My Favorite Career Profile Quotes From 2015

My Career Profile posts are my favorite posts on Elana Lyn. I’ve learned so much from the women I’ve featured — and I hope you have as well. Here are my favorite quotes from the women featured in 2015.


“Get out there and make it happen! Something I’ve learned over the years is that you need to look out for yourself and make yourself heard. You want a promotion or raise? You need to pitch yourself and not be afraid to ask for what you want, otherwise how will anyone know you even want it? Don’t hold yourself back, be brave and speak up.” —Amanda Shapin, Cosmopolitan and Seventeen

“Don’t be scared to do it alone (as daunting as it is to attend networking events or something on your own). I highly recommend putting yourself in those uncomfortable situations for those are the experiences that challenge you and offer you the most reward.” —Emily Merrell, INTERMIX and City Society

“Nothing is ever as scary as you think it is.” —Jordana Kier and Alexandra Friedman, LOLA

“Accept that there’s no such thing as balance. Some days you’re going to be awesome at one thing and other days you’ll be awesome at something else. Follow your heart. Different decisions are right for different people. Do what makes you happy and those around you will also be happy.” —Kari Saitowitz, The Fhitting Room

“Don’t let fear get in the way—you are largely only limited by your own mind.” —Jane Mosbacher Morris, To The Market

“Wayne Gretzky once said, ‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.’ While I’m sure he meant it as a hockey metaphor, he’s absolutely right. If you don’t make the attempt, you’ll certainly fail. If you try, sure, there’s a chance you might fail. But you could also succeed. Hard work and determination go a long way. Besides, who wants to live life with regrets?” —Marissa Driscoll, The Girl Scouts of the USA

“Be the first one in and the last to leave. I know that’s hard, but before the hubby, house and children—if you really want a career, not just a job—your twenties are the time for hustle. Zero in on successful people in your field and absorb everything you can from them. Attend their seminars, read their research, overhear the way they converse. Do two things as much as you can—travel cheaply and save as much of your hard earned dough as possible.” —Kate Westervelt, Wayfair

“Don’t be afraid to ask. Whether you are asking for an assignment on a project, a raise, or a promotion you always have to ask. I learned early on in my career that if you don’t ask, you generally won’t receive. It’s rare to find a manager who is always ahead of the curve in advocating for you, so you need to speak up and advocate for yourself (of course, you must also present the ‘why’ but that’s the easy part). This also applies to so many other situations in life and we may miss out on opportunities if we fail to ask the key questions. How will you know if you can get better pricing on a deal if you didn’t ask? How will you know what’s on someone’s mind if you didn’t ask? You may not always get the answer you want, but at least you can walk away from every situation feeling like no stone was unturned and you did your absolute best to get what you needed.” —Chelsea Kocis, SWERVE

“So what I learned is, you need to blog for the love of what you’re writing about and stay focused on that. As much as possible, try not to worry about things like pageviews, feedback, comparing yourself to others, growth or lack thereof, etc. If you feel burned out, take a break! But don’t have the attitude of all or nothing like I did.” —Jackie Clair, York Avenue and Operating Room Nurse

“The most important thing you can be is determined. Passion gets you started: Determination gets you over the goal line.” —Alesya Opelt, Alesya Bags

“The best piece of advice that I have received is to ‘tap into your intuition and learn to listen to it.’ It’s the best guiding principle for my life both personally and professionally. I’ve learned, and I’m continually learning, to avoid distractions because of my intuition.” —Tiannia Barnes, Tiannia Barnes

“I believe our thoughts are self-fulfilling prophecies. Pessimistic thoughts become negative feelings and translate to negative actions, even subconsciously. I love the notion that if we believe great things are coming our way, they’re already half way there.” —Samantha Emrich, Ketchum and Catching Dragonfly

“That it’s okay to fail. I was so scared of making mistakes that it kept me from taking on bigger projects and opportunities to grow. I stayed small so I could master the tasks I was doing. Since starting my business, my relationship with failure has been redefined. I’m failing all the time and have realized that failure is just a milestone in the process towards success. If I had known and lived that early on, my experience starting my career would have been very different.” —Ashley Feinstein, Knowing Your Worth

