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Interview With Michele Savoldi

May 24th, 2010

Michele Savoldi ~ finding her muse and making a difference along the way!

25110_1316041215059_1051582975_30802697_7208726_nIn my quest to find my muse, I have set out to interview the many people I know to be successful. I hope to gain insight into their success.

Michele Savoldi is one classy lady, exuding success wearing all the various hats in her life. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Michele through our common interest in social media and marketing. We met participating in Tastecasting, contributing to www.greatestcityofall.com and fortunately became friends along the way. Michele is generous with her time and gifts, promoting the non-profit community in addition to running her own marketing and Communication Company, columbus imPRessions. I love her ability to gracefully juggle family, friends and career.

Tiff: You seem to have a natural ability for branding, design and marketing. Have you always loved marketing and branding, or did you discover your gifts over time? Do you believe you have found your muse?

Michele: Thanks! I have actually always loved all types of designing! From redecorating a room in my home, to creating landscape and gardening beds in my yard, to laying out marketing pieces. I love to create! It’s my expression of self and I feel at peace when I’m using my creativity in any way. Even though I love to use my creativity I didn’t always know that I wanted to do marketing and branding. I went into college pretty much undecided and came out with a business degree and was still pretty much undecided. It was during my second job, at a radio station, that my eyes lit up at the thought of doing public relations. I liked the idea of making news and creating awareness. With that I spent a number of years focusing on public relations and worked at an ad agency and then at a large corporation in the public relations department. I enjoyed what a did, but didn’t feel driven. It wasn’t until I took some time off work to raise my kids that I found my muse. While home with the kids, in order to stay connected and current to the outside world, I did a lot of volunteer work. It was during my time volunteering on special events and various programs for a few nonprofits that I found my passion for design and marketing. It did feel natural and it was energizing. But what was most important to me was that I was using my passion to help make a positive difference. When the kid’s were ready for school, I was ready to go back to work and I did so as a Director of Marketing, Communications & Branding for a large nonprofit organization. It was there that I met an incredible mentor who was a board member. With his help I was able to craft my skills and learn how to be strategic about marketing, branding and public relations. And then came the boom of social media, which has taken me places I never dreamed possible. I sincerely believe I found my muse. It has and will change over time, but the foundation of what it is will always be the same.

Tiff: Did you ever question your choices or the direction you were heading in regards to your career?

Michele: I really haven’t questioned my choices or direction in my career. I strongly believe that everything, and everyone comes into your life for a reason. The reason could be something simple, or a lesson that needs to be learned, or a life alteration. Throughout my career, I have learned from my experiences whether they be, good, bad or indifferent. Each experience has helped me grow and has gotten me to where I am today. The birth of columbus imPRessions came from an experience that if I let it, could have been a terrible situation. A couple years ago the unthinkable happened. I was working at a job I enjoyed for a mission I loved when unexpectedly I was asked to leave the organization. Not because of poor work performance but because I had a blog – imPRessions. imPRessions was a blog a co-worker and I started on our own time to learn more about social media and to express our personal thoughts and opinions about the marketing and PR world. I’m not sure if my boss at the time did not understand social media, was jealous, or felt threatened, but regardless of her reasoning I was forced to resign my position. After the initial shock I decided this was a moment of a life-time. Instead of wallowing in self pity I decided to turn a bad situation into a great opportunity and actually turned the blog imPRessions into a business – columbus imPRessions, a marketing and communication business primarily serving small businesses, trade associations and nonprofit organizations. Things for columbus imPRessions have grown and changed since the first day I made that decision and I know, and hope, things will continue to change. Because with every change comes adventure, understanding, growth and evolution. I understand that while I may not be able to control each situation, I do have the power to decide how I will handle anything that comes my way. Instead of allowing myself to become a victim of circumstance I strive to take tough situations and turn them into positive occasions. It is through these occasions that I am continually growing both professionally and personally.

Tiff: What does success look like to you? Has your definition evolved over time?

