BABE #90: KARA CRONIN,
Community Skimm'r @ theSkimm
I've been a huge fan of Kara and the rest of the team behind theSkimm since I (virtually) met her when I became a Skimm'bassador about two years ago. Being able to catch even a glimpse into her work with one of the most kickass and influential startups of our generation is really freakin' exciting. Beyond her insane work ethic (which of course, we admire,) Kara's positive, uplifting attitude is contagious, and something we could definitely learn something from. ;) Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Kara! You're a total babe.
Hometown: Manchester, NH
Current city: New York, NY
Alma mater: College of Charleston
Degree: BA in Communication, Minor in Hospitality and Tourism Management
Very first job: I used to draw (terrible) pictures and sell them on the sidewalk in front of my grandparents' house in Quincy, MA at age 6. It was like a lemonade stand, but with art. I called it Kara's Quincy Store, and I made over 100 bucks each summer. Cha-Ching.
Hustle: Community Skimm’r @ theSkimm
Babe you admire and why?
Sara Blakely. Beyond what she's built with Spanx, I’m such a fan of her persistence and creative process. I heard her speak once, and she mentioned that she has something like a 5-minute commute to work, but it takes her an hour because her best brainstorms happen while driving. So she leaves her house early and literally just drives around to come up with ideas. Fun fact: she came up with the name for Spanx while driving.
How do you spend your free time?
Exploring. I try to travel somewhere outside NYC at least one weekend per month. There’s so much to do in NYC, too, so I’m always trying to check out new restaurants, find the best live music or catch a Broadway show.
Favorite app, website or blog?
Skimm Ahead ;)
Must-have item in your bag?
Lip gloss, phone charger and something colorful to write with.
Go-to adult beverage?
An Old Fashioned or a glass of red wine.
What would you eat for your very last meal?
Anything with caramelized onions.
Biggest pet peeve?
Favorite social media account to follow?
@enews. Celebrity gossip is my guilty pleasure.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world (alive or dead) who would it be?
Brandon Stanton, the man behind Humans of New York. I’m fascinated by the way he’s able to extract such personal and important information from strangers and tell their story so beautifully that the whole world is rooting for them.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
My parents’ lake house. Specifically, on a boat.
What’s something you wish you knew more about?
The Illuminati. Am I even allowed to say that in writing? I’m obsessed with it, but it’s so hard to find good information because it’s such a secret… if it even really exists.
John Mayer, The Beatles, Ed Sheeran, and all of the music that’s played at weddings. If I could just be dancing at a wedding for the rest of my life, I’d be content.
What’s something most don’t know about you?
One of my favorite things to do is a good YouTube binge. I go through phases with different celebrities and watch all their interview clips, performances, highlights, etc and then move on to the next. Paul Rudd is my favorite so far.
What is theSkimm?
theSkimm is changing the way millennials receive news and information. Its inaugural product, The Daily Skimm, is the fastest growing email newsletter on the market, with an engaged community of 5 million active subscribers and an industry-crushing open rate.
Tell us about your hustle:
As Community Skimm'r, I manage our community of Skimm'bassadors aka the powerhouse brand ambassadors for theSkimm. They represent theSkimm in their cities & communities and help us grow through word of mouth. They brainstorm with our team on new ideas, give feedback, and get some sneak peeks along the way. I'm always working on different ways to connect them with HQ and with one another.
How’d you land your job with theSkimm? What was the application/interview process like?
I was a Skimm’bassador first, so that’s how I heard about the opportunity. We always tell SBs first! And then I ate a taco during my interview, which sealed the deal.
What is the office culture/work environment like at Skimm HQ?
I know I’m biased, but I think the culture at HQ is unmatched. There’s a lot of team bonding, a lot of teal, a lot of snacks, and a lot of hard work.
What’s it like working for a company under two female founders?
I looked up to Carly and Danielle far before I started working with them… so I still pinch myself sometimes now that my desk is in the same room as theirs.
Did you foresee this job as part of your career path? What was your original plan career-wise?
My plan was to work somewhere where I would get to interact with people, be creative and be a part of a rich company culture. There were few specifics, but if I could have created a job for myself, it would have been eerily close to what I’m doing now.
What has the experience of working for a successful startup been like?
I think my favorite part is working for a company that I feel is really changing the game for people my age, and that the work I get to be a part of really resonates with so many people. Plus, I’m always blown away by the loyalty that Skimm’rs have.
What would your advice be for other babes trying to break into a growing startup?
Be scrappy, be willing to work hard, and be flexible to help where it’s needed. Do not keep yourself in a box.
Do you have any outside additional involvement?
I grew up volunteering with my mom. She’s a Make-A-Wish granter and it was totally normal for me to dress up as a Disney character or Frosty the Snowman on any given day to surprise her Wish kids. I’m working on becoming a Make-A-Wish granter myself.
What noteworthy (funny, embarrassing, intense) work-related memories come to mind for you?
On my very first day at theSkimm, a truck backed up into me outside the office and knocked me to the ground. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone, and then I forgot about it. I recently remembered and told everyone at a team meeting. There were no serious injuries, so it was funny.
What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your work? How’d you overcome it?
Growing up, I was always afraid of not having all the answers, but I’ve learned that no one does, and it’s on me to be a self-starting “I’ll figure it out” kind of person. It won’t always be perfect, and that’s fine, as long as I learn something from it. Proving to myself that I can do something is just as rewarding (if not more) than proving it to anyone else.
What would you say is the skill you most need to improve in your work?
Sleeping... or lack thereof.
What motivates you every day? From what do you draw your inspiration?
I thrive off of other people and their energy. I also start each day with a positive quote (from a book I have) or a video from sites like SoulPancake or Upworthy. It’s a quick and easy way to kick off the say with a bright spot.
What does success look like to you?
When I go to bed each night, I try to ask myself two things: 1. Did I learn something today? 2. Did I contribute to making at least one person’s day better? If the answer to both is yes, I consider that a personal success.
How do you find a work-life balance?
I set “meetings” with myself (or with friends) on my calendar. It’s a mental thing, but I find that an actual invite or time block keeps me accountable to do things outside of work.
What helps you wind down and manage stress?
I write in my journal a lot. Otherwise, A good TV show before bed... and playing with my sister’s mini goldendoodle, Rosie. She’s the BEST snuggle buddy.
Career and/or life advice for other women?
Smile a lot. Be nice to people. Make time for your family and friends. Say thank you to the people who have positively impacted your life… even if you haven’t talked to them since third grade. Absorb as much as you can from the smart people around you, and actually get to know them. There is so much to learn.
In partnership with:
SPANX is a woman-owned company specializing in comfortable and slimming undergarments, with a mission to shape the world by helping women feel great about themselves and their potential. Founder Sara Blakely was named the world’s youngest, self-made female billionaire by Forbes Magazine and one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People. (She's also an FSU alumna. Go Noles!) Shop the Spanx collection today and enjoy free shipping at no minimum cost.
*This is an affiliate partnership. That means when you shop using our links/codes, a portion of your purchase goes right back to us, so we can then roll out some awesome new things for you. Of course, we only promote brands and products we genuinely stand behind and know you Babes will enjoy.