“As much as you want to have all the answers and have it all figured out, there are things you’ll wish you did differently, but things really do have a way of working out as they are meant to, try not to worry so much.” —Caroline Shifflett, Tory Burch

“I think the most important thing young professional women can do is respect one another. It is incredibly frustrating to see the lack of respect or the way women talk down to other women. We have to set a good example for our future daughters and other young female professionals and raise each other up!” —Amanda Keegan, Good Morning America

“Luck is something that’s truly found at the intersection of preparation and opportunity.” —Rhonesha Byng, Her Agenda

“I’m not sure who said it, but I love this one: ‘Amazing people do not just happen.'” —Evann Clingan, 360i and Evan Clingan

“Comparing yourself and your career to those around you is an easy trap to fall into, especially when you live in NYC. You are surrounded by some of the brightest, most driven people in the world. Let that energy be a source of inspiration and motivation rather than comparison. Everyone’s career is their own journey and there is no one definition of success.” —Alexandra Moncure, Financial Times

“Work hard. Pay attention. Ask questions. Listen.” —Bridie Clark Loverro, Andra Newman, and Betsy O’Reilly, Quad Jobs

“I’ve kept the same quote taped to my computer monitor for the last 3 years. The quote is by Maya Angelou and reads, ‘The question is not how to survive, but how to thrive with passion, compassion, humor, and style.’ I love this mantra for two reasons. Firstly, I think it’s both the most unusual and spot-on choice of words I’ve ever heard: passion, compassion, humor, and style. We can all only hope to embody those traits daily. (Right now, I’m shooting for just one day of the week.) And secondly, I never want to consider myself just ‘surviving.’ That breaks my heart. Whether professionally or personally, this mantra is a good reminder that if I’m not in a place, position, or relationship where I’m thriving, it’s time to make a change.” —Carly Potock, Google

“You are smarter than you know and more capable than you feel. Remember that; then just start.” —Jenna Arak, Jenna Arak Modern Day Storyteller

“I feel like it’s kind of weird to be giving advice when I haven’t graduated yet, but here’s the advice a guy gave me last week when he accidentally thought I was a college senior and started spewing all sorts of wisdom: ‘Embrace the panic, and enjoy the ride.'” —Lily Herman, The Prospect

“The best advice I was given and would give other entrepreneurs is that a ‘no,’ doesn’t really mean a ‘no,’ it just means you have to be persistent and stick with it until you get a ‘yes.’ Also, entrepreneurship is all about being able to take calculated risks, you have to approach it with a sense of adventure and not be bogged down by fear of failure. You can’t worry about failure too much because every failure you can eventually turn into a success. To get ahead, you have to be able to jump in.” —Agnieszka Burnett, Nomaterra

“Stay focused on you, and not what anyone else is doing. Don’t compare yourselves to others. Strive for greatness; be polite yet bold. If all of a sudden you want to take your career in another direction, DO IT. It’s never too late to just start all over. I switched the direction of my career after two years, anything is possible.” —Micaela English, Town and Country

“Be proactive. Don’t only do what you’re told. Find a better process or develop a new program that will help you stand out and be remembered.” —Tracey Skaler, Seventeen

“My dad once told me: ‘No one else knows what they’re doing, either.’ So many women—myself included—have this tendency to assume that everyone else has it all together, that we’re the only ones who are second-guessing ourselves. And it couldn’t be further from the truth. You learn specific skills over time, of course, but then life throws you into a completely different arena where those skills aren’t even applicable anymore. We’re all getting knocked down and crawling back to our feet over and over…but we only see our own stumbles.” —Julie Schechter, FitBallet

“Be curious, ask questions when you have them, and set goals for yourself in all areas of your life. Also, be flexible. It is good to have a routine that works for you but it is also important to be spontaneous. That is how you meet new people and expose yourself. I think that some of the greatest moments are those that happen unexpectedly.” —Madeleine Casella, The Museum of Modern Art

