Hi, my name is Sydney, welcome to my cozy little corner of the internet. I am many things: woman, diabetic adventure athlete, happy wife, storyteller, improv student, recovering marketer, occasional yogi, and aspiring photographer. And, a I’m a survivor.
This blog dates back to 2008, and I’ve been writing online since 2003 (earlier if you count A/S/L in an AOL chatroom as “writing” – but I digress). While some of the older posts (tagged Early Days) are borderline embarrassing to read now (#quarterlifecrisis), they remain a part of my body of work.
So, what are we doing here? And what is all this Unfiltered stuff?
The Unfiltered Manifesto
Sydney: Unfiltered is a bullshit-free zone, and it is more than the highlight reel. It’s about living your best life and YOUR version of the dream. Unfiltered is all about being aware of the fact that the dream can (and probably will) change, and if/when it does, THAT IS
OKAY AWESOME. I’m a firm believer that we’re all in this together, you’re not alone, and repeat after me: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY. Unfiltered is about finding your voice, getting comfortable in your skin, and then using that newfound sense of self to shout from the rooftops about what matters to you.
This little corner of the internet is a safe place to have uncomfortable conversations, and if you’re joining us here from Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you know that I don’t mess around when it comes to intersectionality. The conversations here are inclusive, period, full stop. This article is a fantastic primer that I didn’t write but is applicable. Comment on what resonates with you. If it pisses you off, speak up. More than anything, show your face. I can take it. And I’ll probably high five you for doing so.
Who I Am
I am an always-evolving, fire-starting Unicorn. 🦄💖🔥 Seriously – I know it sounds like it’s 2008 and I’m calling myself a Ninja/Guru, but legit, I’m a unicorn. And if you’re feeling icky about that, I get it. It took me a long time to own my shine and appreciate it in others.
I am living my life out loud with Type 2 Diabetes. This part is new, as of September 2017. If you really want to know my story, I was recently the subject of a documentary about my life since being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. You can check it out here – it’s a doozy and I’m very, very proud of how it turned out. And bonus, if you know Ellen, could you send this her way? Literally, my dream life right now includes everything that’s already happening + the opportunity to sit on Ellen Degeneres’ couch and reframe the narrative around this disease. So Ellen, if you’re listening – HIT ME UP!!
Instead of eating or drinking my feelings, I am hiking my feelings. Life’s been a bit bananas since my diagnosis last year, and I recently realized that instead of eating or drinking my feelings (my pre-diagnosis coping mechanisms), I’ve been hiking my feelings. And paddleboarding my feelings. This is a new area I’m exploring and it’s serving as a beautiful container for the reflections that come up for me while I’m on the trail or on my board. I have big dreams of thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, and every time I set foot on the trail, I get closer to that reality. My friend Adam was the first person to tell me about thru-hiking, and unfortunately, he passed away before he had a chance to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, so maybe add that one to the list as well.
I am a happy wife and mama to two Puggles. I won’t go so far as to say “my dogs are my kids” because they’re not snotty brats, but since I’m in the childfree-and-loving-it camp, they are spoiled rotten. Luckily, this little guy doesn’t judge me:
I am obsessed with traveling, and my preferred method of transportation is a cruise ship. Between my sophomore year of high school and present day, I’ve been on 18 cruises. To this day, being on a boat (of any size) in the middle of the ocean is my happy place.
Here I am, on Azamara Quest, rocking significantly sucky jet-lag while docked in Stockholm:
What I Do
Super Official Third-Person Bio
For the majority of her career, Sydney Williams has been trying to find a box to fit in. Her career path is not a straight line, and over the past 12 years, she’s spent time diving deep into various industries and connecting the dots between them.
“Born and raised” at Weber Shandwick, one of the largest global PR/Marketing firms, Sydney cut her teeth as a digital marketer as the voice of the Wienermobile on Twitter, and helped Oscar Mayer to launch their digital portfolio. She also taught David Arquette how to tweet from the top of Madison Square Garden.
In March 2010, prior to speaking at SXSW Interactive with a group of her peers on a panel about “Why Gen-Y wants to work WITH you, vs. FOR you,” Sydney made a tandem skydive.
By July 2010, Sydney was a USPA licensed skydiver and started to figure out how to shift her world around this new piece of her life.
After a “semester abroad” with W2O Group in Austin as an Analytics Associate, Sydney found herself back in the Chicago area. In 2011, she joined Chicagoland Skydiving Center as the Director of Marketing, PR, and Events.
Since skydiving is a seasonal business in most of the country, Sydney started looking for opportunities to work in the sport year-round, and landed at Skydive Elsinore in southern California.
During her time with SDE, Sydney owned all marketing efforts, events, managed commercial production jobs, recruited & managed sponsored athletes, and was a competitor skydiver herself with her team, Elsinore Horizon.
In 2015, Sydney reconnected with W2O Group, this time as an account director and member of the West/Central Global Brands leadership team, where she led the go-to-market strategy and launch for Velv, a wine oxygenator. She was account lead for NBC, Comcast California, the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, Neodyne, and several other smaller projects.
After a quick stint at From Molly With Love as Co-Founder and CMO, Sydney is currently building Hiking My Feelings, working on her first book, traveling, and continuing her study of photography and improv comedy.