Name: Sharon Warren
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Job Title: Freelance Consultant in Marketing, Branding, Communications and Story Analysis
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Sociology / Post-Graduate Certificate in Public Relations / Professional Certificate in Project Management (I LOVE continued learning....total education geek)
I never really thought of myself as someone who people would want to hear MY story - even though I've spent the better part of my career telling stories, be it promoting actors and Television programs, marketing of products or non-profits like Habitat for Humanity, or reading stories, then analysing them and helping creative executives determine if they should be made into movies or TV series.
Working in Television was my dream since a young age, and when I landed an entry level job in publicity and communications for a Canadian broadcaster in 2001, I couldn't have been more excited! That job, quickly lead to an opportunity with Warner Bros. International Television (The WB, I mean....awesome!!), and I jumped in as a Junior Publicist and worked my way up to Manager, Promotions and Publicity over the next five years.
I stayed in that position for some time, and was truly happy, but had spent so much of my time working, that I was missing out on life. So at the end of 2012, I took a risk, quit the job I loved for many years, and hopped a plane. First to Australia, where I spent a couple of weeks, and then headed to New Zealand, which had been on the top of my travel list since the 6th grade. I LOVED every minute of my time there. And even though I had left a job I enjoyed, travel, taught me so much more and fulfilled me in so many other ways.
After about six months of traveling on and off to Australia, New Zealand, Bahamas, Scotland, Ireland, California (anywhere my heart took me, or that I was invited to), I landed back in Toronto, Canada. I worked in a couple of contract opportunities, including one back at my former employer, Warner Bros., which was awesome. But something was calling me elsewhere. So I've packed my bags again, this time more permanently and made a move to beautiful Vancouver, to set up a new home and business (Marketing, Communications and Creative Project Management) there, a place I've dreamed of living for years. Finally making it happen and embarking on a big journey, where I will land in Vancouver with no home, no true job, and a lot of dreams, and I'm determined to make it all work.
Knowing your dream career from a young age, did you feel you had the support you needed through school or organisations to be able to pursue this?
I actually wasn't sure who to turn to in university. I knew I loved TV and wanted to find a way into it, but oddly, it was a customer I used to serve frequently at Outback Steakhouse in my small hometown of London, Ontario, who suggested I go into Public Relations, believing I would be good at it. So I started exploring and realised that could probably lead to entertainment publicity. It seemed like a good option for me, and when I got into school, one thing just led to another and before I knew it, I was working for CTV. I'm sure there were some ways my school or other organisations could have helped, but I actually just kept my focus on what I wanted, followed the nudges and went down the path that felt right to me, and thankfully it just seemed to lead to a really great place.
What resources did you wish you had at the time?
I wish I had learned the art of networking at a younger age. We weren't taught this in school, and I had to learn through others, but I waited until a number of years into my career and definitely feel it would have been more beneficial if I had started sooner. Relationships are the best aspect of business, often lead to new opportunities that you never would have found on your own, and the element of helping others down their own path, is very rewarding too. Linkedin would have been great back then too, as it allows you to easily find the people who are doing the kind of job you want and directly reach out to them in the hopes of taking them to coffee.
You progressed through your dream career at one of the world's most recognised studios - how did you feel on a daily basis working at such a prestigious company?
Oh my gosh, Warner Bros. is an incredible company, filled with amazing people, many of which I'm still lucky enough to call friends. I loved every minute of working there, learned so much and felt very proud to be a part of one of the most recognised content creators on the planet! Our offices in Toronto were filled with pictures and promotional pieces that reminded me each day of the legacy of the company, and the incredibly iconic stories that have been told over the years. And when there were chances to go to the studio in Los Angeles, I felt an amazing buzz knowing I was even a small part of legendary storytelling.
What resources do you turn to frequently now for support and education?
People...my network is my biggest resource. People are amazing, supportive, helpful and overall kind. I think we often forget that and assume others don't have time or won't want to help, but every time I have questions, need advice or just someone to lean on, my network of colleagues, friends and family have always come through. They also educate me in so many ways - I ask a lot of people a lot of questions, and that helps shape my own thoughts and ideas.
There are also so many cool online sources for education - TeamTreehouse, Lynda, Skillshare - and I read a ton, on a variety of subjects - anything from trends in my own business, finance, architecture and design, travel and entertainment news. Constant learning keeps me growing, and diversity of learning is key for me - you never know where an idea will spark from that can enrich the project you're working on.
You're heading out on your own now - how are you finding the journey so far?
It's exciting, invigorating, exhilarating, overwhelming and a smidge terrifying, all at the same time. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Would be great to say it's all roses and sunshine, but that wouldn't be an honest picture. It's hard work putting yourself out there every day, but I'm building something I'm passionate about, hope my work can help people reach their own business dreams, and that fuels the journey as I keep my eye on the goal.
With your world travels and your new venture in a new city, have you encountered fear in any significant way and how did/do you manage it?
Fear - it's often there.....but like Susan Jeffers book says "Feel the fear, and do it anyway". Travel is a great way to work through your fears - especially going solo. It builds your confidence, improves your communication, and makes you more adaptable - all things that can help you tackle other challenges in life and business. Through those experiences, I've learned not to overthink things, and not to worry as most things can be figured out. So if I feel the fear, I tend to take a deep breath and just jump in. Failure may happen, but you've got to try first, otherwise you'll never know. And amazing things tend to develop when you go out of your comfort zone.
Lastly, do you have any additional advice or words of encouragement for our JAGGAR readers?
No matter how small you may think you are, your actions and attitudes might inspire someone else to be brave, and go after their own dreams.
And also, I think what you're doing here is very cool. There are so many different stories to tell, and so many amazing women, that might think their story won't have an impact on someone else....but my good friend taught me differently.