Four Guiding Principles to Build A Fulfilling Career: Ashley Geo of Impossible Foods
We learned about the great work taking place at Impossible Foods in July, when we spoke to their Head of Content, Ashley Geo. In describing her work at Impossible Foods, Geo covered many key challenges young people face when seeking meaningful work.
For those frustrated in their current jobs, and trying to find a more fulfilling and challenging role, Geo offers some important advice: People matter. Within the same company or organization, a different boss or team can transform your experience. As Geo reflected on the early stages of her career, she identified four principles central to making the most out of every experience:
First up, a good boss matters:
“I think a lot of people’s gripes with nonprofits that don’t have good overhead is that they eventually lose good talent because good talent often wants to grown, and often is ambitious in a lot of different ways.
My best mentor and current boss has given me opportunity after opportunity to grow and take on more responsibility and ownership. My previous boss wasn’t like that. I felt pigeonholed in a role that was at some points too broad for me to actually master without any mentorship, and at other points felt so specific and irrelevant to what was actually happening at the company,” Geo said.
You can care about your work and unapologetically earn a solid salary:
“I don’t know if people feel shame for wanting a good salary, but having that conversation with your boss and HR is obviously not easy, especially when you’re working at a mission-driven startup, where every dollar counts, and should be going towards the mission. You’re like, should I even be asking for more money? Shouldn’t this go towards our business? I needed to reconcile working at a mission-driven startup and accept that I have certain needs that involve me paying rent and having a certain quality of life,” Geo said.
2-year, 5-year, whatever-year plans-- it’s okay if you don’t have one. Look for this instead:
"For better or for worse, I’ve never been the person who can answer where I’ll be in five or ten years. But where I’ve landed, I know I’m growing and doing things I love, and that’s good enough for me right now.
Any opportunity to learn is a good opportunity. I know if I work on a mission I care about, in a role I’m learning in and growing in, I can do no wrong. Some of my skills don’t look explicitly transferable on a resume, I feel like I’m building toward something, even if I don’t know what that something is,” Geo said.
And finally, there’s no substitute for an open mind. If you pay attention, you’ll learn from every experience that comes your way.
“Coming out of [Stanford University], I and many of my peers had this expectation that we’d apply everything we’d learned and cared about to our first job. The reality is, that didn’t happen to most people. I was very lucky to land at a company that matched my interests.
But looking back, even a random-ass internship I did one summer— I was literally doing demos of kombucha at a grocery store— I couldn’t imagine I was learning any skills, but I came out of that with the best sustained eye contact I could hope for, and I learned how to be a good saleswoman. I didn’t expect to learn from that— I was just making money. Do the best you can with the opportunities you’re given and good things will happen,” Geo said.
To learn more about Impossible Foods, the Impossible Burger -- or better yet, to join the movement -- visit impossiblefoods.com.