Introduce yourself! Who are you? Hey! I’m Shelby Wildgust, I’m a Philly Native living in Center City, PHL! I would consider myself a multi-passionate millennial. I have passions that span from business, to sports, to the outdoors, to pretty much all things Philly. On a random day, you can find me working in my home-office, running coaching calls for my corporate clients, running a podcast interview with my co-host for our podcast called “Wait, Am I An Adult Now?“, attending networking events, hosting a potluck at my house for young women in Philly, walking a dog with Wag!, or bopping around to different coffee shops in the city to get my creative juices flowin’. I love variety and I thrive in environments with high energy and deep thinkers. I am always down to connect with new people & love collaborating with like-minded young women, especially!
What is one thing no one really knows about you? I’ve been skiing since I was 4 years old, when I turned 13, I switched to snowboarding because I wanted to be “cool” and be able to hang with the boys. At 23, I switched back to skiing and haven’t looked back since…with all that being said, I’m fairly decent at both, and am ALWAYS looking for excuses to hit the slopes!
What would you say to 16 year old you? Stop trying to impress everyone by being the party girl or the popular girl…most of these people won’t be in your life by 25.
What’s the best advice you ever received? “Everyone can sing a song, but not everyone can conduct an orchestra” My boss said this to me last year when we were discussing strengths and weaknesses – he acknowledged that one of my strengths was that of a ‘connector’, in other words, I can see the needs in people & I can see the strengths in people, and I have the opportunity & ability (if honed) to add great value to others through connecting one another. Understanding this strengths within me has led me to actively seek out opportunities to be a connector, which I believe is one of the highest forms of adding value!
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel? Oh, yes. Absolutely! I started actively putting myself out there on social media back in 2014 – with the idea of building a brand surrounding personal development for young women – I definitely did not know what I was doing back then, and I got wind from some people that a lot of my friends from my youth were making fun of me behind my back and I felt the ostracization for sure. It really hurt at the time, it made me seriously think about whether or not what I was doing, or at least trying to do, was all worth it.
What message do you think every woman should hear? Community is SO important. To echo what I said above, I would have seriously struggled in getting over the feeling of doubt from others if I had not actively sought out a community of support. YOU get to choose who you surround yourself with, and I know that we all know that in theory, but it can be so hard to put into practice when you’re surrounded by people who have known you FOREVER and so it partly feels comfortable and safe, but if they’re not supportive or willing to push you in the areas you need help in, then they’re not the community you should be in.
Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity? In 2017, I was in a job that I really didn’t like; I was trying my hardest to put a smile on my face every day and ignite passion for what I was doing…and there were glimpses of something that could be great…but at the end of the day, I was miserable. I fell into an anxiety & depression-like state, and I was falling really out of touch with the woman I knew I was meant to be – it was a really scary time for me, I would cry on my way to work and would sob so hard I was essentially blinded by my tears and would have to pull off the road as to not get into a car accident. Pulling myself out of that environment & funk was the best thing I could have ever done for myself.
What do you love most about yourself? Honestly, I love the way I approach life. I feel very blessed to have found personal development at a young age and to have a fire ignited underneath me to make real change in this world. I truly do believe that I am here on this planet for a reason and I realize that is not something everyone can say confidently (although it IS true for everyone, it requires work to figure it out).
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward? I don’t really have any daily rituals, but I’m fortunate that by nature of my job, I am constantly being challenged to have in depth, strategic, and thought provoking conversations with young, entrepreneurial individuals, and that has forced me to stay on my toes and constantly level up my own understanding of business, humans, and myself. I read a TON, listen to podcasts, force myself to go to the gym (mind over matter), and journal.
Do you have a mentor? If so, what did they teach you? I have mentors and I have coaches. My biggest mentor is my dad, and he has taught me so much about financial health (although, I must admit, I am STILL very much learning this…) my other big mentor is my boss, and he has taught me the importance of putting people & relationships first. My coaches have all been very specialized in certain areas that I know I am looking to take massive leaps & bounds in…I am a HUGE proponent of hiring coaches!
What motivates you most? My dad is WHO motivates me most – he is my hero & my biggest supporter. WHAT motivates me most…I think it’s the drive to make a real, lasting impact in the world of female empowerment.
What is it like to be a businesswoman? I find it to be an immense privilege to be a woman in today’s time – we are on the verge of a massive shift in corporate culture, productivity, operations, etc and much of where the shift is headed is towards more ‘feminine’ ways of being, embracing things like vulnerability, healthy communication, authenticity, mentorship, etc. and although these are all skills that man and woman have to work on to hone, they do come slightly more naturally to women, which poises us to be real change makers and leaders as we head into the 2nd quarter of the 21st century!
Did you always know what you wanted to do as a career? It varied from time to time, but I always had a very entrepreneurial spirit! I held my first lemonade stand at age 4!
Were you scared to start the process? No, I don’t recall ever being scared to start the process, it was more a fear of judgement that kept me up at night.
How do you manage your work-life balance? I am in a very fortunate and very rare situation where my boss allows me to WFH often and never questions if I have to intertwine personal and professional. As long as I am getting my work done and as long as the quality is consistent with my capabilities, then he asks no questions. Having such a trusting boss and such a flexible schedule really helps with the work-life balance…I have found, though, that there isn’t much of a balance for me because so much of my work revolves around just living life. My underlying theme that connects all that I do surrounds building community for young people to embrace one another and through collaboration and support, hone in on and reach their ultimate potential…that cannot just be done on a typical 9-5 schedule…it is something I am always consciously doing.
If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what would you be doing? Exactly what I’m doing…maybe with some extra travel!
What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you? I am not a morning person! I wake up between 7-8 AM daily and would sleep until 9:30 AM if I could!
What is your favorite meal? Sushi!
What is something on your bucket list? Go camping in the National Parks!
What is your favorite thing about where you live? UGH – everything!!!! There really isn’t much about Philly that I DON’T love! There is such a unique vibrancy here – the people are so intelligent and so down to earth. The layout of the city is such that you can get anywhere you need to go in 10 minutes, just depending upon which method of transportation you use. There is a really unique culture of women doing epic sh*t here and it’s really fun to be part of it.
Who is your biggest role model? Why? I don’t have just one…I look up to influencers like Jenna Kutcher, Kindra Hall, Rachel Bratton.
What are your biggest passions? Building communities of young people. Being outdoors. Love. Family.
What is your greatest fear? I try not to actively acknowledge my fears because I feel like it then validates that they could become a reality. If I had to answer, I would say not being able to give my children the kind of childhood I was given.
Where do you find inspiration? Within! I know that sounds corny, but I remind myself that the choices I make today will greatly impact who I am at 30, 35, 40, etc. and that’s my inspiration and motivation.
Shelby Wildgust is a Philly Native with a passion for building community. Her mission in life is to connect young, ambitious & like-minded individuals together through various online & offline platforms.