empowHER: Find Your Spark with Emily Miethner

With over 30,000 members, FindSpark has made an impact that is so undeniably profound for Gen Z and Millennials. Emily Miethner, the founder of FindSpark, created a network for students and recent graduates to get in contact with internships and jobs. 

Photo Courtesy of Emily Miethner Photo Courtesy of Emily Miethner

FindSpark is, “an online and offline community that is dedicated to setting up young professionals for a career of success,” according to Miethner. 

Miethner graduated Hofstra with a major in Fine Arts and a concentration in Design. She thought of the idea for FindSpark because of her major. 

Miethner explains, “as someone who is very social and very career-focused, I was a career center geek at Hofstra, but I didn’t think there were a lot of career resources for creative people.” 

FindSpark originally started “as a side hustle in 2011 while I had a full-time job.” Miethner was “doing social media in a publishing company, and after that working with a startup.”

When it comes to the impact FindSpark has had on Miethner, she explains that “I don’t want to say FindSpark is my life, because it isn’t. The best thing about what I do is the people I get to meet, incredible talent and professionals, and seeing great companies doing great things. It is amazing to watch other people grow.”

In terms of getting to be her own boss, Miethner says, “the best part about being your own boss is getting to decide who you work with, and this is in terms of clients I’ve been able to work with. As a small company where everyone can have an impact, this is the hardest.”

While she may see the “best” parts of the job, Miethner does not believe there are really any “worst” parts. Instead, she believes that “there are harder parts, less enjoyable parts. A lot of the admin stuff. I do not enjoy bookkeeping but I still have to do it.” 

With starting a new company, there are always bound to be fears and risks involved. As for Miethner, she believes that “growing and taking on bigger risks is always nerve-racking. Knowing which risks are the right ones to take, like smart risks.”

As far as having your own company, “hiring is 100% the hardest part,” according to Miethner. She says, “knowing when to hire and who to hire, which is something we help other companies do.” 

Despite the difficulties of owning a business, Miethner keeps a positive attitude about events that come her way. “There are certainly things that I’ve tried that I haven’t accomplished for whatever reason, but I don’t necessarily see those things as setbacks, but rather things I had to change or workout. Setbacks aren’t the best way to think about things.” Miethner believes that “having a positive mindset and a problem-solving mindset is really really important.” 

Photo Courtesy of Emily Miethner

Aside from running her own company, Miethner also works as an adjunct professor at the School of Visual Arts teaching “Business of Being an Artist,” and at FIT teaching “Social Media Applications.” 

In her position, Miethner hopes “to change perspectives and to give people new ideas that could potentially impact their lives. That’s definitely the goal.”

Miethner also thinks that “both of the classes have a semi-new approach compared to other teachers. My assignments are very open-ended and I do that for a lot of reasons. I’ve had roles that were very ambiguous. I like to do this with my students so they can get in the mindset of thinking on their own and embracing ambiguity.”

Miethner also applies her experiences as an adjunct professor to her position at FindSpark. She says, “I get to focus on working with students and young professionals and its really amazing to get to work with students every semester and get to know them and follow their growth. The content I teach them is very in line with what I teach at FindSpark.”

Her positions have allowed her to earn the title “Gen Z and Millennial expert. This title means that she has “gotten to know that group of people very well, what motivates them and what they’re looking for especially when it comes to work and employers.” 

Photo Courtesy of Emily Miethner

Moreover, Miethner has been able to hold this title “because of FindSpark and being a professor… Doing these two things has enabled me to have this expertise.” 

When it comes to branding, Miethner practices “what I preach in terms of when I teach and talk about the importance of an online presence and networking. It’s really important to use personal branding and take an approach that’s fun for you. I’m on all the major platforms, I use them all a little differently. I have different ideas for who I’ll accept or follow. I do not pressure myself with how many times I post- it’s more when I feel motivated and have a reason to. This is a big way I’ve been able to stay connected while still showing my own personality.”

As for marketing yourself,  Miethner believes that “the number one thing is to do good work, and that will speak volumes. It is also important to use social media to share that work with people in a way that’s comfortable for you.”

Miethner also believes that when you're marketing yourself, you shouldn’t “get caught up in the numbers, like how many followers or likes. Use social media to build relationships and networks that are going to be supportive and have a positive impact on your career.” 

Miethner is no stranger to having a side hustle, as she admits that is how FindSpark began. Miethner believes that “it's always important to have a side hustle!”

In terms of current side hustles, Miethner explains that she “launched a business with my fiancé, soon to be husband, selling cat travel products through an e-commerce website. We were inspired because we became unexpected cat parents a few years ago after rescuing a 4 week old cat from our neighbors back yard.” 

If you're interested in getting involved with FindSpark, the best way is through their newsletter. Miethner explains that “It is weekly and features the best jobs. This is where we talk about the events we have going on, free workshops and personal workshops. Instagram is the best way to follow us.”