Sarah Robb O'Hagan has held top executive roles at Virgin, Nike, Gatorade (where she was credited with turning around the $5 billion brand) and Equinox, before becoming the CEO of Flywheel Sports in February. But that's not the whole story.
She's also been fired twice. And after a night of too much partying, she slept through what was arguably the most important meeting of her life.
According to O'Hagan, it was these failures that gave her the courage to find success.
O'Hagan's experience at Virgin Atlantic Airways started great: As a 20-something, the New Zealand native landed her dream job in the marketing department in New York.
Frustrated by a disorganized marketing strategy, she took a risk. "One Friday night, in the middle of a New York City heat wave, I opened my laptop in my tiny, un-air-conditioned apartment and began writing," she explains on LinkedIn. What emerged was a new marketing strategy for the company.
O'Hagan slipped that plan and a handwritten note under the door of the president of the U.S. division of the airline.
A few days later, the boss called; he liked her plan — and her initiative. She was promoted to Director of Marketing.
Then, disaster: That night, O'Hagan went out to celebrate. "At five in the morning, when I got back to apartment, my plan was to catch one hour of sleep, and then get up at six for work," she says. She woke up the next morning at 11:00.