Welcome to the Forty Over 40 blog. We frequently spotlight one of our honorees and their thoughts on reinvention, mentorship and momentum…plus a peek into what makes them tick.
This Q & A is with Ann Marie Habershaw, leader in business, politics, and champion of women. Ann Marie is innovating her field of work by being the COO of BPI which drives communications strategy for 12% of FORTUNE 100 companies and several of top 20 American non-profits.
1) What was a pivotal momentum of reinvention for you?
The first was when I decided to take the leap into politics, I was a few years into a professional career as an accountant and did a pivot, I found something I loved and was going to follow where it led. It was quite a ride. The second was when I was ready to be head back to the private sector and move out of politics. Each time I had to go back and think about the value that I would bring to an organization regardless of the sector, because I had to make the case that I could succeed in politics and outside of it.
2) Who has been a valuable mentor or sponsor?
Wow, I have been so fortunate to learn from so many amazing people. My hero’s are my parents and grandparents, they were/are amazing, hardworking people who taught me through the way they lived the value of perseverance. You show up, do your best and don’t let the ups and downs distract you from getting the job done. In my life I have been so fortunate to have so many people to learn from and grow with, from bosses, to advisors, to co-workers and friends, truly fortunate.
3) What is your biggest goal right now?
Big picture is to make the most of every single day and not waste a minute on things that do not matter. I want to focus on being the best leader I can for BPI media, making sure we have the talent we need, we engage them daily and deliver results that matter to our clients. Continue to develop as a thought leader in how organizations run and how they manage and lead teams that are diverse in every sense of the word.
4) How did you get your first job? How did you jump to your second job?
First job was an on-campus interview, every job after that was about two things, networking and my reputation as a hard work who would show up every day and get the job done. As I advanced in my career, it still was the network and reputation, but my reputation had grown as a leader.
5) What time do you typically wake up? What do you do every morning?
I wake up anywhere between 5:30 and 6:30. A few mornings a week I go to crossfit, but every morning I walk and feed my dog, read the New York Times, scan the rest of the news, and look at my schedule to see what is happening on a given day. I like to get to the office before the rest of the team, have a bit of time to think through the day. Weekends I sleep in a bit later, 7ish, are longer dog walks and depending on the weather, long walk with friends around town and local farmers market, baseball in the summer, football in the winter, cooking and spending time with those I love. I try and stay on top of the rhythm of each day.
6) How did you feel on your 30th birthday? What were you doing at that time?
I was figuring out how I was going to change things up! I was in the thick of my pivot from moving from accounting to politics! Volunteering on my first campaign!
7) What challenge / achievement are you most proud of?
I’ve been lucky to be a part of so many amazing things. From a personal perspective, I grew up in a relatively small town, and I struck out on my own and created this life that is different from others and different to what might have been expected of me at the time.
Professionally, I’m proud of being able to take a national campaign like the President’s re-election campaign that had 5,000 people in 900 offices around the country and make everything work every day. I didn’t really understand what a big deal that was while I was doing it. It was one I looked back on and said, “Wow, that was a lot to manage and lead in such a short period of time.”
8) What was the last business book you read?
Simon Sinek, Leaders Eat Last and Aligning the Stars by Jay Lorsch and Tom Tierney.
9) What cause do you most want to advance?
Opportunity. No one should be limited in their goals, hopes and dreams because of where they were born and what there financial status is. If you are willing to work hard, geography and resources should not be what limits you.
10) What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Don’t let your first thoughts on a topic be known before you open your mouth. In other words, you’ve got to have a little bit more of a poker face. I was given that advice many years ago, and it still rings true.
The other piece of advice that I was given was, whatever offer you get from an employer, always go back and ask for more.
11) What is your “keep me going” quote?
What do you plan to do with this one life?Not sure who said this, but it is something that has stuck with me.
12) Who on the list of prior Honorees would you like to meet?
Dominique Crenn, Michelle McKenna.
Check out Anne Marie Habershaw’s full profile here!