“If you are on the right road, keep your head down, do good work, and press forward.  You’ll get there little by little every day — and speak up when you’re ready for more responsibility!”—Meagan Hooper, bSmart Guide

“I loved the part in Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In when she writes about the best question an interviewee has ever asked her. The person she was interviewing asked, ‘What is the company’s biggest problem and what can I do to solve it?’ I think as you are networking, that is the most important question that you can possibly ask anyone. Not only is it a good question, you are essentially asking what that person really needs, but you are also asking what can you do to help, and people really do remember that, especially when you follow-through.” —Katie Schloss, Three Jane

“Don’t be afraid of hard work and always say yes. The early years of your career are critical for growth – work hard, always be willing to help out and don’t be afraid to speak up – especially when you have an idea!” —Cait Weingartner, Pretty and Fun

“I’ve always been inspired by this quote by Diane Von Furstenberg: ‘I didn’t always know what I wanted to do, but I always knew the woman I wanted to be.’ Becoming a Lovely It Girl is all about embracing who you are and letting go of who you think you should be.” —Michela Aramini, SELF and The Lovely It Girl

“Far too often we are hesitant to firmly answer a question if we are only 90% sure of an answer or caveat our opinions with phrases such as ‘I think,’ even when we are 100% sure. We know a lot and need to be better at touting our knowledge and opinions with confidence, but it’s not an easy thing to change overnight. Paying attention every time you start a sentence with ‘I think’ or ‘I feel’ is a great place to start.” —Dorie Golkin Smith and Emelyn Northway, Of Mercer

“Change is good: Embrace it and go for the flow—but set definitive goals for yourself, and fight for the thing you want. Also: Negotiate your salary. Always. You owe it to yourself, and to women everywhere.” —Elizabeth Kiefer, Refinery 29

“Whatever you do, be true to yourself. Authenticity is #1. My best friend always reminds me of this. You cannot break down boundaries without being yourself! This goes for branding…and everything else in life, really.” —Jessy Dover, Dagne Dover

“Being genuinely nice goes a really long way. This industry is so small. People don’t forget that you had a positive attitude during a rough close, or you were kind enough to forward that pitch, or return a publicist’s email, even when the answer is no. People want to work with people who are pleasant to be around and your attitude is a big indicator of future success.” —Abbe Wright, Glamour

“Life is short and my parents always said, work hard, stay open and follow your passion because you never know where you’ll end up. I have to say, starting a business from nothing and growing it every year and the challenges you face and running it day to day – I’ve never learned more or been happier.” —Jeannette Yudes, Peyton and Clark

“Are they hungry? Are they passionate? Will they go to whatever lengths they need to in order to make something happen? Skills will come with training and experience but hunger is something that cannot be faked.” —Liz Wessel, Way Up

“When running a business it’s important to be fair, firm and compassionate. I try to live up to that daily. I also am a firm believer in breaking out of your comfort zones.” —Stephanie Middleburg, Middleburg Nutrition

“Just remember, it’s not a straight and narrow path — there are ups and downs and twists and turns. Don’t hold on too tightly to any expectations about how you think your career is going to go, because you’re in for some fun surprises!” —Dana Gereboff and Brooke Polson, Love Detailed

“Be yourself. At this time in our life, it’s so easy to compare yourself to other young women and feel inadequate. You are on your own path at your own pace. Be happy with your experience, and if you aren’t happy, make a change.” —Danielle Leach, Search Solution Group

“Work hard and be nice to people. You never know who is going to help you out later down the road or notice that extra three hours you put in one night to organize all of the photographs in the runway show look books. Being humble and grateful is always a plus, too.” —Kaitlyn Sullivan, W Magazine

“Don’t feel pressured to always be ‘creative’ and ‘on.’ Sometimes the best ideas come when you least expect it—just always work on being the best worker with the strengths you have.” —Elizabeth Didora, Real Simple

“The first is to be patient. I still struggle with that – but if you work hard, ask questions and are eager to learn, things will happen. Second, forget comparison. By comparing yourself to anyone else you’re wasting time – time that you could spend investing in yourself, your career, and developing the skills you need to realize the hopes and dreams for your career.” —Lauren Pruner, Weber Shandwick and PR Blonde

“Savor the small accomplishments: When you have a big dream, it can be easy to beat yourself up for not ‘being where you want to be.’ Be proud of yourself for everything you accomplish here and now. Your dream will only continue to get bigger as you grow more and more.” —Samantha Cooper, Trend Tribe

“I try to stand up for millennials as much as I can because I really like our generation. I think we are hardworking. I think we are optimistic. I like that we don’t accept doing things the same way because ‘that’s how it’s always been done’. I guess my advice would be to just keep going, keep making things, keep chasing things make you happy.” —Amanda Greeley, Tink + Tiger

“Do more, talk less. You can talk about future plans all day long but it’s what you put into action that makes a difference.” —Lauren McGoodwin, Career Contessa

“There will be storms to weather, there will be struggles, there will be great rewards and great disappointments. When you are at your lowest point, you will still need to be able to say, ‘This is worth it. I am strong enough for this. This is what I am meant to do.’ I know it sounds a bit depressing, but it has been the most meaningful, motivational, and hopeful piece of advice I have ever been given. It’s helped me immensely over the last few years.” —Katherine Feiner, Katherine Feiner

“Blissful ignorance is kind of a gift when you’re starting out in any career. When you’re fueled by passion and not by information, you barely notice the late nights in the office, coffee runs in the rain, or early morning meetings. It’s much more fun to learn it all as you experience it.” —Ellie Somerville McNevin, Gray & Co.

“If you find that you are the smartest person in the room – leave the room. You always want to be surrounding yourself with people who will make you better than you were the day before.” —Shala Burroughs, CloudPeeps

Thank you to all of the inspirational women who shared their career paths, stories, and advice in 2015. And thank you all for following along and encouraging me to continue a series I’m so proud of!

P.S. Here are my favorite Career Profile quotes from 2014.

“My mom always says, ‘You catch more flies with honey.’ Meaning, more opportunities come if you are sweet in your personal interactions. I would also say you are happier if you are kinder to others. Basically: always be nice – at work, in relationships, and to yourself. Can’t go wrong with that plan!” —Molly Ford, Hearst and Pretty, Smart, and Awkward

“Don’t be afraid to take a risk, especially at this time in your life. Don’t be afraid of taking a chance on a job, or country, or other experience that doesn’t follow a traditional path. In my experience, taking a chance on the unexpected leads to great results. Also, take advantage of this time to develop that hobby or learn that language that you never had time to take on during college—this is a time for growth, so take advantage.” —Courtney Joline, Consultant

“Read The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman and just trust yourself.  Surround yourself with positive, talented and like-minded young women. I rely on an inner circle of close friends for professional conundrums and advice all the time. We are constantly a sounding board for each other.” —Courtney Grace Peterson, Logic and Grace

“You’re not going to be good at some things. Get help in those areas, and kick ass where you can.” —Nathalie Vaandrager, Sloane Stationery

“My advice to other young professional women is to take full advantage of opportunities that are presented to you. Many times we turn down an opportunity because we fail to see how it directly correlates with our long-term goal but many opportunities can be leveraged to be useful. Granted although not every opportunity may be worthwhile, the ones that are can truly help you get closer to your goal or dream.” —Brittany Lo, Beautini by B.Lo

“Without great risk, there would be no great reward. If you have a dream that seems wild, but you really believe in it with your heart, go with it and don’t stop. There will always be those that doubt you, the pressures of society and your parents’ expectations – but let it go for now. Accept the fact that you will have bad moments. I’m talking days with no sales, weeks when everything goes wrong, website crashes, and people who just slam the door in your face. These mistakes won’t kill you, in fact, they build character and one day (in the not so distant future) you’ll be laughing about it. The world needs more people who take risks – be one of them!” —Erin Zaikis, Sundara

“This is the time to take a chance. If you are looking for a change of pace or career, go for it! Shadow people, look into online courses in different fields, travel, volunteer, etc! It’s going to be harder in the future to take those chances, those risks, so take them now!” —Samantha McLean, IREX and The Peace Corps.

