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The Disruptor's Mantra: Be the Game

disruptors run-d.m.c. Jun 01, 2023

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

As I’ve been introducing this new Fab 4 framework — creators, builders, sustainers, disruptors – I’m not at all surprised at the level of interest shown for our good friend ‘the Disruptor.’ Love ‘em or hate ‘em, it seems that everybody’s got an opinion on this player.

Some people value them more than gold. Others can’t stand them and run in the other direction when they see them coming. And then others (who are disruptors themselves) feel relieved to finally be seen and understood. Oh, ‘the Disruptor’… how I love thee.


As our company grows, I’ve been thinking about the type of leadership it’s going to take to level up.  What does my team need from me right now? And while we have someone who naturally serves as the disruptor on our team, I also realize that as CEO, I need to be able to wear that hat during critical times. So it’s...

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The Fab 4... When Wires Get Crossed

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

Enter the Fab 4. And while I love a good Beatle’s reference, I’m not talking about them or the tribute band. I’m harkening back to a week ago when we introduced the four fabulous (and essential) contributors of high performing teams: creators, builders, sustainers and disruptors. Highly effective teams have a natural blend of all four role players, so this week I want to dig into the problems can arise when they don’t understand themselves or their teammates.


These nuanced roles have predilections, to put it simply. They see the world a certain way, and enjoy making contributions in some ways more than others.

Take creators, for example. Creators, the most innovative of the team, often have love-hate relationships with the builders, sustainers and disruptors. Afterall, they’re onto the next bright idea before the builders have finished crafting the last...

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The Four Contributors of a High Performing Team

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

Have you ever noticed that you find certain aspects of your role at work energizing… and other aspects absolutely exhausting? You look over at your coworker happily working away on the thing that makes you want to pour a stiff drink and wonder… How does she do it?

The logic puzzle here might be simpler than you think. Let’s take a minute to look at who you are, and how you fit into the ecosystem that is your workplace.


In every successful work ecosystem, you’ll find a combination of four types of role players: creators, builders, sustainers and disruptors. All four bring unique perspectives and offerings. The trick is to find the harmony that ensures each person is actually playing to their strengths.


Creators are the “Big Idea” people. These bright-eyed dreamers burst on the scene with a vision to create a start-up, add a new business line or take the whole damn company...

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Are You Built for War or Peace? (Take this quiz and find out)

war or peace May 11, 2023

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

We all have unique personalities and traits that make us stand out from one another. In times of war and peace, certain qualities are more valuable than others, and people who exhibit specific traits tend to thrive more in one environment than the other.

This came to light for me a few weeks ago, during my time off last month. While I was enjoying sinking into some intentional rest and restoration, I also felt… well, rest-LESS. I lost sleep, my mind was racing, and I was itching to turn my pace up by a notch or ten.

After chatting with a colleague about this over coffee, he wisely said, “That’s because you’re built for wartime. You don’t know what to do with yourself during peacetime.”

And just like that, the puzzle pieces started to click into place for me. He was right; I needed more active rest to meet my wartime energy. So I went bird watching, visited museums and engaged in low-pressure vision planning...

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Sustainability Gets a Whole New Meaning

now what? reinvention Mar 30, 2023

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

We often talk about designing the life we WANT…what about honoring the life we NEED!

Like millions of students, my son just wrapped up his Spring Break in South Florida. He trekked around Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, where he attends college. He had a ball with his friends and got the mental reset he and so many students and teachers need to finish the academic year strong.

I love this annual ritual. But…it also made me wonder why Spring Break doesn’t apply to adults. I’m not talking about vacation PTO. I’m talking about unstructured and untethered time off designed in service of our need to unplug from the matrix and reconnect to ourselves and the things that matter.

So, a couple weeks ago I stopped wondering and decided to take an annual ‘Spring Break’ in April.

Now, if you’ve been following this column, you’ll remember that last year around the same time I was not this...

