020: Having an attitude of gratitude with Martha Carrigan
About Martha Carrigan
Martha Carrigan is the President & CEO of Big Shoes Network (BSN): a family of niche job boards and resources serving the Midwest and Southeast. Big Shoes Network specializes in advertising, digital and traditional communication, graphic and web design, marketing, public relations and social media industries. Martha is responsible for business development, strategic marketing and financial management.
Prior to BSN, Martha served as a grant writer / presenter for capital fundraising campaigns in education and non-profit fields successfully raising several million dollars for multiple projects. She developed business partnerships, proposals, presentations and demonstrations for software and business services to national and international clients at ManpowerGroup. Before Manpower, Martha was a business consultant developing, delivering and selling software training curriculum. Passionate about education, she has served as a college guidance advisor, consultant and teacher.
As a requested speaker for various groups, Martha has presented for TEDxUWMilwaukee, civic leadership, business / professional associations and university student / alumni groups.
Martha writes guest blogs and serves as an advisory board member for Marquette University – Marketing Department, AIGA Wisconsin and Madison College-Applied Arts & Graphic Design Program. She is an alumni ambassador for UW–Milwaukee, a De Paul University Career program mentor and a facilitator for marriage preparation courses through her local church. Martha has also provided leadership in board and Executive Committee positions for Eastbrook Academy, Eastbrook Church and the Volunteer Center of Greater Milwaukee.
She holds a B.A. in communication from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and a Certificate in Interactive Marketing from De Paul University.
What inspired you to start Big Shoes Network?
· “My husband and I are accidental entrepreneurs. We’ve both been very involved in the comm arts industries and people would call us occasionally and say, for example, ‘Hey, do you know any good copywriters?’ and we’d call some people and find someone. That grew from a phone list to an email list of 50 which grew to 1,500 within less than a year.”
What are your top tips for networking?
· “Keep at it over time, don’t let that die. We heard a broad number of professionals say they regretted getting so busy they didn’t keep a professional network.”
How do you navigate the constant changes in your industry?
· “I would say to approach it methodically and with a plan. There’s the shiny object syndrome and it’s really hard not to get distracted by that.”
Share with us one of your best networking stories
· “Networking is more like a sprinkler, it’s very broad and passes over the same area, and it gets deeper each time so I’m reluctant to say one single time. If I had to give you a story to illustrate that, I had met a woman who was a very high up person. From that, we were connected on LinkedIn, then I was invited to the PRSSA chapter at UW-Whitewater and that’s what started my presentations for students.”
How do you stay in front of your network or community?
· “Follow your interests and help people. Be sure to give back and then just keep doing it. It doesn’t have to be much but I think people really underestimate how much people appreciate simple feedback on their blog posts.”
What advice do you have for business professionals looking to grow their networks?
· “I’ve got 4 small steps that help a lot. Firstly, start by doing the next small thing. Secondly, have a goal whether it’s just learning what it takes to be a marketing director or if you’re looking for a mentor. Thirdly, make the ask. What do you want, ask for resources to your goal. Finally, reward yourself for achieving that plan.”
Digital networking or traditional networking?
· “Generally, you’ll initiate contact through one or the other then you’ll grow the relationship between both. It’s a combination of the two of them!”
If you could go back 20 years, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of regarding your career?
· “I would tell myself to stop being such a chicken. For whatever reason it always seems like I stick out at networking events for some reason.”
Who would you love to connect with and do you think you could do it within 6 degrees?
· “I would love to connect with Denzell Washington because I think he’d be so interesting but from a business perspective, I think I would enjoy connecting with Bill Gates. I feel like I could connect with him given two years or five years.”
What book are you reading right now?
· “I’m currently reading Tim Segelski’s blog, ‘Dead Heat’ by Dick Francis, and ‘The Rest of God’ by Marck Buchanon.”
Any final words of advice for our listeners??
· “Start now with small steps and be thankful. Have an attitude of gratitude.”
You can get in contact with Martha at: