San Diego Recap: Changemaker Chat with Kristin Carroll

At the inaugural San Diego based Changemaker Chat, Kristin shared her journey through the advertising, non-profit, and business worlds and showed passion for succeeding in various cultures along the way.

Below are a few thoughtful takeaways: 

Early goals sometimes come to life years later.

After being told by her Mom in high school that she could not be starving artist, Kristin Carroll sought an alternate creative outlet. Her art teacher and mentor told her that advertising might be the right platform for her to explore that creativity and in college she also found fulfillment working with local non-profits. Her goal after double majoring in advertising and policy studies became to run an advertising firm dedicated to the advancement of social causes.  Though this concept didn’t exist at the time and she admits a circuitous route through the high-growth tech space, it all came full circle. She is now the CEO of Rescue Agency, a behavior change marketing company that works with public health departments and non-profits across the country to make healthy behaviors easier and more appealing.  Like many leading ad agencies, Rescue is on the cutting edge of media, technology and pop culture but unlike any other agency, their campaigns are grounded in public health strategies and social science. Her work across tobacco, obesity, drug and alcohol prevention and the promotion of exercise, fresh foods and after school programs has provided the ideal marriage of creativity and social impact.

Stop, Wait and Listen
When you walk into a brand-new work environment, stop and look around at what the culture is, how things get done, and what the company’s goals are. When Rescue Agency won a huge contract requiring significant company growth within a year, Kristin was brought in to scale the company quickly while still maintaining the highest of creative standards. Understanding the foundation was the key to begin shaping it for the better.

When Scaling 
Kristin recognizes the importance of having the right people at the right time, and she looked closely to see who could manage major growth, and who had a strong long-term vision for the company.  Then, by adding team members with specialized skills sets, an amazing attitude, and an aptitude for problem solving, long-tenured and new employees grew together into one team.

Resilience is Essential For Surviving (and Thriving)
Having gone through a personal tragedy— losing her younger brother at young age—Kristin experienced the necessity of building resiliency. Her parents have long been her role models and years later, she still uses her parents’ strength as a guide her own, using their lessons to be strong, overcome adversity and thrive. There is a path forward in any situation. You just have to find it.

It Is All About The Work
While she admits she probably should have paid closer attention, Kristin didn’t think much about traditional gender roles in the workplace. She spent all her time focusing on solving problems and doing great work reasoning that no one could question if the work spoke for itself.

Walk A Mile In Your Client’s Shoes
Your client may not know exactly what they want as sometimes they just want change or to know what is possible. To provide the best service and help them see a new vision, walk in their shoes to anticipate what obstacles may come up. Then take one step at a time to help them make new ideas that might seem impossible become a reality.

Ask for Help 
Don’t feel like it is weak to ask for help. Women feel like we have to do it all and too often take on the world. We simply can’t. Everyone needs a support system especially when children are thrown into the mix. To achieve personal and business goals, it is necessary to get the help at home, at work, and sometimes places in between.

Focus 
To be successful, one must focus. At work, establishing clear high, medium and low priorities helps Kristin and her team members confirm work plans and priorities. At home, Kristin tries hard to enjoy every moment with her husband and two young girls. And, when it all gets to be too much, she brings out that priority list again to reshuffle and rebalance.