Adaptation And Saying 'Yes' - How Michelle Kwok Found Her Opportunities
At the time, Michelle Kwok was a pre-med student aiming for Harvard Medical school, she had planned that one thing her whole life. But then a series of events and an ambitious mentality changed her life for the better.
At first, it was just to get alcohol. When she turned 19 (the legal drinking age in Canada) she didn't have much money, and not many parents would pay for their children to drink, so Michelle thought to herself "How can I do something that benefits my friend group, and get some experience?"
While she was searching for something, she noticed that the company "Hey Y'all Hard Iced Tea" was looking for ambassadors. In the past, Michelle created travel videos for fun. She quickly created a 'portfolio' out of these videos and proposed her idea to the company.
She didn't even know much at all about the marketing or content creation field, but she told them "I can create content for you, take a look at my portfolio- I am a digital marketing manager" and it worked! They allowed her to do a trial run, and she created an elaborately successful event and Hey Ya'll loved it, Hey made it a nationwide campaign. After a few more successful campaigns, they hired her.
Michelle started picking up more jobs with other companies by showing her work and messaging other companies to see if they would like her services. These entities included other marketing agencies, Impact Mentality, Bumble, and other media and marketing companies.
Then at Next 36, an entrepreneurship initiative, Michelle stumbled into rooming with someone she wasn't supposed to, they started discussing female founders and impactful women in society. They asked themselves the question, "How can they meet these women?" Because they wouldn't say yes to random college students.
So, by saying 'yes' to a curiosity, within 48 hours, they created FLIK, originally a media company and reached out via cold emails, made a website, incorporated their business, and asked these women if they could interview them. This wasn't even apart of the reason Michelle came to Next 36, but it blossomed into something that she found promise in, so she took it and ran with it! Her efforts lead to many people saying yes to an interview, including Ariana Huffington!
Oddly enough, this was when they were just starting, they were already getting massive guests before even having a single interview out! This lead to dozens of interviews and events, including covering with Michelle Obama talk at Elevate.
Through this journey, Michelle saw a gap and knew how to take immediate action. Many people she would talk with or interview said they wished that they had female mentors along the way. Students said they were always looking for female leaders to mentor them, and for work, so they can really learn and find solid industry experience. She jumped in.
This was when they pivoted into the apprenticeship portal.
Michelle says it's all about framing. It was using what you got and connecting the dots. Making previous experiences... though it might not make sense at first... connect with the newest opportunity being presented to you so that the dots do make sense.
And for Michelle, it was hard to plan what came next, so she came to the conclusion to not plan a thing.
"You can't plan anything, I'm so that person who plans everything! When I was 6 years old I thought I was going to go to Harvard medical school. That is the plan. That obviously changed a lot along the way and every single time I really really tried to plan my life it didn't end up working out and that's ok, that's not a bad thing and honestly, I'm much happier then I have ever been in my entire life"
Throughout this story and spontaneity, Michell understood she needed to be a quick learner. So she was always researching, reading, watching, and consuming.
She recommends to always say 'yes' to the opportunity, to a degree, of course! And that factor has been a great way for her to learn and build. During her building years, her mentality was "You need something? I can do that, and I will make myself so valuable because I can do literally anything and you can trust me with it."
Even when it came to travel, it was about saying yes. Michelle and her team would couch hop, sleep on floors, whatever it took, and whatever would make it work.