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Ep 63 // How To Become a Master Networker With Karen Jaw-Madson

Ep 63- Karen Jaw-Madson

Networking can inspire dread in a business leader, but taking time to build relationships is a necessary investment, helping fill knowledge gaps, identify opportunities, and ultimately, go farther and faster in business. 

In this episode, Akua Nyame-Mensah talks to executive coach/author Karen Jaw-Madson about how networking should be included in our daily habits, how to create authentic relationships, and how to play a role in helping to connect others as well. Don't let networking fall by the wayside because you lack confidence or don't know how to follow up after an initial meeting. Networking is like a flywheel; small efforts over time create momentum and compound as our web of relationships grows. 

Karen Jaw-Madson is a principal at Co.-Design of Work Experience, Editor-in-Chief of A New HR, author of "Culture Your Culture: Innovating Experiences at Work," and an instructor at Stanford University's Continuing Studies Program. She enables decision-makers to address organizational challenges that affect business performance, including leadership, company culture, talent optimization, and change management. She's also an investor and advisor to startups, lending her expertise - and vast network - to help others.

 

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What's Covered in this Episode About Relationship Building

  • Akua and Karen talk about how their relationship is the result of networking - they would never have met if their mutual friend¬†Kirin Kalia¬†hadn't connected them.
  • Karen offers advice for business leaders who want to do good by connecting with others.
  • Learn how networking is a skill that can be developed with practice.¬†
  • Karen talks about the psychology of networking and how we are social creatures who need to make connections to survive.¬†
  • Connecting others is a great way to be an ally, creating an access point for people who may not otherwise have one.
  • Karen talks about how working at many levels within organizations gives a helpful perspective to support an entire organization.¬†
  • Hear specific examples of how Karen's networking led to several book collaborations, some of which had many co-authors, which expanded her network even more.
  • Love to learn? Karen talks about books she's contributing to and their fascinating topics, including writing a chapter for one book on hubris and how leaders can avoid it by being open to learning.

Quotes from this Episode of Open Door Conversations

  • "I spend my time mostly in four buckets. One is in coaching, developing leadership. The second is in enabling organisations to leverage their culture, diversity and employee experience. The third is optimising talent that's aligning people with strategy for results. And that fourth bucket kind of cuts across everything else. " - Karen Jaw-Madson
  • "To me, relationships are absolutely so important. And they make such a big difference. What I love about connecting people is bringing people together that otherwise wouldn't intersect" - Karen Jaw-Madson
  • " I think the reason why people don't network too much is that they don't even think of it. So if you make it a habit, then you're more likely to do it, you can incorporate it just like any other skill or capability we want leaders to build up." - Karen Jaw-Madson

Mentioned in How To Become a Master Networker With Karen Jaw-Madson


A note from Akua: Enjoy this podcast content and guests? These are the kinds of conversations (and amazing humans) we will have in my new community and container. If you are an action-oriented and accomplished professional who is pivoting into service-based entrepreneurship and are ready to get out of theory and into practice, join my waitlist to cut through the noise and get to the money here: www.akuanm.com/cheatcode

Get to Know this Episode's Guest 

Karen Jaw-Madson is principal of Co.-Design of Work Experience, author of Culture Your Culture: Innovating Experiences @ Work (Emerald Group Publishing, 2018), founder of Future of Work platform A New HR, executive coach, and instructor at Stanford University’s Continuing Studies Program. She enables decision makers to address organizational challenges that affect business performance, through:

1. Coaching and developing leadership

2. Enabling organizations to leverage Culture, Diversity and Employee Experience

3. Optimizing talent by aligning people with strategy

4. Driving Change Management and Transformation

A former corporate executive, Karen is known as a versatile leader across multiple industries with experience developing, leading, and implementing numerous organizational initiatives around the globe. She has been featured in Inc., Fast Company, Fortune, Thrive Global, and Protocol, as well as written for publications such as Forbes, Greenbiz, SHRM's HR People+Strategy, TLNT.com, HR.com's HR Strategy & Planning Excellence magazine, and HR Professional magazine.

