SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / 24 July 2020Soft Skills: Why They are Harder Than You Think and How You Can Acquire Them
Hi! I’m Crystal, co-founder of ProSky.
I’m so excited to share a bit about ProSky and our start. Over the next few weeks, we will showcase fun interviews with our co-founders. We didn’t start in a garage or a dorm room as many famous startup founders did.
Personally, I went through the traditional route of schooling and entered the career phase as well. Since I could remember, I’d always wanted to run my own organization. I love reading and remember telling my parents I would one day open a bookstore larger than Borders. Well, it was a good thing I did not pursue that!
I had great internships and work experiences through college. I did my very first internship at 19 in Singapore (no it’s not in China…guess again!), having just completed two semesters of college. It was for an entertainment company and I was their PR intern from Salt Lake City.
The winter Olympics in SLC had just started (which also gives you a glimpse to how “old” or “young” I am – age…it’s all relative) and the world finally knew where Salt Lake City was. Fly Entertainment was the company and they managed celebrities, plan large events with celebrity buzz for large corporations, and promoted events in Southeast Asia.
I was fortunate to work for an amazing CEO who allowed me to pitch my ideas to clients and to work on and attend every event they had. It wasn’t easy as I worked 7 days a week, 15-hour workdays for FREE. Yet, it was the best experience I ever had and opened exponential doors to my career.
Since that first experience, I dived into every career opportunity I could have while in college to seek the experience and develop the skills I needed. I wanted to do Entertainment PR and knew I needed more skills than just writing to be the best version I could be. I studied design, photography, marketing, and web development as well as of sales and marketing to not just be a PR executive but to push for management positions.
That eventually led me to running the marketing department for Vivint, a recently IPO-company. While working, it was still not enough for me! I wanted the opportunity to truly influence a generation or industry which led me to entrepreneurship! I wanted to build a legacy that my kids can look towards for guidance and inspiration.
I dabbled with ideas, learned a ton about being an entrepreneur through numerous trial and errors and one day, through discussions with my brother and co-founder (btw...check out his amazing story about why he turned down his dream internship!), talked about how I wished my college experience was more enriched, despite all the opportunities given to me already, I wished I could have learned so much more!
Around that same time, I had many friends…all in amazing career tracks, like law, accounting, engineering and found out that many were “disgruntled” with their career paths. Many felt stuck in that track and would have preferred a different career but felt it was too late to switch careers. Others, due to lack of experience in their college days, were not able to get into the careers they desired. Some of those had gone back to school while others were still trying to figure their paths.
Of course, I had friends who did amazingly well in their jobs and were perfectly happy where they were at, but the large numbers of “unhappiness” led me to rethink my college experience. My own husband took a while to figure out which career path he wanted to take. I don’t know anyone else who switched as many majors as he did in college – he seriously had a couple of hundred credits completed!
I was also in a hiring position at my company and found it very difficult to find candidates who were skilled to even take care of basic projects. This was…nay…IS a problem and I want to solve it. ProSky was born in 2013.
We initially came up with the idea of matching companies to students to do remote internships or as we called them – projectships. We did over 60 projects and learned a ton from feedback from our students and companies. That approach, while better than traditional internships, was still not enough.
Students wanted more guidance and skills development while companies felt that students were still not skilled enough to take on bigger tasks. The solution? ProSky TREAD Series. I’ll share more about that next time. Anyways…through lots of twist and turns, ups and downs, we pushed on and were recently accepted into the nation/world’s premier accelerator program – 500 startups.
I did not start-up in a garage or dorm room with lots of engineer friends to bounce ideas off on or hack-away nights with pizza and drinks together. ProSky started on my Ikea desk at home with 2 toddlers, running, laughing, and screaming. It would have been easier to start a company while in college, but the passion for the project and experience I had attained helped propel ProSky to a different level and insight. I hope that you will share this same passion and help us fuel this need for a new level of experiential learning…TOGETHER.