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The Benefit of Hindsight

Those dreaded clichés...

We’ve all been told hindsight is 20/20…and likely we’ve all felt the effects of not having the right answer or decision until several years later. (Beta or VHS?) Sometimes, we didn’t even realize there was a problem until years later. (SPF 0 tanning oil with a squeeze of lemon in our hair…)

Beyond magical powers, is there any way to know for certain how your choices made today will play out in the long run?

Listen to yourself

Alonda Williams, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer with the YMCA of Greater Seattle, believes the most important person we should each listen to is ourselves. But she didn’t know this, until recently. She shared her story publicly for the first time at Smart Savvy’s event “If I knew then, what I know now” in Seattle this past spring.

Alonda’s resume is beyond impressive: MBA, children’s book author, Board memberships, multiple honours and awards, and a career history which includes driving e-commerce business development for BMG Entertainment, leading national CRM and loyalty for Verizon Wireless, and being recruited by Microsoft to lead global web strategy for Microsoft Office.

But “impressive” came to mean less for Alonda when she had to make a decision about a big job opportunity. The title, the salary, the perks, the offer that many of us think we are frantically working towards during the earlier years of our careers. That opportunity that affirms “you are worthy and you’ve made it big!” The job that will take you away from home more often, require calls at all hours, and that will creep into family vacations and holiday celebrations.

“Things can look great on the outside, but that doesn’t mean it’s good on the inside.” - Alonda Williams

She walked. Somehow, the niggling voice inside her head got louder and made itself heard. The joy of living the life she truly wanted had been lost in the pace of the executive-level marketing world. Sounds like the climatic scene from a movie—but in real life, how did she make the decision?

“The most important person to listen to is yourself—if you truly stop and listen, you’ll know the right thing, even if you’re not sure at the time. When you look back later, and you’ve kept your values and actions aligned, you’ll feel great,” says Alonda, who has kept her passion for marketing and now shares her talents with the not-for-profit sector. “Move past worrying about what other people will say or think, and just listen to yourself.”

Be you. Every day.

At the spring “If I knew then, what I know now” event, several of our speakers echoed similar sentiments to Alonda. Although very different stories were shared, some of the same themes emerged that we can all learn from, regardless of where we’re at in our own careers.

  1. Find work you love – follow your passions.
  2. Be present in the moment (all the moments) – enjoy your journey.
  3. Set your boundaries – know your priorities for all aspects of your life.
  4. Have fun and keep learning – stay curious.
  5. Know yourself, trust yourself and take the leap.


Want to learn from the hindsights of more industry leaders? Join us on September 26th our Vancouver edition of "If I Knew Then, What I Know Now," A hand-picked group of seasoned leaders will take the stage to share their top career “hindsights” and leadership lessons – from their biggest regrets and greatest triumphs to courageous decisions and pivotal opportunities.

Join us for an evening of rapid-fire insights from industry pros who’ll share their stories and may very well alter the course of your own leadership journey. Early-bird registration available!


Smart, Savvy + Associates are experts in helping marketing and communications leaders find people and develop teams that thrive and deliver inspiring results. As a people performance company, we specialize in finding marketing and communications talent in the Pacific North West. We also offer training programs for leaders and teams as well as options to become a certified coach or get coached.


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