Skip to main content

How to get started:

Feel like you’re at a crossroads? Ellevate 101 introduces you to the community that can give you a career kickstart.

We’ll walk you through some light intros and give you space to connect about shared career experiences. You’ll also learn how to use your Ellevate program to continuously make moves towards success at work.

Our next live welcome session is .

Register here for your chance to get started

4 women lined up supporting each other

Taking a Non-Linear Career Path, with Jill McGinley

Taking a Non-Linear Career Path, with Jill McGinley

We sit down with Jill McGinley, Vice President of Workplace and CX Marketing Adoption Operations for Lincoln Financial Group, to discuss how she got her start, following a non-linear career path at the same company, and taking the emotion out of pivoting careers.


0:00:00.1 Maricella Herrera: Where leaders go, learning follows. Harvard Business School Executive Education offers more than 60 in-person and virtual programs. Learn more and apply at, that's


0:00:19.0 Megan Oliver: Welcome to the Ellevate Podcast: Conversations With Women Changing the Face of Business. And now your hosts, Maricella Herrera and Megan Oliver.


0:00:36.9 MH: Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Ellevate Podcast, this is your host, Maricella Herrera and I am here with the wonderful Megan Oliver. How are you, Megan?

0:00:47.8 MO: Doing well, I am back in New York for the time being.

0:00:51.6 MH: You're in New York and I am not. I am in London, suffering from three broken toes.

0:01:00.9 MO: I know and you just... You were so gung-ho about your marathon plans and your everything, your new trainer.

0:01:08.5 MH: Yeah, I had my running coach, I was gonna do the New York City Half again. I was all in with my running plan. I was in El Salvador a few weeks ago, even there, I was figuring out how to exercise and how to do things, came to London to see my nephew and my brother and my sister-in-law, and because I was still so in the running mode, I was exercising for my runs. I planned everything, and then I went to the gym because you have to do some strength training to make yourself less vulnerable to injuries. So ironically, I want to do that, so I wouldn't get injured, and I got injured, I dropped a 15 kilo weight on my foot, and now I'm having a hard time. I was in a lot of pain, and I won't be running for at least 6-8 weeks.

0:02:08.6 MO: Oof. I cannot imagine. And speaking of gyms, can I just say, I'm back at my gym in New York, obviously. I use Crunch Fitness, Woo-hoo. [chuckle] And I'm so mad because it's January, so everybody around me, I guess, is on their gym, fitness kicks for the New Year, but all of a sudden it's so hard to get into any classes 'cause they keep filling up, and it wasn't this hard when I was working out there midway through the year last year. And so I'm like, "I'm glad that everyone is getting healthy and working out with me," but I'm like, "I can't get into any of my favorite classes anymore."

0:02:49.6 MH: We're almost at the end of January, it's not gonna last that long. [chuckle]

0:02:53.4 MO: Definitely, no. It will peter out. If it's anything like all of the other gyms that I've peered out with, it'll peter out in February, March.

0:03:00.7 MH: Yeah, but hopefully not, it would be a great thing for people to get healthy. I am currently, I went to the doctor today to check on my foot and currently trying to figure out how I'm gonna exercise and not fully fall out of my routine with... Well, I'm in recovery for my foot because, I don't know about you, but to me, and I think I've said this before here, running is really for my mental health. It's really better for me and for everyone around me that I run. It's how I reduce my stress level, is the time I use as my me time and not being able to do that for a long period of time is gonna be a hard thing, and it's something I have to look out for, and I think we all have to look out for knowing what are our triggers, what are the things that we rely on for our mental health, and making sure that we are paying attention to it.

0:04:05.6 MO: Yeah, and that's exactly what the classes are for me, I think that's why I'm so... For the first almost 29 years of my life, I am 29 now, I would have been so stoked to have an excuse not to go. But I found that they really are something I can rely on. So yesterday, thank goodness, at the end of the day, I managed to get into, it was core yoga, which was harder than I was looking for since I haven't... I wasn't as good about keeping up the schedule back in Texas, but I was like, "It's something." And it's something that I can do. And today, I think I'm just out of luck, but I'm gonna desperately try to Zumba tomorrow or something.

0:04:49.5 MH: I was gonna say, look for something during the day. That's the beauty of flex work, right?

0:04:54.4 MO: Yes, exactly. I was supposed to do a yoga during the day yesterday, but I mixed up the times and I realized it was during our come check us out community circle for the LGBTQ community, and so I could not go.

0:05:06.8 MH: Which I heard was fantastic.

0:05:09.3 MO: It was so fun. If you were there, hi. I love talking to you. We had, that was one of our allies were welcome events, we do those every other month, and we all just really talked a lot about being queer in the workplace as well as we had one ally there, and she just asked a question, a very genuine question about just wanting to be a better ally. But not wanting it to seem performative or she was in our faces or anything, and it was just such a question, just so born from a genuine want to help, and a genuine want to be there. But to not make it about her, which was so appreciated and every single one of us just gave us her answer, and it was just, it was a really, really good space.

0:05:52.0 MH: I love to hear that. For anyone who's not familiar with our community circles, these are spaces where you can show up and be fully yourself. It's for you to come and have a space to share with those who share an identity to you, so we have community circles for Black women plus, for Latinx professionals, for the LGBTQ+ community, for Asian Pacific Islanders, working caregivers, remote professionals and professionals over 40. So, we know that our experiences are very complex. And sometimes you just need to be with people who get it. And that's what we're there for. So, join Megan at the community circle for the LGBTQ+ community and some of our other amazing peeps at the other ones. We do them once a month.

0:06:46.3 MO: Yeah, come join us.

0:06:48.7 MH: Cool. Well, I'm gonna quickly go to my conversation today with Jill McGinley. Jill McGinley is the Vice President of Workplace and CX Marketing Adoption Operations for Lincoln Financial Group. She's fantastic, we had a really great conversation about her career and trajectory, and just a lot of how the workplace has changed. Lincoln Financial Group has been one of our partners for years now, and we're great fans of them. They've been huge supporters of Ellevate and of the Mobilize Women Summit, so it's really great to be able to talk to Jill and some of their leaders in a different setting. So, I hope you enjoy my conversation with Jill.


0:07:44.5 MH: I am very happy today to be here with Jill McGinley from Lincoln Financial Group. Hi, Jill, how are you doing?

0:07:51.2 Jill McGinley: I'm good. How are you today?

0:07:54.1 MH: Doing well, it's sunny. So Jill, I always like to start these kind of very broad and go from there. The big old question is, can you give me a little bit of personal background and a little bit about your story and how you got to where you are today.

0:08:13.1 JM: Absolutely, absolutely. I'll admit, sometimes I do enjoy talking about myself, so I'll take this opportunity to do that. No, I'm actually originally from Philadelphia, and I still live in Philadelphia, so I'm a born and bred Philadelphian, very proud of my city. And I'm married for 20 plus years, and I have two children, and actually, as of this August, both my kids are in college, so I am adjusting to being, I guess what they traditionally called an empty nester. It's been quite a journey adjusting to that, but my husband and I are always kidding with each other that it feels like it did when we were in college, we're back to that paradigm at home, so it's actually kind of been nice and it's nice to see my kids grow and kinda go off on their own. So it's been an adjustment, but a good one. Just one other thing I always have to tell people is, I am a true animal lover, and so my family would not be complete if I didn't mention my two bulldogs, I've got a French Bulldog and an English Bulldog, so my...


0:09:25.5 JM: My animals mean everything to me, and so they are certainly part of the family. But in addition to being from Philadelphia, I've also had a really long career at Lincoln Financial Group, and I actually just celebrated my 20th year here, so it's been a momentous year for me overall, and a really exciting one.

0:09:46.8 MH: It sounds like it. Congratulations on all of it. Kids going off to college, 20 years at a workplace, which we'll talk about because that is not something we see that often anymore. And I have a question about the bulldogs, though.

0:10:02.6 JM: Absolutely.

0:10:04.1 MH: What are their names?

0:10:05.7 JM: The French Bulldog is Dr. Pepper, [chuckle] and the English Bulldog is Captain Jack. So you can tell that my kids were both a fan of soda and a fan of Pirates of the Carribean.

0:10:20.8 MH: I love that so much. I love animals with food or beverage names. My cat is named Toffee.

0:10:26.9 JM: There you go. There you go.

0:10:28.7 MH: Yeah. Okay, so now that you're kind of on your own, what has been the thing that surprised you the most?

0:10:40.0 JM: How much time I have has been the thing that surprised us the most. My kids were very active, they have their respective areas that they like to participate in, lacrosse, swimming, dance. And so I don't think I ever appreciated how much time both myself and my husband spent driving them and being there to watch them, and so the time I've gotten back has actually been the biggest surprise. And so we've been kinda wading through what we wanna do now, what activities do we wanna take on, and it's actually kind of really... It's nice, it's refreshing, and we're taking our time to decide what that looks like, but that has truly been the biggest surprise.

0:11:28.3 MH: It's probably like starting over in many ways, right? Your timeline, your day-to-day life definitely changes.

0:11:35.8 JM: Absolutely, it's a good way to put it. Starting over, I like that.

0:11:40.4 MH: So tell us a little bit about your work at Lincoln Financial Group. You're the VP of CX Marketing Operations. What does that mean?

0:11:49.5 JM: Yeah, like I said, 20 years here and where I've ended up is in our workplace solutions marketing group, our customer experience strategy team, and I specifically get the opportunity to lead the marketing operations, so creative services, project and program management, resource management, traffic planning, all of that fun stuff. And over 20 years, I've had a lot of opportunities at Lincoln. Folks will always say to me, "How did you manage to stay in one place for so long?" And I really think that part of that comes from the way Lincoln use its employees, they really do try to promote from within. And beyond promote from within, it has a lot more to do I feel like with giving opportunity. I've changed my career trajectory multiple times. I came to Lincoln as one of our retirement consultants, which meant I was in the field meeting with participants on a day-to-day basis talking about retirement. And from there I moved into relationship management, which meant I was engaging more with the plan sponsor, and then I took on some leadership roles in these client-facing areas, and got a really unique opportunity to help start a team within the marketing area that focused on communication strategy and custom communication for a lot of our larger clients. And so I pivoted and moved into a more marketing adjacent role a few years back, which honestly, that's what my degree is in, and I had always felt like that is what I truly wanted to pursue.

0:13:36.3 JM: But opportunities present themselves and you have to take them. And this was just another opportunity, but it does speak to that idea that I mentioned, where Lincoln is really open to that and employment that I've had in the past, I didn't always feel that way until I arrived here. And when I finally landed at Lincoln, it was really apparent that they were open, so for me, it doesn't feel really like I've been somewhere for 20 years. It feels like it's changed so often. The things I feel like I like the most are the things that I get to retain. And the things that I want to evolve, I've had the opportunity to do that.

0:14:16.2 MH: So, it sounds like you've had a non-linear career path, but within the same company.

0:14:20.0 JM: Exactly, exactly.

0:14:21.4 MH: Which is a great testament, honestly, for Lincoln, I think that that's how you can get to really retain employees is if you give them the chance to try different things, learn different things, and then prove what they really want to do.

0:14:36.6 JM: And I always say to people, one of the things that I've always clung to for my own personal mantras is knowledge is power, and I think when you're able to keep and continue to foster in the knowledge you have of your organization and of your organization's clients, but then pair that with new territory within the organization, taking on new challenges, you keep a confidence level that I think is really important to growth. You always wanna have that confidence, and I think the way to do that sometimes, and like you mentioned that non-linear way, right? Maybe a less than traditional way is within the same organization, you keep the knowledge, but you get to really try out different facets of the org and move within it, and so you get that refreshed perspective as a professional without having to give in... Without having to give up everything that you accumulated and built in terms of the knowledge of the org, so it's a unique position that I found myself in, but a good one, one that I highly recommend if you get that opportunity.

0:15:43.7 MH: And I was gonna ask, actually, as you're saying, you highly recommend this, you got the opportunity from Lincoln Financial. And did it happen, like the opportunity came to you, did you raise your hand, and what advice would you give to people who might be looking to make some sort of a lateral move or a different move within their own company?

0:16:01.6 JM: Yeah, no, I can say it was a little bit of both. I've never been shy about taking anything on. I think most people that know me would say I'm always one of the first folks to raise my hand, and I think that that continues to be true. I think it was true when I was a child, and it's certainly true later in life, and so I think part of it is that I'm always looking to do something different, and so I was always communicating that, and I think that's really important. That's not what everyone wants, and so you have to make sure people understand what it is that you are looking to accomplish, what you will be comfortable with. People will ask, but they don't always know to ask, and so it's really critical that you're open to that and that you're voicing yourself out there. You're putting your voice out there.

0:16:50.6 JM: On the flip side, I think Lincoln is very, very good at understanding what it is that their employees truly want. We do a lot of surveys at Lincoln. And the great thing about it is, I'm in marketing. So I'm comfortable with surveys, we do a lot of surveys too. But you have to show that you're taking the information and that you're applying it, and Lincoln has always been great about trying to understand what people want out of a career path and what they want from a support model within the organization, and they take the feedback that they get from their employees and they apply it and they apply that through making these kind of opportunities available. They do, I think, a really terrific job of communicating career opportunity internally, making sure people feel comfortable having the conversation.

0:17:43.3 JM: I can honestly say, I think one of the worst things to do is to have a conversation with your manager and find out that maybe you're not on the same page, and that has never ever happened to me here. I feel like the dialogue is encouraged, it's a baseline expectation for a manager to be able to have that dialogue, and that dialogue has been just... I can't underscore how beneficial it's been to me in my career, but I see it perpetuating that same paradigm across the organization with the folks that are on my teams and other teams, and I think going back, it's a little bit of both, and I think it always needs to be a little bit of both. You have to be vocal, but you also have to have, I think, that inherent appreciation by your employer that they want to go down that road of exposing you to new opportunity. So it's important to pick the right place. I think that's also incumbent upon us is to make sure we've got the right match in where we're working.

0:18:42.0 MH: That's so true. And such a... I think we say it, but we don't really take it to heart as much as it should be taken to heart, you have to find a good fit for you, and you have to find a good fit for the style of learning or of development that you want, and it's... You mentioned managers and the conversation and dialogue that happens with them, and that's massive. If we are not having those conversations ongoing, not just maybe once a year, but just really ongoing, then we don't know what either our employees want or how we can support them. How have you taken it into your own hands and how do you help or support those that are coming up the ranks within your organization or even outside and help them with these kind of insights that you've learned through the time you've been there?

0:19:34.0 JM: It's a great question. And I think of being in a leadership position as being a privilege. There's not a plethora of leadership positions in the traditional sense, and so the fact that I have been fortunate to have one and to spend a good amount of my career in one, I really do try to remind myself all the time that it's a privilege and you need to treat it that way. And so, I think of it, I think of being a leader as being someone who is in charge of supporting my team. We set goals, we set strategy, and there needs to be commonality, and I think you have to build a coalition around success. And I think of that as what my job is, identifying what we're driving towards, helping the team to understand why, and then building their support for getting there. Telling someone what to do versus inspiring them to do it with you are two different things, and I had to learn that. I had to learn that the hard way sometimes, and I've always kept that in mind.

