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Life Is Too Short To Be Doing Something You Don't Love, with Dr. Carol Parker Walsh

Life Is Too Short To Be Doing Something You Don't Love, with Dr. Carol Parker Walsh

We sit down with Dr. Carol Parker Walsh, Founder of Carol Parker Walsh Consulting, to discuss retaining female leadership, listening to your inner voice to show up for yourself, and how a car accident helped change her perspective.


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


0:00:19.2 Megan Oliver: Welcome to the Ellevate Podcast. Conversations with Women Changing the Face of Business. And now your host, Maricella Herrera and Megan Oliver.

0:00:35.2 MH: Hi everyone, welcome to the Ellevate Podcast, I am Maricella Herrera, the CEO of Ellevate Network, and your host for this conversation, and I'm here with Megan Oliver, who is my co-host. How's it going, Megan?

0:00:51.4 MO: It's going well, how is it going with you? I know you're still in London and you still have broke... Three broken toes.

0:00:58.6 MH: Well, I'm back home now, so I'm in New York.

0:01:02.1 MO: Oh, you are, never mind.

0:01:04.1 MH: Yeah, but I still have three broken toes.

0:01:08.4 MO: That's fair. The big thing is still, is still true.

0:01:10.8 MH: The big thing is still true, the flight was thankfully uneventful, I was a little concerned about how that was gonna go, but it was good, and I can start exercising this week, so my running coach has given me some bike stuff I have to... I have to do so at least I'm gonna start getting back to some movement, which I desperately need.

0:01:41.2 MO: That's good. Yeah, I've actually... I know I gave an update a few weeks ago where I was saying that it was really hard to get into classes right now 'cause everybody's on their fitness journeys, which we're very glad that everybody's on their getting healthier, journeys, just like me, it's still difficult to get into classes, like all my favorite classes, especially the ones after work, are just snatched up immediately, but I have been able to, most of the time, get into at least one during the workday and just set my schedule around that. So that's been good.

0:02:11.3 MH: That's good, that's the, again, the beauty of flex work, I think it's super important that we have the time to do things like that. Like go to the gym or go for a run in my case, or, well, hobble around in my current case, and use it because mental health is part of being... I don't know, it's part of everything, you can't do anything if you're not doing well yourself, and I think it's important to have these moments to take care of you.

0:02:42.6 MO: Yeah, I, in particular in the... 'Cause most of them have been towards the end of the day-ish like, 4:00, 4:30, and then I go and then I come back and I work for an hour or two afterwards 'cause I've already gotten most of myself done, but one of them last week was a 12:30 yoga class, so it was right smack in the middle of the day, but it was kind of really nice to have that moment where you had been focused, and then you're focused on yoga, and then you come back and your brain is in a new headspace, but it's nice.

0:03:12.5 MH: It's amazing, I used to love going for runs in the middle of the day, because of that.

0:03:18.7 MO: Yeah.

0:03:19.2 MH: 'Cause I felt like I had two fresh starts in the day.

0:03:22.0 MO: Yeah, it's so nice.

0:03:24.9 MH: Yeah. Anyway, what have you been into this week?

0:03:29.0 MO: I have, all right, I'm gonna be honest with you real quick, so I'm rediscovering a joy, a passion, a love from my childhood. I don't know if anyone on here is around my age, which is almost 30...

0:03:47.6 MH: So young but yeah.

0:03:47.7 MO: But when we were kids, there was a game made by Disney that was an online game called Toontown, and it was the best game ever, and you played as a little animal, and you ran around and you fought robots, they're called Cogs, by throwing pies at them and shooting them with water hoses and whatever, so somebody... Disney closed it ages and ages and ages ago. But somebody just got all the code for it, I guess, and just put it back online, and so now it's just called Toontown Rewritten, and before it went through different phases of being... It was, you could do free play up to a certain point, and then for a while it was just like fully, you had to pay to play. But now with the Toontown Rewritten, it's just fully free, so I'm running around as a little yellow duck named Sacara, because that's what her name was, that's what my character's name was when I was a kid, and just playing this kid's game, but it's also all adults playing this game because it's all people who are nostalgic for this, so literally, picture me yesterday, I'm just running around and having the time of my life playing as a duck, and throwing pies at Cogs that are all make fun of business terms, there's like four different kind, there's cell bots, cash bots, boss bots, and law bots. And it's so funny, and it's, if anybody wants just a good old time, a good old blast of nostalgia, or just some bright fun colors, Toontown Rewritten, highly recommend.

0:05:37.6 MH: Oh my god, I don't know... I've never heard of this. Clearly, this is where our age difference shows.

0:05:46.4 MO: Please look it up and you'll be like, "This is what Megan has been doing this weekend." And you'll be like, "What, are you five?" And I'll be like, "Kind of."

0:05:55.7 MH: 'Cause I know nothing about this. I never heard of this Toontown situation. It sounds fun, like you know...

0:06:04.7 MO: 'Cause you can play online with other people.

0:06:10.3 MH: Toontown online. Toontown Rewritten.

0:06:13.8 MO: Are you Googling it right now? I love that.

0:06:15.1 MH: Of course, I am.

