Power Connections Through Ellevate, with Melanie Curtis
Episode 146: Power Connections Through Ellevate, with Melanie Curtis
Past podcast guest, Melanie Curtis, life coach, comes back to the EllevatePod to share her amazing insights. On this episode, Melanie talks about how she finally decided to join Ellevate after years of using public Ellevate resources, everything that’s new in her life, and importance of finding your calling in life. She also shares her tips and advice for future networkers, and how she had fun at networking events with her laid-back approach.
00:13 Kristy Wallace: Hello and welcome to the Ellevate podcast. This is your host, Kristy Wallace, with my co-host, Maricella Herrera. Hi, Maricella.
00:21 Maricella Herrera: Hey, Kristy.
00:22 KW: How's your January going?
00:23 MH: It's going well. It's been busy.
00:26 KW: Yes.
00:26 MH: I always say that in January. January is crazy for us.
00:29 KW: At this point, I'm pretty sure we say this all the time.
00:32 MH: It's true.
00:33 KW: It's a year-round busy-ness. But in the good way. It's kind of fun to be busy when you love what you do.
00:39 MH: Yeah. I was gonna say, I say it's busy but I don't say it like, "It's busy." It's happy busy. Happy busy?
00:47 KW: Yeah. It's a good time. We've really been having so much fun in January. Not only have we had just amazing events globally, Ellevate's in 40 locations throughout the world, but we've had some really cool online webinars or what we call our jam sessions. We've had some spectacular podcast guests.
01:07 MH: Yes.
01:07 KW: And we're welcoming hundreds of new women to the Ellevate community. If you don't know, Ellevate's a global network for professional women who are focused on getting ahead in their professional lives and supporting other women in doing the same. We all define success in different ways, we all want equal opportunity, we want the support. You know that having a network that you can lean on and learn from and to connect you to opportunities is the way to find career success. And we're here to give that to you. So join Ellevate in January. Check it out. It's a great way to start off the year to make a head start on achieving your 2019 goals and to supporting other women in the workplace and beyond because that's what really helps drive this whole ecosystem forward.
01:58 MH: Yeah, and if you join in the next couple of days and use code "It Starts With Me," you can get 20% off. But you were talking about how we support other women and how this ecosystem is really important, and our guest today actually talks first hand about the people she's met at Ellevate and how this community has helped her really further her goals. I know you have talked to her before. It's not the first time she's on the podcast, Melanie Curtis.
02:28 KW: She's amazing, she's a career coach, life coach. You should follow her on social media.
02:35 MH: Yes.
02:36 KW: Every day, it's the affirmations and positive energy and just... She's amazing.
02:42 MH: And she's absolutely more brave than most of the people I know, considering she skydives all the time and I'm completely scared of heights.
02:50 KW: Yeah. She was just... I wanna say she was just in Egypt skydiving. She's just great.
02:57 MH: Yeah. She's a force of nature.
03:00 KW: She is, and it was great to have her back on the podcast this week because the first time it was just eye-opening and inspiring. And we do say that about many of our guests because they are. It blows my mind all the time, just the sheer number of spectacular women in our community and in this world, and I'm honored to have the privilege to share their stories and to amplify those messages because I learned something from every single interview. I still do after doing this for years. And I hope our listeners do, too.
03:34 MH: Yeah, absolutely.
03:35 KW: If anyone's hearing some sighs in the background, I have two little ladies, my daughters Morgan and Zoe here in the studio. We can't get them on the microphone, but they like to just yawn and sigh in the background, so that would be them, right girls? Can you say hi?
03:52 MH: Yeah. No, no.
03:53 KW: No? Say hi. No, it's not gonna happen. And we just got the stink eye. Morgan is the queen of the stink eye. She's really good at it. But yes, we have Melanie Curtis on the Ellevate podcast this week, and I cannot wait to hear what she has to say about the power of connections and power of Ellevate.
04:23 MH: I'm super excited for this interview today because we're gonna talk about not just about our guest and what she's been up to, but also about one of my favorite subjects which is Ellevate. No bias there, but I'm very, very excited to have Melanie Curtis joining us today. How are you, Melanie?
04:43 Melanie Curtis: I'm awesome, Maricella, so nice to be back. I love that we're doing this episode, actually. Yeah, I'm very excited. A lot of what I've been up to is relative to Ellevate Network, so I'm happy to share that.
04:54 MH: Well, you were a guest on our podcast... Was it about a year ago or just a few months ago?
05:01 MC: No, it was a while ago, maybe not a full year but a while.