Michele: Success to me comes in all shapes and sizes and always has. I look at each situation and try to find a success in them. If I can’t find the success, then I look for the lesson. Once the lesson is found success is achieved! I’ve had a couple big successes recently. When I started columbus imPRessions I also founded In-Kind Connection (www.inkindconnection.com), a complimentary website helping nonprofit organizations in accruing much needed in-kind donations. Nonprofits send me their needs or businesses send me their haves then I post them on the site and also broadcast them over various forms of social media platforms in hopes of making a connection. Awhile back I made a connection by helping a school in Africa for Aids children find lap size chalkboards for each student. They needed 100 of them and because of In-Kind Connection, the word got out and a connection was made. It was pretty awesome! Last month I helped open a new restaurant in New Albany. I created the branding, everything from the logo, tag line, to the marketing pieces and social media elements. When they had their soft launch celebration my family and I went to enjoy dinner. It was pretty amazing walking in and seeing the brand I created all over the place, from the signage, menu, cash registers, etc. Then to have my family tell me how proud they were of me was so gratifying! Other successes like helping a friend achieve a goal, watching my kids instinctively do something I’ve tried to instill in them, accepting and learning from a situation, making someone laugh, or appreciating all my blessings are incredibly gratifying successes as well.

Tiff: What are some of your favorite mentors, books and/or celebrities that have shaped your view on success? Do you have any favorite quotes you live by? What advice do you give to your children when they talk about their future?

Michele: My parents have been huge mentors for me. They lead very giving lives and are always putting others first. I have quite a few friends who are mentors to me. So many of them have the entrepreneurial spirit and aren’t afraid to try new things. Professionally I was lucky enough to work with a board member from a big Fortune 500 company. He shared with me so much wisdom and information in the marketing and branding industry. There is no college that could teach me what he did! While I do read books and have some favorite celebrities I tend to look to my real life interactions and situations to pull inspiration.

I do have a favorite Italian proverb – “At the table with good friends and family you do not become old”. It reminds me that above everything family and friends are the most important things in your life.

Anytime a situation is presented in a regular day I give advice to my kids about their future. I do it this way because it is more of a conversation than me coming across preachy. Plus when the situation is presented it can serve as an immediate example. Like every parent, I want my kids to be happy with whatever they decide to do with their future. I tell them that in life they will make mistakes and that is fine. It’s what they learn from those mistakes that will shape them as a person. I also hope that like I did with my parents, my kids will learn from my actions too.

Tiff: Michele, you have many wonderful characteristics; such as your generosity, kindness and a great work ethic. One characteristic that I highly admire is your confidence. Confidence seems to be a problem for so many people, including myself. What do you believe contributes to your confidence?

Michele: You’re so kind, thank you. I’m not always so confident, I just might be a little better at hiding it. :) There have been plenty of times I’ve jumped into something and wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing. But instead of stressing over it too much I try to focus on the adventure, the lesson, and the growing opportunity. I also have pretty strong faith. Faith in God that He introduces me to situations for a reason and faith in myself that I can figure it out and make it as good as I can. Because unfortunately there is quite a few bad things in the world, I feel it is my responsibility to do what I can to put some good things into it. You know, trying to do my small part in helping balance it out. When you see the fruits of your labor, especially for the greater good it does amazing things for your self-worth and confidence. I’ve also had the support of my family, which is very reassuring and boosts confidence. They are a big part of why I’m able to do what I love.

Tiff: I understand that many women (and men too) are juggling life. How do you approach all the opportunities you have before you?

Michele: I try to achieve balance and with that sometimes I have to say “no”. As much as I wish I could, I know I can’t do it all so I have to look at everything and prioritize. Owning my own business gives me the freedom to create the schedule I want or need at that moment. That really helps with family, friends and career!

Tiff: Any upcoming projects that you are currently working on that you want to share?

Michele: I’m continuing my work with 10TV Commit To Be Fit, writing for various on-line publications, doing some speaking engagements, working on some fun projects with friends, looking forward to summer adventures with the kids, and working on details for possibly helping out a trade association with some event marketing. It looks to be a busy summer!

Tiff: Thanks so much Michele! I appreciate your time in answering these questions. I am learning so much from amazing women like you!

Michele: Thanks for asking me Tiff! I’m very touched that you would think to include me in the quest! You have many talents and I look up to you for the fire you have. You are not afraid to try and to learn. Those are great qualities to have and I admire them and you.

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