0:06:18.7 MO: I love that, we're gonna get your reaction like live in the thing, yeah, this is what I've been doing.

0:06:22.4 MH: It looks like I'm new here. No one, this is... Okay, just looking at the characters though. It seems like it's gonna be a fun ride.

0:06:37.9 MO: Yeah.

0:06:39.7 MH: Yeah, no, I've been doing less fun stuff, I think, I've been reading a lot, and I can talk about stuff I've been reading that's more on the professional side, which is, I've been going through a book that's called Value Proposition Design, it's from the Strategyzer, which are... They've done very famous books like Business Model Generation and some of these very strategic books of how you start building business ideas, so I'm going a little bit through that, which is always good to remember some of the basics and how do you really craft your value proposition, I think it's an exercise that any business has to go through multiple times and revisit multiple times, because as the world change, or as the world changes, we need to change how we talk about the things that we do. So I've been doing a little bit of that. However, on the fun side, I just read Carrie Soto Is Back, which is the new Taylor Jenkins Reid book. And I am not a fan. I know nothing about tennis. Absolutely nothing. And the book is about a tennis player, so there is tons of tennis in the book, and yet I read it in a day, it's so fast and just nice to read. And very entertaining, I loved Daisy Jones & The Six, that's one of my favorite Taylor Jenkin Reid's, read book, but this one's pretty good too, so I recommend if you're looking for a easy-read novel to check it out.

0:08:24.4 MO: Yeah, I know, I have heard so many good things about her, I have the Daisy Jones, and then my roommate has the Seven...

0:08:40.4 MH: Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

0:08:40.3 MO: Yeah, which she adored.

0:08:40.4 MH: It's very good.

0:08:42.4 MO: Yeah, and is literally... And it was recommended to her by her sister, who's... Claims it now, and she's like, "This might be my favorite book I've ever read."

0:08:51.0 MH: I think she's an extremely great writer and her character development is great and I... It's easy to read, so definitely, definitely check them out if you haven't.

0:09:04.3 MO: Yeah, absolutely.

0:09:07.4 MH: So today, you're gonna hear my conversation with Dr. Carol Parker Walsh, she's an executive and leadership coach, she has had a great career and focuses now on helping women, particularly women who are in senior roles, but also who are on the older side, to rethink the... What they want in life, what they want into... In their career and then in their success, and feel even more empowered to go where they wanna go, we talk about her story and how she got to this work and a lot about her, what she's learned from her clients, as well as some of great tips that you can use in your own life. So she's fantastic, she's an Amazon best-selling author. She's a keynote speaker, she has done lots of stuff, so please listen to my conversation with Dr. Carol Parker Walsh.


0:10:18.4 MH: So I'm very excited for this conversation today with Carol Parker Walsh. Carol, how are you?

0:10:27.7 Carol Parker Walsh: I am doing fabulous.

0:10:29.4 MH: How is the new year treating you?

0:10:33.5 CW: So far so good, I can't believe we are just 11 days in already, but my, so far it's been amazing. I've had a lot of energy, a lot of focus, I know, I feel like the stars are aligned, for me this year. So, so far, so good.

0:10:50.4 MH: And that's great. I was reading... Speaking of stars, I tend to read a lot of random Astrology posts and stuff, and it said something about us going out of some sort of retrograde, which I can't remember which one it was.

0:11:05.1 CW: Yeah, it was... It feels that way. I definitely feel like something is lifted so, hopefully it stays that way for a while.

0:11:14.5 MH: Right, so Carol, I always like to start these with the big broad question. Tell me a little bit about you, your background, and how it is that you got to do what you're doing now.

0:11:27.1 CW: Yeah, I love these questions. I always feel like I should start, "It was a rainy Sunday when I was born into the world." But honestly, I am... First of all, I'm one of seven, and I'm pretty much in the middle of that, so people can take that however they want, but I also think being in the middle also gave me a tremendous amount of insight of how to see both sides. I do, I am meditative by nature, and I always like to be a bridge builder, so I think there's something about being in that position of my life. I was raised in California, but I've lived all over the country. Grew up in Chicago, lived on the East Coast, lived in the south, for a while, so I've been able to experience a lot of different cultures and backgrounds. By trade, I was a labor and an employment attorney, did employment discrimination litigation in Chicago for some years, and then finished my legal career in the Pacific Northwest, but since then I've been in HR, I've been a director, I've been in executive leadership, before I went back to school, and got my Doctorate degree and focused in, moved into academia where I was teaching and developing programs in leadership, and health disparities, and a lot of interesting courses, and then became an Associate Dean, and it was around that time that I was in a massive car accident.

0:13:06.8 CW: Actually, a near fatal car accident, a drunk driver hit the car, and I remembered, I was working on a weekend, I was... My kiddos were with me, I had since had two kids, married and was divorced, and so as a single mom, I was really working to build my... Continue to build my career, so I was in the office with my kiddos and coming home really on a Sunday, it was like 4 or 5 o'clock, but I noticed lights were coming at me, and they were in my lane, I was on a two-lane road, and the options to the left and right of me weren't very optimal as the car was coming at me because there was a side of a cliff or a ravine to go down into, and then oncoming traffic, but I heard a voice as clear as if it were in the car with me that said, "Turn now," like as the lights were coming, and for a split second, I thought, "Turn where," but I turned into the direction of oncoming traffic because I didn't wanna go off the side of the road with my kids in the car, and while the car hit me, actually, it was a big truck. One of those F-250 trucks or whatever, it hit me and the guy was actually drinking in the car at the time.