0:20:52.6 JM: I think the other thing I always try to remember is I truly believe we manage the way we want to be managed, and so in that leadership perspective, I try really hard to think about that. I would never want to be micro-managed and so I am deliberate in making sure that I don't do that so that folks have an opportunity to showcase all of their capability, all of their work. And I look at my role as I can be viewed and judged as an effective manager by the performance of my team as a whole and individually, rather than it being about me as an individual or a person. And I think shifting that perspective, 'cause I don't think that was necessarily the perspective that I had at the start of my career, I had to grow up, frankly, and I had to learn that and I think I've been successful at that, and therefore I've seen my team's success that way. And so that's the perspective I really try to employ all the time with folks and we have open conversations about it, and I think that that truly is what I communicate to them.

0:22:03.1 JM: It's about building your own coalition, even if you don't have what we consider to be a traditional management role, leadership is everywhere. And I think that's so important 'cause you don't... I know for myself, had I not been able to exhibit my capability to do the next job, I would have never gotten it. It wasn't about getting into the next role, it was showing in the role I had all of that capability and being very open about my desire, but tying all of that together and in building your coalition, those folks around you that will help you to be successful. That's the message I really try to get out there.

0:22:44.1 MH: You've said so many things. I was trying to write them down 'cause I love the build a coalition around success, it's so true. It's a team sport, right? You need to have everyone on board. Everyone needs to know clearly how they fit into the puzzle, where you're trying to go, and you as a manager need to build the supports for them to get there, as you said. I think there's an aspect of changing your mentality for being an individual contributor to being a manager that is very hard, and that we usually don't get prepared for, we're kind of just thrown into that. So I just wanna say, you sound extremely self-aware and I don't think... You said you manage how you want to be managed. And I would say that's not necessarily true for most people, I think that's true for the people who like you are self-aware and can understand, "Oh, this is what I would like, let me do the same for the other people." But I've seen a lot of the times people who just do as it's been done to them, which doesn't necessarily make it the best experience for a lot of the people that work for them.

0:23:54.6 JM: It doesn't. And I think self... You mentioned self-awareness, and I think that's so critical. And it's not easy either, and I think the performance assessment part of a job, both your self-assessment and even when you're assessing others, I think being self-aware, being open to the feedback, understanding maybe why people perceive you a certain way or they perceive your decision making a certain way, I think it's always about the why for me. Anything can land awkwardly. And there's always an opportunity where maybe you're not communicating enough or you're over-communicating, but understanding why people feel that way to me has been the thing that's been the most, I'll just say eye-opening for me. Asking and getting into the weeds and really trying to understand has really helped me, and that's self-awareness, also sometimes knowing... I guess, knowing your weaknesses as much as your strengths is so important. And I tend to be an introvert. So this dialogue that we're having one-on-one is far more comfortable for me than, say, being in a crowded room with 15 or 20 people. I tend to feel far more comfortable engaging with one or two individuals than a group of them, and so I've also had to realize sometimes that I have to push myself beyond what I'm comfortable with. I may just wanna talk one-on-one, but people may need more visibility from me to understand what's happening, and so it's picking up on those tiny nuances.

0:25:43.8 JM: I think that, number one, they definitely help you be more successful, but I also think it demonstrates the idea that you have respect for others, and I would never ever ask someone to do something I wouldn't do myself out of respect for them, because that's what I want back, and I don't think you can ask for something you're not willing to give. And so those are the kind of things that I try to keep front and center for myself because, again, I go back to that idea of being in this role is a privilege and I have to treat it like that.

0:26:18.8 MH: I love that, the way that you look at it with the idea of privilege. I always go back to the Spider-Man, "With great power comes great responsibility." [chuckle] And leadership is everywhere, right? Like you said, we are all leaders wherever we're standing. If we want to be, if we wanna stand up and lead by example, support other people, take a little bit more of that responsibility. As a leader yourself, what are some of the questions you've asked when you have to make those really difficult decisions?

0:27:00.4 JM: Yeah, and there's a lot of them. So I'm sure at this point you've probably figured out I tend to think about things a lot. I love to analyze.

0:27:10.2 MH: A woman after my own heart.


0:27:12.6 JM: Yeah, no, you can't... Sometimes you can't help what you are, you just have to embrace it. And I think a long time ago I realized that I was always gonna have a tendency to analyze every situation, and so I try to use it to my advantage as much as I can. So some of the questions that I tend to look at is, number one, am I missing any information before I make a decision? I think that it's important. I have a bias for action. And so I've had to train myself a little bit to put the part of the analysis first and instead of the action first, and I think that tends to be a process that we all follow as we mature as professionals, and so I certainly am in that camp. I think the next thing I tend to think about is, what's the worst case scenario? And I know that sounds harsh, but I prefer to understand, what's the worst case scenario if I make this decision and then what's the worst case scenario if I decide not to? Because I think being able to have that comparative in your mind and play that out, especially when you're thinking of it through the lens of the job you're in, you have a good idea of what kind of predictive behavior is coming, and so if I try to think through all of those things, what happens with the decision? What happens without it? I feel like I can get the scenarios down and that helps me to kind of decide and weigh what the right course of action is, and I think the last thing is probably how do I...