Other publications where she appears as a contributor include Mobile Medicine: Overcoming People, Culture, and Governance, Punk XL (Experience Leadership), The Secret Sauce for Leading Transformational Change, and Advanced Health Technology: Managing Risk While Tackling Barriers to Rapid Acceleration. Karen has a BA in Ethnic and Cultural Studies from Bryn Mawr College and a MA in Social-Organizational Psychology from Columbia University.

Websites: www.designofworkexperience.com and www.anewhr.com

Twitter: @karenjaw and @anewhr

Facebook: /designofworkexperience and /anewhr

Instagram: co.designofworkexp and a.new.hr

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karenjawmadson 

Get to Know the Host of the Open Door Conversations Podcast

Learn more about your host, Akua Nyame-Mensah.

Akua is a certified executive and leadership coach, recognized learning and organizational development facilitator, speaker, and former startup executive. 

Since 2018, she has had the opportunity to partner with amazing organizations, from high-growth startups to multinational brands all around the world, to maximize people, performance, and profit.  Outside of her coaching and corporate speaking engagements, she is a regular mentor, coach, and judge for various entrepreneurship-focused organizations.

Stay in touch with Akua Nyame-Mensah, Leadership & Culture Advisor:

  • Read about¬†Akua‚Äôs services¬†if you‚Äôd like to learn more about how you can hire her to help you strengthen your organization‚Äôs culture.

  • Complete her¬†contact form¬†to jump on a call.

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Here’s the transcript for episode 63 about How To Become a Master Networker

