Annie Spano ’14G gives her advice

Thursday, April 5, 2018
Annie Spano '14G

I am the founder/CEO of Style Collective, an online community and educational platform for female social media influencers. I’m also the host of the Becoming Fearless podcast, where I interview women about their stories about living a life of passion, purpose and authenticity.

I love what I do because it is true to my vision of a world where women uplift one another in order to reach their highest potential. I previously worked a corporate job and spent five years surrounded by toxic leaders. One woman in particular, who I call the Work Bully, belittled me in front of colleagues, attacked me in private meetings, and made me feel worthless. It is liberating to help other women so they never have to go through that experience.

I’ve learned that you must be aligned with your values in every aspect of your life, and if your job or the people you work with don’t mesh with you, you have to make a change. Life is too short to be hiding your true self; let your light shine and speak your truth. When you are young and are joining the work force, it’s important to network with others, both in the workplace and outside of the workplace. This will help you figure out the types of people you like being around and what you’re interested in, so you can find your dream career (or maybe start your dream business!). It’s not just the work you do that matters, but also the people you surround yourself with and the culture of the organization.

I learned from my MBA professors Vanessa Druskat and Carole Barnett that the ultimate test of practical leadership is the realization of intended, real change that meets people’s enduring needs. You need to know your true purpose for leading—what is the change you are seeking? What is the vision you have for a world that doesn’t yet exist? Next, it’s up to you to lead people to believe in your vision and mission. This means inspiring emotion and passion in others, setting good examples, fostering collaboration, leading with heart, and putting others before yourself.