My key professional takeaway from watching Emily in Paris

image of author Antonia Hellman

Antonia Hellman


5 min read

Emily in Paris and a CEO professional takeaway

This might be an out-there topic for a professional blog, but I don't really care. Let's talk about why I watch Emily in Paris. [No spoilers]

For anyone who doesn't know, Emily in Paris follows a bubbly woman from Chicago, who moves to Paris to work at a French marketing firm. Throughout the show, she adapts to her new work environment and glamorous new clients. (There are also new friends, chic outfits, stunning views of Paris, and a couple of potential love interests. But that's not really relevant here.)

I've been watching Emily in Paris for years now, and I find it pretty inspiring. Of course, the drama is entertaining, but one of the main reasons I watch it repeatedly is to dissect Emily's marketing savvy and professional instincts. For every client that walks in, she has a new, fresh, creative idea for how they can raise their brand awareness. She thinks outside the box and boldly steers everyone around her toward the road less traveled. As a first-time founder who's responsible for Toucan's marketing despite not having much prior experience, it's interesting for me to observe how she thinks.

But it's not just her ideas that I find impressive, it's her execution. When she comes up with an idea, she ACTS on it. She does her research. She finds the right contacts. She knows who in her network to call for help. She remains persistent even when people try to brush her off. She stays optimistic. She takes initiative without hesitation.

I see far too many female professionals come up with excellent ideas but then convince themselves that they aren't the right ones for the job. They sideline themselves because they think that they lack the proper skills or because they're afraid of rejection. The fact is, nobody's going to be a bigger champion for your ideas than you; so when you refuse to put yourself out there and execute on your own creativity, you've all but doomed your idea to oblivion.

Emily succeeds because she's smart, confident, audacious, and sociable - not because she has years of experience and knows all the answers. On the contrary, she's alone in a new city on the other side of the planet, she doesn't speak the language, she's constantly committing cultural faux pas, and she's marketing luxury brands, though her background is in pharmaceuticals. Practically everything points to failure, yet...

Yes, I know that Emily Cooper is a fictional character brought to life by dozens of writers, directors, producers, and Lily Collins; however, I think that we have a lot to learn from her. So next time you start to second guess your ability to execute, instead, think WWED? ("What would Emily do?").

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About author

image of author Antonia Hellman

Antonia Hellman

Antonia Hellman is co-founder and CEO of Toucan.

She is a recent graduate of Stanford University, having studied political science and economics.

She enjoys long walks to explore new cities, listening to audiobooks on 1.2x speed, a cup of hot water, and re-watching mediocre movies.

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