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Personal Fulfillment Isn’t the Responsibility of your CEO – It’s Yours!

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”

– Nelson Mandela.

Greetings from Lambertville – the sweetest little town you’ve probably never heard of.  Known as the ‘Antiques Capital of New Jersey,’ this town sits confidently on the banks of the Delaware River showing off its eclectic art galleries, charming coffee shops, and the inn where Aaron Burr fled after he killed Alexander

Hamilton. It’s a whole vibe.

On Sunday, I made the 56-minute drive from Philadelphia to Lambertville with a singular mission – to dial in my craft of public speaking. On Monday morning, I climbed to the second floor of an old lace factory where the world’s most rigorous and intensive keynote speaker training goes down. In order to attend you have to be invited and you have to be committed to the idea that a speech has the power to change the world and the people in...

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On Leadership: Insight & Advice from Microsoft Vice President, NCSU Grad Rashida Hodge

Uncategorized May 12, 2022

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with Rashida Hodge, Vice President of Data and AI Customer Success at Microsoft. It was easily one of my favorite conversations of the year. While our full interview will be available on the Reinvention Road Trip podcast in the next two weeks, I couldn’t wait to share a few of her leadership nuggets.

Nugget #1 – “We all have thorns; but we don’t talk about them… and we should.”

Right off the top, Rashida wanted me to know that she’s a woman of Caribbean soil and a child of perseverance. She draws on both in her leadership roles. And while she gets a lot of attention for her many awards and achievements, she is quick to remind me that there is more to her than her professional milestones.

“Hey, I’ve been through some things. I’ve been denied, and it’s important to remember that we can build from our circumstances regardless...

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In Search of Personal Fulfillment... How Much Responsibility for this Should Companies Assume?

Uncategorized May 05, 2022

(First appeared in WRAL Techwire.)

Here’s a relatively unknown fact about me. I’m a true crime junkie. I can’t get enough of these six-part, real life “who-done-its” and unsolved mysteries. I listen to podcasts, watch documentaries and like so many of my true crime aficionados I believe, beyond a shadow of doubt, that if I were invited to help solve a crime, I would have the chops to untangle the web of evidence and sift through the dead ends to find the culprit.

I’ve been putting these amateur sleuthing skills to work by interviewing some of the top executives in the region to better understand the cultural changes happening within their companies. We’ve covered burnout, leadership, hybrid work environments and the new rules of employee engagement. These perspectives are important because there’s a culture groundswell afoot. Companies everywhere are asking critical questions around supportive work environments and the...

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Hybrid Work is Here to Stay

Uncategorized Apr 28, 2022

(First appeared in WRAL Techwire.)

We’re interrupting our series on burnout this week to share a few highlights from a panel discussion I participated in on Tuesday hosted by the Kenan Institute-affiliated Entrepreneurship Center and the Research Triangle Foundation. I was joined by Jami Stewart, vice president of customer experience for Cisco Systems Inc. and Arvind Malhotra, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Professor. We discussed Designing Work for Attracting & Retaining Talent.

If you missed it, enjoy a few of the highlights captured by Rob Knapp, External Affairs Associate at Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise.

Hybrid work scheduling is here to stay, and it points to a broader incentive that companies can offer as part of employee recruiting and retention.

“’Hybrid’ is the word we use, (but) I think the real thing is ‘choice,’” said Jami Stewart, Cisco Systems Inc.

Offering choices requires trust, however, and...

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Burned Out? Try These Secrets to Unlocking the Stress Cycle

(First appeared in WRAL Techwire.)

Greetings from Boca Raton! This week’s blog is inspired by the Florida sunshine and glass of cucumber water. Two weeks ago, I shared that I was taking April off. More specifically, I blocked off any openings that had not already been scheduled and reserved them for me.

What a difference a choice makes! The act of preserving and protecting my time has already paid off in ways I would not have imagined. By deciding to say ‘no’ to new appointments, I built in more margin this month than I have in years. That one decision made it possible to schedule a quick trip to visit my son at Florida Atlantic University and drop in on a dear friend in Pompano Beach. Margin. A gift that I’ve clearly taken for granted.