0:28:51.0 JM: How does it impact and how can I lessen any negative impact that might come with it? I think we tend to always focus on the positives that will come out of a path we choose, and that's the right way, that optimistic perspective. But I think if you don't also weigh the impacts and think about who it impacts and how, you can find yourself with what you think is a great decision that isn't viewed that way. And so understanding and being cognizant of that and trying to get ahead of it with folks, I think is really, really important. Especially the people it's gonna impact that are doing the work day-to-day. They're living and breathing it, and so I know that I can make decisions that have pretty significant down streams to individuals, and I want them to understand I considered them as part of that process.

0:29:46.7 MH: Yeah, and that's so hard because like you said, all these decisions will eventually impact people, and right now we're going through a period of time where you're seeing all of these companies make all these decisions that immediately impact people like lay-offs, like reduction in force, like changes and pivots in the way people work, whether it's remote or hybrid or whatever it is, how do you take the emotion out of it?

0:30:12.9 JM: How do I take the emotion out of it? The best way that I know how to describe that process for myself is I always make two columns in my mind, or literally sometimes just on paper. I can be a little old school, I am a Gen X, sometimes I just have to have that pen to paper. I think it's the visual that I like, but I will literally write down and go through what is the tangible benefit that the data-driven benefit that the organization is going to receive from making certain decisions, and then what are those elements that will be potentially impactful to the people and separate it all out.

0:31:02.5 JM: And I really try very, very hard to process any of that emotional aspect of what is coming, so that ultimately, when I arrive at my decision, I've vetted it the right way. In my mind, I think that's the most important thing and that I've had a chance to process the emotion. I think If you don't give yourself the chance to accommodate those emotional impacts for yourself, you are not going to be able to get to where you want in the process of coming to just whatever the decision is, it could be a staffing decision, it could be a change in responsibilities for folks, whatever it might be, I have to put myself in their shoes. I've gotta process that, I've gotta get to a place where I believe, at least that I feel like they're going to feel so that I'm prepared to have those conversations and be able to feel justified in the decision that I'm making. And that's not an easy process, but I do think it's an important one.

0:32:09.9 MH: I agree. And I think that that shows so much empathy, and it's empathy, I believe, and from some of the research that I've been reading is one of the most important leadership skills. It's not something that just happens. It is a skill that you develop.

0:32:26.6 JM: No, and I... For me, the empathy too goes back to that idea of managing the way you wanna be managed. I would certainly hope that as folks around me are making decisions that have impacts to my team or to myself, that they're thinking through that, that they're at least acknowledging it as part of their process, and so I would never want to deliver anything less than that myself. And I think as long as you keep that, it can be difficult sometimes, you're asked to make decisions quickly, frequently, oftentimes, it can be an uphill battle to keep all of that in your vantage point, in your view. But I think the more you do it, the more it just becomes second nature. And then to your point, that second nature, I think, of doing that, that's where the empathy really starts to come from. It is part of who you are and that I think is critical 'cause then you wanna be authentic.

0:33:27.2 JM: And I hate to throw that word around 'cause I feel like sometimes it gets lost, but what it really means to me is that you're just being yourself and you're pulling yourself through. And being yourself and being empathetic doesn't mean that you don't make good business decisions, but it means that you're vetting those business decisions and you are considering the impacts. And even if you arrive at one that has an impact that you wish it didn't, you feel confident in what it is that you've decided. And you can explain that. And you can stand on it, and I think that's what I always fall back to. Can I stand on this? Do I feel comfortable putting myself out there and say, "Yes, I did this, yes, this was the decision. Here's the why," and the more I feel that that is all vetted, and I feel like that is very true, and I feel confident in saying that, then I feel very much like I've made the right decision. I followed the process.

0:34:25.0 MH: Yeah, I like that a lot. You do have to feel... It is a weird way... It's a weird thing to say you have to feel good about it, because sometimes you don't feel good about it, but the good in the way that you're saying it. Good in the way that you've thought of all the different outcomes, you've thought of all the processes, you've thought of the impact that your decision makes and then kind of stand with it.

0:34:48.9 JM: I never wanna get to a point where after I announce a decision or we start to go through it that people are saying to me, "Did you consider this, did you consider that?" I wanna be able to say yes all the time as much as possibly can, but I also think that's where pulling people in and not isolating yourself is so important too. No one does anything on their own, everything is, it should be a collaboration. Making sure you have the right folks around you to collaborate with that will be honest with you, that I think is the only way you get to that point.

0:35:24.1 MH: And that can have different perspectives, and again, it goes back to what you were saying about building a coalition for success. And that's kind of the way that you need to go.

0:35:32.0 JM: Absolutely.

0:35:34.5 MH: This is great, I'm having a great time talking to you. How do you see the future of work continuing to evolve? I feel like we went into the decision making and we went into some hard conversations, but the last few years, everything has shifted, and I don't know how you're seeing at LFG, especially being in a place for so long, you've seen it go through multiple, multiple, multiple, multiple changes, how do you think what's next?

