We had the good fortune of connecting with Ryan Shand and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ryan, how do you think about risk?
I believe that fear plays a big part in risk taking, and when I look back on my life and the amount of times I have wanted to take a risk in business, in my career, in trying something new… fear has always met me halfway in every decision. It took me going to a career coach to really understand how intentional I had to be in creating my personal path and future and that taking risks plays a huge part in making the leap towards your full potential.
Taking risks can feel almost impossible at times because it often has to do with stepping into the unknown and making decisions that don’t feel completely comfortable. There has to be a deep level of trust in taking risks, which means there has to be a deep level of trust within yourself. The moment I started believing in myself it became a lot easier to take risks. I made intentional choices to invest in myself by starting my own company. I started to learn about an industry I had never been part of before, I put myself out there to meet with legends I didn’t believe could be reached, and I spent my personal savings to bring my vision to life.
Taking risks also means being patient. Being patient enough to know the right path will unfold but it is going to take time, you have to be resilient and unwavering in your vision. Taking risks can look big and small. Big in making career moves, making financial investments that aren’t guaranteed to pay back, or setting yourself up for potential failure. They can also be small, asking something out for coffee, putting yourself out there, asking for a raise, standing up for what you believe in. Sometimes these small risks you take in your personal life and career can pay off more than you could ever imagine.
I truly believe that taking risks in my personal life and career have led me to where I am today. I have been through 3 acquisitions under the age of 30, have started my own company (SHAND), have been able to move to California and work for incredible organizations while growing at my own speed. There is constantly more to learn, but I now have the mindset that there isn’t anything I can’t learn if I continue to put myself out there, trust myself, and take some risks.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve worked at start ups for my entire career. My earliest memories were spent helping my mom start her own skincare company when I was in high school. In the afternoons after class, I would help her package products and ship them off. After school, I started traveling with her to sell products in Nordstroms and Sephora. It was remarkable to watch the true hustle it takes to build your own thing. In my own career, I spent the past 6+ years working in operations to help grow start ups. I worked at Saatchi Art as one of their first thirty employees before they were acquired by the Leaf Group for $17M in 2014. I worked for a music-tech company called Jammber, where I worked as General Manager for over 3 years, and I currently work at Honey, which was acquired by PayPal in December of 2019 for $4B. Between these jobs, I have always had side projects that keep me creative and keep me passionate. I’ve found working on several things at once has actually paid off in making me more successful in my day job.
My skills have always been laser focused in improving business functions, developing strategic plans, and overseeing support teams. It took me getting a little older and listening to my true passion to really try something of my own. I’ve found that the creative side of me always took second place because I was never sure if it could truly help me make a living or not.
Today, my goal is to continue to stay true to the creative side of me while pulling the operational side in. To believe enough in myself to make my personal brand grow, rather than simply supporting others bring their career to life.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Building experiences is one of my favorite things to do. I believe deeply that having unique and intentional experiences (with the right vibe) is crucial to making you feel inspired and come alive! My perfect week-long itinerary in Santa Barbara, my home town, would consist of surfing Hammonds and Dev, getting a morning coffee at Caje on State Street or Handlebar on De La Vina. I’d go to Hammonds to walk through Miramar on the most beautiful beach. I would hike Inspiration Point, get lunch at Panino or Savoy, and spend the evening walking through the Rose Gardens, going down town to get a drink at my favorite wine bar Satellite, and go to dinner at Samma Samma before having a nightcap at Palihouse hotel. On other days, I’d take a day trip to Los Alamos to see the north coast and longest stretch of untouched land, go to the Bodega, drive to lovers loop to hike and go back into Los Olivos for lunch. I absolutely love the Santa Ynez area to go wine tasting and just see the rolling hills filled with local farms and horses. I get so inspired by the land around us. I would also check out Ojai, the coolest tow that still feels like your living in California in the 70s – I’d go to Farmer and the Cook, The Nest, my favorite shop In The Field, Barts books and caravan outpost. On the weekend, I’d wake up Saturday to take some yoga, bike to the farmers market and stop by Oat Bakery for the best local bread, and get some flowers before heading home. There is so much more I’d recommend, but these are a few of my favorites.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I look back on my career and see particular moments where my strength was tested: opportunities where I recognize that I needed my voice but didn’t have the strength to find it. I have been lucky enough to be guided by so many mentors in my life, through reaching out and asking for support. I’ve found the best way to connect with others you believe can help guide you in the right direction is by asking for a cup of coffee. No matter what age you are at or level in your career, you always have more to learn and showing up with an open mind and a bit of humility is the best formula to building great relationships and bettering yourself and business.
Linkedin has been one of the best tools to find specific mentors that might be helpful, and I’ve been lucky enough in my career to watch founders build remarkable companies that are willing to offer their guidance. Other times, I look internally to see what friends and family members are there to remind you of what you are building.
Above all, it’s important to trust what works best for you. How do you personally enjoy finding encouragement, support and mentorship? It could be through a podcast with Brené Brown or Oprah. Perhaps it’s the How I Built This Podcast, learning from founders that have built remarkable organizations. Maybe it’s a biography, for example “Shoe Dog”, by Phil Knight – the founder of Nike. There are so may tools out there for you to continue to keep you on track, while learning, growing, and pivoting as needed.