NOTE: Please excuse any errors in this transcript; it was created using an AI tool. Akua Nyame-Mensah 00:07 Welcome to the open door podcast. My name is Akua Nyame-Mensah. I also respond to Aqua and I'm a certified executive and leadership coach recognised facilitator and former sort of leader that loves supporting reluctant buyer fighting and overwhelmed leaders. I've worked with them to help them clarify where they should focus their time and energy each and every day so that they can love themselves, love their work, and ultimately love their life. If you're looking to learn leadership information and hear different perspectives, you are in the right place. My aim in this podcast is to help you see that one of the most productive and profitable things you can do is deeply understand yourself. Understand how you show up, understand how you thrive and allow yourself to align everything in your work in your life, and in your business to support that think of this podcast as your weekly opportunity to receive leadership support. And remember, there is no one right way to lead yourself or others. Thank you so much for taking the time to join me today. Let's get started. Hello, and welcome to this week's podcast episode. I am so excited because this week, I am finally releasing my interview with one of my favourite humans I've met in the online space so far. So if you are interested in learning how to be a master networker and connect her, please listen to this amazing interview with Karen. Hello, and welcome to this week's episode of the open door conversations podcast. I am super excited for the conversation we're going to have today. And today I'm being joined by Karen to talk about Master networking and connecting others. Karen, welcome to the show. Unknown Speaker 02:05 Thank you. It's so great to be here. Akua Nyame-Mensah 02:08 I am so excited to have you. Audience those of you listening to this, Karen and I have had so many amazing conversations. And I think that what she has to share today will be so, so interesting to you. But for folks who are meeting you for the first time, could you please share a little bit about who you are and what you do? Unknown Speaker 02:25 Sure, I'll talk to you a little bit about, you know, My professional background, happy to share more about my personal background as well. I'm the principal of my own firm, it's called co design of work experience, the author of culture, your culture innovating experiences at work. I'm the founder of a future of work platform called a new HR. It's kind of a side passion project. I do executive coaching and then I'm I'm an instructor at Stanford University's continuing studies programme. So that's a lot. That's a mouthful, but I mostly this when you boil it down, I really enabled decision makers to address organisational challenges that affect their business results. So I spend my time mostly in four buckets. One is in coaching, developing leadership. The second is in enabling organisations to leverage their culture, diversity and employee experience. The third is optimising talent that's aligning people with strategy for results. And that fourth bucket kind of cuts across everything else. But there's a lot of work on its own. It's driving change management and transformation. So that's that's really me in a nutshell, professionally, I'm a woman identify as a woman of colour grew up in the United States on the east coast, but have lived in a lot of different places. So my parents are immigrants, and had me quite early in their journey here. So I kind of became American with them. If you think about it, I love that. Yeah. So I moved around a lot as a child, always in the same state. I lived overseas in Ireland for a couple of years, lived in the Midwest, and now we're in California. So we counted nine times in the span of like, probably 1015 years. But this is the place we've stayed the longest so far. Akua Nyame-Mensah 04:07 That's amazing. And I think one of the things that I think is so incredible about what you've been able to build for yourself, is the fact that you're really able to connect with people find opportunities, and also support people with finding opportunities as well. I'd love for you to talk a little bit about actually how we connected and yeah, how we actually were able to touch base. Unknown Speaker 04:29 Yeah, so we were connected through a schoolmate, but we're very many years of university. Well, and so Okay, Karen, who introduced us a shout out to her here. Hi, Karen. Yeah, I met my very first year, and she was one of those. What do we call them again? The customs people? Akua Nyame-Mensah 04:53 Ah, yeah. So kind of like Yeah, someone who sort of shows you what it's like at Bryn Mawr right sort of introduces you to The customs, the ways of living and being in culture, their culture creators, enablers. There you go. Unknown Speaker 05:06 Yes, that's That's true now that we look at it in retrospect, absolutely. And so I met her my very freshman year. She's she's, she was a class above mine, you know, we saw each other, we were friendly throughout school. But then I think probably what 1520 years went by, and we kind of heard about each other here and there. And then we've reconnected a couple of times over the years. And then most recently, during pandemic, because I spent speaking of networking, some time reconnecting with people I hadn't talked to, and I think that I'm not the only one that did that. And then Kyra and I realised, wow, we're in adjacent spaces. She's a startup pitch coach, she's been in the startup world, I, I'm in there, too, but not only there, but we just found a lot of overlapping circles and networks, where we were like, wow, we could really do a lot to help each other. And so we had been kind of gave each other, you know, free licence to introduce each other to people in our networks. And you were one of them. I mean, she was so enthusiastic about introducing us. And so I'm very grateful since then, because as you mentioned, we've had quite a few conversations, we should have probably pressed record from the very