Photos by Amy Gee
Meet Heather Olson, the driving force behind Soladay Olson | Marketing for Creatives. They’re one of the 18 values-driven businesses that have come together in support of Pollen’s mission to invest in human connection. Together, they challenge Pollenites to raise $20,000 by Give to the Max Day on November 15, which they will match dollar for dollar.
Match the Hive and donate today.
All About Soladay Olson | Marketing for Creatives
Since Heather Olson launched it in November 2014, Soladay Olson | Marketing for Creatives has provided inclusive recruitment and marketing services for employers, job seekers, agencies, and entrepreneurs. “Institutions and individuals engage me to help activate connections and make ideas happen,” she says. Heather also works to expanding the diversity of the creative workforce in our community, through her work in employee recruitment. “We’re positioning people of all backgrounds and abilities for success.”
“Whether you are an entity, entrepreneur, or employee, I am here to absorb your story, interrogate you for insight, brainstorm ideas, and assist in charting the course or expanding the network to achieve your goals.”
Let’s hear from Heather Olson
Pollen: What’s your favorite way to get someone to talk about their story?
Heather: As an extremely shy teen (yes, it’s true!) and later a journalism major (along with graphic design), I learned the best way to deflect attention from myself was to ask lots of questions. Today, when I meet with individuals pursuing a career transition or firm principals needing to acquire new business or team members, I pull out my notepad and pen and request the full story.
One question leads to another until the teller appears satisfied that all has been told.
Pollen: When’s the last time you made an unexpected connection that turned out to be beautiful and transformative?
Heather: My answer is tri-fold. In the past year, I’ve met several women who’ve greatly influenced the direction of my business…
First, I joined AIGA Minnesota’s new Diversity & Inclusion Committee in July 2017. The group’s director, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at University of Minnesota Duluth Terresa Moses, is a dynamic force in raising the awareness of our design community to known and unknown biases related to race, gender, location, age, socio-economic background, religion, ability, etc. She challenges my thinking and habits at every turn!
Next, Terresa arranged a cultural fluency training for our committee and the chapter board, which was led by Nam Provost and her business partner. A few months after the training, Nam reached out to me to say she’d joined Minneapolis Institute of Art as their Diversity and Inclusion Manager. She was beginning a search for individuals with post-secondary education who identified as persons from historically underrepresented ethnic groups to fulfill three, year-long paid fellowships. Nam wondered if I could help her recruit appropriate talent. Believe it or not, I was becoming known for locating diverse talent!
Finally, after co-working at COCO (now Fueled Collective), I became interested in The Coven, a new community and co-working space for women and non-binary folks that was getting publicity. Two of the four Coven founders were featured at a Women In Digital event. When I raised my hand to ask Bethany Iverson and Erinn Farrell a question, they looked at me and said, “Thank you for helping promote our cause!” in reference to my social media activity. Their acknowledgement of my interest convinced me to become a founding member (which is why the photos in this story take place at The Coven)!
Pollen: How has your approach to connecting with community changed since you started your business?
Heather: If you want to engage the full scope of talent in Minneapolis-St. Paul and environs, it’s necessary to step outside your social boundaries, your usual haunts, and your typical networks. I’ve made slow and steady progress in broadening my professional and personal circle by… volunteering; mentoring; co-working; sponsoring; producing associates-degree internships; and participating in professional events focused on difference.
Pollen: What do you think is the secret to connecting across difference?
Heather: Exposure. Addressing fear. Making the effort. In addition to the deliberate actions mentioned above, I’ve woven connection across difference into the second half of my life by exposing myself to:
- relational challenge (our family mentored an autistic child for several years and now I have an autistic client)
- community integration (I managed a city/school district cross-cultural mural project)
- diverse entertainment (Blackout Improv, Design Impact Series, Northside Storyville, Lundstrum Performing Arts)
As for addressing fear, all it really takes is a smile, a warm hello, and a simple “how-do-you-do” to break the ice, build a bridge, and launch a new acquaintance.
Pollen: Why do you value being part of the Pollen community?
Heather: Pollen’s mission and modus operandi parallel my own. We can’t help ourselves! Our innate strengths involve seeking and being open to new ideas, listening to needs, making introductions, maximizing relationships, and following up with cheerleading and long-term support. To top it off, the Pollen team exemplifies generosity, vision, and truth-telling — all traits I try to emulate.
Join Heather and Soladay Olson: DONATE TO MATCH THE HIVE TODAY