“‘Quit early and quit often.’ One of my professors in business school gave a great speech about having the courage to quit a job or a career path that you don’t enjoy. Growing up we’re taught to keep working hard at something, even if we don’t enjoy it, because ‘it’s good for us’ or because maybe one day it will bring happiness. Don’t wait for that day to arrive – have the courage to take a chance and forge your own future.” —Katherine Contag, Color Clutch and BaubleBar

“Just do it. There’ll never be a perfect time to start a business or launch a blog or do what you’ve always dreamed of doing. You’re only going to get busier and have more commitments. And, more importantly, do it before you’re ready. I do so many things without being ready—and while it may not be the best way to get stuff started, you’re never going to be 100% ready and prepared. Don’t say no to good opportunities. And, put yourself out there. Email that potential mentor. Reach out to your favorite blogger. Tweet to someone you admire. The worst thing that can happen is that you either won’t hear back or they’ll say no. It’s ok—someone will eventually say yes. But you have to put yourself out there first.” —Sierra Barter, The Lady Project

“Think big. And when people tell you it isn’t possible, think even bigger. Keep the end goal in mind at all times.” —Emily Raleigh, The Smart Girls Group

“This is unrelated to blogging, but the best advice I’ve ever received was from Dad. I was in a sour longterm relationship at the time, and pretty miserable. I felt stuck. He told me that the most important choice I’ll ever make is choosing who to spend my life with, and that I should put great thought into the decision. That really stuck with me. I’m convinced that his words are the reason I finally built up the courage to change my situation, and the reason I ended up with the love of my life. (Sorry–so mushy!)” —Kelly Larkin, Kelly in the City

“No one is going to hand you anything! You have to be brave enough to ask for it. And then you have to be prepared to explain why you’re the ideal candidate or employee for that role or responsibility. I think young people too often think that opportunities will be handed to them, or that they’ll eventually get recognized or rewarded for their hard work…when in reality, people are too busy with their own jobs to really notice! You really do have to be your own best advocate in order to get what you want in your career.” —Meaghan O’Connor, Seventeen

“That one will strike out more than they’ll land something (especially in New York). A hundred rejections, one ‘yes.’ But the ‘yes’ is always worth waiting for.” —Amy Stone, The Gap

“Theodore Roosevelt said, ‘Comparison is the thief of joy.’ It is so easy to compare yourself to others and instantly feel inadequate or like you’re not measuring up, especially in the age of posting every new purchase, apartment, meal, and vacation to social media. When you feel yourself starting to do that, snap out of it. Remember that everyone’s life experience and career is different, and what is fitting for your best friend might not be the same for you. Lately, I’ve seen a quote by Dita Von Teese floating around the blogosphere and Pinterest that says, ‘You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.’ I think it’s such a great reminder that you can’t please everyone all the time, but should strive to do work hard, do your best, and treat others with respect and graciousness.” —Jennifer Taylor, Jack Rogers USA

“Figure out a way to differentiate yourself. Whether its through your education, past internships, or unique skillset, show companies why you are uniquely qualified to do the work. If there is a skill you don’t have that keeps popping up as a requirement of jobs you are looking at, go out and get it. There are so many cheap and easy ways to learn new skills and programs, and there’s always room to be a better candidate. I also believe it’s important to show off your work ethic during the job search process.” —Jamie Petkanics, The Prepary

“Be true to yourself. Be a good friend to your friends. Make your parents proud. Work hard but find time to live your life. Take chances!” —Mackenzie Horan, Design Darling

“My advice to new bloggers is boring and obvious but BE AUTHENTIC. There are so many bloggers out there now and I find half of them copying each other’s styles, designs, and even writing. People will want to look at your blog for you so own that.” —Julia Dzafic, Nourish Snacks and Lemon Stripes

