Adam: Thanks again for taking the time to share your advice. First things first, though, I am sure readers would love to learn more about you. What is something about you that would surprise people?
Caitlin: I was actually inspired to start The Giving Keys while working on a project called “LoveYourFlawz” to support people dealing with body image issues. The first key I ever engraved said “love your flawz,” and the project has encouraged people to profess self-love with phrases like “my scar saves my life”; “my acne is sexy”; “my chemo fried hair is beautiful”; “Cellulite is the new black.” We engrave our keys with inspirational messages that help people share their stories.
Adam: How did you get here? What failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your growth?
Caitlin: After an employee-turned-professional-hacker funneled sales revenue into his personal account, I learned a valuable lesson – trust your gut, always ask questions and be attentive to people in the workplace. I’m learning how to rely on my intuition to facilitate my growth as a leader.
Adam: In your experience, what are the defining qualities of an effective leader? How can leaders and aspiring leaders take their leadership skills to the next level?
Caitlin: Honestly, I’m always in the process of cultivating my skills as a leader. I try to be a leader that is compassionate, uplifting and empathetic. I think an effective leader works to find a balance between being receptive to alternate viewpoints and holding people accountable for their actions.
Adam: What are your three best tips applicable to entrepreneurs, executives and civic leaders?
Caitlin: Put your phone down and observe the needs of communities around you. You might think of a business solution to alleviate injustice in your community. Don’t let work rule your life – nurture your relationships with people. Lastly, trust yourself. Deep down we all know the best decisions to make.
Adam: What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received?
Caitlin: You can’t do everything. Be kind to yourself and remember you’re a human being. You won’t always find that perfect balance. Some days you will, and some days you won’t, and that’s ok! Let yourself fail, learn and rise again.
Adam: What is one thing everyone should be doing to pay it forward?
Caitlin: Be conscious of the roadblocks hindering people around you. Maybe you hold the key to someone’s freedom. Smile and talk to as many people as you can. Pursue random acts of kindness – paying it forward is the ripple effect that can change the world.
Adam: What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you?
Caitlin: Currently, most of my free time is spent with my two-year-old son Brave, who I named after one of the powerful words on our products. Regardless of how busy I am, I get to do what I love because hobbies of painting, jewelry making, and brainstorming inspirational content are what created my career.
Adam: Is there anything else you would like to share?
Caitlin: I’m newly pregnant again, so I’m eager to find a new balance with my schedule as a mother and a CEO. I’m learning how to take better care of myself to be the best mother and leader I can be.