In October 2013, Konrad Ribeiro, Google’s head of industry, film/TV, was sleeping on a friend’s couch, staring at the ceiling, with his eight-year-old daughter lying at his feet.
He had just ended his engagement, and realized his life was not where he wanted it to be.
“This is not the brand I want,” Ribeiro said he realized as he led a session on personal branding. “But this is the brand I’ve got. And it’s the brand I built. But the good news is, you can launch a new brand,” he told PromaxBDA’s fifth cohort of up-and-coming creative executives at Thrive, the organization’s year-long leadership development program designed to help them hone their skills and take their careers to the next level.
He, along with Erica Larson, Google’s head of industry, gaming, spoke to the group Thursday as they gathered at Terranea Resort in southern California as part of a week-long retreat where they were immersed in hands-on learning and team building in an oceanside setting.
Ribeiro crafted his personal vision: “I don’t want to sleep … because my waking life is more fun than my dreams.”
And then he got there by focusing on the things and people that mattered most to him: “My daughter, my career and riding my bike with my friends.”
“I thought, that’s a North Star I can really hitch myself to,” he said. That led him on a personal and professional renaissance that garnered a deeper understanding of his company, the ability to take risks, and, perhaps most importantly, the ability to align all of that to who he wanted to be in the world.
“All of us are here because we want that next level of happiness that comes when all of those things are aligned,” he said.
It’s a message that hit home for Lauren Goodman, senior manager, digital marketing, strategy and social media, Disney/ABC Entertainment
“I never thought about my personal legacy and brand,” she said. “I thought of my company’s brand, but I didn’t really think about marketing my personal and brand and making myself valuable to the company.”
Throughout the course of the week, she felt like she could open up in a judgement-free zone about topics such as having difficult conversations and leading teams, and felt challenged by the training throughout the week.
“Going into these exercises, I would come in blank, and then they would pull stuff out of me,” Goodman said.
Social media never sleeps, and she’s leaving the retreat with a personal brand of “quality over quantity”—not just when it comes to work, but in making sure the time she devotes to her family is equally as focused as her time in the office. And it’s a sentiment that started at Thrive, as she immersed herself in the program and found more value in learning from fellow participants instead of constantly checking her email on her phone.
“It’s just been really impactful and powerful to be with similar people,” she said. “We may not all have the same jobs, but we’re at the same point in our careers.”
Kristin Boos, creative director, on-air promotions, Turner/TNT, had a similar takeaway.
“You’re in a no-judgement zone,” she said. “You’re outside of the high stakes of your workplace. Not to mention you’re at a beautiful resort. That helps too. But sometimes you have to get your brain outside the space of where you work.”
The beautiful and low-stress environment helped level the playing field so that everyone could come to solutions together.
“I had so many breakthroughs throughout the week from so many different colleagues in the industry that I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise,” Boos said.
That already has helped her break out of workplace patterns, and when she returns to the office, she hopes to bring many of the strategies she learned at Thrive to her team at TNT.
Boos also was impacted by Ribeiro’s advice to align her personal integrity with her professional performance, as well as the importance of breaking down the imaginary wall between the two worlds.
“Things like motivation and innovation—when they are aligned to your personal code, passions and interests, everything becomes easier,” she said.
Although the Thrive program commences at PromaxBDA’s June Conference, the relationships built throughout the year continue to grow.
“I now have this network of smart, supportive people who are encountering the same challenges as I am, and overcoming them,” Boos said. “My access to them doesn’t end.”