We Want To Know: Carly Stojsic
Carly Stojsic wants to blow your mind. She's a big idea generator and isn't afraid to express her opinions. Whether she's presenting one of her trend forecasts to a large and diversified audience or interacting with an elite group in a more intimate setting, she leaves those around her rapt and in awe. The woman is a force of nature, armed with a cultured intelligence and a wickedly fun personality. Carly is confident, bold and energetic, with a colourful vocabulary that equally shocks and inspires. I'm so fortunate to have had the opportunity to chat one on one with her and get to know her a little better.
Carly may have only slept about six hours in the previous four days when we got together, but you would never know it - her energy was high and she looked positively stylish in her bell-sleeved LBD, perfectly coifed hair, and a fresh face that belied her lack of sleep. It's not surprising Carly looked so chic, as she's been surrounded by fashion her entire life; her exposure started early having been raised by a mother who loved clothing and quality fabrics, and who had impeccable taste. After earning a degree in fashion design, Carly spent much of her career forecasting trends in fashion, and has worked with many of the top luxury brands and major retailers, whether it was during her six years working for WGSN (a creative intelligence agency that is "The World's Trend Authority") or in positions elsewhere along her career. But don't let looks deceive you - her interests and expertise reach far beyond fashion, and her professional background includes work in PR & advertising, film, and music production. In March of this year, Carly presented her latest macro trend forecast to MBA candidates at MIT Sloan School of Management where she shared her predictions in topics ranging from new multi-dimensional technologies, to innovations for global issues, and more. Her latest interest is in mixed reality - specifically Microsoft's HoloLens, an innovative technology that blends holograms with the real world. Though still in its infancy, Carly sees mixed reality as the next wave of new technology to enter the market, and she is one of a very limited group of people to get her hands on the product (and among that group, one of only a few non-developers to have access). Carly is always on the forefront of what's new and next, and has sustained a formidable career as a trend forecaster.
What makes a trend forecaster? Carly shared a story from her childhood that would seem to indicate it's always been an innate ability. She was about 7 or 8 years old and shopping in NYC with her mother, and became visibly frustrated at the end of their shopping trip. Even at such a young age, Carly had already developed her own sense of style, so when her mother asked her why she was getting so upset, Carly said it was because she couldn't get the one thing she really wanted - chocolate brown-coloured clothes. Now, this was during a time when 'chocolate brown' wasn't in vogue, but sure enough, about 11 months later, chocolate brown was taking the world by storm - in fashion, in interiors and beyond. Years later, Carly's mother told her that that was the moment she knew how her daughter's brain works. To this day, Carly still viscerally feels that familiar frustration when something is missing, and says it's both her blessing and her curse. When you add to this her years of education and experiences, trend forecasting is an art that Carly has mastered.
Ultimately, Carly is in the business of inspiration. She enables creatives to do their best creative work. She has this magical way of "taking people's brain fruit and turning it into a smoothie." She'll start with a client's creative ideas and connects dots that they don't see, reformulate those ideas and give shape to something bigger. Carly is assertive in a not unwelcome way, she goes after what she wants and gets it, she works with industry leaders and delivers promised results. For all her confidence and boldness though, it was humbling to see a vulnerable side to her as well. There was a moment when her voice softened and she became reflective, sharing that her biggest fear is being misunderstood. It revealed the introverted side to her outgoing personality. I think what I appreciated the most about what she shared, and something I'll remember going forward, was when she said that if you suppress the 'weird' inside of you, you'll never be original, that you'll never be a trailblazer. Basically a reminder that it's the people who see the world differently, who think differently, that drive us forward in this world. Carly is one of those people. And let me tell you - I certainly walked away from our chat with my mind blown.
Want more? Let's hear from Carly herself - here's what We Want To Know:
I can't start my morning without... (music/morning soundtrack and) a big glass of cold lemon (and cucumber) water. Even when my fridge is seemingly void of life - I always have fresh lemons and cucumbers for this!
I have a weakness for... seeking out opportunities (when/where I can) to engage in little acts of random kindness and "do-goodery". In my case, it isn't really about being helpful with the task at hand, as much as, I get a kick out of jogging the consciousness of the people around me and the situation...and I observe their reactions! Ultimately, I'm convinced people need to be reminded of upholding certain civilities...and then they pay it forward. It's more like a social experiment!
Most people don't know that I... spend a lot of time alone. Much more than almost anyone would assume of me from checking out my online social persona. I like my own company, and I feel like it's essential to my work and personal growth. I turn over some pretty weighty ideas and concepts and it's more mentally and physically exhausting than people recognize. I recharge nicely when I hang out with my brain. lol
Currently reading... I just started "The Seventh Sense" by Joshua Cooper Ramo. About power, fortune and survival in the age of networks...a cross-section of insights that apparently go to mega-depths. I just finished Amanda Lang's new book "The Beauty of Discomfort", which we bent the conversation around in a think tank that I recently created for a client (along with Lang and a group of thought-leaders). Amanda is a dynamo and there's some really digestible and relevant info in there.
I want... to never take the sweeter bits of life for granted.
Thank you, Carly, it's an honour to have you participate in #WeWantToKnow!
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