An entrepreneur, downtown advocate and lifelong learner, Erin McGlaughlin first entered my life as a presenter at a women’s event over five years ago. There, she spoke about her discovery of design thinking; and when she shared her approach to style while simultaneously introducing the audience to a capsule wardrobe, I knew she was someone I needed to get to know.
We all have those people who we are drawn to – maybe it’s their energy or positive spirit. In Erin’s case, those attributes coupled with her effortless way of teaching, leading and collaborating has had a lasting impact on me. As has her generosity. If you have a great idea and want to vet it in a unique and powerful way, or if you have a strong desire to learn a new way of thinking, I highly recommend connecting with her.
“Let go and let God.”
Why do these words speak to you?
About 15 years ago, my mom gave me the book “Row Row Row Your Boat” by Stephen Lane Taylor and it really changed my life. It shares the concept of Divine Flow which you can think of as the easiest path to your best self and best life. If you apply effort and hard work in the direction of that Flow, you get there faster. But occasionally we are applying effort and hard work trying to force something to happen that isn’t in our best interests (a relationship, a job, etc). As a 1 on the Enneagram (which is the “The Reformer” or a euphemistic way of saying perfectionist), I grew up connecting hard work and determination with achievement. If you really want something, you just apply more effort to that goal. But this nuance that sometimes the illusion of control is taking you in the wrong direction really resonated with me. Whenever I am struggling with anything, I can pretty quickly identify this at play and then I work to release the effort, take a step back, and listen to my intuition. It has been one of the core principles of my life for both success and joy.
What were your earliest childhood dreams?
It’s funny that I absolutely don’t remember having any specific childhood dreams and I have never really had many specific dreams in that sense. I’ve made decisions largely based on what I thought would make me happy and would allow me to learn something new.
Share with us a bit of wisdom gained in this chapter of entrepreneurship.
I’m learning every single day as an entrepreneur which is one of the great appeals of this work for me. The latest learning for me is really to trust my intuition more. It seems obvious but I think when you are starting a business – especially one where you are selling yourself as the product – you can feel so over your head in many ways at the beginning that it’s challenging to even hear your inner voice. You start off taking whatever work is offered to make the business a success. But over time, you gain confidence in better understanding both the kind of work that you really want to do and the kind of work that most positively impacts a customer or client and that intersection becomes the focus of your work.
When are you the most confident?
I am most confident when I’m with my husband and family. I don’t think you can overvalue the power of a strong and supportive close circle to allow you to fully be yourself.
For women who are thinking about making a leap into an unknown (parenthood, entrepreneurship, a new career field, etc.), what advice would you give them?
Trust your gut! No one knows you and why you are undertaking this journey as much as you do. Enjoy the process as much as you can – it’s really one of the most exciting journeys you will probably ever take.
Erin McGlaughlin founded Design Quake (link) to help businesses and organizations solve sticky problems. She is driven by a passion for positively impacting creative problem solving, employee and/or Board engagement, and results. Erin has over 20 years of business management experience working for both small and large Fortune 500 companies in a diverse range of industries (public accounting, private equity, consumer product goods, and manufacturing). Her previous employers include Arthur Andersen, The Carlyle Group, General Mills and Rudy Art Glass.
Erin received her B.S. in Commerce with Distinction from University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce. She then earned her M.B.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business where she was an Arjay Miller Scholar. In 2015, Erin was named one of Central Penn Business Journal’s 25 Women of Influence. Erin serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the York Water Company (NASDAQ: YORW) and on multiple non-profit boards in York, PA where she resides with her husband Ben.
Erin grew up solving logic puzzles and reading as many books as possible for fun. Those interests haven’t changed but Erin now also spends her free time with family cooking, watching independent film, and running very slowly two miles at a time.