0:14:17.6 MH: Oh my god.

0:14:18.9 CW: I survived, and while I was in a wheelchair for six months and in rehabilitation, multiple surgeries, learning to walk again and things of that nature, what has stuck with me since then, that has really been a guiding light in my career, or the shift in my career trajectory, I should say, was hearing that voice that said, "Turn now." And I think it was because it had so many meaning for me, because I knew I was at a place in my life where I wasn't really happy, I was in work that I wasn't really feeling fulfilled and satisfied with. I knew I was on the precipice where I needed to do something different, and what it said to me was that I wondered how many other women. And that's actually the population that I work with, hear that voice, when they're in their 40s and 50s that say, "Turn now," but ignore it. And I thought, "Man, if I had ignored that voice at that time, I wouldn't be here, if I didn't listen and just stayed the course, to drunk driver would have hit me head on, and for sure a head-on collision would have killed me." He actually hit the passenger side because I did turn.

0:15:31.9 CW: It did damage the right side of my body, but I survived, and I know sometimes we're afraid to make the turn, we're afraid to go after opportunities, we're afraid to take risks because we don't want to get hit, so to speak, but from my perspective, I always look at it that, "Yeah, I got hit, but it just taught me how to think differently, show up differently, to survive and to know that I can take a hit, and I could still keep going and moving forward. So in a lot of ways, it was a metaphor for me in terms of the direction that I took afterwards, those months of healing was a lot of time to really think about what I really wanted to do, and at, in my doctorate work, I was studying the experiences of women and how women understand ourselves and our identity and how we choose the directions that we go into.

0:16:22.6 CW: Nd that just kept resonating with me when I heard... When I put it together with that voice, that said, "Turn now," and that led me to what I do now, which is executive and leadership coaching for high-achieving women in mid-life who are seeking to make that turn, and seeking to make that shift and to work with organizations who are in the midst of wanting to become fearless organizations to be able to empower their female leaders into stepping into their best iterations of self and making those turns and making those shifts to really ellevate them and ellevate the work that they do in their organization, so. I think that's a long story, but that's it. That's... [chuckle]

0:17:04.0 MH: Well, Carol, I was gonna say, I love asking this question and asking, and I always ask it very broad because I never know what story is gonna come up from that, that really shaped your life, that really shaped where you are coming from. And this is such a powerful story, 'cause it's not only, did it mark your life in ways that are tangibly physical, right? You were in a wheelchair, you had to go through physical therapy, your kids were in the car, so it's... I cannot imagine the emotional impact of that, but also that voice, and that voice, what do you attribute that to? Where do you think it came from?

0:17:47.4 CW: Well, I do believe in a higher power, I believe in God. So I think it was, I think it was, in a lot of ways, a voice saying, "You're not done yet, this isn't it for you, that there's so much more." And so I think it was just a... Probably something in my deep consciousness that came out that was tapped into that said, "No, girl, move out of the way of this. It's not gonna be easy. The road ahead is not gonna be paved with butterflies and tulips, but it's time for you to make a move," and I always say, I'm a relatively... My mother used to say this about me as well, but I'm a hard-headed kind of girl, you know my mother a say, you don't believe fire is hot, like you have to really put your hand in there and experience it for yourself, and I always have said that when I... When messages are coming at me, sometimes God has to put me and sit me down to really make the message clear that, "Listen, there is something else, so there is a another direction for you."

0:18:52.4 CW: And so I think it was a lot of combination of that, honestly, I think I had been hearing that whisper, that inkling for a few years that I should make a turn that I should do something different, but I think so many people fear of the unknown, fear of what it means if I walk away from everything that I have in front of me and I've currently built to my career. Just not... The unknown of the other side, fear of taking the risks as... I was a single mom raising my two kids, I needed to be practical, just all of those things where we may hear this inkling, an idea that we should go after something or try something or change something in our life, but we talk ourselves out of it for all of these external reasons, or these practical, fearful reasons of not going after what we want. And so I think in a lot of ways, it was a culmination of just that voice that had have been whispering in the background for years, just was very loud and clear in the moment, and viscerally feeling that and helping me to actually make a move, that completely changed the trajectory of my life.

0:20:05.2 MH: It's incredible to talk about... I shouldn't wanna say in your face, but in your face is a way to realize that you need to act. Right?

0:20:15.6 CW: Yeah, sometimes it takes that for some us. [laughter]

0:20:22.8 MH: And it really does, I think of that... I also believe in a higher power. I don't necessarily know if I believe in a God or anything, but I am very spiritual, I grew up Buddhist, and I talk about that, but I've seen it in times where it's like the only path you are left with, because you might not have been listening to all of the signs or all of your internal thoughts, and then all of a sudden the only path you are left with is make a change or make a change.

