Lady Boss Amanda Slavin On Finding Your Passion
As the CEO and founder of her own experience design firm, Amanda is girl boss goals.
Who: Amanda Slavin, writer, event producer, and successful Forbes 30 Under 30 entrepreneur
Where: Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York City
By Day: SoulCycle enthusiast, brand marketing and events guru, former teacher turned CEO and creative mastermind behind CatalystCreativ
By Night: Jetsetter, millenial experience curator, and brains behind the 'Ideas' component of Life is Beautiful Festival
It's not every day that you cross paths with someone whose genuine passion to make a difference in the world is completely and totally infectious. But when you have the opportunity to chat with an ultimate lady boss like Amanda Slavin, you take it.
The former grade school teacher quit her career at age 26 to start her own experiential marketing firm geared toward millenials. Why? Simply put, she saw a gap in Las Vegas nightlife and events, where she felt there was a distinct lack of engagement and intention in the industry.
Instead, Amanda sought to curate far more authentic experiences. "When I started Catalyst, I really wanted to create an organization that [would be] essentially understanding the importance of educating and inspiring the consumer," she told me.
And she found a really powerful way to do that through her design firm, CatalystCreativ, and their work with Life is Beautiful, the renowned festival in Las Vegas. In fact, when I asked her to share one of her highlights from the festival, her response gave me goosebumps.
"We help with the Life is Beautiful festival, and we do the learning component. It’s called 'Ideas' this year," Amanda told me. "Last year, one of the speakers we had was someone by the name of Justin Baldoni, who is on the show Jane the Virgin. He was in the process of doing his show, My Last Days, which is a show about people with terminal illnesses who are dying, and how they live their lives.
We surprised a young girl –– her name is Claire Wineland –– and her dream was to be a public speaker. She actually got public speaking training, and she had no idea she was going to be speaking at Life is Beautiful.
[Justin] just said that she was going to be coming to the festival and seeing him speak, and in the middle of his talk, he pulled her up on stage. 'You want to speak to thousands of people? Well, here’s your opportunity,' [he told her.]
And it [led to] 500 people [giving] her a standing ovation. Who knew at a music festival that this girl who was, you know, dying of cystic fibrosis would be one of their top highlights?"
Through CatalystCreativ, Amanda is able to not only be a part of, but to facilitate something bigger. Experiences that are able to inspire, educate, and "change the way that people look at themselves in the world through these small moments," as she puts it.
"Life is Beautiful really wants to stand for something more than just a festival. They want to stand for this way of life –– no matter what is happening in your life, to remember that life is beautiful."
Here at Livingly, I think we can attest to that as well.
And so it came as no surprise that when we asked Amanda what her advice is for millenials looking to make their mark, she had some really valuable insight to share. "I think it’s hard for a lot of young people to realize what they actually want to do to make their mark. There are so many issues in the world, and so many different ways to help the world, that it’s difficult to figure out what your role is in all of this," she shared.
"I actually gave a talk about this, and [in it,] I called it the three P’s. You have to find a problem in the world. That’s the first.
In my mind, you also, for your own self, have to make profit. You have to do something to make money, and I think a lot of millenials just want to give back and give back and give back . . . and I was one of them. And I’m like, oh, I also have to be able to pay my bills. *laughing*
Be able to figure out a way to also make money for yourself, and then eventually you’ll be able to give back more.
Identify your passion –– and how that matches with the problem. By looking at yourself and figuring out, what are you good at? What do you like to do? [You can] then identify a problem in the world that you can apply that to."
In Amanda's case, she was able to find a way to marry her background in Education with her experience working in NYC, and soon, Vegas nightlife.
That alone is no small feat, but to do so in a way that’s intended to help people and make social impact on a large scale?
All in a day's work for this creative.
"I think that’s the biggest thing that I’ve talked to every human about. Being able to marry the two is so special and so incredible," Amanda told me. "And also being okay in the beginning with having to make money in one way, and giving back in another way, and knowing that it might not be a perfect marriage in the beginning . . . but [that] you can work toward something that combines the two.
With the three P’s, I couldn’t just dedicate myself to traveling the world and teaching kids. It’s okay to have a job and also give back [in a separate way]," she explained.
Amanda's final piece of advice for us?
Recognizing the power of no.
"The quality of using no equals the quality of using yes. So if you just say yes all the time, is that really a quality yes?" the 29-year-old entrepreneur points out frankly.
"When you say no and then your yes actually means something, it transforms the way that you interact and engage with the world.
As young people, whenever we have a spare moment in our day, we go on social media and just receive and receive and receive all these people’s information –– whatever they’re throwing at us. And I think the moments of being able to be alone, and really alone –– meditating, taking a walk, whatever you need to do –– are so, so important.
I have to take time away from that, or I just start to absorb it and make it my own, and not recognize what’s my own and what’s everyone else’s."
After all, if you can’t learn to say no, it makes it that much harder to figure out what makes you, you.
Want more? Watch Amanda's TEDx Talk in full below.