Power UP: setbacks as stepping stones to success

Starting at 1:30 p.m. today, hosted at Artisan Kitchens & Baths, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership will hold its second Power UP event.

As part of the event last year, I was inspired to meet women at different points of their career paths.

The theme of this year’s (sold out) Power UP event is “turning setbacks into success.”

May 28 Power Up crowd to use

Power UP 2013

In my career, I have come to learn that many of the things I once thought of as “setbacks” were really some of the best things that ever happened to me.

In my 20’s, I applied (and ended up as one of two finalists) for the role of Assistant Director of Public Relations at a locally based Fortune 500 company.

I thought of it as the job of a lifetime; the pay and benefits were great, I loved the product and I would have worked for a very highly regarded local PR professional. It was a real dream job.

After taking every personality test in the book, and undergoing a marathon day of interviews with six or execs, I thought I was a lock. I was very confident that I had the job.

Well, you can imagine how that story ended – I didn’t get the position and I was crushed.

In fact, I was so crushed that I needed a pick-me-up to restore my confidence.

That year, I volunteered to be the special events chairman for the New York Special Olympic games that were in Buffalo. One of the events was a torch run down Main street; I coordinated with all of the local businesses along the route, and the event went off without a hitch.

June 6 Dottie blog artwork photo

@DottieGC painted into Paul T. Hanover’s recreation of Buffalo Place’s 1990 Snow Sculpting competition. (Center of photo in aqua jacket next to the elephant sculpture.)

A few weeks later, the man who would become my boss (and eventually a mentor – Rick Reinhard,) happened to call many of the same local businesses looking for a “Marketing Manager” for Buffalo Place Inc.

Some of the businesses mentioned my name. Reinhard called me shortly after to let me know that I got into the interview pool of candidates.

As you might have guessed, this story ended differently. I got the real job of a lifetime working for Buffalo Place, and enjoyed every minute of it.

That job changed my career trajectory from pure public relations work to the broader aspects of marketing, which it turns out I enjoy even more.

Had I gotten that first position at the Fortune 500 company, the one I thought was the job of a lifetime, I don’t know if or when I would’ve ended up finding that my passion lay beyond public relations.

The experience was one of those forks in the road that you don’t see until you are well down the path.

There were so many lessons I learned through that experience, but the most valuable of all is to know that some of the best things to ever happen to you are the things that “don’t happen to you.”

We will be sharing our experiences and discussing the important role that women play in our regional business climate this afternoon starting at 1:30 p.m.

Don’t have tickets? We will be live-tweeting the event, so feel free to join the conversation using #PowerUPBN!


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