beginning. Yeah. But, but yeah, and we don't know what's gonna, where it's gonna go from here. But obviously, it led to this conversation, which is already something amazing. And we don't know where it'll go from here. But to me, relationships are absolutely so important. And they make such a big difference. Because what I love about connecting people is bringing people together that otherwise wouldn't intersect, right? So you and I, there's no way we're going to bump into each other on the street walking down the street, because we live in two different continents. Right. But the fact that we had a mutual friend who said, wow, these two women need to get to know each other, and meet the introduction, she didn't know where it was gonna go. And here we are today. So I'm very appreciative to her. And we should make sure we definitely give a shout out. Maybe put a link to her website is Akua Nyame-Mensah 07:06 definitely definitely I mean, I've had an opportunity to also have her on my podcast as well. And I think it's, it's amazing how she also right goes out of her way to connect others as well. And I think that there's so many things that we can learn from people who've gotten comfortable with this. So do you have any other advice for leaders who are wanting to play more of a role in connecting people and supporting people in this way? Unknown Speaker 07:32 Yeah, I think the thing is, the reason why people don't network too much is that they don't even think of it. So if you make it a habit, then you're more likely to do it, you can incorporate it just like any other skill or capability we want leaders to build up is to have the sort of connected thinking to always be looking for those connections. And I really did make it a part of that I even have a mantra, I love connecting my connections, right? I love that. Yeah. So I just You just do that to make it a habit. And then it just becomes a part of who you are. And what you do. Nobody, honestly we are social creatures, we are not as much as a business might lead us to believe we are not transactional. Okay, and so nobody likes a fair weather friends, so to speak, right? There's certain people that I can even think of right now that you only hear from them when they're job searching, right. And so how much social capital is built up there. I mean, I will always help people, I'm just probably helpful to my own detriment. But that's a whole nother story there. But the thing is that people must realise that relationships matter. And there is something to be said about social capital, I don't do it for that I do it because I know it makes a positive difference in people's lives. And that's like the recurring thing behind everything I do anyway. So it's very much aligned with who I am and my values. But for leaders who want to get better at networking, and connecting is just start practising just really forcing yourself to think about all the different places that it can connect, we are meant to be connected thinkers, like that's how great ideas come to pass when we innovate, right? Or we build off of each other. Maybe you find another person, say, I want to get better at networking, let's look at our networks and see what we can do to help each other and ask each other questions about the relationships we have in our lives. It can lead to so many possibilities, whether you're looking for a mentor, or business partner or co founder, or you just want to make a difference. So I think there's just it's such a versatile skill to have. Because once you connect people, you could connect ideas, and you might open doors you never thought you could possibly be you know, have access to and that's the other the other purposes, you create access. That's a great way of being an ally as well. Akua Nyame-Mensah 09:46 I love that. And I think that's a really great segue to actually talk about the many things that you're involved in. Can you tell us about some of your favourite projects you're working on right now? Unknown Speaker 09:57 Oh, gosh, every project is a favourite project. So my thing is, I do really spend a lot of time working at different scales of the organisation. So I work one on one in my coaching, right realm. And I love that because you just, that's where you have really that true connection with somebody else. And so you really could see the impact or the conversations you're having. And so just as much as I'm helping them, like we're kind of feeding each other, I always see that as a co design of some sort. And we're co designing the shared experience together. So to me, I've really loved the one on ones. And then you kind of scale that up, right? You work at the team level, and you kind of see all that one on one work come to scale. And how does that create team dynamics? How do you create teams self awareness, not just individual self awareness, right. And then you also scale that up to an organisation, that's when you're talking about organisational change and culture, you know, systemic changes, that will make a difference in the long term, that kind of thing. So I really love all of it. Honestly, I really can't, it's like picking your children, right? You can't can't one. Because it really, I think each has its tremendous benefits. And I think each needs each other. I think we do need individual work to be done, we do need teamwork to be done. We do need organisational work to be done. So I work anywhere from helping build leadership capabilities to team dynamics to changing cultures. Certainly a lot of work in the DEI space as well, which is very important I and I've been in it since the beginning of my career when it was you know, working on formative action compliance, you know, you're in the US, there's some legislation that requires that government contractors, so I've been steeped in it for a really long time. So that's kind of some of the things that I do. That's how I spend my days, although every day is different. Today, I'm recording a podcast, and then tomorrow, you know, might be a full day with a client. And then another day, I might have three coaching sessions. So it's all I love