Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gals We Admire: Amy Miranda

If there's anyone who can't stand the politics of business, it's Amy Miranda, executive producer and founder of lunch, a creative production network that offers every service imaginable (animation, illustration/fine art, motion design, sound design/composition, technical consulting, hosting, media strategy, you name it, they do it). "They [politics] get in the way of getting real work done, I believe in being honest and approaching things in a direct way," says the no-holds-barred businesswoman.

Name: Amy Miranda
Profession: Executive Producer / President of lunch 
Twitter handle: @amymiranda

Describe your typical work day, from start to finish.
Every work day is different but the common thread is working with friends. That’s really what I always wanted. I love seeing different people, being on my own, making things and working with my friends.  I’ve made a point of surrounding myself with people who want the same things out of life and business that I do. That includes my clients, my friends, my colleagues. I don’t make time for people who aren’t on the same page. It’s just not a part of how I operate. I’m the kind of person who if I’m not 100% interested in something, I know there’s probably someone who is. So, I really try to focus on the things I really feel I can make a difference on. I’m usually booked back to back, but I make a big point of having balance. It’s critical to keeping focused and inspired. 

When you were a kid, what did you want to grow up to be?
I wanted to make things. I always did. I was a kid who was constantly doing things. Putting on shows, I used to come downstairs from the age of 3.5 or so and play “business” at the living room coffee table. I think that consisted of a Fisher Price phone, some paper and markers. I am not sure where I got it from, but it’s similar to what I do now. I think I went from being an Egyptologist and marine biologist to becoming a director. I realized if I was a director I could basically learn everything in some way and then I realized that it was producers who really had the capacity to make things happen. Once I realized that, I never looked back. Well I maybe did once, but for the most part I just kept pushing forward. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I am so incredibly grateful to be surrounded by incredible people. Artists, musicians, developers, makers. That’s an inspiring place to be. I always wanted to be surrounded by the kind of creative people who’d really committed their lives to their work – that’s the only way I know how to do things. I pursue things pretty relentlessly and I couldn’t imagine at this point in my career being around people who didn’t feel the same way. I like that the most, being a part of an incredibly engaged, smart group of people. Because I couldn’t do any of the things I do without the amazing network around me at Lunch. From the lunch network, to our clients. I enjoy the people most. They are the ones who trust me to do the best for them. I have never in my life or career felt such incredible support and love. That’s taken 15 years but it is imperative to loving the work and being motivated to work the way I do. People always ask me when I sleep. I’m not awake because I don’t enjoy it. I love it. Every moment.

What do you find to be the biggest challenge in your profession?
Politics.  I’m not a fan of them, they unfortunately exist in most professions, but I can’t stand them. They get in the way of getting real work done, I believe in being honest and approaching things in a direct way. Some people like that, some people don’t. I spent a long time avoiding them at some of the companies I’ve worked for in the past, and I’m happy to say Lunch doesn’t have any politics. We operate as a collective, and we respect each other’s abilities. If someone isn’t happy, or feels there’s something they need to say, we say it. It doesn’t get in the way of what we do, and I think that is part of the reason we’ve been so efficient. We love what we do, and we don’t let bullshit get in the way of that. I think when you’re so focused on the work, there’s no time for bullshit. I’m hopeful that eventually the politics of business will become a thing of the past and that posturing and being indirect will fall away. It would be nice to see ethics win. 

Do you believe you had a "calling" for your profession?
Yes, I absolutely think I had a calling. I’ve been up, I’ve been down, I’ve been up again and honestly If I didn’t believe it was my calling I’d have packed it in the last time I fell down. I think that’s the difference between a job and a career. I’ve always had a career. I am passionate about the things I believe in, and that carries through into my work and into Lunch as a collective. I’ve been laid off, I’ve been fired, I’ve quit, I’ve consulted, I’ve had a very exciting, and sometimes volatile career. I always say that my clients get me, and the network gets me and that’s enough for me. I’ve never had a lot of time for a lack of momentum. I think that means it’s a calling. 

What are the three most important pieces of career advice you would give to other Canadian Career Gals?
Be yourself. I think sometimes in business women get pushed off course by the people around them. I do something that I think really helps me keep a good balance of remembering the things that are important. I have a picture of myself at about 5 on my dresser. It’s been there for years, and I put it there to remind myself to think about the way I’d have done things, behaved and treated people at that age. I was a kid who thought about other people. So I carry that through in the business I do. And I think most of my clients and colleagues would agree that out of anyone they know, I’m myself. It took a long time, but what you see is what you get. I’m the same version with everyone. I wish someone would, have encouraged that to me in the beginning, it’s a little thing but it helps.

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and communicate what you think is right. Keep positive in your communications. I think many women in business get caught up in not being opinionated because it have a negative impact on their reputation in business, the dreaded “bitch”. I think quite honestly a fair number of people think I’m a bitch. I got over that a long time ago.  I say what I think, I’m direct and I’m tactful, but it’s rooted in contributing. I think that comes with experience but it can start with just being engaged and contribute to discussions. Great suggestions and changes in business process and efficiency can come from anyone and everywhere. So, I think communication and expression for women in business is critical. 

Find balance and keep it. We don’t have to do everything or be everything. I always say to my teams that we’re not saving lives. We can care and be engaged without losing sleep. It took me a long time to find the balance but if you love what you do, you have to remember it’s fun.  If it’s not fun consistently think about how you’d ideally like to spend your day, and think about how you can make that happen.


Post a Comment