0:21:00.1 CW: Yes, yeah, and I think that's exactly right. And I think for some people, they hear it and they act on it and kudos to them, I'm one of those that I just need to be shaken up to have it a little more clear, a little more strongly put in front of me, but I think for a lot of women, particularly at mid-life, which is the population I really love to work with, I think a lot of women are hearing that, and have heard that for a long time, but because they've never given themselves the permission, they've never given themselves the opportunity or never even believed that they had the opportunity or permission to really go after what they want and what they think is important, that they ignore it until something monumental does happen. Until they get a diagnosis of something, or COVID happens or something else that really shakes them up and makes them come to a decision time of, do I stay the path or do I go to the less traveled road, so to speak, and... Yeah, I think you're exactly right.

0:22:03.4 MH: So you work with women primarily, in midlife primarily, which I think is a very interesting way of phrasing for a career coach, because you normally hear people say, "I work with executives in the C-suite, or I... " They go to the career point, not to their life point. You know what I'm saying? Why did you choose to work with this specific group?

0:22:34.3 CW: Well, I mean in truth, I am an executive leadership coach and work with women there. That's usually the population, they just happen to also be at mid-life. But the reason that it's more expansive most of the times and just help me get a promotion or blend that position is because I believe in what I call career life alignment, and I believe that your career is only a piece of the greater ecosystem of your life. And when you're thinking about the things that you want to do, they should be in alignment with your values and how you wanna show up. And how you wanna live in this world and how you wanna be in this world, because if what's not working in your career, or if you're not happy in doing the work that you're doing, you're not fully fulfilled or not working at your highest potential, it's gonna impact everything else, you're gonna be miserable in other aspects of your life as well. It's not gonna just be compartmentalized, and at mid-life, the mid-life pivot is such an interesting transitional time in our lives or particularly for women who've often been denied the ability to own what it is that they really wanna do.

0:23:47.4 CW: Many women at this stage, they have kids, they're in relationships, they have aging parents, they're literally in the middle of raising another generation of people and trying to and help them focus in terms of where they wanna go, and oftentimes are helping aging parents transition as well. And so this idea of their identity, which has often been really forged through our professional identity, has taken over their own ability to identify with who they are and to reconnect with who they are and what they want, and their values and their desires and the things that they wanna do in their life, and they often deny themselves, because they're in the middle and care-taking these other generations. Many times I hear women say, "Well, I've had my turn, I should just write this out into retirement, and maybe then I could do something that I really wanna do," and I'm like that car accident if nothing else, taught me that life is too short for that. That you have to take advantage and take the opportunities when they come, because honestly, tomorrow is not promised.

0:24:55.4 CW: And at this stage at mid-life, one of the things I studied in my doctoral program looking at Erikson's kind of Lifespan life cycle at this age state in our life, we're often looking back and experiencing regret. When we're younger, we're looking forward at what we can do, what we can accomplish, but at this stage, we're often looking back and asking ourselves, "What did I do? What legacy am I leaving? How have I made an impact?" And that's when regret starts coming in and no one wants to live a life of regret, and that's why I think it's so imperative for me, I feel like I'm a champion for helping women kinda break free from that way of thinking and to fearlessly go after their... The lives that they want in the lives that they desire, whether that is promoting into the C-suite, and making an impact in that organization or transitioning out of the C-suite and doing something completely different, starting a non-profit or impacting other women or mentoring or doing something that they have always had a desire to do, but have denied themself for so many years.

0:26:00.5 MH: When you talk about career life alignment, and I loved it. I wrote it down 'cause I love when you said that, 'cause we don't talk about that enough. We talk about a career life balance, we talk about work life... And...

0:26:11.4 CW: All of which I hate. [laughter]

0:26:13.9 MH: All of which is not true.

0:26:14.9 CW: It's not true.

0:26:17.8 MH: All of which does not exist.

0:26:18.1 CW: Yes. Totally, totally. I think, I don't know... Oftentimes, I think so many things were made up to just keep women confused and oppressed in the patriarchy that we live in that...

0:26:29.3 MH: I agree.

0:26:30.7 CW: It just completely drives me crazy, and so alignment, when we talk about balance is such a guilt trip because you're trying to give everything to everybody, which you can't do, which ultimately, I think it's why women, the number one killer for us is heart disease, is because we're trying to do everything and be everything, but for me, alignment is just how... Just thinking through, is this something that I wanna do, that matters to me, is this making the impact that I wanna make? Am I showing up in the way that I feel honored and valued? It's looking holistically at how we show up in the world and where our career fits into that, not just a money-making proposition, but really how is it creating and lending itself to the life, the values, the people, the legacy that we wanna be and what we wanna leave in the world.

0:27:23.9 MH: Yeah, I so agree with you on this career life alignment, and on to that, I was looking at your website and I read the headline on the About section or just I'm gonna read, "Are you ready to stop settling for a life that looks great on paper, but leaves you feeling flat?" And I cannot tell you, I was like, "Yes, that's right." [chuckle] Because I don't think we think about that. We think about the... And I've talked a lot about, especially on the podcast and with other people, and also about my own story about redefining success and what success means from whatever it is we've been conditioned to accept as success to something that involves the way you actually feel.