the variety. Akua Nyame-Mensah 12:01 I love that. And I think it's really important for people to understand how working at different levels within an organisation gives you a really interesting lens and perspective to support an entire organisation. But ultimately, right, it starts at the individual level, right? Of course, change can happen at a greater scale. But if those individuals aren't buying in, they're not interested, right? If they haven't been informed of you know why this is important, it's so hard to get an entire organisation to move forward. Unknown Speaker 12:28 Well, absolutely. And to practice what I preach. I mean, I see all this as learning. So in the same way I would want the organisations I work with, to be learning organisations, I myself have to be, you know, very keen to learn. And that's another benefit of connecting with others and networking, because you just learned so much. I mean, just thinking about the conversation we had before we hit record, I told you, oh, I learned something new today. Yeah. And it was so random, right? So you just have to be that's the thing about being a good learner, you have to be able to adapt different styles of learning, because you can't choose how it comes to you. Right. So I feel learning is very much connected to networking, as well. Akua Nyame-Mensah 13:08 I love that. And just having that perspective or mindset of being curious, right? You never know, what's possible, what's going to happen, like you mentioned earlier on. So just being curious and open can really potentially open doors. Unknown Speaker 13:20 Well, that's it, I was just talking to somebody yesterday, and it was impromptu coaching, really. But they're like, well, I need to do this. And this before I can go out and do that. And I'm like, why? What's stopping you from and people so we self limit when it comes to networking sometimes. And you know, this was something, I recommend it to the person like you do this every day, you go out and do this every day. So choose a different place to go to, right, you go out for that coffee every day, choose a different coffee shop to go to and have different conversations. And they're telling me well, I need to get settled in my new house. I just moved and I'm like, Well, why? Why are those two? There's nothing to stop you from from doing that. Because, you know, we in our minds, well at first we do this, then we do that. And and that's not always the case. Yes, there's, you know, first things first, second thing second, but those two had nothing to do with each other my mind. So that's what I mean, like, just question yourself, whether or not you of course, but Akua Nyame-Mensah 14:17 no, I always do. Unknown Speaker 14:21 That's true. You know, and, you know, there's a certain degree of humbleness that we need, right, because I just actually finished reading a chapter on hubris. You know, people who have hubris don't question themselves enough. Right? So that's something that and if we're good learners, and we're curious, you know, that's a good, that's a good preventive against hubris, let me tell you, Akua Nyame-Mensah 14:45 so please, please give us a definition of hubris. And I'm excited about this, because I'd love to go into talking about some of the things that you've written, tell us what hubris is and why it's important for leaders to keep in mind. Yeah, Unknown Speaker 14:56 I think the universal understanding of that term is is extreme overconfidence or even arrogance that extreme overconfidence and arrogance is what you versus and, and I did not choose the topic by the way it was assigned to me. But it was great because actually, as I dug into it, I had to research adjacent This is where the network thinking or connected thinking comes in because I had to also research the adjacent concepts with it, right. So on one side, or if you're looking at hubris on one side, you want to look at, well, how does confidence work or, or lack of confidence work? And then on the other side, you're looking at narcissism, potentially. Right? So it was an education for me. And I think it really helps me in my coaching as well. So when we're talking about hubris, from a leadership standpoint, the business impacts of hubris. But for me, I'm like, Well, I'm getting a lot out of this from my coaching, too. So that's my view versus is extreme overconfidence, or arrogance. And we know what hubris brings about, right? So it causes us to have blinders in ways that could be very detrimental to ourselves, or the people we work with and or our businesses, right. And so that's why it's so important, that we learn about it, because that creates risk. And that's what the book is all about. Actually, Akua Nyame-Mensah 16:14 I love that, right? So creating that awareness around these elements that can help to support us or deter us. What are some of the other things that you're excited about writing? Unknown Speaker 16:23 Oh, gosh, I have. So this is, again, a great example of networking as well, when the pandemic hit, somehow I got hit with a lot of a few invitations from colleagues who wanted to work on the book, they never got to type situation, right. So I participated in for book projects since my initial book, and they're all collaborative. And it's only because I had existing relationships with these people. And then through these books, I met more people, right. So I had 26 co authors and about that's 26 new people to get to know their work, to get to know their voices, and to see them in meetings to do book launches together, things like that. So you can find networking opportunities anywhere. And then what happens is it creates this, you know, this really, what is it called the ripple effect or reinforcing cycle like, where, you know, it just comes to you more often, right? So the fact that I had three or four colleagues that, hey, we're doing books would you like to contribute? I'm like, Sure, this is great, a great opportunity to collaborate and, and to meet new people. So that's really how those came about is and then all happened during pandemic, right, or just doubling it up. So