MF 125 : Why Social Media is the Ambivert’s Most Powerful Secret Weapon, with Lisa Chau
Lisa Chau is a renowned speaker and social media strategist who has been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post and NPR. Today, Lisa will share why social media is the ambivert’s best friend for moving forward.
Successes at a glance:
Renowned public speaker and social media strategist
Communications Manager at MedAffect and Digital Strategist for WatertreeHealth
Featured in Forbes, US News & World Report, The Huffington Post, NPR
Setback failure or time when things fell apart:
Lisa candidly shares, she didn’t just have a difficult moment or year but a decade that is still ongoing. In her words, ten years ago, Lisa’s life “spiraled downwards.” However, because Lisa is very adept at social media (as is her current job), you couldn’t tell that things were falling apart. Lisa doesn’t dive into great detail on the decade-long setback but shares that it was all encompassing: the period included the loss of her grandfather, the end of a second engagement, and other events that affected both her personal and professional life. Despite having an outgoing social media presence and what looked like a very successful career on paper, Lisa felt very alone and “adrift without any anchors” in her life.
The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:
Let’s back up a bit. Lisa’s career journey has been anything but conventional. In high school, her aspiration was to become a corporate attorney by day while moonlighting as a fashion designer. Lisa went to college, first as a philosophy major, then switching to economics with a philosophy minor. Out of college, Lisa joined Estee Lauder and then Tommy Hilfiger, though not quite in the fashion designer role she envisioned in college. With her degree in economics, Lisa was knee deep in excel spreadsheets and expense reports. Along the way, Lisa was offered a position in business development and marketing for a company, headquartered in Hong Kong. Lisa took the opportunity which led to a lot of travel, including Switzerland, Germany, China, Japan, and Korea. As you will see in the knowledge burst section, travel has become an important part of Lisa’s life and identity.
At some point, Lisa was called back home, mostly by a desire to pursue a graduate degree. This led to her enroll in Dartmouth, where she planned to continue her studies in philosophy, one of her big passions. However, Lisa shares that a “few detours” took her on a different path, this time a Masters in creative writing!
This opened the door for Lisa to enter a career in social media and digital media strategy that she never imagined possible because just a few years ago it wasn’t! While Lisa’s career was very much on track, her life was also in turmoil. So how did Lisa make it through the months, the weeks, days and the minutes of a turbulent decade that’s still going on today?
In speaking with Lisa, you can immediately tell she’s not a quitter. Lisa is also very present and self-aware. She shares a truism: that when you’re in the midst of a struggle, recognizing a moment when things are starting to shift and align is not always easy nor apparent. Lisa shares that one of the benefits of coming on this episode of Moving Forward and talking about her journey is that she can recognize that there have been great shifts and breaks in the 10-year downward spiral. Lisa shares several milestones where things started to “click into place.” Notably, there were six events, each of which led to another momentous breakthrough in Lisa’s exposure and prominence as a digital strategist.
In 2013, Lisa moved back to Manhattan and became Executive Director of The Ivy League Group on LinkedIn. Lisa helped spearhead the formation of the New York chapter of Ivy Oasis. All of this groundwork led to a pivotal moment in 2015, where she was tasked with helping organize a prominent entrepreneurial conference at Columbia University. Although the event ended up happening during a huge snowstorm that blanketed the East Coast, over 100 people showed up to hear from 12 prominent panelists.
Out of this, Lisa was invited by the Bahamas Millennial Society to be the international keynote speaker during their first future leaders’ forum.
This, in turn, led to Lisa being invited to be a featured guest on ‘Midday with Dan Rodericks’ speaking about millennials and digital strategy, which aired on NPR’s Baltimore affiliate, WYPR.
The following year, Lisa was invited to speak at Charlestown’s third annual Dig South conference on the subject of digital media. This is a highly prestigious event that included speakers from Google, Instagram, Twitter, Tech Crunch, Buzzfeed, and Inc. At this particular event, Gary Vaynerchuk delivered the kickoff speech.
Flash forward to summer 2016, Lisa was invited to give a workshop at Brand Innovators Inaugural Business Bootcamp for Entrepreneurs.
More recently, in February 2017, Lisa led a career talk at the third annual 1vyG conference.
So what led a self-admitted ambivert to speak and present at some of the most prestigious events in the entrepreneurial space? Simply put, it’s been a combination of a lot of perseverance, determination, and hard work. Also, embracing social media and putting herself out there has been a game changer, especially being more transparent about her hardships. Lisa, by nature, is an ambivert and so networking does not come easily or naturally to her. Thus, social media has been an invaluable tool for Lisa to make incredible connections, while also sharing her work to a receptive audience. She is still struggling with the personal and professional aftermath of her decade-long spiral. But in speaking with Lisa, one thing is abundantly clear: this setback has not prevented her from making huge leaps. Lisa put a lot of effort into the first milestone, setting up that first conference at Columbia. However, the other events were opportunities that simply fell into place. Lisa’s determination and hard work has and continues to pay off in dividends and this inertia is what keeps her moving forward.
Resource or cultural experience that inspired Lisa to move forward:
Living in the woods of Hanover, NH. Lisa is a New Yorker, born and raised. For Lisa, living in the woods may as well be living on the moon. At the time, Lisa had finished her graduate degree and was working at Dartmouth’s Tuck business school. Lisa was pushed out of her comfort zone by friends at Dartmouth to try this new, foreign experience and she found it to be a great one; one that could allow her to calm her mind, write and reflect.
Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack:
Lisa shares that Twitter is an extremely powerful and underutilized tool when it comes to building your brand or business.
Provides 24-7 access to business leaders and the c-suite.
Hootsuite allows you to pre-plan and schedule your tweets.
Google Calendar to organize her life.
How Lisa recharges when facing a roadblock or challenge:
When Lisa hits a roadblock, she temporarily distances herself from any projects to clear her mind and reboot. Ideally, Lisa does this with travel, especially overseas. But temporarily unplugging from the hustle and bustle of the day can be as simple as taking a walk outside.
For travel, Lisa highly recommends Amsterdam. She has made two trips so far and found it to be the ideal environment for making great leaps moving forward in entrepreneurship, technology, and the sharing economy. Lisa also shares that it’s a photographer’s paradise.
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Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:
When Lisa was on staff at Dartmouth, she would take as many classes as she could, attend lectures and participate in many activities. However, when she moved back to NY in 2013, she stopped pursuing extracurricular learning, while admitting that she could have continued to do so. Lisa’s advice to her past self is to take advantage of those opportunities to audit classes, attend lectures and continue learning!
Lisa would also like to have known about the amazing The Oxford Experience Summer Program, which I highly recommend to any of you looking for something different for your summer vacation or break.
Parting wisdom (in a few words):
“Always add value.”
Connect with Lisa: