Rachel Van Fleet: Everything You Do Makes a Statement

We’ve grown a ton over the last few months. So much so that it was time to expand our marketing team! We’re so excited to have Rachel on full-time as an Associate Growth Hacker. She’s a creative and insightful problem solver with a proven ability to take big ambiguous ideas and turn them into action. She’s a curator of content, ensuring high engagement and value-add in all mediums, from social media to Fireside Chats. Passionate about pursuing the “why” from a marketing perspective, she provides clients with reasons to believe in TGG’s “why.”

Hear more from Rachel about the values that brought her to The Garage Group and how they came to be important in her life:

When I was deciding where to work post-grad, I took some time to evaluate myself and write out the values I live by every day:

After writing them out and sorting through them, I realized that they all became important in my life because of my parents and one of my professors, and now mentor, Professor Friedman.

I gained my work ethic from my dad; he taught me to always follow the whole way through—to never half-ass and to have fun along the way. But I attribute my empathy to my mom, who taught me how to care for people and how to build and nurture healthy relationships.

My experiences thanks to my professor, and later mentor, Professor Friedman, are what enabled me to truly solidify my values. He started out as just the professor who made you shut your laptops and actually listen but became a mentor who impacted my classmates and me so much more. It’s kind of ironic because frankly, I’ve never been more intimidated by one person. Yet, I’ve never had more respect for someone. I’ve never been so frustrated with a professor’s assignments but felt so rewarded at the end.

Picture this: You’ve just completed one of the most challenging courses of your whole college career–an entire capstone jammed into 3 weeks. You haven’t had more than 4 hours of sleep in a night. You’ve given everything to your team and your project. Then your professor tells you that watching you lead your team was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Ouch.

Disappointment ran through my veins. I knew I could do better, and I knew I would do better. He knew it, too.

The following semester I was a teaching assistant for Friedman’s Creativity in Entrepreneurship course. I worked even harder in this position than I did when I took the class. I spent days grading projects that could’ve only taken minutes. Instead of skimming, I graded with passion–the passion to punish mediocrity, to encourage failure, and to tolerate nothing that I would not do. Finally, I was proud.

That, in a nutshell, is Friedman as a mentor. He pushes you to your limits–maybe even past–then watches you climb your way back up. Not because he enjoys to watch you struggle, but because he knows you can overcome it.

It’s because of him that I can tackle ambiguity; I check, recheck, then check again the work I complete; I speak up when something is unacceptable to me; I pursue solutions far different than anyone else; I take responsibility for the situations I’m in.

It’s because of him that I found a home in a company that so closely aligns with my values. A place where I’m free to test new ideas, thrive in the big picture objective and give and receive constructive feedback every day.

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