Creative, inspiring, and innovative. These are just a few adjectives that describe Emily Cozzens. She’s taken an alternative look into higher education and uses the quote “never let schooling interfere with your education” as her mantra. At 19, Emily stopped high school and joined an intensive apprenticeship program: She now works at PandaDoc, a software platform that enables businesses to streamline and accelerate their sales document process.
Could you explain more of what you're currently working on?
I recently transitioned from Marketing to Onboarding. So currently, I train new customers on the platform to give them a solid foundation as they begin utilizing PandaDoc to drive their business’ success. I’ll answer these questions about marketing specifically to keep it simple.
What’s your favorite part about working in marketing?
My favorite part about the marketing gig was the learning experience. Don’t get me wrong, with no prior experience, it was terrifying 99% of the time. But I loved trying new things and stretching as far as possible to reach my goals.
The role was brand new, and relatively undefined so I didn’t always have the support I needed to go all the way. There were many projects that had to be scrapped.
What does a typical day for you look like?
In the morning I reviewed the list I wrote out the day before. Those tasks ranged from “fix this” to “write this” or “learn this”.
I had on average 3 or 4 projects to work on at any given time. For some I was an individual contributor, and for others I was responsible for everything from project strategy to management to execution. So I learned how to juggle multiple projects and manage them without dropping the ball.
What are some skills you learned from Praxis, that have enabled you to get to where you are today?
Soft skills. How do you tackle a big project that scares you? How do you develop a new skill in the first place? How do you respond to feedback when somebody gives you negative feedback? Praxis promotes thoughtfulness and a bias towards action, which is absolutely necessary when jumping into big scary projects. The last thing you want is to become paralyzed. Those soft skills are foundational to developing any hard skill.
What motivated you to choose alternative education?
I didn’t really like school. I wanted to build things that had a real impact on the world, and weren’t confined by the bubble of “being in school”. I was already homeschooled, which biased me towards alternative education in the first place. I’m grateful for that. My family talked extensively about personal liberty and responsibility, and that made me comfortable with the idea of striking out my own path and breaking out of the status quo.
What's the biggest challenge you've had to overcome and what did you learn from it?
Where to start…. A huge challenge about marketing was that I needed to ask for help a lot. I sucked at asking for help in the first place and I ended up working alone a lot. I learned that asking for help is not only necessary, but it’s also an art form. Marketing is more than just getting a message out to a mass audience. It’s persuasion.
If someone walked up to you and asked for advice what would it be?
Stay humble and stay coachable. You learn a lot that way.
Are there any podcasts, books, or other material that you’ve learnt from that you’d recommend?
Books: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. The Six Pillars of Self Esteem by Nathaniel Brandon. 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson.
Podcasts: The Tom Woods Show. The Art of Charm. Office Hours by Praxis.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Just remember that we all start somewhere, which is why humility is important. But grace for yourself is also important. Growth is a crooked journey, and it’s important to give yourself grace when you fall, so that you can find the strength to get back up.
Could you provide some ways for anyone reading to learn more about what you do or contact you?
Anyone can reach me on my website, www.emilycozzens.com