I met Olivia a few years ago through the Summer Venture Management Program at Harvard University. I remember following her blog on Instagram and immediately being inspired by her fabulous brand! We both share a passion for career development and empowering women. She is extremely stylish and reminds me of Olivia Pope. I like to think she is the Olivia Pope for career minded women who want to curate their wardrobe to fit their dream jobs. Olivia recently launched her own image and management consulting firm, Styled By Olivia.
Last year, she made a bold career move we can only dream of! She moved to Paris where she is an Editorial Manager at EuroBusiness Media! Prior to that she worked as a Senior Consultant Ernst & Young’s (EY) Financial Services Office in New York City. At American University, Olivia was selected as the first Kogod School of Business, Woman of the Year, for her work with Styled by Olivia and the contributions she has made to the AU community. She also released a book, It’s all about Optics, in her spare time.
She was kind enough to share some career advice with L.F.E. You can follow her on Instagram for some Parisian looks and views @styledbyolivia_.
First of all, you are doing amazing sis! You balanced running your own style company and being a top scholar in college. How did you balance it all and position yourself for the career you have now?
I realized early on that in order to accomplish my goals, and to just be happy in general, I needed to be intentional about everything that I do. It’s all about intention. So I started tracking my time and where my attention was going.
This is second nature to me now but starting out it was such an adjustment. Now I’m really disciplined with my time which helps me to balance so many different things. I make sure that I know the intention behind everything that I do. And I write it down! I take my planner with me everywhere. Even if my intention is just to stay focused and go to the gym 3x a week, I write it down as my goal for the week.
There is so much I want to do, I can’t afford to waste any time. That has always been my mentality and it has helped me a lot, especially in building my career.
Adulting is hard – especially the first year after University! Figuring out how to make time for the things you love can be daunting. You grew your firm, released a book and got a promotion at work in under two years, how did you manage doing everything and finding time for yourself?
My first year after University was such a struggle. I think there’s a big misconception that after you graduate you’re supposed to magically have your entire life figured out. And for me that was just not the case. I had no balance, I worked crazy hours and I really felt like I was all over the place. I had to learn and practice making myself a priority.
This was around the time that I started using my planner more and just really being disciplined with my time. I knew I was going to burn out if I didn’t stop and make time for myself. So I would plan time in my schedule to do nothing and chill or just read or go for a walk. It really helped me to slow down. This is something I definitely still need to work on though, even now, I’m kind of a workaholic.
You had a career on Wall Street which is the polar opposite of your current career in Media . How did you navigate handling a Career change in under three years?
Before moving to New York City, I worked and interned a lot in Washington, D.C. So I came to NYC with 4 years of work experience, which really helped shape my perspective. After 2 years I knew that in order to grow I needed to get out of my comfort zone. Especially in today’s world, I knew I couldn’t afford to be one dimensional. So for me that meant following my dream and moving to Paris. Even though I didn’t speak French or have a job I knew that I needed to go abroad to get the perspective I wanted.
You know when you are no longer growing in a situation and I knew exactly when I hit that point that it was time to go. My growth and development were more important to me in the long run than staying in one city.
I think it’s safe to say a lot of millennial women wish they can pick up their bags and move to Paris and start a whole new career. What inspired to you to move to Paris and start a Career in an entirely different Industry?
As cliche as it may sound…it was my dream. I knew that I was supposed to be in Paris. I had no idea how I was going to make it happen but I just knew that I would always regret it if I didn’t follow my dream. I remember telling my sister about a year before I moved, even when I had no plan that I was going to move to Paris. And I was so serious! I was constantly talking about the vision I had for my life.
You have to speak your dreams into existence and have faith until they manifest. It doesn’t matter how hard or insane it may seem. For me, whenever I have a dream I know that I have to go after it. So never let anyone tell you that you can’t switch industries, or cities, or that you aren’t qualified for a job. You are. And you really can make any dream you have for yourself a reality if you’re willing to work for it. I am living proof. (Tweet This)
(You can follow all of my adventures living in France in my Liv in Paris series)
The passion you have for your brand is contagious! How do you bring your passion to your corporate job and still work on all your side projects?
I am constantly trying to learn and get better at what I do. And for me having multiple jobs at once has always helped me to learn faster and be better. Regardless of it’s my corporate job, my own company, mentoring or volunteering I really try to bring the same amount of energy to any work that I do. Everything is an opportunity to grow. There are things I learned in Corporate America that I never would have learned if I only worked on Styled by Olivia full time. And there are things I could only learn from working in France in a foreign language. I really try to use every experience as an opportunity to learn something new, that way I can apply it to any aspect of my professional life.
Who is your career crush? Do you get mentorship from her ( directly or indirectly)?
My mom has always inspired me when it comes to her career. She’s a LEED certified architect in New York City and has always taught me the value of discipline and hardwork. She constantly gives me feedback on everything I do for Styled by Olivia and ways I can improve my business.
Also, Oprah. Just her entire career and the empire that she has built is incredible (that is what I aspire to do with Styled by Olivia). If you’re looking for an inspiring podcast, I recommend Making of Oprah: The Inside Story of a TV Revolution. It is so motivating and really outlines how Oprah became the success she is today.
You are such a boss! What advice do you have for college women and recent grads who want to live their best lives and pursue the career of their dreams?
Go after every single thing that you want to accomplish. Don’t settle for a life that you know is less than the one you are capable of living. And I know from experience that it is so much easier said than done…but you have to go after your dreams. What you are passionate about isn’t random. It’s there for a reason. ( Tweet This)
Something I tell literally everyone that I meet to do, is make a dream board. I actually did a whole video on this, you can watch it here. Making a dream board will help you to visualize what your dream life or career looks like for you. I keep my dream board in my kitchen and I see it every single day. It is so motivating to have a constant reminder of the dreams that I am working towards. So definitely make a dream board….then go after everything that’s on it!
What does being an executive woman of color mean to you?
For me it means being an example and empowering other women of color to succeed. The most rewarding thing for me is knowing that I can have a positive impact in the lives of other women. That’s the entire purpose behind Styled by Olivia. My mission is to empower and inspire women to live their best lives. That is why I am so passionate about mentoring and helping women with career development.
Don’t be afraid to live the life of your dreams. It’s possible for you. I know it can be really scary but I promise you it’s worth it. You got this.