Name: Dan Runcie
Hometown: Hartford, CT
Current Title: Founder of Trapital
Prior Professional Experience: Freelance writer, EducationSuperHighway, Travelers Insurance
Education: BS in Marketing/Finance from Quinnipiac University, MBA from University of Michigan, Ross School of Business;
What is the most important professional lesson you've learned to date?
Always believe in myself! At times in my career, I’ve doubted my goals and ambitions. Past managers and colleagues have not always been the most supportive. As a result, I now try to surround myself with people I trust--folks who will give straight up feedback, but truly believe in my potential. These are the best people to stay close to.
What has been your biggest professional failure to date and what have you learned from that experience?
I was skipped over for two big promotions. I interviewed for both jobs and really wanted them in the moment. The disappointment made me reflect on my skills and value. But in the long run, I’m glad I didn’t get either role. The first missed promotion led me to pursue business school. The second one gave me the time and flexibility to take Trapital (my newsletter on hip-hop business + strategy) to the next level.
What issues have you dealt with being a woman/person of color in corporate America and how have you overcome these challenges?
I experience microaggression on a fairly regular basis. A lot of them are directed towards me, but I also hear them about other people. The way folks talk about other minority colleagues or certain celebrities can be taxing. And to be honest, it can be even worse living in “liberal” areas. A lot of people believe they can’t commit microaggressions because of their politics. So this becomes an additional hurdle to jump over. In an ideal world, I would directly respond to each instance, but I pick and choose my moments. Looking back, I wish I called them out more often though.
What resources, professional or personal, have you leveraged to ensure your career is progressing?
I recently switched careers. For Trapital, I had to become a stronger writer, improve on content strategy, and market my brand effectively. I took a few Udemy courses to improve my writing. I also asked my readers for feedback, which helps me improve. I have also attended a few content strategy courses at General Assembly.
In addition to these resources, I also participate in a Toastmasters group. I originally joined to improve my communication skills. In my last job I managed client relationships with senior executives across the country. My presence and speaking skills were critical. I still do Toastmasters because I plan to do more podcasting and video with Trapital. I know there are panel and speaking opportunities down the road, so this will be an important skill to keep sharp as I continue.
Do you have mentor? If so, how did you select this person or people?
Yes, I have a few. Most of them happened organically. I’ve had a few “assigned mentors” in the past, but those rarely lasted long. I naturally build a relationship with someone, then the mentorship happens over time. I do my best to maintain these relationships over time, just like any other important relationship.
What advice would you give a young adult who is about to start their first job post college?
Don’t be afraid to take a job that you would love and bypass the job that makes sense on paper. A lot of us got started in Corporate America where we had to earn our stripes. Entry-level jobs are different today. There’s a lot to learn and numerous opportunities out there. Post-college is a time to explore and figure out what you like and don’t like. Don’t lose sight of that!