An Open Letter To Claude Silver

Dear Claude,

I hope you don’t mind the transparent nature of this letter but you have, in no small way, changed the way I look at life. If one person here on this blog or any other platform reads this and it gets straight to the heart of them, then perhaps our vulnerability will be worth it.

You Claude, are an infectious masterpiece. Through osmosis your energy commands those around you to be truer to themselves, perhaps more so than they have been in the entirety of the past decade of their lives.

You have taken risk upon risk and found yourself, with every credit to who you are at your core, stronger than before. You are as Tom Bilyeu so magically talked about in his keynote, anti-fragile. At first I thought you might have seen me, the real me… which would have been quite an incredible thing over the phone don’t you think? Now I know it was more like a mirror. Now I know we all have the capability to be mirrors.

By simply being yourself and living your life you shine so brightly that other people are able to see their true reflections, and I believe moments, epiphanies as some might call them, happen serendipitously for reasons unknown, but when used correctly have the power to change the course of one’s destiny.

Because of you I have become an overzealous fan of giving for the sake of giving, and building others up with the simple reward of seeing them smile. I read Brene Brown’s book on vulnerability, but never have I seen it displayed so openly in one single human being. You have cemented in me the unwavering belief that vulnerability builds real connection and that it is the catalyst for change we all are so desperately seeking. Vulnerability, kindness, empathy… that is the future.

As I write this over a borrowed laptop, coffee in hand, I know that from Canada to the United States you have made a friend in me. Social media has allowed me many truly real connections, and I wonder if the people who are so against it have ever really connected with someone using a platform, or had the chance to speak with someone they greatly admire because of it.

Your content and your message give me hope for the future of work, people and communities because if there are more people like you, which I believe there are, this world has a fighting chance at happiness, and that is a beautiful thing. Here’s to you the optimist, the nature lover, the light that offers reflection, may you forever shine as brightly and as true to yourself as you can. For all you have taught me and all I have yet to learn.

 

Carlee.

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Veterans Are Not Entry Level Talent and Rich Cardona Is Proving It.

Rich Cardona is a former Marine, turned leadership developer for Amazon, turned business owner and entrepreneur. His open, authentic style has recently caught the eye of VaynerMedia’s Chief Heart Officer Claude Silver, and the two are creating content that features Claude in a setting that makes her nothing less than perfectly relatable.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate of veterans dropped from 4.3 percent to 3.7 percent in 2017. This Entrepreneur.com article mentions that 78 percent of veteran-owned businesses register sales of $100,000 or more, while more than 38% have sales of half a million or more. Veterans who would otherwise find it hard to break into the labour market, are recognizing their talents both as leaders and creatives.

Rich has a clear and powerful message: “Veteran’s are not entry level talent”. Rich wasn’t an A student in high-school like so many entrepreneurs before him.

“In high school I was crazy I played a lot of football, I was really into track, but I was always more interested in trying to be cool and popular and having a lot of friends, than I was about my grades or team. I knew moving forward that I was not going to be in a position to go to college and perform. My parent’s wouldn’t have been able to pay for it anyway. I was a junior and I decided to go into the Marine Corps delayed entry program. The contract stated that upon graduation sometime that year, in 1998, I would go to Marine-Corps bootcamp and be a recruit and eventually become a Marine.”

As I continued to interview Rich I naturally wanted to know why he chose the Marines specifically.

“The Marine Corps is a very very special place, it is the least sought after armed service, it is the smallest armed service. We take a lot of pride in being incredibly efficient and doing more with less. I started as a private and I retired early as a Captain and I never regretted that choice.”

After working at Amazon for a few years he decided to take a risk and start his own business.

“It was time to make a change, I wasn’t seeing my daughter as often, I wasn’t happy and I was starting to act out of character. My wife is the one who actually made the call and said ‘you’re done’. I had always been really interested in photography and videography and so that’s what I decided.”

LRG_DSC07118.jpg *photo of Ann Cardona taken by Rich, “she is the love of my life I never have and never will feel this way about anyone else…ever.”

I was surprised to learn that Rich didn’t have previous experience as a videographer and had to teach himself everything he knew, ultimately founding Flybysmedia. Veterans today might leave the armed services feeling stuck but Rich is the perfect example of getting creative in today’s fast paced digital world. Nothing is out of reach for individuals who are adaptable to change and willing to learn something new.

On what changed the course of his business:

“I went to VaynerMedia to meet Claude, I made a LinkedIn post about it, that my life might change forever, and I went in there and offered to vlog for her because I believe in her, I love her, and I wanted to create content for her, I wasn’t qualified really to create content, but I didn’t care. I had a one on one discussion with Gary Vaynerchuk  thanking him for all that he has done for me personally and for recognizing next-level talent in Claude.  Claude and I then came to this agreement where I would come to New York and make content for her…and I’ll never forget how she said ‘I trust you’. We had known each other for about a year and a half through phone calls and LinkedIn and emails and that changed everything. Fast forward my business now involves creating content, I am attached to my phone and always on my computer. I love to create content and tell a story and tell other people’s stories.”

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*Rich meeting Gary VaynerChuk at VaynerMedia NY.

I also had the chance to interview Claude, the woman I had heard so much about for her ability to create amazing culture, inspire others, and find talent in places others fail to look. When asked why she chose to work with Rich she responded simply but beautifully:

“Rich is untapped talent. He’s a veteran who chose to give his life for our country and there is so much courage in that. I trust him…I can trust to record my videos with him.”

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*Rich sitting with Claude Silver during one of their candid conversations.

With veterans leaving the military each day and entering the work force I asked Rich what skills he believed were characteristic of veterans and how they related to entrepreneurship.