05:08 MH: Yeah, yeah. It has been quite a bit. I remember you had a great conversation with Kristy. You talked about skydiving, she kept talking about it afterwards. [laughter] I was a little afraid she was gonna drag me into doing that which I'm completely afraid of heights, so it would never happen.
05:24 MC: Not for everyone. It's all good, it's all good.
05:26 MH: But you talked about your business, you talked about some of the stuff you're doing. I just, before we get into some of Ellevate, and your experience with the network, I would love to hear what you've been up to since the last time you were on the show.
05:40 MC: Yeah, yeah, absolutely, and that's the thing. We did talk a lot about skydiving last time just because that's a big part of my professional story and trajectory. I now am a life coach. I was then, too, but meaning, I help people, essentially, with fear and overcoming fear and employing courage and what is that distinction. What does that even mean when it comes to actual action and accountability and goal setting and all that stuff? 'Cause you're like, "Oh God, I'll never jump out of an airplane." But that's the thing, overcoming fear doesn't have to be jumping out of an airplane. It can be anything that people are looking to do or achieve or work through or free themselves from emotionally or whatever. So there's all sorts of applicable ways that we work with that. And what's interesting, too, is that I'm doing a lot more public speaking on the concepts, telling my story and sharing more about this distinction between overcoming fear and employing courage. And one of the events that I did more recently was through Ellevate, which was amazing.
06:43 MH: I know, I heard. I heard it was great.
06:46 MC: I love that. Wonderful news. Yeah, it was excellent. One thing I was telling Kristy is that I genuinely wanted to share back to the network through the podcast because I got so much out of Ellevate as a non-member, right? So there's lots of events that I attended, I met a bunch of people, I felt like I was building relationships, not even joining and then to have then... To then join and realize just really truly how much these individual chapters and... 'cause I'm a part of the New York chapter, the central Jersey chapter, and the northern New Jersey chapter based on where I live, and all three of those have basically supported me and helped me do more in both connecting and building relationships, certainly, but also in actively being out there and promote it as well. It's just really, really cool to me and helpful to me to be a part of that stuff and included in that stuff.
07:50 MC: There's a powerful energy, I feel like, that happens when women who are like-minded and supportive and really in that genuine supportive win-win, championing each other energy that is extremely powerful. It's just a powerful force that for me, in my experience of that, it's undeniable. Even being on the podcast again, I was like, "I want if this type of conversation was gonna be of service to Ellevate... " And that's the thing, too, is that before joining I felt like I had gotten so much for free. It's like the free stuff that Ellevate... And that's the thing is like I would even encourage people who are listening like, "Don't hear this as a sales pitch for Ellevate. Start following the free content and make your own decision for yourself."
08:39 MH: Right, and we're not for everyone.
08:41 MC: Yeah.
08:41 MH: I'm the first one to admit to that and we have these discussions internally. We are for people who are, A, looking for that connection of being with like-minded women who are looking to give and get.
08:56 MC: Yeah.
08:57 MH: For us, it's very important that... In fact, we do have a member pledge where it's not only you pledged to be available, to be part of this community in an actionable way. In your experience, as we're talking about networking in that way, it can be scary. And for you, probably not considering you do jump out of airplanes. [chuckle] But what advice would you give people who want to start building that network wherever it is that they are but might be a little bit afraid?
09:27 MC: Yeah, yeah, that's an awesome question. I get this question all the time because it's true. Social anxiety, fear, wanting to connect with people, finding ourselves attached to outcomes, whatever that might be for a person, you know what I mean? "I want to make some kind of relationship connection at this event tonight and if I don't it will be wasted time." I would advise people to check their own limiting ideas and their own thought process around that. Like, if they start to feel anxiety come up whether it's social anxiety that type of thing, of like, "Oh God, this is gonna be... " kind of, "I don't wanna go." That whole thing that we tend to and can easily all of us feel before going to any social event. I advise people to breathe, pause, recognize what they're freaking out about, and then if they are able to reframe that thought to bring themselves back to, "No, no. How I actually will get the most possible value out of this room tonight is being of value myself."
10:50 MC: So I don't really have to do anything, I don't have to get anybody's number, I don't have to make best friends with people. I don't have to do any of that. There's no need here. I'm just going and I'm gonna enjoy this evening. That type of advice going into these events as a diffusing of that social anxiety, I think, helps a lot and always bringing us back to that idea of being of service where we can.
11:17 MH: I love that. When I started working here, I kept thinking... I'm a complete introvert, although people wouldn't realize that, but I am.
11:25 MC: Yeah.
11:26 MH: And I kept thinking people would tell me like, "Why are you working somewhere where networking is a big part of your thing?" [chuckle] And it never clicked. And then someone told me at an event, one of the speakers was saying, that networking is just a fancy word for helping other people.
