my story, I will do my best to give you the recap:

I was born with a hearing impairment that impacted my early years of development and education. For one, it resulted in a cognitive disorder called Central Auditory Processing Disorder.  As a visual learner, my desire to fit in with those around me resulted in me being right-handed when I should indeed be a lefty. Oh, and I have the superpower of Dyslexia.

My early school days are not fond memories for me. (If interested, you can read more about that here.) I always felt misunderstood, mislabeled (as the bad kid, or not smart) and left out. However, as I got older I figured out how to advocate for myself and ended up graduating high school early, when most of the adults and professionals tasked to “assist” me had told me I would never finish high school.

Fast-forward a few years. I was a college graduate working as a photojournalist and applying to graduate schools (GRADUATE SCHOOL!), something I would have never envisioned in my future just five years prior. Not to mention, fast forward to today and finding myself as a Adjunct Lecturer. Going on six years of teaching at the Undergraduate and Graduate level.

After grad school, I took a job at an advertising agency where I helped develop their Account Planning and Research Departments, as well as played a vital role in the growth of their business. It was obvious to me that my spirit and efforts were being taken for granted and their future investment in my career growth was nonexistent.  After having my first daughter, I transitioned to a corporate role in an attempt to have some work-life balance.

My first position for the company was as a Marketing Manager, but after a few months of employment and working hard (including knowing my worth), I was promoted to Director, and then a VP before turning 30. I worked my tail off for the Marketing and Advancement departments and when my supervisor, who was a SVP of Marketing and Advancement, announced she was leaving, I took a leap.

Like Kanye West, I figured why not? What did I have to lose?

She could say no and that would have been a bummer, but okay. I crafted a proposal to the CEO asking for the opportunity to join the Executive team. After presenting my ideas, we discussed my vision for the role. She said she would give it some thought and consideration.

That was all I could ask and hope for!

After a day or so, the CEO asked me back into her office and said she was willing to give me a shot.

ME! Yup, me!

We discussed next steps and set up departmental goals I had to reach in order to keep the role after a six-month trial period. After just three months I had crushed those goals and was invited to the executive table—career dream come true.

Okay so what does this have to do with Kanye West running for president?

Well, as Amber Benson and many others have tweeted, his announcement is a GREAT reminder of how men look at job opportunities and new business perspectives.

Many people questioned my qualifications for the role and asked if I was deserving or just fell into it somehow. Ha! Honestly, I feel this is 100% related to my gender and age at the time. As Kanye’s arch nemesis Taylor Swift once sang:

“They’d say I hustled
Put in the work
They wouldn’t shake their heads
And question how much of this I deserve
What I was wearing, if I was rude
Could all be separated from my good ideas and power moves
And they would toast to me, oh, let the players play
I’d be just like Leo, in Saint-Tropez”

In my career and educational journey, I never let what others thought about me and any perceived limitations stop me.

Taking ownership of my own career path was the most empowering moment in my life. Knowing I was capable and communicating that to leadership was just the first step. Having confidence and the ability to learn and ask for help when I needed it are what kept me going down the path to success.

When the opportunity to start my very own business and agency arose, I was more than ready.

That doesn’t mean it is always easy, but what it does mean is I belong here.

So do you.

If you are doubting your experience, education or God forbid, your “right” to apply for an opportunity or chase a dream— DON’T. Channel you inner Kanye West and go for it!                                    

Connect with our Founder and Lead Consultant, Laurie Michaelson, APR. on LinkedIn.                                 

2 Responses

  1. Great article, Laurie!! I had no idea you had overcome so much! So admirable!
    I am proud to know you!

    1. Thank you Jeanie! I appreciate your kind words. Hard work and passion sure does pay off!


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