” The Marine Corps. is notorious for discipline, attention to detail and supporting each other. It’s all about realizing the bigger picture that is it’s not about you, even as an entrepreneur, it’s about who you’re providing value too.”

When hiring a veteran you can expect:

  • Solid leadership and leadership development skills
  • Work ethic
  • Accountability
  • Attention to detail
  • Team player
  • Take initiative
  • Creativity
  • Forward thinking
  • Research/presentation skills
  • Adaptable to change
  • Problem solving skills

When I asked Rich what he thought the biggest challenge for veterans entering the work force or becoming entrepreneurs was, I was intrigued by his answer. I thought it would be to overcome serious anxiety or PTSD. Admittedly, I had watched a lot of cinematic movies on veterans returning home.

“That is humongous and I’m working on something for that [solving the challenge] we don’t know where we want to go, no-one knows what they want to do. Some veterans will just stick with what they’re doing even when they don’t want to do that anymore, meaning if I was a logistician I would go into logistics because that is where my skills are,  because we don’t have the confidence to go anywhere else. We are not entry level talent, we let people think they can get us at a bargain, when in reality in the military you don’t do the same job the whole time. We get scared, we start feeling rejection because we know our place in the military but we don’t know our place on the outside. It’s a process of rewriting your resume a million times, not trying to lose your military identity while taking on a civilian identity. It is very, very challenging.”

Rich Cardona’s advice for veterans who don’t want to feel stuck:

“The best thing you can do in my opinion is to determine how much you’re going to need to survive for X amount of months and pursue exactly what you want. Go after it or you will never know.”

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Where to find Rich: 

http://www.richcardona.net or flybysmedia.com

LinkedIn or Instagram @flybysmedia

 

Quotes: 

“Marine’s don’t like cutting corners, it’s all about the long game.”  

“Nobody cares about the company anymore, everyone cares about the people at the company.”

“Building my business is really just me building my personal brand and showing people what it looks like when a former Marine who left a “good job” says f*ck it, hustling as hard as I can.”

“I absolutely attribute all of my leadership abilities to the military.” 

“To be deemed a survivor it takes an incredible amount of failure.”  

“You are worth being in this world. You are loved and You are cared for.” 

“The right people will always see when you have their best interest in mind.” 

“I believe you can train your mind. I expect nothing from anybody. I truly mean it when I say that.” 

“Remember who you are. Once a Marine, Always a Marine.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW GARY VAYNERCHUK IS CHANGING LIVES (and totally changed mine)

I woke up Tuesday morning to an email from Gary Vaynerchuk. It was short, sweet and just what I needed. I had poured my heart out the night before at midnight during a moment of vulnerability and the ephiphany that I’m a fighter. (I’m guessing you are too.)

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This post actually starts a year ago when I had started consuming Gary’s content every single morning and every single evening before bed. I hadn’t yet acted on it, and to be honest, taking action in the form of a brand & blog is still fresh, but I knew I was fueling up.

A few months ago I started using LinkedIn, I didn’t really think I needed it because at the time I was a housekeeper at a retirement home, but as soon as I started connecting with people I realized it’s power. I added Steve Babcock, the creative director of VaynerMedia and a few weeks later he posted that VaynerMedia was hiring.

I sent Steve and the rest of the Vayner team a really honest email about my past alcoholism, the power of doing ANYTHING to achieve your idea of success… and the fact that I had completely fucked up college.

To my surprise I got an email back and a phone call from a recruiter. Even though I didn’t end up getting the job, living in Canada it’s tough for entry-level positions, we had a great talk about life, writing and the lessons tough shit will teach you.

I felt inspired, grateful, and my self-confidence was definitely boosted.

A week later I was gifted a signed copy of Gary’s book Crushing It.  (eeeeek!!! fan girl alert, it was so awesome!)

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Half-way through the book I realized I was definitely spending my time in dumbass ways like binge watching netflix for HOURS….(suits man, the lead lawyer Harvey is like, so hot), scrolling mindlessly through facebook and eating out of boredom.

I saw the roadmap for change and truly believed that if others could do it than so could I. (YES, I recommend reading the book)

That night I walked my ass four blocks to the nearest convenience store, bought a prepaid Visa card and started creating The Self-Care Enthusiast.

It’s a feeling I hadn’t had before, a true knowing that I will succeed or fail by my own doing. My future is in my own hands. Gary & his team are kind, considerate, passionate, smart, decisive and don’t bullshit you. Not only does his content make you believe you can do it, if you listen the right way, it makes you act on those beliefs to create something powerful.

You can learn something from every member of VaynerMedia. Steve even has this radical food diary on Instagram that I honestly thought was the coolest idea. It’s so simple but for some reason I want to look through everything he eats in a day….is that too weird?

This week I’ve got a 15 minute skype call with Claude Silver, Chief Heart Officer of VaynerMedia. A few months ago I wouldn’t have imagined she would give me 30 seconds…let alone 15 minutes. Life will totally surprise you.

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In addiction things got so bad that I finally said “that’s it I’ll do whatever it takes”. Hitting rock bottom forces you to level up or die. Rock bottom doesn’t have to mean addiction, it could be cleaning toilets for 8 hours a day, or going to your shitty factory job hating every minute of it. When you finally are willing to put in the work and do whatever it takes to make shit happen….the universe works with you.

I’m not saying by watching Gary Vaynerchuk your life will drastically change, all I’m saying is that for me…my perspective changed, I became focused and the joy of starting something surpasses all of the fear.

If you’re thinking about making a change, creating something, exploring something new…. do it. You are worth it.
…That what you wish for, wishes for you. And the entire universe wishes it too.

I’d love to connect with you and have a talk about all things self-care, passion, business and life!

I’m always here, in the community or on snapchat.

Carlee xoxo

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