0:36:00.2 JM: Yeah. I think the last years have been really hard for everyone, and I use myself as a barometer, and I look all around me, friends, family, co-workers, and I think we've all been impacted personally and professionally, unlike any other time in our lives. Oftentimes, when something's maybe not going the way you want at home, work becomes your refuge and vice versa, and I feel like with pandemic, our lives were just meshed together, the personal and the professional in ways that just hadn't really been the reality before. And so I feel like it impacted our whole self, that's kind of what, the terminology I've been using to describe at least how I felt. I always had two personas, I had my home persona and my work persona and it just allowed a little bit of balance. But now we're on camera, people are working from home, you can't get away from the home life coming into the work life and vice versa. And I had the benefit to have worked virtually for quite some time, and so my adjustment was different, but seeing what's happened, I think there's a few things that I've really kept my eyes and ears on. And Lincoln's great about research and tapping in to not just how our clients are feeling, but like I said, also how the employees are feeling.

0:37:32.0 JM: And so there's been a lot of data, there's been a lot of perspectives that have been given to us, and I truly think that people are starting to evaluate things like work-life balance, their work environment and ultimately fulfillment a little bit differently. At least when I came out of college, I felt like it was all about compensation, that's all anybody ever talked about. And that's changing, and I see it with my kids. I've got two Gen Zs that are in my family, and they have grown up differently, and so their expectations are very differently and pandemic has uniquely shaped them. I can't say enough about what I've noticed. And my son was a senior when pandemic first landed, and so there were a lot of changes that he went through by comparison to what I experienced when I graduated high school. He lost a lot, and his first year of college was very different. There was a lot more isolation, my daughter was a little better, but still very different, and so when they start to process what something is worth to them or how important it is to them, it's not necessarily in the same way that I was accustomed to.

0:38:54.4 JM: They really care a little bit more about how they feel overall, it's not just about their compensation. And so I've been watching them and their friends really closely as they've gone through the last two and a half years to see all of these difference and evolve. And what I'm seeing play out with them is also what we're seeing reflected in some of our research, seeing how much the perspective has shifted among employees and their expectations of their employer. That their employer is helping them more with wellness, whether it be financial wellness or whether it's personal wellness, that there's an expectation that they're in this together, and that you really truly want to feel at home at work, and in a different way than we used to, and they depend on their employer for that. So as I see it, I think that work from home is going to continue to some degree, I think there will always be some mix of that, I also think that the employee is... Because of generational shifts, we're going to see some changes there.

0:40:04.5 JM: I think Gen Z entering this workforce over the last few years and continuing to, is going to really put us in a position where we need to evolve some of how we think about benefits, how we think about engagement, how we think about promotion, and really pulling employees in differently than maybe I've been pulled in the last 20 years. I think their expectations will not be the same as mine, and what I'm looking forward to is seeing how this new generation shapes our work environment similar to how the millennial generation shaped the work environment. I've seen a lot of changes over 20 years, going from a lot of more in-person focused engagement with our customers to then a paring of it with that whole digital lens on everything, where we're really trying to offer experiences across every medium, whether it's in person or digital. And now with Gen Z, I think that those experiences now really need to shift into a way that feels like you truly are customer-centric, that you care about your customer. And I think that's what we're seeing them as a consumer group drive for us, and I think that's what they're going to drive as an employee base at all of the employers, I think we're going to see that entire generation really elevate our game, if you will, a little bit.

0:41:33.3 MH: Yeah. And it's interesting, right? 'Cause right now we're gonna have this very, very wide breadth of generations within the workforce, and I think it's just gonna get better because of that. Because of the new expectations from people who are joining the workforce, I have great hope on Gen Z, I'm not gonna lie.

0:41:52.5 JM: I love to hear you say that, 'cause I do too. And I like change, and I know that that's not necessarily true for everyone, but I really feel like that's one of the hallmarks of that generation is that they process change pretty quick, and they've always had a device in their hand. And we were laughing, I mentioned earlier about my husband and I trying to figure out what our path forward is, and we were laughing over dinner last week about looking stuff up online, and how we used to have to go to the library for encyclopedias, I'm really dating myself now, but... And how quickly our kids can find answers in just a second, and it changes the college experience too, the way that they gather information, and so I really think that they are going to enable a faster pace of change than we've ever seen before, and that's really good for business too. That's the exciting part in my mind.

0:42:54.2 MH: And talk about a generation that will be used to uncertainty. They've been marked by it.

0:43:00.8 JM: Yeah, absolutely.

0:43:02.4 MH: Well, Jill, this has been lovely. Thank you so much for taking some time to chat. Is there anything you want me to ask you that we haven't covered?

0:43:11.8 JM: No, the one thing, one question is, what do you wish someone might ask you that they never do?

0:43:18.9 MH: So let me ask you that.

0:43:21.9 JM: I think it's, what would I do differently in my career? I really feel fortunate that people look at my 20 years at Lincoln and they look at it positively, and it couldn't have been more positive, but I do always wonder when someone's gonna ask me, "Well, would you do it differently if you could do it over?"

0:43:40.2 MH: So let me ask you that. Okay, we've talked about your career trajectory, and you certainly have one that's I think a little bit different than what we usually hear, but would you have done it any different?

