Meet our Featured Member Carolyn Montrose Dub

We are so excited to share our interview with this month’s featured member, Carolyn Montrose Dub. In case you missed her debut television appearance with Jenny on the Today Show you can watch it here!
She is kind enough to offer her hard-earned wisdom and wonderful advice, it exemplifies the kind of generosity and pay-it-forward ethos that can and will inspire real change in the workforce. And we urge you to read her advice on navigating a career change very closely; it’s a veritable GPS.
Tell us your work story: Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Carolyn Montrose Dub and I’m a mom, marketer, volunteer, and runner. After a 14-year corporate marketing career, I became a mom and ventured out on my own, taking on consulting gigs and conducting sales and marketing workshops for teams.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
Had you asked me five years ago, I would’ve said winning some award. Today, my proudest professional accomplishment is leading a well-rounded life that includes family, creative marketing projects, volunteer work, and endurance training. I feel balanced, not burned out, and I thoroughly enjoy the work I do.
What is the hardest challenge you’ve faced, work-wise?
The hardest professional challenge I’ve faced is the identity crisis I had after my daughter was born and I left my corporate job. For years, my identity hung on professional accomplishments. When that piece went away, I asked myself daily, Who am I? A mom? A marketer? A leader? I didn’t have the confidence at first to manage both. It took a long time, and a lot of trial and error, to figure out that I could enjoy motherhood and a career.
If you could change one thing about how your given field operates, particularly with regards to women, what would it be, and why?
The perception that a career break means a career is forever broken has to change. We have to work with companies to transform career breaks into breakthroughs for women. How? Better programming and tools that help women prepare for a break, prosper while taking one, and integrate better, if and when they decide to return to full-time work. Training programs, digital tools, grassroots community events for moms and women thinking about starting a family…I could go on all day.
What advice do you have for other women looking to make a career change but who are afraid or lack confidence? How is it on the other side?
Step 1: Listen. Set up coffee dates with women who’ve chosen different paths. Come prepared with questions, even the hard ones, and listen. Learning breeds confidence.
Step 2: Study your LinkedIn profile and resume. If you are taking a break, think about the things you didn’t have the opportunity to do while working full-time. Examples: networking more, taking a class, pursuing a project that’ll fill a hole in your resume, exploring a new hobby. Choose three of those things and get excited about pursuing them on your own timeline.
Step 3: Brainstorm easy ways to stay on top of your industry. Podcasts, curating news into a social feed, and keeping in touch with former colleagues are easy ways to remain connected and relevant.
Step 4: If you have a partner or spouse, work with them to make sure you can pull it off financially. Understand that you may have to cut back and set those expectations up front. Adding financial stress to the fatigue motherhood guarantees will set you back.
Most importantly, believe that you can do it. When you start doubting yourself, seek support from loved ones.
What continues to draw you to your chosen field and what do you hope to accomplish in the years ahead?
Creativity draws me back to marketing. I’d like to continue to grow my business and show my daughter that creating a life full of color and variety is possible whether you’re a mother or not.
What is the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?
People treat you the way you train them to.
Who has been your biggest cheerleader // supporter // mentor? (We love to spread the love here at The Second Shift!)
Early in my career, I worked for a media executive named Laura Schroff. Laura is now a New York Times bestselling author of An Invisible Thread (@lauraaninvisiblethread). She is one of the kindest people I know. She believed in me, opened doors that led to promotions even though she’d be inconvenienced losing an assistant, fought for my tuition reimbursement when I was working full time and in grad school at Columbia, and taught me a lot about media and life. I’m forever grateful for working with her.
How do negotiate the balance between life and work when you are the one setting the boundaries?
It’s about setting expectations more than boundaries. If I go for a run from noon to 1:30PM, I have to be comfortable with opening my laptop from 8-9:30PM to make a deadline the next day.
If you could tell your younger self one thing about what this professional journey would be like, what would you tell her?
Fear does not prevent death, it prevents life (no idea who said this but I love it). Looking back, there are many things I wish I pursued but didn’t because I was scared. Once I realized that I survived every failure I had along the way, I understood that failing is learning and a necessary part of the journey.
How do you make work work for you?
This goes back to setting expectations and creating tenets to live and work by. Mine are: nothing will ever be perfect (mom or not), flexibility doesn’t equal coasting, and every personal and professional opportunity is a gift.
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