0:28:12.5 CW: Totally yeah, I mean, we have totally been conditioned to go to school, get the great job, climb the ladder, retire successfully, get the corner office, get the big paycheck, and many times when I am meeting with women who want to work with me, they're just... They're blindly on that path. It's almost like being on auto-pilot, and when I ask, "Well, what do you want to do?" That question usually stops them in their tracks, because they're like, "What do you mean, what do I want to do? Is the idea is that I, this is what I should be doing, right? I mean, I've worked this hard, so I need to step into the next bucket that's available to me," as opposed to redefining what that should look like. And so while everything looks good on paper, you got the job, you got the corner office, you got the title and you got the money. Now what? Because we've been taught to go after these external validations of success, and not really find the intrinsic validation of success, because we've never defined it for ourselves. We never asked ourselves, what does success mean to me? What does that look like to me? What does that feel like? How does that show up in the way that I live and how I contribute to the world? We've never asked ourselves those questions, we just follow this external pathway that we've all been given to be able to follow, and then once we get there, is why I often say that we climb the ladder of success only to get to the top realizing, "What is this it?"


0:29:46.4 MH: Oh yeah, I know. That feeling very well.

0:29:48.3 CW: Yeah, yeah, we're not so happy with the view and then we're totally confused about, "Well, what do I do now?" The idea of climbing down the ladder is not appealing, but we have no idea where to go next, which is why I always try to get rid of this idea of a ladder and talk about a lattice that... That's how our lives are. We kind of jump but we ebb and flow and move around into different spaces, we're not just going in one unit direction, that's not the way life is, and that's definitely not the way your career should be. And so we should be able, depending on what's happening in my life, I should be able to think about what I wanna do with my career in a completely different way, maybe I wanna pull back right now, maybe I wanna step into something else right now. Maybe I wanna re-formate, reformat the way I'm doing something, because my life calls for that at that moment, and we should be totally fine to be able to do that.

0:30:43.7 MH: How do you define success?

0:30:47.1 CW: That's a great question, that's a really good question.

0:30:50.8 MH: I'm turning the tables.

0:30:51.9 CW: Yeah, totally. I define success as the ability to go after and achieve whatever goals I set for myself in the moment. I mean, I know that sounds really generic, but they could change, yeah it's not just this one thing. Like every year, I said, "What is it that I see myself doing this year, what do I wanna accomplish this year? What impact do I'm wanna make? What communities do I wanna connect with? How many more women do I wanna impact? What do I wanna offer that's maybe different than what I've never offered before?" I'm always thinking about... For me the greatest level of success is that I've helped other women, as I said, be fearless, unapologetic and unstoppable, in doing life the way they wanna do it, and having a career in the way they wanna do it, so the more women that I can help follow that pathway for me, that's a level of success, and so, yeah.

0:31:51.3 MH: Yeah, from the questions you are naming and asking yourself it's, I can see the through line of success for you might be helping others right? Being helpful to others in this way, particularly helping women to find their path or?

0:32:07.8 CW: I feel like the modern day Neo. I feel like...

0:32:09.1 MH: Yeah.

0:32:09.6 CW: I love the Matrix as an analogy, and for me, my goal is to free as many minds as possible. [chuckle]

0:32:16.2 MH: Yeah. And that's huge. That's a huge goal, and that's... I mean, in my opinion, a much more powerful definition of success than any of the others we've learned to live with.

0:32:26.4 CW: Yeah.

0:32:28.4 MH: As a former banker, and so my mindset of success really changed...

0:32:32.1 CW: Yeah, I bet.

0:32:34.9 MH: In the last 10 years that I've been with Ellevate. One thing I was gonna ask you, 'cause as we're talking about this, and I do think that the younger generations that have entered the workforce we know millennials are, I think the biggest generation in the workforce right now, and Gen-Z is coming right along, and I do believe that they have been more taught to look for something within their work that is also somehow nurturing something inside of them or finding a purpose or having something that's not just the way we came up, and I don't know. How do you see maybe this, there's a new co-mingling of generations, shape the future of work.

0:33:22.4 CW: Yeah, that's a really great question. And that's absolutely true. I mean They were raised to have more thought around what's important to them and what matters to them, and a little bit more self... And I don't mean this in a bad way, but a little more self-indulgent in how they go after things and the things that they wanna desire. So they were raised that way, and so they're absolutely bringing that to the workforce, which is incredibly counterintuitive to you get a job, you stay on the job for 10 or 12 years before you even think about leaving it, you have to put in your quote unquote, "Time," before you can go after a promotion, before you can go some place else, and this generation... Yeah, this generation is like, "Okay, I've been here for six months. Got what I need, thanks. I'm off to the next opportunity." So they're a little bit... It's more self-focused on, how can this position help me grow and fulfill my needs and give me the skill sets that I need to achieve whatever goals that they have for themselves. And I do think there's a little bit of that that we can borrow or follow in how we do things as well, because a lot of us, particularly my age range, I'm a late Boomer, those who are early Gen X-ers, we're definitely not raised with that mentality, and so it's a little bit discombobulated to think that you can do that, but there's also the thing in mid-life as well, is that you also have a mortgage.