0:43:53.7 JM: I would just a little bit, and I think the only real difference is I would take more time to enjoy the small successes and wins along the way. I think I do at least, and I think a lot of folks around me tend to celebrate the big wins, a new client, a new platform release, whatever it may be, but I think sometimes it's the smaller stuff that adds up the most, 'cause it's what you see and everyone sees in their day-to-day. Whether it's we just met a communications deadline or you got the chance to catch up with a peer that you haven't talked to in years. Or maybe it's even just how you helped a customer with something very small, but celebrating more of those little wins as you go instead of waiting for the big one, because I think when you... At least for me, 20 years, if I step back and I really start to think about all those small wins, I really feel, I think a pretty typically renewed passion every time I give myself the opportunity to do that, and I didn't do it enough in the early parts of my career. I think I've really just shifted into that mindset since pandemic, and I would definitely tell all of your listeners, celebrate the small stuff every time it happens, because when you step back and you look at it through the broad view, you see just how much you've been able to accomplish and giving yourself those moments of celebratory opportunity like that is fantastic for your self-motivation and don't cheat yourself of that.

0:45:39.0 MH: That's great advice, 'cause I do think we... I agree with you. We tend to look at the big things or just the bad things.

0:45:44.8 JM: Yeah. We do, we do. [chuckle]

0:45:48.9 MH: I'm very guilty of that as well, so I'm gonna take that advice too. Well, let's go into our lightning round, if you're ready?

0:45:56.9 JM: I am ready.

0:46:00.3 MH: Okay, first question. If you could time travel, where is the first place you would go?

0:46:03.9 JM: The beginning of time.

0:46:05.6 MH: The beginning of time? That's a good one. I've never actually heard that one.

0:46:09.1 JM: I wanna see where it all started.

0:46:11.4 MH: I like it. Would you rather explore outer space or the bottom of the ocean?

0:46:16.8 JM: Bottom of the ocean.

0:46:19.9 MH: Interesting. If you could have any super power, what would it be?

0:46:23.8 JM: Oh, invisibility. I would love to be invisible.


0:46:29.7 MH: I like that one.

0:46:32.4 JM: I'm an observer, so I would love to just not be seen and just watch it all unfold.

0:46:37.8 MH: I like that one. What's the most used app on your phone?

0:46:41.4 JM: Oh, by far, it's gotta be iTunes. I'm a music lover.

0:46:47.6 MH: Very good. What are you listening to lately? What's your big pump up song?

0:46:52.8 JM: Actually, I've been listening to Taylor Swift's new album. I gotta give her a shout out, she's from PA. And so I've been... All the news about the tickets and all that, I've been listening to some Taylor Swift.

0:47:06.8 MH: She's good, she's good. What's a skill you wish you had?

0:47:11.0 JM: As I said, I really love music, but I don't play an instrument. I really wish I could play an instrument, and I think if I could pick one to start, it would be the guitar. That's actually been on my list now that the kids are out and off to college, that may be where I'm headed next for my activity and filling my time.

0:47:28.6 MH: I think that's a great use of time, it's lovely. Best piece of advice you've ever been given.

0:47:38.1 JM: My dad always used to tell me, just work hard, push yourself and don't worry about the rest of it. He always said, "You're gonna work 8, 10, 12 hours a day, and you wanna be able to put your head on the pillow at night and just know that you did everything you could." And I really have tried to follow that and it's worked wonders for me.

0:48:00.1 MH: Love it. And finally, what's one thought you'd want to leave with our listeners?

0:48:09.2 JM: I feel like I'm a very competitive person, but I've learned that the biggest competition you have is yourself from day to day. And so I really try to just focus on that, I'm just competing with the next best version of me. I know myself better than anybody else, I know whether or not I could have done more yesterday, I know whether I can do more today, and I really try to motivate myself through that. I mentioned this a little earlier, I think our internal dialogue can sometimes be our worst enemy, but I think if you take that dialogue and you transform it into something that's positive and fair and constructive, it really can move you forward, and so I always try to let folks know, just worry about competing with yourself, don't worry about competing with anybody else, and I think that will carry you through almost anything.

0:49:09.9 MH: I love that, that's great advice. Thank you, Jill.

0:49:13.6 JM: Well, thank you, I enjoyed our conversation. It's so nice to connect and connect through podcast or another asynchronous way of communicating thanks to pandemic. But I love it. Thank you for taking the time with me today.


0:49:34.6 MH: That was fun.

0:49:35.7 MO: That was, that was so fun. I love Lincoln Financial, and like you said, they have been with us forever, for definitely as long as I've worked with Ellevate, and they've just always been such a good partner and always wanting to help make things better, and one of those companies that really puts their money where their mouth is.

0:49:55.2 MH: Yep, and if you want to find a job in a company that puts their money where their mouth is, you should really come to our roundtable this week on Thursday at noon, because we're gonna be talking about what recruiters really want to see on your resume and LinkedIn. So if you are kind of starting the year thinking, "What's next? Do I wanna change my job?" Or just wanna spruce up your public career persona, this will give you lots of tips. So Thursdays at 12:00 PM, the Ellevate Roundtable.

0:50:29.0 MO: Our entrepreneurs are also gonna do a roundtable of their own, they're gonna do a virtual networking Ellevated, so a lot of just really good networking, so if you are an entrepreneur and you wanna just meet with other entrepreneurs, that is the place to go on Thursday at 4:00 PM.

