Surrounding Ourselves With Thrivers

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Happiness, Uncategorized

by Maria Katrien Heslin ~

We clearly live in troubling, volatile times, where stress, depression and anger are ubiquitous; personal safety is precarious; incivility is commonplace; bitterness is booming; and uncertainty and unhappiness are rampant.

For many, it’s easy to get caught up in this whirlwind of negativity. We see it all over social media, in the news, and we may hear it and feel it from our friends, family and coworkers. Some of the feelings may be easy to understand and justifiable, others less so.

One of the dangers of getting stuck in the misery swirl is that too often we allow one adverse reality to impact how we perceive other aspects of life, such as our work, health, relationships or humanity in general.

It almost seems like negativity is catching. Actually, might this naysaying vortex be socially contagious? If a condition such as obesity is, then it’s likely a social trait such as negativity is too!

In fact, studies show that when one person became obese, their friends were 57% more likely than the average person to become obese; friends of friends were 20% more likely to become obese, and their friends were 10% more likely to become obese. Other behaviors such as smoking, happiness, creativity and drinking saw similar results.

Nick Cooney, in his book Change of Heart, What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change, shares that researchers suggest that such behaviors spread in part through subconscious social signals about what is normal. If the person sitting next to you is eating more, chances are you will, too. If several of your friends are Debbie Downers, you’ll begin to see that as a socially acceptable condition, and you’ll take on that behavior yourself.

The good news is, that hanging out with positive, hard working, fun, spunky and ambitious people can rub off on you too! The Jim Rohn adage that we are the average of the people with whom we most surround ourselves, is far more than lore.

And that’s such a huge part of why I’ve launched this blog “Thrivers.” Yeah, like the world needs another blog! Well, actually in these turbulent times, I think the world does need a vibrant voice of optimism, energy, hard work, positivity, fun, passion and accomplishment.

For Thrivers, I’ve handpicked a handful of writers of various ages and professions, who approach life with optimism, curiosity, energy, humor and a quest to learn, always. What’s not to like about that?!

These are individuals who love what they do professionally, or who are in the active pursuit of that work-centric joy, and who, to the best of my knowledge, don’t wallow, worry or whine excessively while they find their way.

Now this doesn’t mean they necessarily thrive 100% of the time in all parts of their lives or that they always have thrived — but they get what thriving is all about and are on a quest to grow, be happy and inspire others to do the same. On top of that, they’re all people who can write well and produce compelling articles that inform, entertain and engage the reader.

People of this ilk are true thrivers, and they are rare. I’m so fortunate to know them and to have their work gracing our blog waves. Yes, I am surrounding myself with fellow thrivers, which helps me keep thriving, and you can too. Here is a little bit about each of our contributing writers:

Hannah Goodwin graduated from Indiana University in May and this week started a full-time job in the office of Indiana’s Lieutenant Governor. I met Hannah a couple years of ago when she took my class Public Relations for Nonprofits. I liked Hannah right away. She’s sweet, incredibly sarcastic, self-deprecating, bright, inventive and determined. In her last semester, Hannah took my PR Career Success Preparation class, and she may not admit it, but given the plum job she’s just landed, apparently she learned a lot. 😉 Her first piece with Thrivers is called “It’s A Numbers Game,” which clearly demonstrates the qualities I’ve just ascribed her.

After 30+ years in fitness, Mary Yoke is pursuing her Ph.D. She is warm, lively, fit, pretty, interested and downright sparkly. She knows more than almost anyone about fitness and is writing her dissertation on people’s attitudes toward physical activity. Mary’s also a fantastic yoga teacher, who loves music and plays the piano daily while overlooking a large, lush lake. Enjoy Mary’s articles A Doctoral Candidate’s Meeting and The Motivation to Move.

Kate Halliwell is an excellent writer who just enjoyed a most enviable internship in LA at IndieWire, an online entertainment publication. She didn’t exactly sit around, filing or going on coffee runs there; she garnered more than 65 bylines! Kate also is lively and witty, and she has just started her senior year at Indiana University. Kate’s prolific on Thrivers too! Check out her articles:

I’m also thrilled to have the lovely Kelly Bush on our team. Kelly is a 30-something enjoying a new, fabulous career in the New York art world after taking a less fitting path. I met Kelly years ago, when she worked as a Teaching Assistant for my father Tom Heslin, who was an IU Kelley School of Business professor. Kelly is brainy, clever, wise, sharp, tenacious and cultured. Enjoy her first Thrivers piece.

