BTU #34 – Molly Laufer: Active Duty to Employee #1 at Nature Box

“In a brand new, early stage startup, no one can be above doing something. As the months rolled on, I started to get an appreciation for just how much a startup was like my military experience. I really leaned in and relied on that experience in saying, “I’ve never done marketing, I’ve never worked in a CPG company, I’ve never worked in an e-commerce company, but what I have done is worked in a really chaotic environment without a lot of guidance and had to roll up my sleeves and get it done. So I might not know startups, I might not marketing, I might not know e-commerce or food, but I know how to operate in this environment. So trust yourself, trust your gut – you can do this.”
 – Molly Laufer

Molly Laufer is the Director of Client Strategy in the Marketing & Advertising space with the Company, Oxford Road – which is the fastest growing full-service ad agency serving the Consumer Tech industry. She started out at the University of Virginia, where she did ROTC and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs and Russian. Molly then served for four years in the Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer, serving onboard the Frigate USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS as well as with DESTROYER SQUADRON 23. When she transitioned from the Navy, she was the first employee of the startup, NatureBox – a company that now has over 100 employees and has raised over $58M in funding. At NatureBox she started with Social Media and Content Marketing, and eventually became their Director of Customer Acquisition

In this conversation, we cover a lot of topics, including:

  • How Molly used a career counselor to figure out what sorts of jobs she would be interested in and what sorts of problems she’d like to solve
  • How Molly approached her first job search and how she ended up as employee #1 at Nature Box
  • What it was like to be the first employee at an early stage startup
  • An overview of the different roles Molly held at Nature Box, and what her career progression looked like
  • Molly’s advice to any veteran thinking of working at a startup
  • And much, much more…

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QUESTION OF THE DAY: How can I make these episodes more valuable to active duty military personnel considering transitioning to the civilian world? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Show Notes

  • 2:25 – Molly’s background
  • 3:46 – How Molly approached the decision to leave the military
  • 4:59 – How Molly considered the reserves
  • 6:59 – The biggest surprises in Molly’s transition to civilian life
  • 8:59 – How Molly used a career counselor to figure out what sorts of jobs she would be interested in and what sorts of problems she’d like to solve
  • 9:57 – Advice on how to find the right career coach to help with a job search or career change
  • 11:49 – An overview of the career coaching process
  • 12:39 – How Molly approached her first job search and how she ended up as employee #1 at Nature Box
  • 15:49 – How Molly thought about going to business school (while her husband was going to business school as well)
  • 18:39 – an EXCEPTIONAL sound bite about how to use an elevator pitch when you’re networking
  • 20:16 – What it was like to be the first employee at an early stage startup
  • 23:59 – An overview of the different roles Molly held at Nature Box, and what her career progression looked like
  • 29:35 – What Molly liked most and least about her experience in an early stage startup
  • 34:59 – In what ways Molly felt ahead and behind her civilian peers based on her military experience
  • 38:37 – Molly’s advice to any veteran thinking of working at a startup
  • 41:04 – How Molly made the transition from an early stage startup to an Ad Agency, with Oxford Road
  • 44:24 – The day-to-day life of an Account Director at an Ad Agency
  • 47:05 – Molly’s final word of advice to other veterans