Name that Woman Trailblazer: The first sci-fi author to get a MacArthur Fellowship, she authored the Xenogenesis trilogy and The Parable series, among other works. Often considered one of the best science fiction authors of all time, she took a critical look at humankind—writing about possible futures to serve as a warning to her readers. She predicted the rise of U.S. political extremism, climate change, and religious fundamentalism, questioned the norms of gender identity, and told stories that centered on multi-ethnic communities.
WOMAN OF THE WEEK
Meet Olivia Ramirez 👋
I’ve worked in the entertainment industry, the coworking industry, and now tech. In my role as the Senior Staff Writer at Crossbeam, I interview partnership leaders to write thought leadership articles that educate and celebrate the partnership community.
In my personal time, I love writing fiction and screenplays, giving my cat compliments, and relaxing on the couch at the end of the day with my partner and a good horror movie.
TOGETHER WITH SUNSAMA
All You Do is Win, Win, Win — No Matter What
Some weeks, your to-do list is overflowing with tasks .
Other weeks, you may be straight chillen’ 😎 (and probably feeling guilty that you’re not super busy).
Either way, it’s hard to keep sight of your wins and everything you’ve accomplished — we’ve been there, friends.
That’s why we’re so excited to be partnering with Sunsama — an in-browser app that helps you keep focused each day to hit your weekly goals, no matter what gets thrown into your schedule.
It integrates with the tools you’re most likely using already, and gives you daily prompts and reminders to organize your day to help you build lasting habits.
But don’t take our word for it — try it free today and let us know how it worked for you.
P.S. Their Focus Mode is a game changer 👌.
Q: How did you get into your current role/industry?
A: There’s a Smartless podcast episode where Dr. Vivek Murthy, the United States Surgeon General, says that anyone who had looked at his resume years ago would have said he had no real direction. But all of his experiences leading up to the day he received a call inviting him to become Surgeon General contributed to his ability to step into the role. It was comforting to hear that even high profile leaders felt that their career journey was all over the place (to a point). 🙂
In 2019, I met a future colleague at a family party who believed I had the right skills to transition from my marketing role at a coworking space to a content manager role in tech. I got the job and started writing about search engine optimization (SEO) full-time. It was challenging and made me feel like my brain was doing pilates every day, but it helped me to expand my skills tenfold. In this role, I began working closely with the VP of Partnerships to include our partners in content.
When I got furloughed in 2020, I took a breather. Then, months into applying for new jobs, that same VP of Partnerships reached out to me suggesting I apply for a role at Crossbeam. It would mean writing about partnerships full-time, learning a ton, and using my knowledge of marketing, writing, and partnerships to research and write thought leadership articles.
The two years that I’ve worked at Crossbeam, first as Staff Writer and then Senior Staff Writer, have contributed significantly to my professional growth. I have a fantastic manager who has taught me so much about writing, and I work for a company that prioritizes autonomy, creative freedom, and the advancement of each employee’s career.
Five years ago, I would have never imagined myself working in tech. I never had a ten-year plan and always envied the idea, but each of our unique paths can bring us to awesome and unexpected places.
Q: What’s something you do to help boost your productivity?
A: Reading can help get your brain into the right mindset for whatever you’re working on.
For example: To get excited about tech, read Play Bigger. To get excited about writing your novel, read Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. To get excited about your job in sales (or about negotiating your raise), read Never Split the Difference.
There is at least one book out there to get you excited about your exact line of work.
Q: How do you find work-life balance?
A: I think much of getting work-life balance right requires getting your work done during normal work hours (whatever that means to you and your role), which requires learning how you focus best.
Perfecting my work-life balance is still a work in progress for me, but these are a few ideas I’d suggest for anyone to try out and see if it sticks:
– If you work from home and feel distracted by your roommate or partner taking calls, turn on a white noise machine or use noise cancelling headphones.
– If you feel distracted by the quiet but also distracted by songs with vocals, try listening to very soft music OR very busy music (I love the White Lotus theme song, for example).
