Amy Van Dorp
Amy Van Dorp is the Executive Director of WithIt — a leadership development network for women in the home furnishings industry. Amy was fortunate to find her passion — working with women to strengthen their professional network and professional skills. She began working for WithIt in 2006 and was promoted to Executive Director in 2015.
Amy began her career as a graphic designer and eventually Art Director at Elegant Bride magazine where she produced beautiful wedding magazines and planners for 9 years. She left to pursue freelance graphic design business when her second child was born. She spent the next 18 years working with many companies, including WithIt, to create professional looking marketing materials, newsletters and directories. She has found every job through her network.
What is your area of expertise?
Networking and community building.
What advice helped to accelerate your career?
Find a mentor. I didn’t know to call my first mentor that, but she was instrumental in helping me learn how to navigate the business world. I’ve had several mentors through the years that helped me find opportunities and taught me important skills.
What do you wish you’d known earlier?
I always tell young women to take opportunities that they don’t think they are ready for. Women feel they need to know how to do something 100% to take an opportunity while men only feel they need to know 50%. There were opportunities I declined because I didn’t think I was qualified.
How do you address “failure”?
I consider failure a teaching moment. You can always learn from what hasn’t worked and improve on it. You don’t have the luxury of never having to try it again, so you need to continually improve what you’re doing.
Who inspires you and/or was your role model? Why?
There are so many women who inspire me – Caroline Hipple, president of Norwalk Furniture; Karel Czanderna, former CEO of Flexsteel; Grace Killelea, Michelle Obama.
What have your biggest challenges been in the past?
My biggest challenge in my past has been raising a family while also pursuing my career.
How do you manage your work/life balance?
There is no such thing as balance. I believe in prioritizing and making sure the work that needs done is getting done. That also applies to my family. I will not miss anything important. Sometimes that means I’m running crazy and burning the midnight oil and bringing home takeout. Sometimes I’m arranging things so I can be at my son’s concert or my daughter’s art show.
How did you cope with 2020?
While exceedingly stressful, this year has been a great opportunity to pivot and try new things. I love problem-solving and those skills have been put to good use.
Do you have a daily routine to optimize your success?
I believe in being prepared. I use a calendar planner from Levenger to capture my schedule, to-do list and meeting notes. Every night, I review that calendar and pack what I need for the next day. When I get ready to leave work, I write down the top 3 things I need to get done tomorrow and leave it on my desk.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Watching “What Not to Wear” while walking on the treadmill – and baking.