We are absolutely thrilled for today’s #welldesignedlife series! A little while ago, we received an email from a sweet gal named Nicole who wanted to nominate her boss, Carolyn for this series! We knew that meant she had to be special so we immediately reached out and after getting to know her a bit, we totally get it! Keep reading for more from the determined and hardworking Carolyn Morgan!
Let’s start off with an introduction! Tell us about yourself. Roles you play and what you do.
I am the mom of two sets of twins. I have 4-year-old girls and 2 year olds that are a boy and a girl. 3 girls and 1 boy! Keeps life interesting.
I am also the President of a growing advertising agency called LehmanMillet. Our clients are healthcare companies – pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, devices and diagnostics.
What accomplishment are you most proud of in life so far?
In my personal life I am pretty proud at how well my husband and I have dealt with the hectic nature of having four children that are so young while we both work full time.
And, professionally I am very proud to be where I am. I worked hard to get here and I have no intentions of slowing down. The last few years have been all about growth at the agency. It is exciting.
Tell us about your big dreams. Where do you want to go, what do you want to do, and why?
I want to show my kids the world. I’d like them to see more cultures and different ways of life then I did as a child. I hope that opens them up to more possibilities and dreams of their own. My personal goal is to get to Paris sometime in the next 12 months. I can’t believe I have never been.
Professionally, I want to keep growing the agency by adding great talent, improving our craft and working with clients who are changing the way medicine is being practiced. And, I want to push us outside our comfort zone. There is always a first time for everything!
What are some struggles you’ve faced in achieving your dreams so far? Have you learned anything from them that you want to share?
There are a lot of ups and downs in the agency business. Before I was President I was EVP, Managing Director of our West Coast office. When I got out there we were small and I put in place a young (at the time) mgmt. team. We grew up together and we had a lot of misfires. We learned from every single one. I think the best advice I have ever gotten is to “not lose the lesson.” Each failure is an opportunity. But you can’t be afraid of failing – that is when you stop growing as a leader.
Do your dreams look different now than they used to? If so, what changed about them?
I feel like every question has both a personal and professional response so sorry for the ying/yang.
Five years ago my biggest dream was to be a mom and that didn’t come easily for me. But, a frustrating start became an embarrassment of riches. I am a lucky mama.
Not far behind that dream was to kick some serious butt at work. I knew I wanted to run this agency and make it great. I was given an amazing opportunity and I grabbed it by the horns and ran.
Today my dreams are different. I certainly haven’t taken my foot off the gas, but my focus is less about getting there and instead it is about enjoying being here. I want to create a fantastic environment that encourages growth, risk, acceptance and happiness in both my home and my offices.
If you could go back and visit yourself at any age, what would you tell your younger self? What kind of encouragement or wisdom do you wish you had at that time?
I never doubted myself. I have my parents and my childhood to thank for that. It wasn’t that I was told I was great all the time, not at all (I do have two older brothers to remind me I wasn’t). But, my parents never said I couldn’t. Everything was “why not?” or “of course you can” so I never thought anything was out of my reach. I still don’t.
I would tell my younger self to travel more. My husband and I talk about that all the time – why didn’t we travel more and get those experiences in our twenties? I guess we have it to look forward to in retirement.
What three daily things can you not live without?
Love – from my family
Laughter – anywhere and everywhere (my favorite thing to do)
Fluids – coffee to start, water throughout, and wine to end it
What is something you strive to be intentional about? How do you design it into your life?
I try to be very intentional about being present. Some days I am better at it then others but I do focus on work while at work and then give it all to my family at night and on the weekends.
I try not to bring distractions into meetings (phones, computers etc.). I encourage the same from my team. I want people to know and feel that I am hearing them.
How do you create balance in your life?
I always laugh and say it is because both sides of my life are so crazy that they require undivided attention. It is almost a requirement. Have you ever had 2 four year olds and 2 2 year olds want to get a hold of your phone. All hell breaks lose. It is easier to not take it out.
I am also very type-a. I have lists and everything is scheduled to the minute. I have a terrible memory so I have to write things down. I am so neurotic that sometime I write something down to just cross it off. I hear that a lot of people do that. What is up with that?
What does your daily routine look like? Is there anything that helps you feel most successful at the end of the day?
I am not a morning person. I wish I was, but I am not. The house is up and moving at 7 (we will have to move that up next year when the girls go to kindergarten). I get ready and I usually have a lot of helpers with me in the bathroom giving me all sorts of guidance and helpful advice and usually a couple of fights break out. I leave the house by 8:15 everyday and spend the next hour in the car on the phone. Typically I chat with a few people at our corporate offices first. At 8:45 I check in with my Boston team leads and we run through our days quickly together. I find that keeps us all in the loop and enables a few hallway conversations that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. I am in by 9:30 and my day is usually packed with meetings – management, client and new business takes up a majority of my day. I work through lunch (terrible I know) or have lunch with a team member, client or prospect. I typically leave the offices everyday at 6 and spend an hour in the car driving home chatting with our West Coast team. Typically our Managing Director or Operations Director. I am then home in time to start the bedtime routine: Pjs, teeth, books, snuggles. Then my husband and I eat dinner. Every night we eat dinner together. It is our time to catch up. I then will check emails while we watch TV and share a glass of wine.
What checklist(s) do you live by?
I love paper. I could hang out in Paper Source or any similar store for hours. I am a big checklist girl. I think it is because each child took a year of short-term memory. I need them for home (grocery, chores, birthdays/events), work (sales, clients, reports) and for travel (what to pack, what books/movies I want to catch up on). Even electronically. My inbox is my to-do list – I file or delete things as soon as my action (if required) is complete. I really can’t function well without lists.
What do you wish you had more of in life? What about it makes it so special?
Time. I am sure everyone says this. But it is true. Both in terms of days and years. I feel like I looked up and my girls are turning 5! My babies will be 3 this summer! What is so special about it is it is truly on our own terms. We choose how we spend our time. So for me, every free moment is being a mom. That is what makes me happy.
What do you wish you had less of in life?
Plane time. While it is really my only “me” time, I find it frustratingly wasteful. I fly to California a lot and I lose an entire day each way. Isn’t this 2015? Wasn’t there supposed to be some high-powered pod that just shot us to programmed coordinates by now?
Are you willing to share a story with us about a time in your life when things felt out of control? How did you get back on course?
I got fired from my first job. That didn’t feel good. I was 23 and on the curb. I remember going home that afternoon and my dad calling me and said, “you better not be in your bed right now. Go back to Bentley University’s (my alma mater) career services and get your resume back out there.” Best advice. I did it that day. I learned that hard work was the only way forward and I never looked back.
Do you have a life motto?
Move forward. Hemming and hawing over what could have been gets you nowhere. Learn the lesson and make the next thing better for it.
If you could share one thing with our readers, what would it be?
How about three things?
- Be Present. Everyone wins when you are present.
- Have fun. Does the heart good.
- Get TSA cleared. Saves time and headaches. (Editor note: Amen!)
We are so grateful to Carolyn for being with us today! If you would like to keep up with her, you can follow along on Instagram!