As a University of Wisconsin graduate with a degree in Communication and Media Studies, Kellen initially wanted to pursue a career in entertainment as a talent agent. However, while Kellen was away at school, a good friend of his by the name of Aaron Levant started Agenda. Not too long after, Kellen hopped on board to work with Agenda in a various number of capacities. Throughout Kellen’s 5+ years of experience at Agenda, he has not only helped to build the Agenda brand, but he has also helped to build the foundation for where he is today.
As the President of The NTWRK Agency, Kellen is all about helping to build brands, tell stories, and bring products to market. Some of the brands that he represents includes: Herschel Supply Co., Native Shoes, Brothers Marshall, and Komono. In this edition of 3 Lessons Learned, Kellen speaks on surrounding yourself with wiser people, always being truthful, and the importance of being healthy. It’s time to take notes and pay close attention. Class is in session!
Lesson 1: Surround Yourself With Wiser People
One of the lessons that Kellen has learned early on in his career is the importance of constantly surrounding himself with people who are smarter than he is. Regardless of career status or title, anyone that you come across can be a potential teacher or mentor. You can learn from anything or anyone. It’s important to surround yourself with good people who can help you throughout your career. “I learned very young that you have to learn when to listen” says Kellen. “I would surround myself with people who knew more than me. I find leadership and inspiration in everyone that I meet.” As the founder of Dell once said, “Try never to be the smartest person in the room. And if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people…or find a different room.”
Lesson 2: Always Be Truthful and Direct
Always tell the truth and be direct. “I have never been in a situation where the honest truth wasn’t the best business decision” says Kellen. There is enough business to go around. At the end of the day, you should be a good person and take care of the people around you. All we have is our word. If people don’t trust you, it will be hard to do business with anyone on both a personal and professional level. When you’re truthful, honorable, and direct, people will tend to hang in there with you even when times are tough.
Lesson 3: Be Healthy
It’s important to be active and have a work life balance. A simple rule Kellen follows is to always take the stairs. He means it both literally and figuratively. The energy that you burn taking the stairs pays off huge in the end. For Kellen, it’s always a mindset. He’s going to do things the right way instead of taking short cuts. Beyond moving your body, you have to keep track of what you put in your mouth. This is a struggle for Kellen as he lives to eat opposed to eating to live. Lastly…get some sleep. Yes, we know that sleep is the cousin of death, and Kellen loves the rap lyric also. However, chronic fatigue is the cause of being overweight and unproductive. It may not be as eloquent as Nas’ line, but you get the drift.
Last Words With Kellen
“Do what makes you happy. If you’re not happy with what you’re doing, it’s probably not the right thing. The only thing that you can control is how you react. Happy people find a way to react positively to everyday circumstances. Discontent people find a way to react negatively. At some point, we all need to take ownership of our own actions.” – Kellen Roland