This down time has brought me back to a book called Burnout – the Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Dr. Emily Nagoski and Dr. Amelia Nagoski. I’m rereading it, and like most things, it’s taken...

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Crispy Crunched Burnout! We All Are Feeling It... Now Let's Find Solutions!

burnout recovery Apr 07, 2022

(First appeared in WRAL Techwire.)

I’m taking April off!

Kinda. Nineteen days ago I snatched every block of uncommitted time I had this month and held it for me! I’m treating it like recess, so whatever I feel like doing, I’m gonna do.

My “come to Jesus” happened when a friend called to download her day and I teared up. I didn’t have it in me. The straw. The camel. I didn’t have it in me to care. As awful as that is to admit.

That feeling is called compassion fatigue and it’s one of the first signs of burnout. So, I did what any self-respecting human would do who makes a career out of personal development – I finished crying and bought a slice of salted caramel cake from Nantucket.

When I finally pulled myself together, I realized this was less about her and way more about me, my lack of emotional boundaries and my season of overcommitment.  Fast forward to today and I feel really good. I’m bringing more of the good...

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It's Time to Get Your Mojo Back - And Sprints Are Better for You than Marathons

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

I am NOT a marathon runner. And running 26 miles is NOT on my bucket list.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand the satisfaction of training for something this coveted. Putting that medal around your neck signals dedication, discipline and determination. The thing is I’ve always been wired for a different race – sprints.

I’m a huge fan of sprints—for work, hobbies, and even workouts. Sprints keep me engaged, excited about my work and full of anticipation. But so often in my conversations these days, people are still talking about their day-to-day as if they are training for a marathon.  They’re describing it as monotonous, predictable and dare I say it…boring. Our daily routines have become one of dragging ourselves out of bed…to kitchen for coffee…to home office for virtual calls…to living room for TV and back to bed again. When life becomes a zombie-walk, we lose so...

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Fighting Impostor Syndrome: Here’s How You Can Overcome It

(First appeared in WRAL Techwire.)

Today we’re bringing our series on impostor syndrome in for a landing! We’ve dug deep into the 5 various impostor archetypes Dr. Valerie Young identified in her book “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women.” If you missed out, you’ll want to check out the past articles to learn more about each archetype, including what each looks like in real life.

But today we’re zooming out to look at impostor syndrome from 30,000 feet.  Generally, we default to our impostor archetypes when we’re feeling threatened, insecure or are questioning if we are ready for a new challenge. The question that rattles us so deeply is: “Do I really belong here? Do I have the right to be in this room?”

The following are four powerful tips that I use in my own life to help counteract this feeling of falling short or inadequacy.

  • Get honest. Tell someone you are struggling. Listen to their response. Take their...
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‘The Perfectionist’ and Letting Go

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

Here’s a thought to start: “Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of blame, judgment, and shame.”

That’s from author Brené Brown, and, sure, we could just drop the mic here… because, well, Brené.  But, I still have more than 400 words left in this column, so let’s get after it.

It’s time to talk about The Perfectionist—the last archetype to unpack in our series on impostor syndrome. The perfectionist believes that the only way to be bulletproof is to never make a mistake. That’s right: never make a mistake. They labor to ensure everything they do and say is flawless.

Here’s how the perfectionist experiences impostor syndrome: you’re the fifth hire for a high growth, early stage startup.

New information is...

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Fighting Impostor Syndrome: What a Natural Genius Should Do When Going Gets Tough

This week’s impostor archetype is a tricky one—the natural genius.

You know this person. They coasted through school, immediately landed a sweet job and have an uncanny ability to draw from various wells of knowledge in conversation. But when faced with a topic or role that is out of range or uniquely layered, they tend to shut down, hide or freak out.

This coping mechanism is tied to the fear of failure or being viewed as incompetent.

If you’re a natural genius, you might relate to this:

Let’s say you’ve recently been promoted. No surprise, you knocked it out of the park in your last role and fully expect to soar in this new one. You’re in your first team meeting and your colleagues are speaking in unrecognizable acronyms. The diagrams on the screen are Greek to you, and you realize this new position is going to require you to learn a new software—and you’re NOT technical. At first you’re like, I got this, but as you dig into...

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