For the moment, our sole male contributing writer is Tibet Spencer. Like the others, he is incredibly likable, funny, focused, astute and positive. He is outdoorsy and athletic, and has a natural charm about him. Tibet graduated from IU in May and has just converted his summer internship into a full-time job with an advertising firm in Indianapolis. His two Thrivers posts have been particularly popular:

Next up is Olivia Humphreys, who was chosen by her classmates to be the one they’d most like to hire, given the opportunity. She’s awesome. Like Hannah, Olivia took both my PR for Nonprofits class and the Career class, and she’s such a positive force. She characterizes herself as a relaxed Type A personality and is really bright, creative, organized and well prepared. Olivia graduated in May and almost immediately began working for a nonprofit called Centerstone. She absolutely loves her job, and in The Better of Two Goods, you can see why. Also enjoy her writing about The Importance of Craft Time at Work and Embracing My Ruby Slipper Syndrome.


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Brand new to the Thrivers team is Stephanie Harbison; her first post comes out next week. Stephanie is impossible not to like, despite the fact she’s so smart, sweet, funny and pretty! 🙂 She is also a great writer, who is passionate about her day job and her volunteer work. She and I met a few years ago and served as leaders of a local group, the Women’s Success Network. Watch for her upcoming piece and many more.


I round out the Thrivers team, and I’m a Mindful Career Coach, who helps people reach their professional mountaintop. I also teach at IU and love laughing, writing, traveling, animals and yoga. I’ll cover topics ranging from hot resume trends to mindful leadership, career success and workplace ins and outs.

So far, Thrivers is off to a flourishing start, with more than 1500 visitors in its first two weeks. We hope you’ll check it out, be inspired, learn from our experiences and share your own. Most of all, we hope you’ll catch the bug and thrive with us!









Halliwell in Hollywood: Bylines + Beach Volleyball = Bliss

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Entertainment, Internship, Kate

When I wrote this, it was July 4th weekend, which meant I have only three weeks left in my internship at IndieWire. And now only two!!

How is that possible?

Time here has flown by, mostly in part to really loving my work and the people I work with. I started my second month here with a slight change in routine, as IndieWire hired a new TV editor and therefore ran out of room for us on the sixth floor of the PMC building. We started last week on the eighth floor, which is the primary one for Variety Magazine.

Another example of Variety’s office décor.
Another example of Variety’s office décor.

I was a little nervous about getting to know a whole new group of people, but it helped that I had already made some Variety friends at a networking event the weekend before.

And by networking event, I mean the company beach volleyball team. I’ve been looking for reasons to get outside and be active, and when I heard PMC had organized a weekly beach volleyball team for all interested employees, I signed right up! I played volleyball in high school and still play recreationally at IU, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to get to know people.

After a decisive victory on Sunday at Santa Monica beach, I had no trouble getting settled on the Variety floor last week. I’m also working closely with one of my beach volleyball teammates on a project concerning the recent additions to the Academy voters index.

I’m not one for formal networking events, so I jumped at the opportunity to meet people in a beach volleyball league!
I’m not one for formal networking events, so I jumped at the opportunity to meet people in a beach volleyball league!

Even though I’m enjoying getting to know people at Variety, I do miss my IndieWire friends, and I’ve tried to use any opportunity to go back down to the sixth floor and visit.

Free food truck day at PMC!

PMC has provided various opportunities in the past week to get employees together, from free food truck days to the last round of Emmy campaigns, so it’s been fairly easy to hang out with IndieWire people at work despite the change in location.

As the last few weeks of my internship approach, I’m doing my best to learn about the ins and outs of interviewing celebrities and covering events. My boss is working on setting up an interview for me with Walton Goggins of HBO’s “Vice Principals” (you probably know him from basically every Tarantino movie ever or “Justified” on FX), so hopefully that will happen in the next week or so.

Hanging with coworkers in the Amazon FYC trailer.
Hanging with coworkers in the Amazon FYC trailer.

For the project on Academy members that I mentioned above, I also have been given access to contact information for all AMPAS members, and we have to add contact information for all the new additions. It’s the weirdest thing — I now have a spreadsheet of contact information for everyone from Brad Pitt to Cate Blanchett.

Granted, about 75% of the numbers and emails are just for their publicists, but about a quarter of the AMPAS members on the list have their home or cell numbers listed, along with personal email addresses. And it’s not just the B-list celebs that have their home numbers on there: people like Ben Affleck and Will Smith have their personal cell phone numbers listed!

So yeah, that was a weird day at work.

I currently have 45 bylines for IndieWire in the 5 weeks I’ve worked for them, which is way more than I expected. I’m looking forward to adding to that list and starting some new projects in the time I have left here.

Ava Duvernay messaged me directly on Twitter to thank me for this article. She’s one of my favorite directors working today, so that was pretty exciting. What a lady!
Ava Duvernay messaged me directly on Twitter to thank me for this article. She’s one of my favorite directors working today, so that was pretty exciting. What a lady!

I’ll keep you all posted on all the new, hopefully exciting things that happen at work before I head back home to Indiana.

by Kate Halliwell | email | twitter