We had the good fortune of connecting with Haleigh Watts and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Haleigh, do you have any habits that you feel contribute to your success?
This is a fun question because it’s changed so much over time. I feel more successful now than ever in my career before and it’s really only happened within the last 1-2 years.

A. Work life balance: when you work in the service/hospitality/entertainment industry, this is so much easier said than done due to the (sometimes totally chaotic, but totally fun) nature of the job; even more so when it’s a startup like Number Thirty Eight is! I used to take work home with me, be available at all hours of the day to answer email, phone calls or Slack and I quickly and begrudgingly learned that burnout is all too real, no matter how much you love what you do. My favorite thing to tell myself and others is that we are not performing heart surgery. Nobody’s life is on the line and whatever work-related situation arrives can wait until tomorrow. Of course, some things are time sensitive, but in general, this mindset has helped me to really fall back in love with what I do.

B. Being open minded and willing to try new things: I can confidently say that I have failed several times at trying new things in the workplace. This mostly surrounds marketing strategies and planning events, but I firmly believe you should try everything once and go from there. You can take it as a learning opportunity for the next time or you can decide it isn’t feasible to try again. Events we thought might work at Number Thirty Eight have been total busts and events we didn’t have as top priorities have absolutely blown up, so it’s really trial by fire. I realize there isn’t always the opportunity to try and fail and thinking like this does run me the risk of sounding naive, but with a supportive team and creative budget management, I’ve been able to really learn what works and what doesn’t.

C. Separating business from emotion: this one might sound silly or obvious, but I am someone who wears her heart on her sleeve and when I really care about something like I do my career, it’s easy to let emotions slip in and overtake your logical thinking. That being said, I DO think there is a necessity for empathy in business, but I’ve learned that it’s more internal facing than external. I came into this career as an unconfident yes man; and it absolutely drove me down an emotional rabbit hole. I hated the thought of anyone not liking me or thinking I was difficult to work with, but in reality, that’s what everyone else around me was already doing and that’s why they weren’t getting burnt out. I had to take a step back and really understand that it’s not personal, it’s just business. This really helped me transform my day to day anxiety about my work performance.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
In 7 years, I’ve worked my way up from a college graduate to the National Director of Marketing for a 2 year old startup. I still don’t even believe that’s the trajectory I somehow ended up on and I feel that some of it was accidental, but if you take everything in stride and are willing to take risks, you just never know!

Andrew, the COO of The Numbers Holding Company (parent company of Number Thirty Eight and future locations), recently told me I was like the swiss army knife of the company. I have to say that describes my career path to a t. Every professional job I’ve held has always started as one thing and as the years passed, ended up as sort of a jack of all trades position. In NO way am I saying this has this been easy and a lot of times it’s been very overwhelming, but I’ve come to realize that’s what my strength is. I am good at project management and handling multiple time sensitive priorities at once and I have (again accidentally) made a career out of it without even knowing I was doing it.

In past positions, it used to be something that would frustrate me as I felt as though I was a dumping ground for unwanted duties, but I started to look at it as a very trusted role. My caveat here is you do have to stand up for yourself and communicate when you start to feel as though something does not fit within your role or that you cannot promise success on a project if you have other important items on your plate; nobody knows how to measure your own success like you do and nobody can truly speak up for you except yourself. That being said, my piece of advice would be to look at yourself and write down everything you’ve succeeded at in your career and put those into categorized buckets – no matter how small! You might see that you are more of a well-rounded, skilled person and employee than you might have previously thought. So many of our skills are transferrable and I think taking a hard look at what you’ve done can help you form a picture of where you’d like to see your career go.

I’ve also not been afraid to ask for help. You’d be surprised at how many people are willing to sit and talk, mentor or provide professional advice. Many of the people I mentioned previously have been these outlets for me. I went to MSU Denver and have a BA in Hospitality; I got my college job running new employee events because I asked the Dean of our college if she knew of any campus jobs that might be a good fit for a Hospitality major. I ended up working for the university’s HR office and by the time I graduated, I had a letter of recommendation from the university’s HR Director who used to be the HR Director at the company I was applying for! I got the job and my career has moved steadily along ever since that point. Speak up, network and use your resources!

In regard to Number Thirty Eight, I had joined a cup in hand kickball league through Volo in 2019 and was signed up for their marketing emails a year after the league ended. I got an email about a new league starting in RiNo at Number Thirty Eight. Having not heard of it before, I did a quick google search and saw Number Thirty Eight was an in-construction venue slated to open later that year. I’d been looking for a new job for a while and noticed they had a Marketing Manager position posted. Before applying, I did some LinkedIn sleuthing (stalking) and found the owners. I had one mutual connection with one of the owners and it was a gal I worked with at CU Denver who had only started within the month. We’d met one time over zoom, so it was a bit of a risk for me to ask her to introduce me, but lo and behold, the owner of Number Thirty Eight was her fiancé!

Here we are two years and a promotion later. Never be afraid to ask!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh man – Denver, let alone Colorado, has so much to offer! If we’re looking at the metro area specifically, I have tons of great ideas.

1. Selfishly, you know Number Thirty Eight is on the list!
2. I’m also a sucker for a good rooftop; The Woods is a more elegant rooftop bar and restaurant option in RiNo and, in my opinion, has one of the best views of the city. Another great rooftop spots includes the Red Barber at the Catbird Hotel.
3. Like wine? Go tho Noble Riot. Enough said.
4. Carmine’s on Penn is a MUST if you’re an Italian food fan. It’s one of my favorite restaurants in Denver.
5. Red Rocks. You can’t visit Colorado without visiting Red Rocks, whether it’s for a concert or during the day just to check it out and hike around.
6. A Rockies game; as a Denver native, Coors Field is one of my favorite places in the world. I think it captures so much of what Denver is about and has great energy. Nothing brings the community together like sports!
7. National Western Stock Show (if it’s January) – I grew up riding horses with the Westernaires and had the incredible opportunity of performing at NWSS for several years. Whether you are into country music, rodeo, boots or line dancing or not, NWSS is the traditional kickoff to the year here in Denver!
8. Granby or Breckenridge; if you need a place for mountain vibes that isn’t a 3 hour drive, either of these are wonderful choices. There are major lakes with tons of activities, shopping, eating and drinking. Plus the cutest places to stay!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This could be the longest answer ever because I’ve been so blessed with such a great support system, but I’ll keep it condensed.

First and foremost, my husband, who is 6 years older than me, has been by my side since the beginning of my last semester of college. To say the least, he’s been through it all with me and continues to support the craziness of my career.

My parents also deserve a massive shout out; college is a major financial undertaking and my parents supported me the whole way. I look at this as a luxury I was afforded and I could not be more grateful to have had them in my corner and providing me with a platform to succeed.

I have to name several colleagues, both current and past over the last 7 years who were my saving graces both personally and professionally. There’s just no way I could answer this question without naming them: Danielle, Shelley, Celine, Nicolle, Jen, Marc, Tanida, Bill, Karen, Alice, Mariah, Kristen, Anthony, Spencer, Andrew, Rex, Erica, and Amy. I will never be able to express how cool these people are. I haven’t spoken to some of them in a long time as I’ve moved on from companies, but they have left such an everlasting impression and will always deserve credit in the support of my career journey.

Instagram: @haleighbwatts

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/haleighwatts/

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