“Success doesn’t happen overnight and working hard at something doesn’t mean that it will actually work. Keep in mind that success takes time, and working smarter and not harder is what will take you and your brand to the next level. Lastly, you have something to offer; you are one of a kind and that’s what makes you different. Your best asset is your ‘you-ness.’ —Ashley Brooke, Ashley Brooke Designs

“There’s nothing wrong with trying new things – don’t feel like you are limited by your major or background. You’re 22. If you start out in one thing and see yourself being pulled in another direction, just try it! Better to try things and get it figured out now rather than working in something that you hate for thirty years and trying to switch then, right? There is no ‘perfect’ job in my opinion, but I don’t believe in spending every single day doing something that you absolutely hate.” —Holly Casto, Charm and Gumption

“Our generation has such a stigma of being narcissistic, lazy, and entitled. Do your best to prove that stereotype wrong. Show up early. Be willing to take unglamorous assignments. Be quick to help others on your team. Meet your deadlines. Realize that you are not the exception to the rule, and you do not deserve special treatment.” —Tierney Fowler, Author

“If you’re trying to be like someone else, you’re not being yourself. I’m pretty sure my mom was the first to say this to me and I’ve really taken it to heart since I studied abroad in college and realized I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do anymore. When you are trying to figure out what you’re interested in, it’s easy to see someone who is happy and try to emulate them. The problem is that you aren’t that person and doing the same as them won’t necessarily make you perfectly content. The hard part is finding what makes you you, but once you find it you will be happier than you’ve ever tried to be!” —Devon Huntly, Phi Sigma Sigma

“Don’t stress, you’re not saving lives! It is so true. In New York, sometimes you forget that taking care of yourself is important and your email will be there tomorrow.” —Joanna Scholtz, Lilly Pulitzer

“This is pretty cliché advice, but don’t compare yourself to what others are doing. I think it’s a trap we all fall into—I know I do, and it’s such a waste of time.” —Evelyn Henson, Evelyn Henson

“Make sure you have a good support system. Having friends and family who believe in your cause and who will support you will really help during the long days. We’ve been very lucky to have received help from so many people.” —Kim and Kristen Waeber, Kidogo Kidogo

Images via Domaine.


18 Responses to My Favorite Career Profile Quotes From 2015

  1. Judy Rosenblum says:

    So many smart women! Thank you for bringing us their stories throughout 2015 and for gathering their advice all in one blogpost to summarize important keys to success.

  2. Audrey Stowe says:

    wow- loved reading all of these quotes! definitely saving some in my phone!

  3. Alex says:

    Awesome, motivation quotes! Love them 🙂

  4. Lindsay says:

    These are all so inspirational!So many intelligent women to learn from 🙂

    Sugar & Something

  5. Jenny says:

    These are all fabulous quotes but I think my absolute favorite is the first one from Amanda.

    xoxo, Jenny

  6. Ashley Mason says:

    These are all fabulous quotes!

  7. Lauren says:

    These are all great quotes! I love this!

  8. I love the “you are largely limited by your own mind” quote. That blows my mind. Half the time we are what is holding us back. Incredible!

    xoxo, SS

    The Southern Stylista

  9. Jordyn says:

    So much inspiration packed into this post. I completely love the career profiles you feature, so many successful women with great advice. Love love love!

  10. Allison says:

    I love this round up! Very inspiring!

  11. Lauren says:

    I love that this is what you decided to round up from 2015. They are all such amazing individuals and these quotes are testaments of just that! 🙂

  12. Kayleigh says:

    Such a great wrap up and such great inspiration from fabulous women!

  13. Sara Kate says:

    These are all so perfect! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Sara Kate Styling

  14. Lindsey says:

    Wow, I needed to hear some of these. The first one by Amanda Shapin, Cosmopolitan and Seventeen, really spoke to me. It is something my boyfriend tells me all the time. Such great inspiration.

  15. John Gross says:

    This was an excellent summary of good advice and should be read often.

  16. lindsey says:

    This was such a great read!
    With southern grace,

  17. What a great round-up! You’ve interviewed some really amazing people and this is such a great series. I’m honored to be included-thank you for the feature!

Comments are closed.