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?
Danielle: I think people would be surprised to know that I’m a huge nerd! I love studying random subjects and learning everything I can about them. I just got certified in Ergonomics through OSHA. I did it purely out of personal interest in the field. OSHAcademy is totally free and there’s a lot of cool courses on there!
Adam:How did you get here? What failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your growth?
Danielle: With all my failures, I could probably have a Ph.D. in failing alone. But like a Ph.D., with great failure comes great knowledge! Every time I didn’t get a job I interviewed for, I would refine my technique. I would constantly work on my demo reel (a collage of your broadcasting work), improving it, studying other demo reels of reporters I admired for hours on end and thinking about how I could be a better storyteller, cameraperson, editor, etc. Self-improvement is a continuous process throughout your life.
Most instrumental to anyone’s growth is the ability to adapt. Don’t look at rejections as something personal, look at them as a learning experience. Pretty soon you’ll have a wealth of research about what is working and what is not on your personal path to success.
Adam: What are your three best tips applicable to entrepreneurs, executives and civic leaders?
Danielle: My first tip is if you want to be a good networker, become a polymath of sorts. The more knowledge you have on many topics nowadays, the better. You can Google anything at any time, take advantage of that! It will help you connect with people if you understand their interests, even if the interests are different than your own. Connecting with people and networking can open all kinds of doors.
If there is something that you need that isn’t out there, create it. How many times have you thought to yourself, “I had that idea three years ago before this company did it!” I’ve invented products that I had no business making because I had no engineering or chemistry background. Any questions you have can be answered through YouTube tutorials, websites, or ebooks. The set of skills you have can be transferable to anything you want to do, you just have to figure out how.
Finally, don’t take yourself too seriously! Find humor in the things that are holding you back, it makes you think outside of the box during the problem-solving process. Almost anything can be fixed with time. Think about what you really have to lose. Could you laugh about it in a year from now if the worst happened? Then go for it and do it!
Adam: What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received?
Danielle: My father has an abundance of advice that I use on a daily basis. He is a corporate executive and contracts attorney, meaning he’s an expert negotiator. He always says, “He who cares least, wins.” That means you have to be willing to walk away from almost anything to get the upper hand. Once you can totally accept any outcome of a situation whatever it may be, you’ll find you have more confidence going in.
Adam: What is one thing everyone should be doing to pay it forward?
Danielle: Everyone should find a cause they are very passionate about and contribute to it in anyway that you they can. That doesn’t necessarily mean with money, it can also mean volunteering time. In San Diego, I’ve worked with the Humane Society helping animals get adopted and I’ve worked with organizations helping veterans find free resources available to them. If there is not a cause near you that you are passionate about, make your own! Sometimes all it takes is a website.
Adam: What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you?
Danielle: I am a jazz pianist and love to play my keyboard when I get home from work. I’m a big music fan and have been to over 100 concerts in my life. Music helps to bring people together, and you always have something to talk about with anyone.
I also have a need for speed! I love motor sports like riding wave runners, ATVs, go-karts and dirt bikes. I have never turned down a good roller coaster, the scarier the better! I’ve rappelled down a waterfall in Costa Rica and zip-lined in Hawaii. I think this has given me a zest to try new things.
Adam: Is there anything else you would like to share?
Danielle: Don’t put off chasing after your dreams. The time is now! You will never be any younger than you are in this moment. You might as well make the most of it!