Words of Wisdom with Lila Wallrich

Lila Wallrich
Creative Director and CEO
Wallrich Creative Communications
email Lila

 What are three things you wish you’d known as you embarked on your career? 

1.  Always be upgrading. When I started as a designer, practically everything in my field was built with paper, adhesive and hand tools. The personal computer changed everything. So did the Internet. So did social media. Staying ahead of trends has helped us survive and grow through some times that were tough on creative types. Sure, experience offers valuable insight, and great ideas transcend media, but there’s always something new to learn and woe be to the professional who succumbs to complacency.

2.  Nurture your network. Whatever your field of expertise, it may be tempting to focus solely on that. But getting out into the community — volunteering, participating and taking the lead on good causes — is good for the soul and good for your career. You, the reader, are presumably in Metro EDGE, so you've got the right idea. Keep it up and expand — most of all, enjoy it. More friends = more fun.

3.  Spelling and grammar count, and you cannot simply rely on spell check. Even if your job isn't specifically about communications as mine is, nobody works in a communications-free bubble. Failing to catch obvious mistakes in your own writing shows a lack of commitment and sophistication that is bound to disappoint the people whose trust you hope to gain. You are never too busy to proofread.

Did you have a mentor? If so, what was the most important piece of advice they gave you?

I've had many mentors over the years. My mom taught me how to weigh the pros and cons and stand up for myself. My husband told me if I wasn’t falling, I wasn't skiing hard enough. My kids challenged me to enjoy family time without checking my email. My leader and colleagues in Vistage (an executive development organization) are coaching me now to become the best CEO I can be.

How did/do you handle work/life balance?

My exercise routine has always been the best prescription for keeping an even keel at work. I run in the morning, and I get myself to Pilates after work as much as possible. It helps me stay focused and positive in the hours in between. If I miss my run, the whole staff can tell.

Do you have any suggestions of books, articles, websites, etc. that might help a young professional?

Become a LinkedIn ninja. In just the past year or two, I've been discovering its full potential for developing business. I suspect that many users just think of it as an acquaintance aggregator and online résumé, as I did initially, but there’s so much more. It offers lots of great profession-specific resources, and yes, it is a powerful tool for getting valuable introductions.

 Is there anything else you’d like to tell the 40 and under business professionals in our region?  

This may sound lame, but I worked well past age 40 in mortal fear of professional inadequacy. I wish I had lightened up, embraced my dorky self and started enjoying the ride sooner. Be yourself and don’t be afraid to be passionate.