Our second genYOU story comes from one of our amazing Co-Founders, Lisa Renneisen. Before you tuck into her genYOU story, let’s just say her career journey has been anything but linear (good thing she likes rollercoasters)!
Name: Lisa Renneisen
Current Role: Co-Founder of generationYOU and Bright Conferences
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your career journey?
I don’t think I was ever one of those people who just knew what they wanted to do. But this itself has probably been my biggest blessing, because instead of climbing a set ladder, my career always has (and I believe always will be) a journey and adventure.
Back to the beginning …
If you wanted to find the beginning of my journey – like most, it starts at Uni. I went to UniSA in Adelaide and did a Bachelor of Business, majoring in marketing and minoring in HR.
I had been quite involved in the student association AIESEC at Uni and decided that when I graduated, doing an internship overseas was an awesome idea. I’d like to say that the decision was based in many highbrow morals about wanting to experience the world … I think if I was honest with myself, I was terrified at having to find a job without much experience, and this would neatly wrap that all up and sort it out for me.
My first job …
The plan worked and soon enough I found myself landing on the tiny Mediterranean Island known as Malta, for what was meant to be a year-long experience. After a 3-month stint doing a marketing internship at a bank (boring), I hit the jackpot. With the help of some people I still call friends today, I managed to score a 12-month HR internship working with a international start-up and business incubator, iWorld Group, that was based in Malta. This was it – my opportunity to get into the exact area I wanted to be working in.
I was going great guns at my job, but the CEO had clocked me and challenged me to consider looking beyond HR. Three months into my dream role and I was now being challenged to get into a product management role – and I wasn’t event quite sure what that was! Turns out I loved it and this was just the beginning of some amazing doors opening for me. Through my time at iWorld Group I got to take my first work trip (to NYC) and do an incredible FIFO experience (a few weeks in a remote German town followed by a week-ish in Malta).
However, time passed and the small Mediterranean island eventually got a little too small for me and I decided it was time for the big smoke. Off to London I went – things had been going so well for me in the small pond – why wouldn’t it be even more amazing in London?
Lost in the big smoke …
Unfortunately – whilst I thought, big city would equal lots of jobs. What I hadn’t considered was it also meant lots of competition. Getting a job was tough and whilst I was desperate to keep building up my product and project management experience and continue the journey I started in Malta, unfortunately, for the first couple of years, that did not quite work out. I fell back on my marketing degree … at least it paid the bills.
Eventually, Lady Luck looked down on me, and a colleague from my time in Malta connected me with a start-up in London who were on the lookout for someone with my skillset. Although it took some time until they could hire me (waiting for funding is a pain) … I finally found myself back in the start-up scene I loved. This was also the first time I started to fully understand the power of personal brand – my reputation had been 90% responsible for helping to land my new role.
I loved my job and things were going great, however, my one year overseas had by now reached the 7-year mark and the grey skies of London were taking their toll. It was time to come back to Australia – I had Brisbane in my sights.
Finally back in Australia … 7 years later
Back in Australia, I again found myself falling back on my marketing skills. I landed the role of Marketing Manager at Vision6, and as it was a brand new role, I found myself starting to realise that it wasn’t the marketing I didn’t like when I was back in London … it was the systems and processes that existed and I had to conform to that which drove me nuts. I was starting to understand that it was the set up and creation phase that I really loved.
And that is fundamentally the catalyst that lead me to where I am today.
My journey as a co-founder
I joined Nadine working part time at the beginning of 2011 (I was initially planning on working part time and studying full time) but then this magical thing happened. We started coming up with all these awesome ideas of things we could do … and it turns out that we complement each other exceptionally well at work.
By no means have the last 6 years been a smooth ride … actually the correct term would be a rollercoaster – extreme highs and lows (it just so happens though that I love rollercoasters).
But the one thing I can now be certain of is every step on my journey has played a crucial role in making me who I am today. Running our own business means I need all my HR skills, and marketing and product development and start up experience and more. But bringing together everything I love, every single day, makes bouncing out of bed every morning a simple task.
A quick qualifier … when I read this back, it sounds like a fundamentally perfect journey … and I don’t for one moment want to not be grateful for all that has happened to me. But I do want to point out, that there we’re definitely some hairy moments along the way including;
> The legal dispute at one company that lead to everyone’s salaries being frozen over xmas #broke
> The crappy sales job I had in London that barely paid minimum wage #brokeagain
> The time I was told the tech team wouldn’t listen to me because I’m a girl #WTF
> A couple of awful managers that made me want to chuck in the towel and quit #gladididnt
These things happened. And they are stories for another time … don’t be put off though by the bumps you will inevitably face in your career, cliché as they sound, they will only make you stronger.
Now that you have reflected on your journey, what’s your one piece of advice you would give to our young(er) audience?
It doesn’t matter what you end up doing with your career – but whatever you end up doing, throw yourself in 120%.
Don’t just do what is expected of you – go all in. Be impressive. Be outstanding.
Even if you make mistakes in the process, it doesn’t matter. Your effort will be noticed and you never know who is watching, what doors it could open or where it might lead.
Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
I think on this front I am a little fickle. I don’t have one person I look to and think – wow – you are simply amazing.
Different people inspire me for different reasons at different points in my life. A boss, a friend, a colleague or a stranger – I think if we pay attention there really is inspiration all around us #sooooocliche #sorry
If you want to talk celebrity crush of the moment though, I must say Simon Sinek really has my attention. His view of the world is very in line with my own (love it when people agree with me) … yet his talks are all so concise and eloquent. It’s hard not to be a bit impressed with him.
If you aren’t too familiar with Simon Sinek – Check out his Facebook page here.