Nancy Halpern

Member Spotlight

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

I'm a leadership consultant who facilitates high impact off-sites and coaches executives aspiring to the C Suite. But that's only after I spent 8 years running a ballet company, getting a MBA and 10 years as a global operations executive for the world's largest importer. Right now I blog about women, leadership and politics as well as work across industries and functions, focusing on rising talent.

What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?

Yale School of Management, my alma mater, asked me to moderate my class's 30th reunion break out session. 60 of the smartest most interesting people I've ever met had that trust in me to facilitate their thoughts. It was a gas. And very empowering.

What are some career challenges on your radar?

Finishing my book! And embracing the principles of self marketing more graciously than I have in the past. It's tough to raise your profile in an increasingly crowded field, but I've learned a lot about doing that and learn more about it every day.

We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?

Serendipity. Being laid off in a major acquisition and hating my own job but not knowing what to do next. An acquaintance mentioned that a boutique consulting firm was looking for someone, and I just clicked during the interview. That was 20 years ago - so my advice is talk to anyone, talk to everyone, follow each lead. 90% of them go nowhere. But you only need one.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I hate seeing smart people suffer. If I've helped someone with their confidence, or think differently, or deal with a difficult situation or a colleague, then I've succeeded. The metric is how the client feels - that's the win I find most rewarding.

What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?

The right job is like something you've knit together from all your bright and shiny threads.It's the one that pings on many fronts, and seems to tap what you're good at personally as well as professionally. For me, it's the combination of analytics and data but applied to how people interact. I'm highly intuitive and also extremely pragmatic. I can apply my passion for politics to help executives navigating them in organizations.

What is your morning ritual?

I'm definitely not a morning person. But I do get up at around 6:30- 7 to listen to the news on my iPad and let the dog cover me with kisses. I brew a large pot of tea, work for about an hour on easy tasks as a mental warm up. In that way I'm ready to really buckle down to more creative or challenging work or conversations with clients.

What is the best career advice you ever received?

Lots of people will offer you juicy ideas that sound appealing. But only one person helped me truly focus by asking: what do you have to do to get to the next stage? That laser beam meant that I could discard distractions and be methodical in identifying a real plan I could execute.

What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?

To forgive yourself. You won't do it all well. You won't always be there. You won't always be serving home cooked healthy meals. You won't always get enough sleep. You won't always exercise. But you will always love your kids. Make sure that you carve out a sacred 30 minutes with your family - no cell phones. no television. If you set a ritual of talking to your kids they will speak to you when times are tough, no matter how old they are.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

Mentoring women in the military thanks to Ellevate introducing me to ACP, who helps military personnel transition into corporate life. And of course being interviewed for a podcast with Ellevate's own Kristy Wallace.

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