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“Wolves don’t care about the opinions of sheep”: Overcoming Challenges and Building Character.

Whether you’re a recent graduate entering the workforce, or a seasoned professional looking to take the next step in your career, Marielle’s story is sure to inspire and motivate you. 

Marielle van Schie is a 35-year-old Chief Commercial Officer at the marketing agency “Flirt” who has been working in the business for a decade. During her tenure, she tripled the size of the company, increased its turnover, and expanded its client portfolio. 

In this article, Marielle opens up about her experiences, sharing the challenges she faced, the lessons she’s learned, and the advice she has for others who are on a similar path.

Marielle shares with us her effective approach to finding new clients in the competitive industry. She starts by understanding the business and services, conducting field research, and making a hit list of potential client companies. Marielle identifies the right people within these brands to talk to and finds interesting hooks to catch their attention.

One of the tactics Marielle used was finding events with pitching opportunities to showcase her team’s work and impress potential clients. Despite facing rejection from 90% of attendees, Marielle and her team were able to secure work from the remaining 10%. Starting with small assignments, they gradually took on more work and eventually landed global campaigns for major brands like O’Neill.

Marielle even shared an entertaining story about how her persistence and networking skills helped her land a significant client. Her story of landing a major client started with a casual conversation with someone who had connections to the target company. However, the only person she knew in the company was the office manager. 

When Marielle arrived at the company’s office to meet the manager and get an introduction to the managing directors, she was in for a surprise. The office manager placed her in the hallway, not even allowing her to enter the office spaces, for their meeting. 

Despite the unconventional setting, Marielle was able to impress the office manager with her story and pitch. The office manager believed that Marielle’s company would be a good fit for the brand and connected her with the marketing director in the UK. After a call and a physical meeting, Marielle’s team began working for the brand.

Therefore, she says :

“Never underestimate anyone, because they might be the person that will help you get the biggest opportunities in life.”.

When I asked Marielle what was the biggest challenge she encountered?, she said:

“My career start was already hectic! When I secured my first job as a customer relations manager at Accor Hotels, suddenly the person that was in charge of me left the company.”

Marielle had to overtake her manager’s responsibilities and quickly she became the head of the department. As a recent university graduate, this was undoubtedly the biggest challenge of her career so far.

She encountered difficulties in her new role, particularly with people in higher positions who had worked their way up through the company. Some colleagues viewed her as inexperienced and too young to hold such an important position. Certainly, Marielle did not have many friends at her job and often was the person sitting alone at the lunch table. 

Despite these challenges, Marielle remained determined to prove herself and show that she was worthy of her position. She realized that this was a huge opportunity, and with it came even bigger struggles. She focused on her work and refused to let the negativity of others affect her. Marielle’s motto became “wolves don’t care about the opinions of sheep,” reflecting her determined mindset.

Marielle believes that those who experience difficult situations in life are the ones who ultimately become the most successful. As these struggles build character and provide opportunities for growth. 

In a world where making mistakes is often seen as something negative, it’s refreshing to hear a different perspective. Marielle, a successful businesswoman, shared her unique philosophy that there are no such things as mistakes. “As long as you initiate things, take action, you cannot make a mistake,” she said with a slight laugh. 

“Not doing anything is the only mistake you can make.”

Marielle firmly believes that taking action is the key to success, and that not pursuing your dreams is the only real mistake you can make. She advises others to “not settle for less” and to pursue their passions with everything they have. 

As humans, we all have dreams and aspirations that we want to pursue. However, the fear of failure and self-doubt often stop us from taking action. Marielle understands this struggle firsthand.However, she believes that pushing through these barriers and working towards our goals is the key to achieving success.

Marielle’s perspective is rooted in the power of hard work and determination. With these qualities, anyone can become anything they envision, regardless of their background or circumstances. Even if things don’t go according to plan, these experiences will be valuable lessons that we can apply to future endeavors.

Marielle’s advice is particularly relevant to young women who are often hesitant to communicate their values and ask for opportunities. According to Marielle, “people who don’t ask for opportunities don’t get them.” She encourages women to be proactive and to express what they want, rather than settling for less than what they deserve. It’s all too common for women to accept lower-paying jobs because they are afraid to ask for more, but Marielle believes that women should confidently communicate their worth and strive for the best.

To conclude, Marielle’s journey to the top of the marketing industry is an inspiring story of persistence and hard work. Her hands-on approach to learning and willingness to take risks paid off, resulting in Flirt’s success. Marielle’s experience shows that success is achievable if you have a goal and work hard to achieve it.

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