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Gillian Smith – Workspace Member Spotlight
Gillian Smith – Workspace Member Spotlight
Headshot of Gillian Smith for the Catapult Lakeland Member Spotlight
June 15, 2020
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF.

We’re fairly new transplants to Lakeland, having lived in Miami for nearly 20 years (although I am originally from Connecticut and my husband is originally from Germany). I’m a mom to two teenage boys, and we try to encourage them to be curious about the world. We all love to travel and explore other countries and cultures. In addition to German, I also speak a little Spanish, French, Japanese and Korean (although none of them very well), and I’ve competed in 13 sprint triathlons (but I’m very slow).

WHAT’S YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH?

Carambola Consulting provides strategic marketing and communications services, blending the best practices of big for-profit brands and the efficiencies and ethics of non-profits to help both companies and non-profits unlock their potential. I like to think of it as marketing that bears fruit, leveraging my more than 20 years of experience.

WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU ARE LEARNING RIGHT NOW?

2 of my current clients are non-profit organizations in the social justice, educational justice and racial justice space, so it is important for me to listen, learn, and do as much as I can to understand issues impacting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) right now – and every day. The learning for me here will never stop – it is a journey, not a destination.

WHAT ARE SOME WAYS THAT YOU CONTINUE TO INNOVATE AND TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX?

It is important to understand trends and what are the things that companies and executives are concerned about. What should they be thinking about – if they aren’t right now? What new tech innovations could help unlock their growth? I’ve got a tech startup now also as a client, whose products will be game-changing with regards to understanding consumer data and insights, so I’m also listening to some tech podcasts, too.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP?

“Do it.” I was so hesitant to take the leap, but it is one of the best decisions I made! I’m glad I had such supportive friends (and family members) who were encouraging and don’t let me get hung up on imposter syndrome or self-doubt.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP CAN BE A TOUGH AND LONELY ROAD. IN THE DIFFICULT MOMENTS HOW DO YOU STAY FOCUSED AND MOVE YOUR BUSINESS FORWARD?

Before I even started out on my own, I spoke with quite a few others who had started consulting after having worked for years in either the for-profit or non-profit industry. Since I’m still new as an entrepreneur, I still reach out to many of them when I need advice and counsel, and Catapult has helped connect me to other entrepreneurs in the marketing space.

WHAT ARE SOME WAYS THAT YOU HAVE INTENTIONALLY COLLABORATED WITH OTHERS TO MOVE YOUR BUSINESS FORWARD?

I recognize the limitations of my own expertise (it is important to know what you DON’T know and listen to those that do), so I’ve had to bring in other people (for copywriting, animation for videos, etc.) on some projects with clients. It is fun to be able to bring in others you know and trust to do great work, but also see the value that you are bringing to a bigger project, too.

WHY HAVE YOU CHOSEN TO RUN YOUR BUSINESS IN LAKELAND?

I love the environment in Catapult and in Lakeland. It is a supportive, community for entrepreneurs of all stripes. My boys are in a great public high school here that is also a supportive environment for them to learn. And, the downtown area is great. I plan on biking to the office (when the weather is cooler), and Lakeland is a nice, affordable place to live. I love to go running or biking around the lakes and see the wildlife… we have an incredible variety of birds here in Lakeland that rivals some of the best birding spots in the country. It is a great way for me to get out and clear my head.

WHERE CAN WE GET YOUR PRODUCT?

Website

WHAT ARE YOU READING?

I’m actually in the middle of a few books right now (bad habit that I read more than one at a time… in order of how far I am in each of them):

1) The Prize: Whose In Charge of America’s Schools? by Dale Russakoff (about the Newark school system and attempts to turn it around),

2) So You Want to Talk About Race? by Ijeoma Oluo (it examines issues of racism in our country from education to mass incarceration with practical advice on how we can all do better), and The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (which examines how to leverage specific experiences to change your work and your life – with some good marketing lessons in there, too).

WHEN YOU WERE A KID WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?

My family was a foster family when I was growing up for kids that came to the US for life-saving medical conditions that their own countries could not perform. All of the kids we had with us at different times came for pediatric open-heart surgery, so I wanted to be a cardiothoracic surgeon. I recall doing a 6th grade project where I provided details of a congential heart defect – Tetralogy of Fallot – because one of my foster sisters had it.

FAVORITE BINGE-WORTHY SHOW?

While I’m not necessarily bingeing, I’ve always been a huge Charlie’s Angels fan. I still have memorabilia from the 70s that I collected as a kid. I DVR the show during the day, and when I have to get my mind off of work, it is often my go-to (even though I’ve seen every episode dozens of times).

Find Gillian’s profile and contact information on the “Our Startups” page.

This blog was written by the team at Catapult Lakeland, an entrepreneur center in Lakeland Florida that exists to foster the growth of startups by providing education, resources, community and space.

Ligon Marketing

Ligon Marketing

Cora moved into Catapult with the plan in mind to launch out into their own space sooner rather than later because of her growing team.

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