0:50:44.5 MH: Yeah, and like we were saying at the beginning of this episode, if you're looking for a space to come and chat with people who are going through very similar things as you or have a similar experience during our community circles, we have two coming up in the next week. Our parents and caregivers are getting together this Wednesday at noon Eastern, and our 40-plus professionals are getting together next Tuesday at 12:00 PM Eastern.

0:51:10.2 MO: Yeah, those are gonna be really great. And then speaking of getting together, I wanted to do a quick round-up of our in-person events, because as we've mentioned in the past, our chapters are hard, hard, hard at work getting back together in person. They still got their virtual offerings but we wanted to get a little shout out to those chapters that have things coming up in the next week or so. So if you're in the New York area, the New York chapter has an executive council breakfast about executive leadership in the new workplace on Thursday at 8:00 AM. Miami has a happy hour, all about The Power of the Wardrobe on Wednesday at 6:30 Eastern time.

0:51:49.8 MO: Pittsburgh has another happy hour, Sip and Sort at Dress for Success. A lot of different Dress for Success is going on, which is really fun. At Thursday at 5:30. Our twin cities chapter has two different in-person events going on, they have a Yoga Nidra class on Thursday at 6:30, and a Coffee and Connection meet up Friday at 7:30 AM. Seattle has another style one called Step Into Your Style with Confidence: An Evening at Armoire next Tuesday at 4:00 PM. And finally, Dubai, if you're all the way over in Dubai, they're an amazing chapter of ours, super engaged. They have a Rise and Shine monthly breakfast coming up next Tuesday at 8:30 AM local time.

0:52:32.8 MH: Definitely check out our chapters, they're doing great stuff, and it's a fun place to meet some peeps. They'll not only cheer you on in your career, they'll remind you to have fun while you're taking names and doing the rest. And so for celebrating our history makers this year, which, Megan, you told me we got a few tags on social media for people making us check out some of the history makers this week. Do you wanna start with that and give a shout out?

0:53:06.2 MO: Yes, we do, and I was so excited. Minouche Shafik became the first woman president of Columbia University, so a special shout out and special thanks to Lolina Luna who sent us this one on LinkedIn, thank you so much for letting us know.

0:53:22.6 MH: And also, that's amazing as a Columbia alum. Very happy for this.

0:53:28.5 MO: Oh, yes, that was a big deal.

0:53:30.4 MH: Yes. We're very excited. Katie Ledecky became the first woman swimmer to win two AP Female Athlete of the Year awards.

0:53:40.2 MO: Tiffany Craft became the first woman mayor of Whitesburg, Kentucky.

0:53:44.5 MH: Rachel Jones became the first woman to record 1000 laps in a year on Manitou Incline. Wow. I'm tired just thinking about it.

0:53:55.0 MO: Yeah. There's a picture of her, I think we're sharing it on our social media, but there's a picture of her at the top of the incline, and you can see how far down it goes. It's crazy. I can see why she's the first woman to reach 1000 laps because I think that I would die at one.

0:54:11.8 MH: That's amazing.

0:54:13.7 MO: Yeah. Kelly Clarkson, familiar name, became the first woman to host NFL owners.

0:54:18.8 MH: Michelle Karczeski became the first woman clerk of Hartford County Circuit Court. Congrats.

0:54:26.6 MO: Congrats, everybody.

0:54:28.4 MH: Well, it's been a pleasure Megan, even if my, well, toes hurt and it's late here in London, but it's been a pleasure catching up and hanging out with you today and with our amazing listeners.

0:54:42.9 MO: Yes. Who do you have coming up next week for us?

0:54:44.8 MH: So next week, you're gonna be in for a treat. I really had so much fun on this one. I talked to Deepa Purushothaman who just challenges and re-defines the status quo of leadership success and power. She really focused on the experience of women of color. She spent 20 years as a... Helping women and clients grow as a senior partner at Deloitte. She went on her own. Did a few things in Deloitte, she was also chairing the women's initiative, but what we talk about a lot is about her book The First, the Few, the Only: How Women of Color Can Redefine Power in Corporate America. She did lots of research. And it is fantastic. I really, really encourage you to listen to this one. You're not gonna wanna miss it. I love Deepa. She was amazing.

0:55:39.6 MO: Yeah, she was one of the... A little behind the scenes. She was the first of our new year bookings, and I was just really excited when she came through that she was like, "Yeah, let's go ahead and get it scheduled this day." And I was like, "Oh, this is gonna be fun."

0:55:55.1 MH: Yeah, it was great. So I had a lot of fun. Well, you guys are gonna have fun with us and of course, we go into both her personal experience as a woman of color and my personal experience as a woman of color, and there's a lot, I think, in there for everyone. Hope you can tune in next week. See you then. Bye.


0:56:19.5 MH: Join an exceptional peer group to sharpen your leadership skills and advance your career. Harvard Business School executive education now offers in person and virtual programs. Learn more at, that's


0:56:42.0 MO: Thanks so much for listening to the Ellevate Podcast. If you like what you hear, you can subscribe, give us five stars and share your review. You can learn all about Ellevate membership and all the great things that Ellevate Network is doing at our website, That's E-L-L-E-V-A-T-E And special thanks to our producer, Katharine Heller, she rocks. Thanks so much and join us next week.