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Jodi Wellman

Jodi Wellman

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

Hello there! I'm Jodi Wellman, founder of Spectacular at Work– which as the name implies, means I'm all about helping companies become places their people don't dread showing up to on Monday mornings. Anything having to do with company culture and well-being at work.

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

Ellevate has so exceeded my expectations! I'm not a natural networker (funny... our company runs a workshop called "Is Your Networking Not-Working?" and I should probably take it), so I need all the help I can get to connect with smart, welcoming women. It's more than the fact that Ellevate provides a forum for savvy ladies... it's that everyone has been so darned lovely.

How would you define your professional mission?

In our mission to make work work (in a world where work has a pretty big PR problem), we realized pretty quickly that the best way to do that was to help leaders be great at leadership, and to create workplaces for their people to thrive... not just survive. Work is complicated, and leadership can be hard. So we help companies in different ways– often by coaching leaders, working with leadership teams to actually work as a high-performing team (rather than a random grouping of smart individuals), assessing leaders for specific roles, delivering workshops on uncomfortable-yet-important topics like handling conflict and giving feedback, developing succession plans, running high-potential programs, helping companies build cultures that people want to be a part of and not complain about to their friends over drinks on Friday night. It's our mission to help leaders do spectacular things to get the very best, most fulfilling work out of their teams.

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

I spent 17 years as an executive in the health and wellness industry, absolutely loving the experiences of leading different aspects of a national brand... until I didn't anymore. The common link of what I did love, though, was the coaching + development of people and the creation of corporate-wide ways to keep teams engaged. Once I mustered up the courage to leave the comfort zone I was firmly planted in (that was ironically uncomfortable), I got certified as a coach, created a CEO peer advisory board with Vistage (which I did for five years) and co-founded Happy Work Spectacular Life (where we help individuals figure out their work woes) and Spectacular at Work (a firm where we help companies do great things). I started my career as a personal trainer (which was a lot of years and lbs. ago) and still want to help people be and feel fantastic. We get to do that for workplaces now, which feels pretty spectacular indeed.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Sometimes it's the seemingly little things that feel the most rewarding. I feel rewarded when I work with a client who makes a decision to stop fixing their team's crappy work (hip hip hooray, right?!). I feel rewarded when one of our coaches gets a glowing review from a client. I feel rewarded when I give a presentation about well-being and someone comes up after to sheepishly share that they plan to schedule their first vacation in 15 months. I feel rewarded when a leader books an offsite meeting for his or her leadership team to talk about their culture, giving it the airtime it deserves (and then I get to bake brownies for the event). People making progress... that's rewarding.

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

I've gotten hyper-focused on my own recipe for happiness– like evaluating what matters to me (and why), what kind of work lights me up (vs. the stuff that snuffs the life out of me, because I've known that all too well), who I like to partner with/ spend any kind of time with, and what a day & week & month looks like in the version of the life I want to be living... and I do my best to create it, albeit imperfectly. My job now lets me be creative, alternatingly autonomous & collaborative when I want, work with startlingly interesting people, partner with game-upping consultants and coaches, have variety from hour to hour, and oh! I can barely catch my breath here. Also, I get to wear jammies when I work from home, so there's that.

What is your morning ritual?

5:43: alarm goes off; pet the two cats hogging the end of the bed; bring coffee to The Husband in bed 6:40: read NYT online while eating the same cereal breakfast (reducing the number of decisions in life by even one thing can be a relief) 7:25: go for a quick walk with The Husband before the machine of the day gets cranked up 7:55: get changed into a "professional" outfit on top if I have a video conference call (I call it the Business Mullet: professional on top, comfy on the bottom) 8:00: let the games begin!

What does success look like to you?

Winning, but not at the expense of someone or something else. Over-preparing, then going with the flow. Working hard and feeling proud of the "thing", while tuning out the saboteur voices in my head. Happiness, pure and simple– for me and the people around me.

Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?

The biggest problem for me about work-life balance is pretending that work-life balance is actually a think I can get good at (like athletics-- it's never going to happen). Let's blow up the idea that we're able to achieve balance and accept that some days + weeks + months + quarters are going to be skewed in one area of life, maybe at the expense of another-- and that we get to course-correct. That's the thing-- we need to build in a system to course-correct, or else all of a sudden a year passes and we're not feeling so great about the "me time" we didn't make time for. My tactic to address this is to get super-diligent with my calendar. I make an appointment with myself to plan my time for the next month or two in my life (and I go somewhere that makes me happy, like a cooler-than-I'll-ever-be hotel lobby with great caffeine offerings), and I evaluate where I've been squandering my time (Netflix: love/hate relationship) and where I need to build more time in for what matters (like seeing my Dad, attending an Ellevate social event, whatever is a priority at the moment). Getting ruthless with how I edit my life/ calendar gives me a fighting chance to live a life I'll look back on with fondness (or at least not a grotesque abundance of regret).

What is the best career advice you ever received?

My most amazing business partner, John Philbin, is kind of a networking savant. He has said to many of our clients that the success of one's career depends on the strength of their network. It's tough to grow within an organization, let alone pivot to another company or industry, if you don't have a web of people to talk to, learn from, help with introductions, and just have a glass of wine with every once in a while.

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

Give the kids back. I've heard it's really hard. (COMPLETELY KIDDING.)

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.

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