My life has two tales (or tails, if you will).
Last week I was in Hershey, PA at the Pet Boarding and Daycare Expo. I was surrounded by friends and colleagues from my beloved pet industry – some people that I have known for 20 years or more. They know me as Jamie-the-Dog-Trainer, or maybe even Jamie-the-Person-Who-Started- a-Company-Called-FetchFind-and-I’m- Not-Sure-What-She-Does-But-I-Think-It-Might-be-Kind-of-Cool. I have so much history with these people that I want to tell them all about my other life, which blends my love of pets and people with my love of entrepreneurship and technology. But how do I even get started with that conversation (especially when it’s so much fun to just talk about dogs)?
Likewise, when I’m with my technology colleagues, I would love for them to understand that I’m not just a dog trainer who started a tech business, but that I’m also a serious entrepreneur who happens to be working in a dynamic and growing industry.
That brings me to Thursday night…
I attended the Midwest Women in Tech Awards dinner, where I was surrounded by some of the most successful and innovative minds in entrepreneurship, technology, and business leadership. The evening was filled with dignitaries such Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (who gave the opening remarks and displayed some truly world-class shushing powers) and J.B. Pritzker, who gave the keynote address.
And the thing is, I won a technology award!
(See above; WTF stands for Women Tech Founders, which is possibly the most satisfying acronym ever.)
But the entire time I was in that room full of tech and biz stars, I was aware that none of them had any idea that a mere 10 hours before I was talking dogs with my pet industry peeps in Hershey, PA.
How do I represent both sides of my career and passion? Or should I just resign myself to talking pets with my pet tribe and tech with my tech tribe? Sometimes I feel that I’m denying 50% of my essential self to half of my network, all the time. Which is hard, because I really do like to share pretty much everything with everybody.
But you know what – maybe that’s okay. I’ve dedicated my life to people and animals, and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to deploy that passion, experience, and education in building FetchFind. FetchFind gives me and my Amazing Team a platform to meaningfully scale our life’s work and being recognized for that work last night really did bring those two worlds together in a way that felt exactly right.
How many of us change careers or try to discover who we really are, only to end up feeling that there’s no way to effectively reach disparate audiences or even just the people from different sides of our life? I’d love to hear from you if you’ve struggled with that dilemma in the past, or are wrestling with it right now – we might be able to help you bridge that gap.
One of the best quotes from last night was “a good leader is a person who opens the door but holds out a hand to help the person behind her”. So here’s my hand – let’s go through that door together.