“Let’s inspire a movement” With Candice Georgiadis & Monica Garrett

I would love to implement a program that offers mental health services for youth and children early in life. I don’t think we devote enough education or resources to youth programs in developing and dealing with issues they might not understand. Often early warning signs are ignored or simply not addressed because we don’t know […]

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I would love to implement a program that offers mental health services for youth and children early in life. I don’t think we devote enough education or resources to youth programs in developing and dealing with issues they might not understand. Often early warning signs are ignored or simply not addressed because we don’t know how to deal with them. Embracing open dialogue about feelings and seeking support with issues could help form stronger and more confident adults and overall empathy for society.

As a part of our series about strong women leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Monica Garrett.

Monica Garrett is the CEO and Founder of the Margaux Agency, a Los Angeles County-based digital marketing agency. A seasoned expert in design and digital marketing, Monica has developed a sleek and recognizable brand for the agency as well as for her clients. Her passion for her work, an eye for detail, the trust built with clients, and a deep understanding of marketing are the secrets to the success of her agency.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

My interest in design began at an early age. I always loved designing things by cutting pictures out of magazines and making new ones. These images inspired me in many ways and sparked my interest in learning art and design. The idea of mixing art and business was a way to have a career and still be creative. Along the way, I worked with many small businesses and learned so much about running a business. I was even a bookkeeper in college so I got some great insight into being an entrepreneur. All of this experience combined encouraged me to do the same thing and now I am running my second company that combines my love of business and design.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

By far the most interesting that has happened was earlier this year right before COVID restrictions were in place. We helped a local client in Southern California prepare and implement an event in Indianapolis, Indiana for the 2020 NFL Combine. I would have never imagined our company working on a project like that let alone making it happen in a matter of a week! It turned out amazing and was such a cool experience meeting many of the NFL prospects in person. Not only was it an amazing success it was a first for us! We planned and coordinated the event days leading up to it and traveled immediately to meet our client there. From event planning to social media marketing it was unforgettable and an experience we will never forget.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I started my first company, Paper Cut Industries, I knew the name was very grandiose sounding. It sounded as if we were an industrial-sized paper company! Well, I was actually running that company out of a studio apartment initially. One day I had a printing manufacturer come to my apartment wanting to speak to the sales department about partnerships. Needless to say, when they came to my apartment unsolicited, they were surprised to find only me and not a large factory! I don’t think they looked up the address prior to visiting.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

When I get asked this question I always think of my mom, which has always been my biggest supporter. That is definitely a huge part of my success. However, now that I have been an entrepreneur for over ten years, I am truly grateful for my husband as well. Without him and his support, I don’t think I could have accomplished what I have. Having a strong support system is so crucial when starting a business because it’s risky. Ultimately the decisions I made along the way affected others and without them on my side, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.

In my work, I often talk about how to release and relieve stress. As a busy leader, what do you do to prepare your mind and body before a stressful or high stakes meeting, talk, or decision? Can you share a story or some examples?

When I know I’m walking into high-stress situations or I’m about to meet with a potential client, I really like to ground myself and remind myself that we are just people. They are just another person like me and we are going to talk and it’s as simple as that. I try to avoid getting in my head too much and overthinking it as that brings on stress for me. Also, I love to laugh and be silly. This also reminds me not to take anything too seriously. If no one is going to get physically or mentally harmed, I want to just have fun. Life is beautiful and I want to be happy and share that. Once I start to feel stress and overwhelm I like to remind myself that no matter what, it’s going to be ok. Now, if I leave that meeting stressed, I go on a run!

As you know, the United States is currently facing a very important self-reckoning about race, diversity, equality and inclusion. This may be obvious to you, but it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you articulate to our readers a few reasons why it is so important for a business or organization to have a diverse executive team?

The main part of what our company does is to provide solutions for businesses and that stems from understanding and solving problems. We know the value of having a diverse team because it ensures you can approach problems from different perspectives and experiences which allows for a greater understanding of people and solutions. Also, by having a diverse team you are giving opportunities to voices that are often ignored or overlooked and that could ultimately provide powerful insights and ideas.

As a business leader, can you please share a few steps we must take to truly create an inclusive, representative, and equitable society? Kindly share a story or example for each.

First, I think there needs to be an open conversation about the long history of inequality and admission to the fact that mostly the white and elite upper class have benefited in wealth for far too long. The conversation needs to bring to the forefront perceptions and ideologies on the current state and continue by asking tough questions. Ultimately race and gender-conscious solutions should be at the center of policy discussion.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. Most of our readers — in fact, most people — think they have a pretty good idea of what a CEO or executive does. But in just a few words can you explain what an executive does that is different from the responsibilities of the other leaders?

For us, we have a very small team so I have been able to not only decide what those responsibilities are but to break the mold of what a CEO should be. Ultimately, as the CEO my responsibilities include making all major decisions for the company, implementing creative solutions and problem-solving, managing all operations of the company and culture of the brand, and creating systems and processes that lead to company growth.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a CEO or executive. Can you explain what you mean?

Being the CEO sometimes comes with the idea of living a lavish lifestyle or one very different from your team. As exciting as that sounds, it’s far from the truth. We are a young company and with that comes more sacrifice than consumption. For me, I’ve made many sacrifices financially because I believe in the company and our mission.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

Women Executives often get asked about life and balance because we are expected to be wonderful moms and in powerful positions that don’t seem to exist cohesively. Men don’t get asked this question and it’s because it’s not assumed they balance both perhaps. It’s always interesting to me to think about this. In general, executives have to make many sacrifices as we are in positions of making decisions that affect many people.

What is the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?

Every day has a different set of challenges and I thought my days might be a little more structured. However, they aren’t. Nothing is the same and every day I’m presented with new challenges so it’s not a cookie-cutter list of things that I work on. I’ve also pulled away from the creative design of most things and I never thought I would do that!

Certainly, not everyone is cut out to be an executive. In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful executive and what type of person should avoid aspiring to be an executive? Can you explain what you mean?

While I think many people are very capable of excelling in their careers, managing others is not for everyone. Ultimately I’m responsible for my whole team and that pressure alone could really tear people down. I’m in tune with everyone on my team and I can sense when things are wrong. It’s my job to make sure everyone is included and set up for success. Although being CEO sounds like you’re at the top and perhaps alone, nothing would hold you there without your team so it’s important to be able to communicate and listen. You need to be able to problem-solve and if you aren’t good at that or are impatient, I don’t think being an executive would be easy.

What advice would you give to other women leaders to help their team to thrive?

Women leaders should approach the role and responsibilities with open minds and an eagerness to learn from the mistakes of those before us. Often this means looking to how men have approached these roles historically. When we reflect on what worked and what didn’t we begin to see solutions and opportunities for change. Always be learning and be aware of your own limitations to increase your performance.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

We are a growing company but it’s always a part of our values to give back in ways we can. We have a very passionate team and we choose different organizations to support whether they are through contributions or service. It’s always been important to me to give back to our community and praise our diversity. By being involved in the community and volunteering I feel very connected to others with the intention of improving our community.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

When I began my entrepreneurial journey, I didn’t really know much about business at all. I knew I had skills and I could offer services and somehow that could be a company. I truly wish before I started I had a mentor that could guide me on tough things like pricing. Pricing services or products has always been the most difficult part of any business I’ve had.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I would love to implement a program that offers mental health services for youth and children early in life. I don’t think we devote enough education or resources to youth programs in developing and dealing with issues they might not understand. Often early warning signs are ignored or simply not addressed because we don’t know how to deal with them. Embracing open dialogue about feelings and seeking support with issues could help form stronger and more confident adults and overall empathy for society.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Life shrinks and expands on the proportion of your willingness to take risks and try new things.”

― Gary Vaynerchuk, #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness

Being an entrepreneur means being able to take risks and understanding that you might fail. Failure isn’t a bad thing. It’s an opportunity. As the CEO I’m trusted to take risks that are in the best interest of the company and I’m not afraid to try. We embrace change and technology and are always ready to learn more. I’ve never been afraid to go after what I want and that takes courage that not many people have.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them

I’m amazed at many of the top women in leadership positions. Lately, I’ve been keeping up with Natasha Koifman, a Canadian president of NKPR Inc. She has grown an amazing brand that has stayed true to their identity while continuing to support passionate brands. She is also an authority on pop culture and trends which I truly admire. I would love to chat with her about her journey in growing her company and expanding into new areas.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

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