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What's Next? Does that Question Make You Feel Something?

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

Over the course of Women’s History Month, we’ve celebrated women’s accomplishments and the women we admire. We’ve talked about resilience, crucible moments and the badassery that defines women in leadership. That said, today I want to dive into a question that often poses a unique challenge for women… and men alike.

What said challenge do you speak of, Jes? Well, it’s when you successfully move through your goals like you’re on autopilot…accomplishing things others continue to strive for. It’s when you’ve worked your way through the ranks in your company or built a sustainable business from the ground up and find yourself on a narrow road with fewer exciting sights to see. It’s when you realize you’ve done all that can be done on your particular path and say the words that so many have said… "Now What?”

A common misnomer is that those who reach a career pinnacle...

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Why You'll Want to Give Yourself Permission to Explore Off the Beaten Path

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

I don't know where you're at on your journey, but today I'm popping in to remind you that the best stuff is almost always found when we venture off the highway.

As you know by now, roadmaps are central to our business. One of our mottos is “Be a Traveler, not a Tourist,” and this is rooted in the firm belief that you have agency over your life. You’re not being herded in a tour bus to places you don’t want to see. Nor do you need to live your life married to the route Siri chose for you. You’re on a life journey, and your current route may be charted to take you from point A to B, but you have options. You don’t have to stay the course—especially not if somebody else chose it for you.

And why would you want to stay on autopilot when there are exciting off ramps to explore? These detours are the very experiences that can change your life journey entirely. If I’m driving somewhere and I see...

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Can You Stand the Heat?

crucible moments Mar 09, 2023

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

It’s Women’s History Month, and I’m here for it! Today, I want to take a moment to spotlight two women who know what the phrase ”when the going gets tough” really means.  Women who didn’t crumble in the face of adversity and that I deeply admire. These women harnessed the power of the crucible moment to live better. Louder. Fuller.

So, what are crucible moments? Crucible moments are when you feel the heat. Moments when the loss was deep or the challenges daunting. The times when you thought it’s sink-or-swim and I don’t know if I’m going to make it.

When I think of my own crucible moments, I think about the season that followed my divorce. Trying to make it as a single mom. Living in a new community with virtually no friends and working a patchwork of freelance projects to try and pay the bills in the middle of the recession. I could have folded… but I found the strength not to...

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Living as a Soft Person in a Hard World

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

I'm excited to kick off Women's History Month with some thoughts on a topic that I think every woman needs to contemplate: Is it possible to live authentically in this perfectionist world?

Sure, this is the month to celebrate accomplishments (and we definitely will). It's the month we recognize the women we admire, appreciate and respect.

In the spirit of leading an Anti-Performance Culture Revolution, I've decided to devote the first newsletter of Women's History Month to the topic of living authentically above all else.

Today's feature comes from one of our Travelers. Every time I lead a cohort, I gain valuable insight and inspiration from these incredible women, and today I get to share with you a few thoughts from Sarah Chick of Research Triangle Foundation (May 2022 cohort of 28 Days of Reinvention).

This is the good stuff right here. You might want to print and get your highlighter. Just sayin'...

Take it away, Sarah!



Living as a...

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When You Look in the Mirror...

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

“People don’t have to like you, people don’t have to love you, people don’t even have to respect you. But when you look in the mirror, you better love what you see!” This gem brought to you by Sheryl Lee Ralph from Abbott Elementary.

You better love what you see… that’s the true test isn’t it? It’s where it all begins and ends. Over the last two weeks we’ve been unpacking performance culture and our need to kowtow to it. The trend is so pervasive that I dare say we might be addicted to the behavior. But to what end?

When we’re under the influence of performance culture, our reactions to workplace pressure and violations of our boundaries are heightened and extreme. We can forget what’s really important to us and lose ourselves in the pursuit other people’s approval and validation. Cue Sally Fields… "You like me, right now you really like...

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