– A lot of times, projects that seem urgent actually aren’t. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and/or it’s time to take a break, go for a walk to a cafe, spend some time chatting with a colleague, or go for that mid-day or evening run. The project will be there when you get back, and you’ll be in a better mindset to tackle it.
– Use OneTab, the Pomodoro Timer, and/or a project management tool to organize your tasks (if you don’t already use one at work). Block your calendar when you need time for deep focus AND for personal time. If you know you need 15 minutes between calls to get ready for the next one, block the time. If you know you need a two hour break to do your best work in the afternoon (and your manager is cool with it), block the time.
– Figure out what times in the day you work best on deep-focus tasks versus meetings versus smaller to-dos. Speak with your manager about the possibility of organizing your day around when you work best on specific task types, and/or start grouping your meetings together so they don’t interrupt your other work.
– Prioritize your vacation time. If you’re unable to take a string of days off right now, think about how you can you set yourself up in your current role to have the ability to do so in the future. Can you help train someone to back you up on your tasks? Can you answer your company culture survey and suggest more flexibility around time off? Can you have a conversation with your manager about what you can do right now to prepare for a longer vacation down the line?
Q: What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve received so far?
A: One of my favorites: My current manager told me to screenshot all of my accomplishments and any praise from Slack or LinkedIn, and put the screenshots in a folder.
It’s super helpful to refer back to that folder when it’s time for writing my annual review, but it’s also a great way to remind myself of what I’ve accomplished during the year.
Q: What’s your favorite software or app that helps with your workflow?
A: There isn’t any sound isolation in my apartment, so the white noise machine is a game changer when my partner and I both have calls or when I need to focus! You can also download a white noise app on your phone.
I also really like Notion for keeping track of my individual tasks. If you’re using it for the first time, there’s a bunch of setup you’ll need to do and there are resources online to help you. I’ve really only scratched the surface with Notion.
Q: What’s a book or podcast you’d recommend to a colleague?
A: Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets.
It’s about creating a new category in tech (like how the founders of Uber disliked hailing taxis in the rain, which led them to develop a ride-hailing service that people didn’t know they wanted at the time. Now, Uber is probably the ride-hailing app you think of first.)
Even if you’re not in tech, it’s inspiring to read stories of how some of the most successful companies (in tech and otherwise) came to be.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time outside of work?
A: I love writing fiction and screenplays. I have a few works in progress right now! It’s hard to find the time and mental space after writing all day for work, but a lot of times when I have a long weekend (or an especially quiet one) I get back into the swing of working on my writing projects.
I’m also always planning my next travel adventure. This past summer I took my first solo trip to Vienna. I had visited once before, and this time around I really enjoyed seeing the city at a slower pace while working on one of my writing projects. My partner and I also spent a month working remotely in Amsterdam in October.
TOGETHER WITH THE GOOD TRADE
Start your workday with peace
The Daily Good is a 30-second newsletter delivered each weekday morning where you can find soothing playlists, sustainable recipes, inspiring articles, and more.
Each edition of The Daily Good feels like you’re hearing from a sister or a trusted friend—and includes self-care tips, good news, sustainable shopping recs, and nourishing recipes to add to your meal plan.
We love how peaceful each edition feels, this newsletter makes the perfect mindful coffee companion while you start your workday!
BLESSINGS IN LESSONS
Be confident in your abilities
I had just filled out my first annual review, and my manager and our Head of People were reading what I had written and how I had scored myself. My manager said, “I already see scores on here that are way off.”
I was terrified and thought I had scored myself too high in some areas, but my manager went on to say how women often score themselves too low — myself included.
Since then, I’ve learned to take better ownership of my accomplishments and feel more confident in my ability.
Despite the fact that I’m continuously learning and growing, I like to ask myself what I have taught others and what they can learn from me. This helps me to ground myself and think about what I have accomplished and what I can offer.
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NEW & NOTEWORTHY
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NOMINATE TO BE FEATURED
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Give them some much deserved kudos and shout them out to our growing TA community.