0:34:51.2 CW: Let's be real, there's a mortgage, there's tuitions that you're paying for children, there's 401 [k] s, you're trying to build. So that that idea of flitting and fluttering, floating to other places seems totally crazy and impractical, and while I'm not suggesting that that's the example... Or necessarily that the way that you go about stepping into the next iteration of whatever it is that you wanna do, absolutely be thoughtful about the implications of whatever decisions that you make. What I do admire about the generation that I think older generations can take on is the fact that it's possible to do it. And I think what for a lot of women at mid-life or older generation people, is that they don't even think that's possible, and so because they don't think it's possible, they don't even entertain it, and so they stay trapped, and for me is that whole mindset shift and if you're trapped in your mind, then the game is over.

0:35:52.4 CW: You are only limited by what you believe is possible, and if you believe that it's possible to make those transitions, then you could put the practicality or put the action to play to be able to get the thing that you want. You can think logically about, okay. Well, then create a plan to get there. But if you don't even think is possible, then you're never gonna get to the other side of that, and that's something I think we can borrow from that generation, and I think that's gonna impact the future of work. To your question, really for me, the future of work, it's all about a very human-centric approach, it is about what is your purpose, what is your passion, having a deep level of self-awareness about who you are and what you wanna do in the world, it's about self-accountability, it's about inclusivity.

0:36:39.4 CW: It's about well being, and taking care of yourself and being healthy, so there's gonna be a very... And we see this already a very human-centric approach to the future of work. Organizations now are creating... When they're doing their applications and interviews, they're asking people about their purpose, and their passions and the legacy they wanna leave, because they're seeing if that is aligned with their own visions and missions and purposes for the organization. So we're already seeing this transition, this ability to be self-aware of how you show up, how you talk and engage with other people, how you're thinking about creating space of inclusivity, of different mindsets, of different modalities for greater innovation in the organization. Right? So we're seeing a lot of these shifts already. The pandemic has accelerated. Where we're, in the beginning we may have been taking baby steps, but the pandemic has accelerated us moving into this more human-centric focus. This idea of really thinking about what's possible for yourself. And again, to your point, I think this younger generation is on it, and we have to begin to adapt this broader way of thinking and believing in what's possible, and not limiting that to what we've seen in the past, but opening ourselves up to what's possible for the future.

0:38:00.1 MH: I love that. And I agree with you on the human-centered approach. I think companies finally realized that people are people. It took them a really long time, but it really, I hope that that continues to happen and that the new generations and the, and more than the new generations, the coexistence of so many generations within the workforce, that I think is what's gonna be really powerful if we can get all of them to kind of take the best from each other and moving it into something.

0:38:29.4 CW: Well totally agree with that. If we can just start at the premise of respecting humanity and you know, that we all have a lived experience and that experience is different from the other. But not seeing it as a competition of that my experience is better than yours or more significant, but seeing that your experience is just different and having an appreciation and a celebration of that. I mean, that to me is what really inclusivity and belonging is about.

0:39:00.6 MH: Exactly.

0:39:01.2 CW: Is about he respect for what everyone brings into the table. So, you know, Jane Elliott who's a diversity goddess who has done this work for decades talked about it not being a melting pot, but it being a stew. [laughter]

0:39:19.0 MH: Ooh. [laughter]

0:39:19.7 CW: Right? Because when you melt things together, you kind of get this greyish, undetectable, nondescript thing. But if it's a stew, then you have this burst of amazing flavors because everything in that stew has a place, a purpose, a taste, and it's adding something and contributing to the entire tea of the flavoring of the whole pot that's there. And I think if we think about that in workplaces of the differences that come together as creating this amazing, incredible, I love food, as you can see, stew.


0:40:00.7 CW: You know, with an appreciation for everything having a contribution to it, it would really speak to the human-centric approach that we're moving to in the workplace.

0:40:11.7 MH: Love it. This is a great way, in my mind, this is a great way to end this conversation. And I could speak to you about this for hours. These are my favorite topics.

0:40:23.2 CW: Yes.

0:40:23.3 MH: Like what's happening with future of work, diversity and inclusion and how do we get people to really embrace their full selves at work? So as we're talking about the future of work, I know you work with companies, so tell us a little bit about that work and what you're seeing.

0:40:41.9 CW: Yeah. The work that I love doing with organizations is really helping them to kind of unlock innovation because every organization wants to be innovative. And for me, the best possible way to do that is how they can ellevate the brilliance of the female leadership within their organization, those who are just hidden in plain sight. And so we've seen so much around the great breakup, and so many female leaders and female leaders of color have just migrated away from organizations because they're dealing with microaggressions. They're not getting respect in the workplace. They're being questioned or disregarded for the talent that they bring forth. They're not given the ability to have flexibility and working remotely. So we're seeing this constantly year after year of challenge that organizations are having and really retaining female leadership. And it's not getting better, unfortunately.

0:41:41.8 CW: And so the work that I love to do with organizations when they're ready to kind of take those bold steps is to how do you unlock innovation by building inclusive leadership, by impacting, creating trust, authentic trust through psychological safety. And having deep levels of self-awareness and sustainable accountability around that where, it's not just a practice or a one-off that you do, but you're really embedding it in the day-to-day interactions of how we talk to each other, communicate with each other, and how we think about showing up with each other so that we can create these spaces that allow this innovation. 'Cause you're losing massive amounts of creativity and innovation because these women are leaving. You're impacting your bottom line because you're losing that innovation and creativity because these women are leaving. And so the way to kind of counteract that is to really engage in this framework of inclusive leadership, authentic trust, and psychological safety and sustainable accountability. And that's what I love to do and bring into organizational work.

