Conferences like SXSW can be waste of time and money. To make your trip (and investment) worth it, plan ahead, put yourself out there and just go with it.
When she’s not busy partnering with like-minded brands to grow Away’s burgeoning footprint, Emma Bates is working on the Un-Idle Collective, an initiative she started with her two friends. It’s an impressive undertaking, but this hustler admits that filling her free time with side projects helps her stay sharp and focused when on the job.
Emma first started out as a consultant for various brands in NYC, and quickly learned how to juggle a bunch of projects and manage her time, both which help inform her day-to-day role as the Head of Global Marketing and Operations at Away. We were thrilled to sit down with her and discuss her work habits and why personal activism is so important to her.
So, what are you working on right now?
Right now I’m working on Global Marketing initiatives at Away. We’ve had some extremely successful partnerships over the past few months, and there are a bunch of exciting things coming up that I can’t wait to share. I’m also continuing to work on The Un-Idle Collective, which I co-founded with two friends. Our mission is to cultivate activism through education and encourage people to get outside of their immediate circles and understand what else is going on in the world. We’ve been lucky enough to work with leaders and nonprofits across a number of sectors to ensure that our communities have access to accurate information.
How would you articulate your personal brand story? What’s the headline?
My personal brand story is all about being badass—in the best way possible! As simple as it is, the headline would probably be something along with lines of “Inspire, encourage and empower others.” While I’m beyond dedicated to my professional life, personal activism has become a huge part of who I am.
What’s your favorite location to work from, or where are you most productive?
At the office! I find being around other people who are working towards the same goal to be the most motivating—and at Away, aside from our desks, we have plenty of conference rooms and lounge areas that are perfect for collaborative meetings and getting focused. I’m the most productive when I’m sitting on one of our big couches, and usually one of our many office dogs is keeping me company.
What are some of your best and worst work habits?
Making time for the gym every morning before work has become one of my best habits—it clears my head and helps me stay concentrated throughout the day. On the other hand, I tend to work best when I’m under pressure, so I’ve developed this horrible habit of leaving things until the last minute.
What were some of your favorite perks of being a consultant before you joined Away?
I was always interested in getting to know the inner workings of companies and how they operate. While consulting, I got to do just that with a bunch of companies I really love. Still, it was difficult to divide my time evenly between each client week to week.
Which habits do you take from being a consultant to now your full-time gig at Away?
While consulting, I was forced to learn how to balance a bunch of projects at once and manage my time effectively. It was a great crash course in networking and forming valuable partnerships, which are a huge part of what I currently do at Away.
Consulting was a great crash course in networking and forming valuable partnerships. @EmmaSHBates of @Away Click To Tweet
How important is it to you to have some side projects and gigs going on apart from your day job?
It’s super important! I like to fill my time outside of work productively with things I’m passionate about—having some sort of balance helps me stay sharp and keeps me from getting bored.
I like to fill my time outside of work productively with things I’m passionate about. @EmmaSHBates of @away Click To Tweet
What was the inspiration for each of those personal projects?
I started my blog while at university. It was the perfect creative outlet after I completed a rigorous degree program, and it doubled as a place to store all my photos. The Un-Idle Collective is a new project that I’m working on with two friends to inspire people to take positive action in their everyday lives.
What’s one tool or utility that you couldn’t live without?
I hate to admit it, but probably Slack. It’s the perfect tool for keeping me connected with my team at all times, which is especially important when I’m in London and the rest of the team is in New York.
In your opinion, what is the most important personality trait that one must have to find success as an entrepreneur?
Passion! You have to truly love and believe in the larger goal you’re working towards. That and resilience are what keep entrepreneurs going during challenging times when others might give in and walk away.
What’s one professional work mantra you try to live by? And personal?
Professionally, it’s so important to work hard, but also give yourself (well-deserved!) breaks. Personally, you have to surround yourself with people that support and inspire you—there’s no room for negativity when you’re trying to be your best self.
You have to surround yourself with people that support and inspire you. @EmmaSHbates of @Away Click To Tweet
If you could be living and working in any year or era, which would you choose and why?
I think I’m definitely in the right era; I wouldn’t trade it for another one. We have so many opportunities and it’s fun to be able to explore them all.
What’s one book that shaped the way you think of your professional career?
The book I’m reading currently—The Woman Code by Sophia A. Nelson. It provides such an insightful look into the way women operate and succeed.
What is the strangest way you’ve ever met a new client or won a piece of new business?
Once while at a workout class, I randomly started complaining to the guy next to me about how much pain I was in. It turned out that he was one of the higher ups at a great hotel chain, and we worked together to plan an influencer trip and other projects.
Given how the digital nomad/remote work movement is gaining steam, how do you feel your products can fit within this type of lifestyle?
I would say most of us prefer to work from our New York headquarters (it’s always ideal to have one-on-one time with the team), but we’ve all become pretty adaptable with our often crazy travel schedules. Away’s carry-ons make it easy to keep iPhones and devices charged, providing a seamless experience to people who work on the go. Even though it might be easier to stay put, it’s certainly more exciting to be able to experience new places without taking time off from work.
For more inspiration and insights from Emma, check out her blog and follow her on Twitter.
Know of an inspirational and interesting “hustler” among us? Send your nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org