yeah, the last one actually comes out before the end of the year. So if you want, I can share all about it just to give a shout out to my colleagues. And that's the other thing about networking, you want to be able to speak about your friends and your colleagues as well. So I have my book culture, your culture innovating experiences that work, and I'll do it in order. And then there was mobile medicine, overcoming people, culture and governance. And that's part of a book series. But I wrote the chat, co wrote the chapter on innovation, and leadership and culture and all that it's called, I can love my leader. So the acronym actually it stands, you know, it's to inspire all different aspects of leadership that are important for innovation. The next book after that was called punk XL. And it's a follow up to a book called punk CX for customer experience. And XL stands for experience leadership, and he's a punk music fan. So he kind of created this graphically designed work that's like an album, and he called all the pieces we put in as collaborators on tracks. It's really fun. It's really fun. Akua Nyame-Mensah 18:44 Love it, we'll make sure that we link it in the show notes. So you can take Unknown Speaker 18:47 all that came out of the UK, so all the proceeds go to charity, so it's a good cause as well. And the third book was called secret sauce for leading transformational change. I wrote a chapter or an essay there called Sustainable Dei, because I have a real frustration that there are so many failed dei initiatives out there. And surprise, surprise, I talked about saturation at the individual team and org level, just to give you a preview of that. So but this is a really great resource on all aspects of organisational change, for for those of you who are change leaders out there, and then there's another book coming out called advanced technology, health technology, managing risk while tackling barriers, right to rapid acceleration. That's the chapter with the hubris about and that comes out before the end of the year, just in time for the holidays. So it's a mouthful, but I love I love that I can be so proud to work with colleagues and to have something to show for it. And all of that. Let me just reinforce the theme of today's conversation, all that came out of networking and connecting with people. So I had never anticipated all this and then actually created the opportunity to talk to my publisher saying okay, For the last four book projects, we're not with you, you know, we got to work on my follow ups here. Right? So it's all good stuff. Akua Nyame-Mensah 20:07 I love that. And I think one of the things that's really unique about what you do and sort of how you've built your career is that in addition to, you know, doing this work, you know, for yourself, you know, supporting others, you're also an investor and advisor for startups as well, can you tell us a little bit about some of the work you're doing there and the things that you're developing in that space as well? Yes, Unknown Speaker 20:31 so I invest in founders of colour. And typically, in organisations that I've worked with for a number of years and have an existing relationship, again, great for connecting and relationship building. For me, it's helping them wherever they're needed, I'm certainly I've been advising much longer than I've been investing, it's just that I happen to have a good year or two. So I decided, you know, I'm gonna put my money where my mouth is, in terms of this, the extreme confidence I have in these founders, to be able to disrupt their spaces, I do certainly lend my support in terms of networking. So I spend a lot of time trying to connect them to people that I come across, that might be able to be, you know, a mutual benefit to each other. And I'm actually working with one team on go to market, which is completely new to me, again, continuing to learn in a space that I didn't grow up in. So it's really just, I get as much out of it, as I hope I'm putting in. And I say that to everybody, you get as much out of as you put into it anyway. So that's what I'm doing in that space. And for me, interesting times that we live in, but the next decade will be fascinating to see these organisational journeys play out. So to be able to see a business in its nascent stages, like just to be able to see it from the very beginning, it to me is really exciting. And to help them scale up through rapid growth. I do that work anyway. But that's a very different experience than my other aspects of my career where I grew up in a lot of corporate multinationals and well established centuries old companies that are classified as blue chip, very different environments, I work with every day to try to become more innovative, funny enough, right. And early stage companies that you kind of it's so interesting to just kind of see where all the connections come in. Amazing. So there's, there's a lot of great stuff in just opening yourself up to the possibilities and doing great things. And quite honestly, I think I might have shared this with you in a previous conversation, my dream is just to go from project to project with people I love working with. I mean, it's kind of a little bit like the Hollywood model, right? You kind of see the same teams doing some great stuff together. And in the process, right? They're creating things for the world. And, and they also, you know, make a living together, right. So there's a lot of win win in connecting and networking and collaborating with people. Akua Nyame-Mensah 23:00 Yeah, I love that. Absolutely love it. And I think it's incredible that you can bring this knowledge you have from more of the structured space to a more unstructured place, and then vice versa. Right. So bringing a little bit more of that innovation and outside box thinking to the corporations that you support. Unknown Speaker 23:16 Right now, there's a lot of learning to be had. But it's very important with the consulting work I do to make it very context driven, right, because one type of company is not the same as another type of company or even like, let's