“I believe in developing relationships, real ones” -Rand Carpenter
This week on “Corporate Spotlights,” I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Rand Carpenter, one of my professional role models, about her professional journey and advice on navigating and succeeding in the business world!
But first before we hear from her, I would like to illustrate to you how exceptional she is and explain the numerous roles she has held in the business world.
When I asked others to describe Rand in one word, people replied with qualities like innovator, forward thinker, creative and positive. These sought-after qualities did not simply appear overnight, they arose from a challenging and so far, successful career!
Rand’s marketing communications career started at UGA with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism degree from Grady College of Journalism. While growing up, she always knew that she loved to write and after taking a public relations events class, she knew she wanted to combine the two interests, leading her to a Journalism degree that she now uses in her PR/Marketing career. Her professional career started at Coca-Cola Headquarters in Atlanta with an internship through UGA. She found out about the opportunity through the career center and after the interview she called Coca-Cola every week following up until she wore the recruiter down and they hired her! Rand was doing so well in her role as intern that she kept taking on new assignments and ended up stayed longer than the summer. After her year-long internship at Coca-Cola, she started at Ketchum, a global public relations firm working on projects like Sea-Doo watercraft and the travel public relations account team. After being at Ketchum for five years, Rand was contacted about an issue’s management position back at Coca-Cola. Therefore, she returned to Coca-Cola and stayed there for twelve years working her way up through the company from issues management communications to sustainability and brand public relations all the way to a Vice President position. After enjoying her work and building more relationships at Coca-Cola, a new SVP opportunity arose back at Ketchum. She accepted the new position at Ketchum and stayed for four years. After those four years, Rand was contacted by a former colleague that worked at ExxonMobil who recommended her for a position there in Houston, TX. This recommendation led her into her current position at ExxonMobil in Sustainability Communication. Therefore, as you can see, Rand has led and conquered incredible things so far in her career.
So, she has agreed to answer a few of my questions and share her advice based on her previous professional experience.
From your internship with Coca-Cola, was there one key lesson that you learned in your internship that you still hold with you today?
“Yes, do something every day that scares you, because everything scared me then! I remember being in the elevator and the CEO, Roberto Goizueta, got on and I never said anything to him. I kicked myself later and challenged myself to try and do something every day that scares me or makes me uncomfortable, because that is the only way to truly grow. I’ll be honest, a lot less scares me now, but there are still things that make me uncomfortable and I try to push through them.”
How important have professional relationships been throughout your career? (Is networking all it is hyped up to be?)
“VERY, more than ever! However, I don’t like the term networking. I believe in developing relationships, real ones because networking is for acquaintances. Find people you admire and like to be around and build quality relationships with them. Those will last forever. I would do anything for those people and vice versa. I think the importance of building strong relationships can be seen throughout my career path because many relationships have helped me to be where I am today. At the same time, talk to everyone … all of the time. For example, I have met a lot of great people in the airport and on planes that I have developed lifelong friendships and/or professional relationships with.”
What advice do you have for students in the marketing program right now from your experience in the field? Any tips for success for individuals who hope to be where you are at some day?
“Try to get as much experience as possible in as many different areas. DO NOT be afraid to say yes (even if you don’t think you will like it)! For my second tip, refer back to my relationship advice, because building quality relationships is so important.”
Are there any overlapping themes that you have observed from your past experience in marketing/public relations to your current position in sustainability?
“SO MANY! I talk about it daily because things that people were talking about 10 years ago are still what people are talking about today, just in a different way (social media) and with different audiences. So, a key aspect is that you have to be creative with developing content and know your audience.”
How do you balance your personal life while working a full-time job?
“I learned in my late twenties when I was putting in MAJOR hours at work and that I needed to put myself and my health first (this was way before I had a family and others to worry about). I started to feel physically ill because I was working so much and never took time to take care of myself. I decided then that I would never do that again, and I have applied that to my career ever since. I make sure that when I start a job or begin working with a new team that I discuss my personal needs as well as my professional ones. Either way, I stick to my personal commitments (such as working out, family time, etc.) as much as possible and make sure they are present on my calendar.”
Thank you Rand
This is such valuable advice that everyone can carry with them throughout their own professional journey. Thank you Rand for your time in sharing your professional pathway and the advice that you have provided today!