Interview With the Author Karen Mangia

Karen Mangia is Vice President of Customer and Market Insights at Salesforce. Dedicated to employee success across all organizations, she serves on the company’s Work from Home Taskforce and on the Racial Equality and Justice Taskforce. A prolific writer and keynote speaker, she is the author of Success With Less (2016) and Listen Up!, which will be released from Wiley in October 2020, less than three months after her second book, Working from Home, hits the shelves. She is a TEDx speaker, a trained chef and a recipient of multiple awards, including 40 under 40 and the Distinguished Alumni Award from her alma mater, Ball State University. Her writing regularly appears on Thrive Global, ZDNet and various other national media outlets.

Hello author Karen, welcome to BrandEducation! What’s the last book you read?

Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It by Ethan Kross. The book is a fascinating playbook to transform the voice of our inner critic to our inner coach.

What’s the book that changed your life?

Passages by Gail Sheehy.  The book helped me to realize that life is a serious of predictable passages, and we are all shockingly normal, part of a shared human experience.  I keep the book in my bedside table and read the chapter of the “passage” I’m currently living each month.

What makes you laugh the most?

Moments with Mason, my 15-month-old nephew.  He is curious and creative, with a smile that stretches from ear to ear and a belly laugh that lights up his entire face…and mine.  He teaches me how to play, which is easy to lose sight of as adults.

If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?

Keep planting seeds and nurturing them.  In time, the seeds that are meant to flourish and to grow will do so effortlessly.  Even if you’re not around to experience 

What inspired you to start writing?

My beloved grandparents hosted their grandchildren for a week every summer without our parents.  And then our parents would join us for the final weekend.  I spent the week writing a play for my cousins.  I was the playwright, casting director, rehearsal director, backstage coordinator, costume designer, set designer, and occasional actress.  We didn’t win a lot of Academy Awards, but we did garner a lot of applause.  And I discovered my love of writing.      

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

My favorite part of being a content creator is regularly hearing success stories from readers about how a message inspired them to choose differently, to choose to live well and to work well.  I’m fortunate to hear from inspired readers daily who are redefining success on their own terms.

What are your guilty pleasures?

Alarm clock free mornings, reading a book from cover to cover in a single sitting, and a big bowl of pasta.

Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

New Zealand is at the top of my list.  The natural beauty is legendary and they embrace an easier way of living.

Do you have any advice that you can offer to those just starting in your industry or craft?

Success comes from the inside out.  There is no parent, partner, boss, or buddy who can give you on the outside what’s lacking on the inside.  The way you treat yourself is the way others will treat you.  The way you treat your calendar is the way others will treat your calendar.  Your job will take what you are willing to give.  The question is: what price are you willing to pay and is the outcome you envision worth what it will cost you to achieve?

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Traveling.  Cooking.  Hosting people.  Singing.  Playing the Piano.  Tap Dancing.  Reading.  Time with family and friends.

State a random fact about yourself that would surprise our readers.

I’m a professionally trained chef.

What’s the single most important reason for your success?

Major medical.  In my early 30’s, I endured three years of medical misdiagnosis.  Despite diet and exercise, I gained weight, lost color in my skin, my eyes changed color, and my energy drained away.  Through the confusion, I kept working, doing, being, and achieving—sacrificing my health, my relationships, and myself.  A last-ditch trip to an unorthodox doctor helped me to face that crossroads in my life, to identify the childhood reason for my poor health, and to turn my life around.  Major medical was the catalyst for me to redefine success on my terms and to empower others to do the same.  Along the way, I discovered Success With Less.  “Less” is about choosing the things that really matter and removing the obligations that don’t.

What’s the key lesson that you want everyone to take away from your work?

Success is not a destination or a location.  Success is not a position or pay.  Success is freedom.  The freedom to choose the work model that makes the most sense.  The freedom to choose your own values.  And the pathway to bring your values to life.  Success is available to anyone, anywhere, any time.

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