talk about nonprofit, you know, there are some aspects of business that nonprofits should learn from, but it's not exactly the same, because their missions are different. Akua Nyame-Mensah 23:38 Exactly. Right. I love that. Um, so Karen, one of the things I think that's so incredible about you is that you know, you are multi passionate, multi talented multi hyphenate, we've talked about all the different things that you do. But can you tell us a little bit about what you're excited about next? You know, what's coming next for Karen? Unknown Speaker 23:56 Thank you? Well, you know, it's funny, I have a very long list of things I do. And that started out in the beginning of a conversation as well. I'm working on a research project at the intersection of dei and culture, these are two spaces that oftentimes don't meet. And I honestly don't know why. And I think there needs to be some thought leadership in that space. And I can't do that without interacting with the companies and the and the workers, and the employees and the people out there who live at every day. And so I'm hoping to find actually got great traction partner companies, but if people are interested in participating, please do contact me as well. So that's coming up. The other piece I'm working on is I'm developing a few mobile apps around tools that I've used for years. And so now I can add mobile app developer to my hyphens and and it might be a long list, obviously sounds like a long list to everyone. Let me just explain to you how I do it all because there's only 24 hours in a day. So I might have a long list of things I'm doing. But at any given time, I'm focused on three to five things, it might be a major client project, I have my coaching as kind of that baseline that's always there. But for everything else, it's, you know, three to five things at any given time, depending on complexity and an investment of time, certainly, but my whole list, as you've heard through this conversation is like, what 10 different things. And I didn't even talk about everything else that I have in the pipeline. And so what I do at any given time is focus on three to five things. And every few months, one piece might ramp down, and I'll ramp up another piece on the list. So it's, I just want you to know, it's like, I sat through this conversation with colleagues, and they're like, Oh, my business is 10%, this 30% that, I couldn't look at it from a percentage standpoint, I said, I'm a little bit, you know, maybe I'm weird, but I'm looking at it as any given time, I'm doing these three to five things ramping down, or ramping up. And that's how you get all those different things done. My best advice is, you know, don't don't look back on your life and say, Oh, I wish I did that, or I wish I pursued that the difference between people. And this is my belief. I don't think I've completely made it there yet. But I've noticed so far being independent for the last nine years after this long corporate executive career is that the difference is that you just keep going people give up too quickly. If you if you are ambitious and care about and you have a passion for for pursuing something, there's nothing to stop you from doing it now. And for you to pursue it all the way. Because even if it fails, and you can learn from it, at least you said you tried, right. And so I want to encourage everyone to do that. I know I'm not going to be successful, everything I'm doing but I'm having a great time with the variety of things on my plate, it can be overwhelming. But again, you just set your boundaries around, where am I going to spend my time? Where am I going to focus now. But that doesn't have to be the case. It doesn't have to be set in stone forever. Okay, so I just thought I'd share a little bit about that. Yes. Akua Nyame-Mensah 27:05 And I think to sort of round up this conversation, I'd love to know who is carrying outside of all this amazing work, and networking and connections. Yeah, what do you get excited about outside of the work that you do? Unknown Speaker 27:17 Gosh, there's really not a lot of here's the thing I've noticed as I've started to integrate all these aspects of my identity, in my work, is the lines between work, home and even faith have become more transparent, teach or more symbiotic in a lot of ways. I love that. And that, to me, I think the integration of all those spaces that are telling me I'm making progress in all of them, right, because they start to come closer together, and then they're a part of me. And so, in the DI space, you know, you know, these concepts of covering and psychological safety, all that those are because people have to be forced to compartmentalise Right, right. Yes. So for me, it's like seeing all these spaces come together. So who am I outside of what I've already shared is I became a mom in my 40s. And, you know, my husband turns 50, this year, we're joking about a five and 50 party because our son turns five, and he turns 50. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So that's been just an amazing journey. It's so fulfilling. I mean, you talk about meaningful work. That's what parenthood is, because it's not easy, right? And, and same thing with my work and culture and change. None of it's easy, you do it, because it's meaningful, it's important to people, it's important to the world, right. And I really think that, you know, for me, the biggest accomplishment would be raising this child to have a positive impact in the world and to find his own way of uniquely contributing to it right. So that, to me, is a big part of who I am. But that doesn't take away from the work I do professionally. Like, to me, it's all part of me. And so the integrating of identities, I think, is something that I want to continue to work on personally. Because I feel like it's funny, like somebody asked me, you know, you care about this, but I noticed you bring it to that. Well, yeah, because that's who I am. Right. And so, you know, I want people to think about whether that works for them. I mean, I'm not saying this is what everyone should do. I think everyone