Punk Rock HR Episode 112:
So, what does a Canadian millennial entrepreneur know about making a comeback? This week’s guest, Emily O’Brien, founder of Comeback Snacks, is going to tell us. In today’s episode, Emily opens up about her journey from a sales professional at a global corporation to an entrepreneur, to a convicted felon, and then back again to an entrepreneur. She is someone who is trying to give back, make amends, and help her community.
Many motivational professionals like to say the setback is a setup for the comeback. And often, it sounds over-sensationalized. But in the case of Emily’s story, I think that’s true. If you’d like to hear about a person who overcame their worst instincts and how they turned it around, I think you’re going to love this conversation with Emily O’Brien.
In this episode you’ll hear:
- Emily’s story of graduating college with honors, starting her own business, and how things took a left turn when she got arrested.
- She shares openly about life after her arrest, being sentenced, and going to jail.
- How prison forces you to be mindful in a weird, unfortunate way.
- She started her popcorn business, Comeback Snacks, in prison.
- How Emily deals with the pressures of entrepreneurship.
- Emily’s perspective on how to grow as a leader and challenge yourself to do better.
- What Emily would like Executives and HR professionals to learn from her story.
WHAT ARE SOME WAYS EMILY HAS BEEN TRYING TO EXPAND AND GROW AS A LEADER?
Some of the things that Emily has found helpful are connecting with people, reading more books, and finding opportunities to learn. Another way to grow as a leader is by mentoring people who are building their businesses.
HERE IS WHAT EMILY WOULD LIKE EXECUTIVES AND HR PROFESSIONALS TO TAKE AWAY FROM HER STORY:
She would like executives not to overlook potential employees who fell on hard times. Emily explains, “I think that many people that land in prison are incredibly talented. You’ll find a drug dealer and a CEO, and their only difference is how they use their creativity. Being a drug dealer requires all the same skills [as a CEO]. You have to be shrewd; you have to keep track of your money, and get your marketing in order, right? You’ve got to have good people that work for you. So [don’t count out] looking at the people that worked in the drug trade or got mixed up in other things. They’ve been through tough times. They’re tough. When they have a bad day, they say, ‘I’m going to come to work every day.’ Because a bad day for them before was a really bad day.”
WHAT’S SOME ADVICE FOR MAKING A COMEBACK?
Here’s more from Emily, “Comeback Snacks was started in an environment of adversity. It was started in an area where people were stressed out and very uncertain about their future, but they wanted something that brought them together. And so I think now more than ever, Comeback Snacks is relatable. That’s why we started to get through something together to build collective resiliency. And so that’s how we share your journey through popcorn and find comfort through popcorn. I encourage everyone to make a comeback. But comebacks aren’t given to you. Even if we are in an environment, we can’t control; we still have to put the work in.”