0:42:53.4 MH: I love that so much. It's so powerful. It comes to the aspect of belonging, right? Like all of those together...

0:43:00.4 CW: Yes.

0:43:00.7 MH: I think in many ways impact that. And I, for us at Ellevate, that's what we focus on too. It's how do we help people feel like they belong? How do we help women particularly feel like they don't, they're not isolated in the world of work.

0:43:17.2 CW: Absolutely, absolutely. And I love doing that. One of the, practices that I love doing is creating these wisdom circles and masterminds within organizations, bringing these women of color with these female leaders together to be able to support each other. Because one of the things that I think is incredibly powerful and true is that through collaboration and community is how we thrive and grow. And just to your point about being isolated so many times when I'm able to create these type of environments in organizations, you have women in here who are like, "I didn't even know there were other women of color here. I didn't know there were so many other women leaders over," you know because they work in silos and in isolation. And when you can bring them together in community, it fosters a different level of engagement. It inspires them to show up in incredibly different ways that tremendously impact the organizations in ways they've never even thought about before.

0:44:16.6 MH: A hundred percent it's... Yes. Collaboration makes the world go round. [laughter]

0:44:22.2 CW: Yes. Yes. And it's a feminine trait that the patriarchy has not...

0:44:26.7 MH: It really is.

0:44:27.2 CW: Understood how to utilize it successfully.

0:44:30.4 MH: Yeah. I also think in many, many, many ways, collaboration, communication, taking care of people not only are feminine traits, but they also are very central to the culture of women of color.

0:44:47.1 CW: Yes.

0:44:47.9 MH: I've written about that as a Latina and I think it goes to, it plays true for most populations of color.

0:44:55.4 CW: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, you look back in our lineage and heritage, it was always about village tribe. Togetherness is how we did things. We moved as a community forward. It wasn't in isolation.

0:45:09.8 MH: Well, thank you so much. This was fun.

0:45:11.5 CW: Yes. This was great. Thank you for having me.

0:45:14.6 MH: Well, we're gonna do a little lightning round, so don't leave just yet.

0:45:20.5 CW: Okay.

0:45:21.4 MH: I'm gonna ask you a few questions, and they will be short and you can give me answers in one sentence or less. Don't overthink them.

0:45:33.9 CW: Okay.

0:45:35.4 MH: They're meant to be fun.


0:45:35.5 MH: Favorite mythical creature.

0:45:39.6 CW: Furies.

0:45:39.8 MH: Ooh, I haven't, I hadn't heard that one. Does pineapple belong on a pizza?

0:45:49.0 CW: Absolutely not. [laughter]

0:45:51.1 MH: Oh my God. We're gonna have to agree to disagree on that one.


0:45:57.2 MH: Would you rather explore outer space or the bottom of the ocean?

0:46:00.2 CW: Actually, neither. I just don't think we're meant... That's not what we're meant to be. I just... God bless the people who are adventurous that way, but I don't know how to swim. And I've seen too many movies where people get lost and frozen in space. So.


0:46:17.9 MH: Fair. Fair. What's a skill you wish you had?

0:46:23.3 CW: Oh, I wish I was good with numbers. I love, you know, I admire people who, in their mind... In their heads can just do this math and understand percentages and all that stuff. Like, it's all Greek to me. So I wish I had that, skill. I have it, people in my family have it and I always admire it, but that has escaped me. [laughter] I need a good calculator. [laughter]

0:46:46.1 MH: Yeah. I, I cannot survive without one. Most used app on your phone? Don't tell me the calculator, please. [laughter]

0:46:55.5 CW: No. Blinkist.

0:46:58.5 MH: What is that?

0:46:58.8 CW: It is, amazing. It is an app that will allow you, it summarizes books for you. So it'll give, it's like an audio book, but it summarizes the book in about 20 minutes. So about 20, 15, 20, sometimes 25 minutes. It'll, you can basically read an entire book. [laughter]

0:47:18.7 MH: Wow. I'm gonna look that one up. I haven't heard of this one.

0:47:20.0 CW: Yeah, it's amazing.

0:47:20.9 MH: Okay.

0:47:23.7 CW: I mean, I read a book a day with it. [laughter]

0:47:24.6 MH: That's great. I love reading and I have a lot of books to go through that are sitting on my coffee table. So maybe this is an option.

0:47:32.6 CW: Yeah. And just, what I do is I listen to it is, is the summary of it. And I do have the book, oftentimes I'm, listening to books I already own, but then I could go back to specific points and highlight them in the book or read a little bit more depth if I want to, to get the insight. So I give the full gamut of the book, which is very productive and makes me happy. [laughter]

0:47:53.7 MH: Alright. Well finally, what's one thought you'd want to leave with our listeners?

0:48:00.3 CW: That's a good one. I think I said it earlier, which is life is too short to be stuck doing something you don't love. So find out what it is and go for it.

