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Female Founder Feature, Randi Braun, Something Major

Mark your calendars for our next Boost Session WEDNESDAY, Sept 30th to hear from today’s female founder feature, Randi Braun, first hand! 

Randi has worked with companies big and small to coach their female workforce.  Get a sneak peek on what Randi is all about below.

Interested in attending the boost session?  Join our private FB group to access the record. 

1. Background – what have you done (this is not limited to work), where are you from, what do you want us to know about you?

I’m a native New Yorker who has called DC home for nearly a decade, after moving here for what would be “only 1-2 years tops.” In DC I started my career in sales and fundraising, working for one of the country’s oldest civil rights organizations, then a publicly-traded healthcare company, an international media organization, and DC’s largest homegrown tech start-up. I actually loved my jobs in sales and never dreamed about being an entrepreneur. After doubling my compensation in the two years (and six days) I had my two kids, I quickly got sick of other women telling me I got “lucky.” My story wasn’t special, but it also wasn’t common enough, which is why I started my coaching business, Something Major. What started with me as the accidental coach and the reluctant entrepreneur has evolved into the business of my dreams.

2. Tell us about your business/passion.

That’s simple: empowering women to make their dreams their realities.

3.  How does the Prowess mission -empowering women in the workplace – speak to you?

What I love about Prowess’ mission is that it shares the same mission as my company, Something Major, but we execute against that vision in totally different, yet complementary ways. I’m a serial collaborator who believes in the power of Shine Theory: that women win when we combine forces and lift each other up, instead of competing against one another. One of the cardinal rules of sales is that it’s just a numbers game: the more client conversations you have, the higher the chance somebody will eventually buy. Likewise, the more people, news stories, and businesses we have dedicated to this mission of empowering women at work, the more change we’re going to see in our world.

4.  What do you wish that your colleagues/coworkers knew about your work style?

I work for myself, which I love more than I ever thought I would. I’m such a relationship-driven person: it’s at the foundation of my business! So this joy in working for myself has been one of the biggest surprises on my journey as an entrepreneur.

5.  What’s your all-time favorite productivity hack (this can be in personal & professional life)?

My biggest productivity hack is taking time to not be productive. As somebody who has often been called an “Energizer Bunny”  this didn’t come naturally to me. There’s a reason, however, that we get our best ideas in the shower or when we’re taking the dog for a walk late at night–and it’s not just my anecdotal experience. There is Harvard Business School research to back this up.

So here’s what not being productive looks like for me: I take time to read, both in the mornings (usually the Washington Post) and the evenings (usually a book). I take time smack in the middle of the workday to take a 30-minute walk or do a workout video. I listen to music as an activity in and of itself, not as the background to anything, and I take a weekly tech Shabbat: turning my computer and phone off for half the weekend, every Friday night into Saturday night.

I’m a huge believer that we’re at our best and most creative when we’re not sitting at our computer for the sixth straight hour. That’s why I always keep my journal nearby when I’m doing these “non-productive” activities. Hand to heart: I get my best ideas for clients and creative bursts for my own writing when I’m listening to Hamilton for the hundredth time or on a walk outside. I scribble them down on a scratch pad–never a computer or my phone– to capture them in the moment and then get back to whatever I was doing.

Like everyone else, I am a work in progress, not in a constant state of zen. I’m still horrified by my weekly screen time report, even with tech Shabbat. The more time I invest in recharging, however, the more productive, effective, and creative I am at work.

6. If you could bring attention to one thing that women deal with or excel at,  that goes unnoticed or unthanked, what would it be?

Required listening for anybody who hasn’t heard it: there is a fantastic episode called “Do Less Dead End Work” on the Harvard Business Review: Women at Work podcast about women and office housework. Instead of seeing women being thanked more for this work, I’d like to see us doing less of it, period!

7.  What does a “me” day look like to you?  (how do you recharge?)

This is so cliche that I’m almost embarrassed to share it, but it’s the truth: the “ultimate” me day involves my toes in the sand with music and an amazing stack of books. In fact, prior to Zika and then Covid, my family used to take an annual vacation to the beach and the hotel staff would literally have to kick me off the beach each day at dusk. I could stay out there forever  As a working mom of two under five, those solo beach days are hard to come by. I’m hoping to reschedule the 2020 beach weekend I had planned for last March as soon as safely possible!

8.  What does the future of work look like to you?

Most people say that remote work is here to stay, and I agree but I also don’t think it’s that simple. My prediction is that we’re going to be surprised by a sort of “culture wars” in the workplace: in a post-COVID-world, progressive companies will move to a more flexible and remote environment permanently. Many regressive companies, however, will try to make a major shift back to traditional, in-office culture. Workers, I believe, will continue to vote with their feet. Even in a tough economy.

9. What career advice would you go back and tell your 15-year-old self?

A) just breathe, B) be yourself, and C) repeat parts A & B. I spent so much time earlier in my career questioning myself, and pinning my success on what other people thought of me. If your success and self worth are based on what other people think you’ll never feel fully successfully, nor fully worthy. In that paradigm, it only takes one comment to unravel everything you supposedly feel about yourself. The more I’ve released myself from that vicious cycle of external validation, the more I’ve thrived. What I love about Something Major is that I feel like I get to wake up and just be myself everyday in a way I’ve never experienced in any other job.

10. What advice would you give women looking for flexible work AND companies who could benefit from their talents?

Flexibility is the future of work. Period. Progressive companies understand this, while regressive ones will always want you to punch in 9-5.

11. How can readers connect with you?  

I got into coaching because I am a serial connector who loves spending my days speaking with incredible women. Please do get in touch with me and there are three ways for readers to connect: First is through my website, Something Major, where you can check out my free Insights Center or sign up for my monthly newsletter. The second is on LinkedIn and the third is Instagram.

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