The Big Fish, Small Pond Mentality

Emma Flanagan, Micro Focus’ Global Analyst Relations Manager for ITOM and Vertica, shares some key insights she has picked up in her life and in…

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Emma Flanagan

December 2, 20225 minutes read

Emma Flanagan, Micro Focus’ Global Analyst Relations Manager for ITOM and Vertica, shares some key insights she has picked up in her life and in her work.

It all started in Bac Giang, VietNam

My journey began when I was adopted from Bac Giang, VietNam at seven months old. Giving me up for adoption was a tremendous sacrifice for my biological parents. I met them for the first time in 2013, learning for the first time how they sought to give me a bigger and better life than they acknowledged they could provide.

Ever since, it’s been my life-mission to continually seek out opportunities and support those that matter most in my life. After being adopted, I was raised in Dayton, OH, a smaller, midwest US city. While I’m very grateful for the small-knit community I grew up in, I always knew from a young age that I wanted to explore the world beyond what Ohio had to offer.

My “Big Fish” role model

Growing up, I admired my adopted Dad’s entrepreneurial spirit, his passion for philanthropy to our local community, and the larger-than-life personality he cultivated as the owner of Flanagan’s Pub for nearly 30 years. Over the years my Dad supported a variety of local charities, one being Secret Smiles, a non-profit that provides beds, cribs, and bedding for children in need.

He—a community leader known for his acts of service, kindness, and compassion—was my first role model for a “Big Fish.”

Why a small pond?

We often face paths that could alter the trajectory of our lives. Over time, what I’ve learned is that I value and thrive being in a “small pond” environment, a smaller community that allows individuals to propel their personal/professional development, positively impact others, and truly make a name for themselves.

Throughout my personal and professional endeavors, I’ve experienced the most joy when I’ve been able to genuinely connect with those around me, and to enact positive change for our shared community. I’ve enjoyed being in a “small pond” throughout my high school endeavors in my hometown, as a marketing major at The Catholic University of America in Washington DC, and on my current lean team with my fellow Global Media Relations professionals at Micro Focus. At Oakwood High School I had the opportunity to compete among 10,000+ students at the International Career Development Conference for Distributive Clubs of Education (DECA) to develop business acumen for college and future careers.

Then, in college, four team members and I were selected to represent our university at the Vatican Hackathon, a 36-hour hackathon in Rome, Italy with 120 of the best and brightest college students from around the world to solve various social injustices.

The Big Fish, Small Pond mentality

Being a “Big Fish” to me means that one is highly respected and regarded for acts of service, kindness, and compassion. All this is easier said than done, which I’ve found more achievable in a “small pond.”

Upon moving to Washington, DC for college and not knowing a soul, I faced the challenges of how to make friends as a first-year student. I learned quickly that the best way to meet like-minded individuals was to get involved on campus in student organizations and to volunteer in the local community. Leading through service was very important at my university, and I enjoyed volunteering annually at a local elementary school to help prepare classrooms for incoming students. Doing this allowed me to connect with my peers and to help those in need.

The “Big Fish Small Pond” mentality can be influential in guiding success in life. Leading as a big fish in a small pond allows individuals more opportunities for growth and positive impact on others.

My role at Micro Focus

Fast forward to today—I’m proud to be leading our ITOM and Vertica product groups as their Global Analyst Relations Manager. I enjoy leveraging my broad technology experiences and strong marketing acumen to develop and execute strategies and programs to generate growth and enhance market exposure.

Throughout my career at Micro Focus, I’ve enjoyed making my mark by connecting with and helping others. During our recent marketing team offsite, we volunteered at The United Way, to provide educational stability for the local community. This was a great team bonding experience and opportunity to leave a positive impact on the Provo, UT community.

Externally, I truly enjoy connecting with industry analysts and forming genuine relationships with our customers. It’s never a dull day as a Global Analyst Relations Manager and having such a strong and supportive team makes my job even more fulfilling.

In conclusion

Life has a funny way of working out, and while the light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t always there, I’m very grateful that the “Big Fish Small Pond” mentality has led me to where I am in both my personal and professional life.

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Emma Flanagan

Emma Flanagan is an analyst relations professional who leverages broad technology experience with strong marketing acumen to develop and execute strategies and programs to generate growth and enhance market exposure.

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