0:48:08.9 MH: I love that. I love that. And that I think is a great way to end this podcast. Thank you for being here, Carol. This was lovely.

0:48:19.6 CW: Thank you so much for having me. Yeah, this was a lot of fun. Thank you.


0:48:33.5 MH: Cool. And we're back. She is really great. So I hope you you enjoyed it.

0:48:38.6 MO: Yes. I so did and I'm so excited for hers to finally come out. I got her booked and recorded a while ago and I've just been, I've been really excited, to hear this one.

0:48:49.8 MH: Oh. Yeah. So speaking of things to be excited about, [laughter], what's going on with Ellevate this week? Megan?

0:48:57.3 MO: Excellent. All right. Maricella, I'm gonna give you a little behind the scenes. I somehow forgot to like put this in so I just have them pulled up on my screen, so I'm just gonna read them off.

0:49:06.6 MH: Yeah, go for it.

0:49:10.1 MO: All right. So this week, our Ellevate Roundtable is Virtual Networking Ellevated. Maricella, do you wanna talk a little bit more about what that actually means?

0:49:16.6 MH: Yeah, so it's what we do in these round tables is really get more of a space for you to talk to different people. So usually in our round tables we have one breakout room with a group of people. We're discussing a specific topic, but in these networking round tables, we are much more focused on helping you build more connections. So instead of one breakout room, you'll have a couple more, you'll probably get to talk to more people and our team has designed icebreakers and ways for the conversation to go so that you don't feel awkward 'cause I know it can be a lot.

0:49:52.4 MO: Yes. And that's gonna be amazing. And then our in-person events coming up this in the next week or so, our Philadelphia chapter has to share the Love Valentine's event, Give a Little, Get a Little, which will be fun. That's on Thursday at 4:30. New York City is having a happy hour call all about asserting your influence. Super important. That's gonna happen at 6:30 PM on Thursday as well. If you're in the Cincinnati area on Friday at 8:45 AM, we're gonna be having an Ellevate business connect with coffee, connection and networking. That'll be super fun. And you definitely wanna meet with all those chapters if you're in those areas because they're amazing.

0:50:35.5 MH: Yeah, definitely go check out our chapters and their get togethers. They're really wonderful people and it's a great way for you to get to know people in your region.

0:50:47.7 MO: Yeah. And then I did forget to mention one more thing. We do have a community circle coming up, not this week, but next Tuesday, so it'll be before the next podcast comes out, but we do wanna make sure you know, it's our remote and hybrid professionals community circle. So if you are a remote worker, if you're a hybrid worker, if you are looking for support in dealing with all the nuance that comes with that, definitely be sure to join us. That'll be Tuesday at noon eastern.

0:51:13.6 MH: That's amazing. Yeah. Our community circles are great spaces for you to just show up as you are and get some insights about how, you know, from others on how we are all kind of navigating similar experiences. But that those experience really become way different depending on how you identify or the characteristics of where you're at currently. So they're great safe spaces for a great conversation. So I hope you come.

0:51:42.3 MO: Yeah, definitely. Come join.

0:51:44.5 MH: And we're gonna get into our history makers this week and I can kick it off. Chimamanda Adichie became the first woman from Abba, Nigeria to be conferred with a chieftaincy title.

0:51:58.9 MO: Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian best actress, nominee at the Oscars.

0:52:06.8 MH: Deborah Ogrodnik became the first woman to lead the Sisterson Accounting Firm.

0:52:09.9 MO: Morrissey O'Donnell became the first woman sheriff of Multnomah County, Oregon.

0:52:14.3 MH: Teresa Teare became the first woman to serve as Co-Managing Partner at Shawe Rosenthal.

0:52:21.4 MO: And big, big one For the first time in history, the four leaders of the two congressional spending committees in the US are women. Kay Granger is the chairwoman of the House of Appropriations Committee while Rosa DeLauro is the top democrat. Patty Murray is Senate Appropriations Chairwoman while Susan Collins is the top Republican. So it was the first time that two congressional spending committees are run by women, all women.

0:52:47.4 MH: I have good hopes for this. [laughter]

0:52:51.9 MO: I know, right?

0:52:52.0 MH: Well that's been great to see some more history makers and always great to celebrate. So if you have anyone you want us to shout out, please let us know. You can tag us on social media, you can send us an email. We're always looking for people to celebrate and cheer from where we are. Thanks for being here and thanks Megan for joining me.

0:53:21.1 MO: Okay, no problem. I will see you and everybody else next week for... Do you wanna give a little teaser?

0:53:27.3 MH: Yeah. Next week I will talk to Soyini Chan Shue. She is the owner and founder of CitySafe Partners, a Harlem Bay security firm. But what you might not know is that she also was, is a former police officer. So we go into a lot of conversation about safety and safety as a human right. And it's a very interesting conversation because we talk a lot about things that are affecting all of us in the world, and yet also talk a lot about entrepreneurship and leadership and building a business. So you, I think there's something for everyone in this one. Hope you can join.

0:54:09.9 MO: Yeah, I can't wait.

0:54:13.1 MH: Cool. Bye.

0:54:13.2 MO: Bye.


0:54:18.3 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 That's

0:54:38.7 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.