needs to decide what works for them. If it makes sense to have boundaries in certain spaces. I get that too. So I really don't, but I'm just telling you, for me and my journey, integrating more my identities to me reinforces each other and I'm finding again, the connective thinking different ways in which I can bring different spaces together as well. Akua Nyame-Mensah 29:39 I love that. And I think a lot of what you shared really resonates with me because one of the ways I've thought about the work I now do and how I technically have a little bit more control over my time is that my business is a lifestyle business, but I like this idea of my business actually being integrated into my life, more so. So I might steal that from you. because I really love that perspective, because I think business is sort of throwing it away. It's, Unknown Speaker 30:07 well, it's, it's funny in the startup world, there's a little bit of a pejorative there, when they talk about a lifestyle business too. It's weird. And then they have all these analogies that you're kind of like, alright, I could see where it applies. And then I could see where it's a little bit too reductive. So things like a real painkiller or vitamin, that kind of thing. So I've also heard, well, this is a lifestyle, business. And that's, like, I don't know that there's a lot of, I think, too much judgement out there to be Akua Nyame-Mensah 30:35 in and also right, judging sort of myself, because I do come from that that startup space, right, so also recognising that that's my own bias, something I've seen, and sort of comparing myself to maybe what others are doing. So I really appreciate that perspective that you shared. So thank you, I Unknown Speaker 30:51 think you're, you're doing amazing things. And I think you have an integrative business. I mean, you have a lot of spaces, a lot of things we've talked about in your work, which is I think, probably why we connected is I think we remind each other of each other. But we have also different enough experiences that we can have really fascinating conversations, right? And just so you guys know, she's in podcast mode, it's usually a great balanced exchange, right? Akua Nyame-Mensah 31:18 To hear you and about you. I'm nodding my head a lot. You can't see it. You can't see it. But Unknown Speaker 31:23 yes, yes, yeah, no. And so you have so much to share in conversations. And I think that's actually I spent some work with just to plug another part of my network conversations worth having. I've done their bootcamp, I've been a fan of their work, we launched our books around the same time. So we're helping each other with our book promotions, that kind of thing. It comes from the Appreciative Inquiry space, we talk about how destructive conversations can be, well, they can also be on the opposite side, affirmative, as well. So So I think that the fact is, if you want to be a great network, learn to have really good conversations. And with some of the coaching work I've done, I have gone so far as to provide some, like outlines for people if they're really not secure around how to have that first conversation. Or even that second one, oh, gosh, I did that networking meeting. Now I don't know what to do. To talk about in a second time. You just need practice. So I'm just going to encourage people out there to just keep talking to people. Be curious, to your point, right? And you're going to learn about it's amazing what you're going to learn and what you're going to connect to and what you're going to contribute to it. There's so many Whitman's and connecting and networking with people. The other the other book I mentioned is a friend of a friend. Oh, okay. So the argument in that book is that I feel like I have not tapped my current network. But the argument is that perhaps you're very closest network you've already tapped out. And so you got to talk to the friends of friends. And that's where maybe some magic and some untapped potential might be. And that's, that's absolutely true, too. So think about it that way, as well. So there's so much good stuff out there, really. And it starts with just creating these new habits that'll make life better for you. Akua Nyame-Mensah 33:12 Yes, we could talk forever. But just looking at time, you know, this has been absolutely amazing. As always, I learned so much. Where can people find out more? Yeah, more about you more about your work online? Unknown Speaker 33:29 Yeah. So certainly my website, www, design of work experience.com. It's a mouthful. You can find me on LinkedIn, I try to post on LinkedIn. But I am on all the platforms, like I should say not on all on four platforms, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. So you can find me there as well. But really, I enjoy connecting with people. If you think there's some mutual benefits to be had from being connected, I'm happy to talk. And, you know, there's just connect with you too, by the way. All right. And everybody that I don't want to make this all about me seriously. It's about you. Yes, it's about you know, oh, but you know, when you have a great network, you notice how many times I've brought up other people I know, right? It becomes all about all of us. And and so that's that's the other great thing about it as well. So Akua Nyame-Mensah 34:24 amazing. We'll make sure that we link everything in the show notes. Thank you so much for joining me. Yes, absolutely. Thank Unknown Speaker 34:30 you for having me. Akua Nyame-Mensah 34:31 Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to today's episode. If you enjoyed what you heard today, please share it with your friends. We can continue this conversation on social media the links to my socials. So that is LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. You can find them in the shownotes if you tagged me in a story and include the hashtag hashtag ask Akua I will share a special little gift with you. Thank you so much once again for your time. And I cannot wait to share my next episode with you stay safe and sane

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