Hilary Corna




Elon University - International Business, Asian/Pacific Studies + Minor in Japanese

Hilary Corna has the kind of fearlessness that we admire in a woman. At only 22 years old, she bought a one-way ticket to Singapore to start her career. Anything but typical, right? But she will tell you the opportunity was more than worth it as she worked as the "one white face" of Toyota Motor Asia Pacific. While there she studied kaizen, a business method and management style for problem solving. She applied this to her work with dealerships in the Philippines and India, and well, her career took off!

Hilary wrote a book, "One White Face," about her experience. If you want to read more about her story, she's offered an exclusive deal for I Want Her Job readers. (How sweet, right?) To get a 25 percent discount off her book, enter the code "P554X5B4" here when you order.

When your intuition dares you, accept it.

How did you discover your current job?

During a trip home to the states while I was working for Toyota in Singapore, I had five people within one week tell me I needed to write a book and share the "One White Face" story. I took it as a sign.

What is your typical day like? What types of things do you do in your job?

I like to schedule meetings in the morning so that I am sure to wake up. Working for yourself requires tremendous discipline. Therefore, I’ll schedule a call or a task to be due in the morning. I equally work from home as I do from local coffee shops, balancing back and forth to keep variety. I try to limit my schedule to one call per day and one to two hours per day spent on email. The rest of my time is then spent on actual work and creating content. This includes everything from revising website content, creating a press kit, answering media inquiries, doing weekly and monthly financing reviews, creating new book promotions and marketing, etc. On top of this, I always have time in my schedule where I help others, either students I’ve met or other authors and speakers. Finally (but most importantly), I’m always working on sales, communicating with schools, clients, book readers and more.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?

The most rewarding part of my job, by far, is those handful of students that approach me after an event saying how my story has changed their life -- how they were always looking for someone that could understand them like I do. This is the most fruitful part of my job. It reminds me of myself five years ago.

The most challenging: discipline. Making myself get up, making myself create content, making myself make sales calls. There are so many distractions in this world from social media, to helping your mom, to sleep, that working for yourself really requires quick execution with minimal expectations. And when things go wrong, it’s this discipline that keeps you going and back on track.

What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?

A relationship with a man. I’ve always been so focused on work that I’ve never been in a place where I was satisfied enough to give up time for a man. It certainly is not a sacrifice that I “have to make” but one that I have, over time, fell into. It’s very easy to distract yourself from this area by work.

What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?

When your intuition dares you, accept it. Never in my life did I imagine I would write "One White Face". It was never a personal goal of mine, but it was truly a calling whereby I had no other option. I had to write it. So often we worry about what we “should” be doing, or “should not” be doing. We worry about what was supposed to happen instead of embracing what did happen. We fill our lives with expectations that crowd and deafen our intuition -- which is actually this raw impetus for us to make things happen.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?

Creating a lifestyle where work is just a component, rather than creating work that supports a lifestyle. As women, we are faced with unique challenges from our counterpart, and the more we are empowered to pursue our dreams, the harder it is to make decisions later about all of those other components (family, spouses, health, friends, etc). We face a phenomenal situation where we can do whatever we want, but we need to know what we want first, and that requires us to know what kind of lifestyle we desire. And that’s hard.

Who are your role models?

My mother who is a single parent of five children who have all graduated college. Seth Godin. My closest friends.

What are some of the rules you live by?

Speaking kindly. Thanking people. Smiling. Positive thinking. Every experience is good one. Always ask. Only you are going to make it happen. Dare yourself.

What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?

Find a niche. Niche as much as possible.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Married with one child, perhaps writing a second or third book.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I'd like to share a quote that I kept on my Toyota desk in Singapore by Helen Keller, “Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.”