How She Got There: Lane Petrauskas, Founder of Skorch

Name: Lane Petrauskas
Age: 32
Job Title and Description: Founder of Skorch
College Name/Major: Indiana University/Journalism
Website: getskorch.com
Twitter Handle: @getskorch @lanepetrauskas
Instagram Handle: @getskorch @lanepetrauskas

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

LP: I’m very involved in every aspect of Skorch. So, I often bounce from role to role - app design, developing and overseeing marketing, working with my tech team, business development, managing our social media accounts and even working in the database to constantly improve our list of #SkorchWorthy Places.

What is the best part of your job?

LP: The creative freedom and fulfillment. Developing the Skorch app has been the most fulfilling professional experience of my life, but even beyond the product, building this brand has been the creative opportunity of a lifetime.

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

LP: My career path began in advertising. After college, I enrolled in a creative portfolio program called Miami Ad School where I studied design/art direction and writing. During the final few months of that program, I interned as a writer at an incredible ad agency called Mullen (now MullenLowe). Mullen hired me immediately after the internship. Since then, I have had the opportunity to work at a number of other world-renowned agencies - most recently, R/GA. I have grown so much from working with some of the greatest minds in the advertising industry, and it really helped prepare me for launching my own entrepreneurial venture.

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

LP: My former creative directors at Mullen always said: “The best ideas can come from anywhere.” Even though I was right out of school, I was given the same opportunities as co-workers with more seniority. I was able to work alongside really experienced, talented creatives on major ad campaigns despite my junior level. That is a philosophy I carry with me as I build Skorch. Excessive corporate politics and hierarchies can inhibit great ideas.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

LP: I don’t believe in mistakes. However, when a situation didn’t turn out as hoped, I now recognize that my decisions were often rooted in fear. Becoming a first-time entrepreneur and solo founder can be terrifying, especially in the beginning. I have found that the best ideas and decisions come from a place of confidence and clarity. Now, I take the time each morning to begin the day with a clear, positive mindset so I can maintain that momentum throughout the day.

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

LP: The most surreal moment was the first time I didn’t have to explain Skorch to a stranger because they already use it. It was a small moment, but sometimes small moments can be the most meaningful.

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

LP: Outside of the standard qualities any employer would look for, positive energy is really important to me. I like to surround myself with kind, upbeat and optimistic people. I value a work environment where ideas can thrive, and I think negative energy really hinders that. I also look for someone who is both humble and confident. With confidence comes productivity and leadership. With humility comes self-awareness and a continued willingness to learn.

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

LP: No path is the wrong path. Each experience is an opportunity to further clarify who you are, what you want and what you don’t. Do what you love, and if you don’t know what that is, do something you don’t love for a while. You’ll figure it out. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Pay attention to your thoughts, and learn to control them. Catch negative thoughts in their early stages. With an open, positive mindset, the path to what you truly want will light up.

What’s the one thing that has stood out to you the most in a resume?

LP: When it comes to students or recent graduates, the employment inquiries that have stood out the most were from active Skorch users with such a clear, palpable passion for the app. That enthusiasm for the vision and belief in the value has been even more memorable than resumes. Pair that with a great attitude, a willingness to learn and a strong work ethic, and those are the young professionals I most want to work with and mentor.

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