Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in our new We are EM (Monkeys Are People Too) series.
Gretchen Harding is confident she has found the ideal state, and she should know; born in Indiana, her home states have also included Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Florida, and New York. After an unfulfilling job in New York, in 1998 she moved all of her stuff to California and confidently proclaimed, “This is it.” Since then she’s never left.
From Napa to Consulting
With an extensive consumer products background she landed work in the wine industry, first for Mondavi and then Kendall Jackson. Eventually, a former manager from her college internship with Siemens in Germany recruited her to the then startup Cardonet, where she acquired a great deal of tech experience that she’s been expanding ever since. Wanting more control over both her schedule and choice of projects, she began consulting, which she loves. The flexibility and fresh challenges it offers appeals to her.
Of her many strengths, versatility and a high level of comfort with the unknown stand out; she has a great confidence that things will work out, even if they currently are in flux. This also stems from her depth of experience with various startups and often being on the ground floor of strategy development and product launches. Her expertise is varied, including brand and product marketing, customer insights, and social media. She excels at learning about and communicating with customers, and this intimate knowledge of them influences every aspect of her marketing work. This inquisitive nature also draws her towards new work, where she can utilize her creativity in devising fresh solutions. She has a hunger for doing things that have never been done before, harnessing customer insights to inform her work, and then executing. She enjoys brainstorming, but only insofar as it leads to actionable outcomes.
Nature, Nurture, and Cupcakes
When she’s not working, she likes to fill her down time with active pursuits. At the top of the list is taking care of her children or volunteering with their schools, but when she does get time to herself she fancies herself a nature lover who enjoys hikes with her dog and cycling around Silicon Valley. But her favorite hobby is more leisurely: baking. She enjoys the challenge, sharing it with others, and has so much fun that she makes time for it far more frequently than she even realizes. Care for a cupcake?