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Leverage Your Heritage for Success with Margaret Molloy

On this episode of the Brilliance Beyond Borders Podcast, I speak with the brilliant Margaret Molloy. Margaret is the Global Chief Marketing Officer at Siegel+Gale, the global brand strategy, design and experience firm behind the “simple is smart" ethos. She hosts the "How CMOs Commit” podcast and is the founder of WearingIrish, a passion project to tell the untold story of Irish fashion design.

We discuss the importance of culture and heritage. Margaret shared how her Irish heritage helped shape her career. Leverage the four strategies below to tap into your heritage and contribute to the world:

1. Uncover the strengths in your history

  • Margaret shares how she decided on marketing as a career. She identified her own skills, which she calls an interesting blend of her heritage and her innate capabilities, including storytelling, building relationships, and serving people, as well as analysis and creativity. She asked herself: what are the qualities that are intrinsic to the Irish character? Where do those skills meet a need in the marketplace, and how can I leverage those in my career? These responses to these questions pointed to marketing as an excellent career choice.

2. Embrace immigrant attributes that powerfully contribute to success

  • Margaret intimates that there are a number of attributes immigrants commonly embody that contribute to success in life and career. Examples include the ability to read the room because you're taken out of your own environment. Work ethic has also been well documented as a quality of immigrants. Another quality is the ability to tell stories. Yet another is self-reliance and recognition that we have agency, which is in direct contrast to an entitlement mentality. Recognize and embrace these characteristics, and use them to chart the career of your dreams.

3. Celebrate your multiple identities

  • Margaret highlights that the Roman goddess Janice, the God of two faces, is a powerful representation of the multiplicity of identities. One of Janice’s faces is always looking backwards, mindful of where she came from, the heritage, and the support that goes with that heritage. The other face is always looking to the horizon - buoyed by the heritage - but with a great sense of possibility and shaping the future. Janice, therefore, reminds us that you don't have to have only one identity, and can embrace your multifaceted identities and have the power to create a compelling future.

4. Share your history and values with the next generation

  • As a first-generation immigrant, parenting second-generation children presents a paradox. On the one hand, you want the freedoms and abundance the United States affords, and on the other hand, you want to present your children with a sense of values that traverses territories. Margaret believes that we must lean into the paradox. One way to do so is to think about the values you hold dear. Share those values with your children, but give them the ability to write their own stories. This is difficult, as we have great aspirations for them and want to protect them from mistakes, but we also need to allow them to, without a sense of entitlement, find their way and blaze their own trails.

Learn more about Margaret’s fascinating story by listening to the full Brilliance Beyond Borders Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, or my website!

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