11:46 MC: Yeah.
11:47 MH: And that just stuck, like stuck in my brain. I was just like, "Oh, that I can do. That actually is something I really enjoy doing."
11:54 MC: Yeah, and that's the thing, too. One thing that for me, is that I like people. I really find people fascinating. And I say this a lot, too, but even people I don't like, I like. If that makes sense. Because human beings fascinate me, and I'm always very curious about people and their motivations and their... It makes a 100% sense why I am a life coach who helps people with that stuff now. You know what I mean? It's because I'm just very genuinely curious and interested in people. And so that always brings with it an energy of sort of openness and non-judgment which is much more inviting energy than, "I need to get something out of this person. I need to give them my business card. I need to... " anything. Anything that is blocking that openness tends to derail actual connecting.
12:49 MH: Yeah. I really appreciate that and that actually reminds me and makes me think why you are a good fit for Ellevate. And like I said, we're not for everyone, and that's why I think you are being successful in the network and meeting people and having fun doing it 'cause it sounds like you're having fun.
13:08 MC: Yeah.
13:10 MH: And it really comes down... I'm looking, I'm staring straight at... I had a poster of our values. And as you were talking, I was writing down some of the things you were saying that remind me of how you can see where you fit. And I think that as human beings, we always have to think about... Take a good look at ourselves, take a good look at what we're getting into and seeing if it is a good fit and if it is something that you wanna be a part of. Because, again, not everything is. And you were talking about you feel grateful about the community and having these opportunities which is one of our values, is gratitude. You were talking about the community and the people you're meeting, which is honestly the one thing we do, and being that authentic relationships and kindness and also inclusiveness of the people you've met, which is... It kind of ticked all the little boxes of... As I was looking at the poster, I'm like, "Oh, diversity, community, gratitude."
14:12 MC: Yeah, no. So what I got hearing from that or listening to you just go through that right now is it's... What I thought of is it's this stuff can apply to all sorts of different communities. Again, the part of my story where I was just... That was the time I felt called to join a women's network. Ellevate had given me so much value, so I joined Ellevate. There's tons of other networks available and it's sort of like to ask yourself, 'cause it's not like every network just wants everybody. That doesn't work. So it's like check in with yourself, what is it that you're called to do and connect with and be more interested in right now? If you take a moment to pause and go, "What actually has me more interested right now?" And have that conversation with yourself in terms of if you are considering joining any network or any sort of group like this, that's what I would advise people to do, to check in with themselves before they jump in.
15:16 MH: Yeah, and anything in general. I'm thinking as you were talking, I was thinking in like a company or school or anything. Check-in, what is it that you need and how and what does this organization, whatever it is, if it's a community, if it's a company you're joining, if it's a board you're joining for a non-profit or for a for-profit company, what does the organization stand for and how do those values fit with me and what I'm looking for right now.
15:48 MC: Yeah, absolutely, and the timing of it as well. The only reason I bring that up is that I'm a very positive person in general. Obviously, I've done work to cultivate my positive mindsets and my positive energy and stuff like that, but I also historically have been the person who was prone to just really seeing all the positive possibilities and being like, "Yes!" Like, saying yes to things and over-extending myself. So it's like being mindful about that, too, is I think a way people can then ultimately get the most out of it. 'Cause if I had joined Ellevate or any network and I wasn't at a point in my life or career where I was ready to put in the time and effort like I described earlier, then I probably wouldn't have gotten even close to what I've gotten out of it, you know what I mean? So and that was relative to, "Okay, now I'm ready to actually join this thing."
16:45 MH: Yeah, that's important, and knowing where you are in that sense. And really knowing where you wanna commit your energy.
16:51 MC: Yeah.
16:51 MH: It's funny that you were saying about saying yes to opportunities 'cause Kristy's like that. She says yes to everything, and I always say I'm her No Coach. [laughter]
17:00 MC: Nice. Love it. So awesome.
17:00 MH: So I'm always like, "You probably shouldn't do that." [chuckle] It's been great catching up, Melanie, and hearing everything you're doing.
17:10 MC: Thank you.
17:15 KW: Thanks so much for listening to Ellevate. If you like what you hear, help a girl out, subscribe to the Ellevate Podcast on iTunes, give us five stars and share your review. Also, don't forget to follow us on Twitter @EllevateNtwk, that's Ellevate Network, and become a member. You can learn all about membership and all the great things that Ellevate Network is doing at our website, www.ellevatenetwork.com, that's E-L-L-E-V-A-T-E network.com. And special thanks to our producer, Katharine Heller, she rocks, and to our voice-over artist, Rachel Griesinger. Thanks so much, and join us next week.
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