No (Career) Regrets!

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Decisions can you leave you feeling one of two ways: relieved or regretful. If you’re feeling like the second option, what can you do about it? We talked with 4word woman, Dawn Atwood, about how her company, a licensee of Disney products, recovered from the missed merchandise opportunity for the massively-popular movie Frozen and how she has used her role as a 4word mentor to help mentees avoid making regretful decisions in their professional journeys.

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4word: Tell us a little about your role with Disney.

Dawn: I work for a company that is a licensee of Disney products. We manufacture Disney-Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 9.14.03 AMthemed children’s bedding, bath, and beach items. Throughout my 20+ years in a career of sales of consumer goods, I have been fortunate to sell numerous Disney products, from stationery and party goods to toys, and now bedding and bath items. My company produces items featuring characters ranging from Mickey Mouse to the now immensely popular Frozen.

4word: Frozen is arguably one of the most popular Disney movies of all time. Were you and your team expecting the type of success the film achieved?

Dawn: I have to admit that no one expected the success this film has achieved. In fact, as a property, it was largely ignored, and both manufacturers and retailers were caught completely off-guard when its popularity skyrocketed. For almost a year, our company had product prototypes and samples of Frozen items in our showroom, and we generally just by-passed the area with our buyers and moved on to what we knew to be certain blockbusters, like Cars and Spiderman.

4word: Were there any "missed opportunities" in terms of Frozen's journey?

Dawn: Everyone missed the sales revenue that could have been achieved right out of the gate Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 9.10.46 AMfrom the movie launch. We were left scrambling to get products on the retailers shelves, as timing is critical when dealing with “hot” properties. Due to the lack of initial product interest, there has been a pent-up demand for goods. So while we missed the boat at the outset with the movie release, we’ve been able to catch up, and stores will have plenty of goods for this holiday season and beyond. I think we learned a valuable lesson about not overlooking the potential of the quiet, seemingly insignificant character and focusing only on the popular and what’s considered hot. It’s a great life lesson as well.

4word: Have you missed out on any opportunities in your own career?

Dawn: Yes, I’ve missed out on opportunities. As a woman with a career and raising three children, I’ve had to make hard choices between career advancements and being a parent that was accessible and present for her kids. I had a VP of Sales position with a major toy company that I loved. The job required considerable amounts of travel, both domestic and international. At that time, the needs of my high school-aged children required me to reassess my job, and I determined it wasn’t conducive to being the best mom I could be. I stepped out of that role. While I missed that job, God has always been faithful and opened new doors and presented additional opportunities.

4word: As a 4word mentor, how do you help mentees avoid missing professional opportunities when asking the question, "What's next?" for their career?

Dawn: I think it’s very important for the mentees to have a clear understanding of their goals and, if possible, a personal mission statement. I recommend writing a list of short term and long term goals that are measurable. In reviewing those goals, the clarity of their purpose and which opportunities to pursue become more evident and answer the “What’s next?” question.

mentor-img11I appreciate the 4word Mentor Program and the way it’s structured. There are helpful resources for the participants including worksheets, resources, and suggestions for establishing goals and gaining insight into what’s most important in each woman's life. It’s a great process and the resources help mentors better serve their mentees.

4word: What are some words of advice you can offer someone weighing the options for their future?

Dawn: First, pray. Then, wait for an answer. In my life, I have learned that plunging into situations without much forethought usually wreaks havoc on the good plans that were prepared in advance for me. As I’ve gotten older, I understand that prayerfully seeking and waiting reaps greater rewards. My desired opportunities show up in very creative ways that only God can provide.

Below is one of my favorite Disney quotes, which just so happens to perfectly explain the practice of seeking and waiting.

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We all have faced moments in our personal and professional lives where we feel we’ve missed an opportunity. Rather than focus on the seeming failure of your decisions, adjust your focus to the future and discover how the path you decided to take may actually be the road you were meant to travel all along.

What are some missed opportunities you've experienced in your career journey?

Dawn is a sales director for Jay Franco and Sons. She has been a sales manager of consumer products for 20+ years. She has a passion for helping to empower women to fulfill their potential and is a current 4word mentor. She lived in Southeast Michigan for the majority of her life and now happily resides in Colleyville, TX.

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