August 1, 2020
“You are something specific to a special few.” – Sasha Strauss
Latin for Agile, “Agilis” defines the everyday Executive pursuing extraordinary goals. We are eager to share an inspiring Extra(ordinary) Executive’s journey with you this month; an individual so thoughtful, she carefully crafts others’ journeys quietly behind the scenes, allowing them to take the spotlight while reaping the rewards of success as a result of her humble efforts.
“I help leaders craft their stories to communicate and connect better.” - Amy Blaschka
Amy Blaschka is a social media ghostwriter and personal brand strategist for leaders and one of the most positive and popular storytellers on social media. Her engaging communication style, which uses both video and text-based posts, has earned an enthusiastic following on LinkedIn, Thrive Global, and Medium, where she aspires to inspire transformation. Amy covers “personal transformation and its impact on career growth” for Forbes.com. She is the co-author with Bruce Kasanoff of I Am: Escape Distractions, Unlock Your Imagination & Unleash Your Potential.
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Amy’s parents (both originally from New York) moved to California when she was three years old. The San Francisco Bay Area became Amy’s permanent home. “Growing up, my sisters and I learned that family came first and always to treat people with respect, regardless of position or title; everyone one had something to teach us. Our parents didn’t grow up with much money (and neither did we), but they always found a way to make things work and for us to feel loved and valued.”
Amy values the strong work ethic her parents instilled in her, which encouraged her to believe that she could achieve anything once she put her mind and heart into it. “This wasn’t just lip service; they modeled it,” she proudly recalls. “My dad, who had been a record-setting salesman (his frequent promotions were why my family kept moving West), decided that he really wanted to be an attorney, so he worked during the day and went to law school at night. During this time, my mom was pregnant with my little sister, and home with my big sister and me. After graduation, my dad passed the bar exam and established a partnership with a friend from law school, and my mom went to work with my dad in his law office.”
Though her parents recently retired from that successful law practice, Amy proudly shares her admiration toward the influencers, who were the pillars supporting her confidence as she embarked on her own personal career journey. “I’ve always loved the idea of bringing a story to life through written and visual means. As a child, I was the quiet kid in the corner, constantly drawing and writing,” she says. A naturally curious and expressive person, Amy enjoys working with people to create something tangible. She knew she wanted to obtain a degree in the creative arts. “Though I vacillated between my major and minor, I ultimately earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film & Media from the University of California, San Diego with a minor in Communications with dreams of becoming a filmmaker.” Amy ultimately placed her talents to their highest and best use by helping leaders craft their stories to communicate and connect better.
Amy shares that she had somewhat of an “accidental career” in that it’s been anything but linear. Not afraid of challenges, Amy persevered through obstacles to explore new and interesting opportunities when they presented themselves. “Before founding my strategic writing practice, I spent a decade in the marketing and communications industry, beginning my career at Young & Rubicam Advertising and culminating as a branding consultant for international firms Landor Associates and Enterprise IG. During this time, I partnered with my clients to help them create, renew, and strengthen their brands. I then applied my branding expertise to the world of travel and tourism, where for over fifteen years, I led and advised destination marketing organizations in California.”
Today, Amy offers strategic writing services to help leaders craft their stories to communicate and connect better, which builds their personal brands and reputations as thought leaders. “Think of it as ‘stories as a service,’” she shares excitedly. “Though my career spans several decades and industries, my goal has always been the same: to help my clients identify and communicate their strengths in a creative and highly appealing manner.” Not only does Amy create compelling and engaging content, but she also helps her clients find and establish their “online voice” to humanize their messaging and position themselves for success.
For Amy, “writing isn’t about writing; it’s about listening.” This is central to her creative being and a skill Amy says she cultivated early in life. “I’ve always been in the middle. It’s the best place to connect, and it’s where I do my best work. From a very young age (and as a middle kid), I had to learn to be an excellent communicator. Observer. Facilitator. Collaborative and creative leader. This skill set has served me well.”
Amy’s favorite thing to do as a child was to create, and it remains so today. “I find inspiration in the everyday moments of life, connecting seemingly disparate things to create something new and wonderful.” She says she adores positive transformation in any form, especially when helping someone present their best self. A highly curious person who considers herself a lifelong learner, Amy enjoys traveling the world and discovering new favorite places, learning new things from interesting people she encounters, and always seeing the possibilities.
Also at the top of her list? “Witty banter with clever people, eating chips and guacamole, and water (in any form). I also enjoy Peet’s ® almond milk lattes with cinnamon steamed into the milk daily (dubbed ‘The Amy’ by my local Peet’s ®).” A fan of office supplies, Amy counts Post-it® notes, whiteboards, Pilot® G-2 .07 blue pens, and pads for taking handwritten notes as her must-haves.
We’re enamored with Amy’s spark, and her energy is contagious, so it’s hard to imagine anything that might detract from it. However, Amy does have a few pet peeves: “Closed-minded thinking (‘we’ve always done it this way’); pepperoni (sorry, not a fan); trying to be all things to all people; event planning (please don’t make me – it’s like you’re punishing me!); doing the same thing, day after day, week after week; clowns (they’re evil); and settling for good enough!”
When Amy considers measures of success, what resonates for her are her “big three: CLARITY, CONSISTENCY, DISCIPLINE.” Amy defines ‘clarity’ as being crystal clear on her goals and what she wants, including making it easier for others to understand who she is, the value she brings, how she’s different, who she serves, and how she can help others. Being ‘consistent’ means that Amy maintains her voice, look, and feel in all of her communications, and creates and shares content regularly. Being ‘disciplined’ refers to commitment and ensuring that she sticks with those few areas where she has expertise.
Regularly publishing her ideas helps to position Amy as an expert, draws others to her, and makes clear what she stands for and her distinct point of view. “Success, to me, is all about making a positive impact. My goal is to use my words to positively impact the lives of millions, and that’s accomplished one person at a time. I’ve learned that someone’s always listening, reading, and watching and that sharing your story helps others embrace theirs. The highest compliment I could receive is someone telling me that something I wrote spoke to them in a profoundly meaningful way.”
Amy reminds us that we all have a story to share, and we already know the power of a great story. Her generosity inspires us as she quietly applauds her clients’ achievements from the sidelines, unknown to others that Amy brought these leaders’ tales to life.
We’re also reminded how wonderful it feels to discuss achievements earned along our career paths, which we often forget to shine a spotlight on. Everyone has a story inside them to share, but it generally takes someone like Amy to find it and articulate it in a truly compelling way.
“This is what I do: weave engaging, original, and authentic career stories for my clients,” Amy says. “Because once you have your story, it changes everything, including how others perceive, pay, and promote you”.
Today, it was time to share Amy’s story. Humbled, gracious, and surprised, Amy handed over her Pilot® G-2 .07 blue pen and pad…and we started writing. And listening……and writing...
…as the spotlight continued to shine.
“...I'm fascinated to learn what makes people tick. I find the spark in each person's presence and shine a spotlight on it so that others are drawn - like me - to their presence.”
How do you measure success?
-Written by Reena Khullar Sharma, Founder & CEO