Women in the Hybrid Workforce: What will make you happy?

Women in the Hybrid Workforce: What will make you happy?

August 1, 2022

Working in a hybrid environment has many challenges, especially for women.

pictured: woman in blue top working at computer

According to the Deloitte’s Women@Work 2022 Global Survey, looking at women in the hybrid workforce:

  • 58% of women feel excluded from meetings
  • 45% don’t have enough exposure to leaders
  • 36% have clear expectations around where and how they want to work
  • 38% have work/life balance

When we look at these statistics, it’s clear that changes need to happen for women who work remotely or in hybrid if they are to advance in their careers.

Here are three options that you may consider:

Option #1:

Do nothing and hope things will change. This is probably not the wisest move. Hope is not a strategy! Apathy won’t get you what you need to be happy, so it’s not the best way to approach and resolve a challenge that relates to your career.

Option #2:

Start looking for a new job, hoping thing will be different in the next company. This is an active response, which is helpful. However, it’s easy to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. It’s up to you to take intentional action, like asking good questions in the interview process, or else you run the risk of landing in a new company culture that is the same as what you left, or even worse.

Option #3:

Stay and work to communicate effectively with your manager. These may be difficult conversations, but they can also be very powerful. Share how you are feeling and provide specific examples of what you’ve experienced so your manager understands why you feel that way.

In my opinion, Option #3 is the best place to begin. Unless you’ve already tried to talk to your manager, now is the time to have that difficult conversation. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they want to help you be happy so that you will continue working with them. Without knowing what you want, how can they give it to you?

Which option will you choose? Tell me in the comments!

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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Case Study: How to Get Support from an Absent Manager

Case Study: How to Get Support from an Absent Manager

July 18, 2022

Periodically, I invite a small group of early to mid-career professional women for breakfast and what I call, “Career Conversations.” I want to hear about the challenges they are experiencing in the workplace so that I can understand how to better serve them and others like them through my coaching and training.

The women who join me for this event are always very gracious as they share stories about their struggles and concerns; In turn, I offer guidance and help them come up with some new ideas for how to handle their situations.

As a new feature to my blog, I’d like to share some of their stories with you here as case studies. I’ll also share with you the advice I gave to help them in each situation. My hope is that you will find these conversations useful as well. I do have their permission, though I will use fictious names to respect their confidentiality.

Here is one of their stories:

Elizabeth has a manager who is consistently canceling meetings. She is frustrated because the manager is not providing enough direction for her to reach her sales goals.

The manager knew it was a new industry for Elizabeth when he hired her, so her asking for guidance was expected. However, the business has been growing, and he had less time to spend with her. When she reached out to him, his response was: “I am too busy because we are growing, so I don’t have time to meet with you.”

My advice:

I recommended that she send an email expressing why she needs his time.

During our discussion, we spent some of our time wordsmithing the email so that she had clear steps to move forward. Here is what we decided:

She should open the email by acknowledging the good news that the company is growing and that she can understand why his calendar is getting busier.

She should then state the reason she needs his help. For example, she might say: Since I am your only salesperson, I need you to help me understand best how to get the attention of new clients.

I also recommended that she include the following in her email:

  • What she has done to get herself acclimated to the new industry
  • What she has been doing to increase her knowledge of the industry
  • How she is broadening her network
  • How she is using LinkedIn to increase the company’s visibility.

These details will show her manager that she is not solely relying upon him to help her.

I also suggested she mention to her manager in a diplomatic way that since he has canceled the last three meetings, that they meet at a different time even if it means coming in early or staying late.

She should end the email expressing excited she is to see the company growing and that she wants to continue to be part of its success.

And finally, I suggested that in the future she should not wait too long to address concerns with her manager. This will enable the challenges to be rectified sooner and prevent them from growing out of hand.


I hope you found this case study helpful! If you would like to participate in one of these “Career Conversations,” sign up for the wait list and you’ll be the first to know when I schedule my next one.

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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Introverts: The Secret to Using Conversations to Build Relationships

pictured: a business woman and business man in conversation

Introverts: The Secret to Using Conversations to Build Relationships

July 4, 2022

pictured: a business woman and business man in conversationAre you an introvert who finds it difficult to engage in conversation with someone new? Are you the quiet one in a crowd?

Perhaps you’re worried that you don’t have anything to say that would contribute to the conversation? Or maybe you have something to say, but it’s difficult to find an opening when so many people are talking?

Here is what I want you to know: You have something to contribute! And you don’t need to be talking in order to participate.

By being a good listener, encouraging others to continue to talk, and showing genuine interest in others, you will leave a more favorable impression than the person doing most of the talking.

At the same time, we don’t want you to be completely silent, right? So, let’s talk for a moment about balanced conversations and a framework that you can lean on to help you find space for your voice.

In my book, You, You, Me, You: The Art of Talking to People, Networking, and Building Relationships, I present a simple framework that can help you create structure in your conversations.

The rationale behind this framework is for you to invite others to talk more than you, which is a perfect fit for your tendency to be the quiet one.

How do you do that? By asking questions to help you learn about the other person before you begin to share something about yourself. There’s a rhythm to it… You, You, Me, You. It enables everyone to share, and it creates a sense of balance in the conversation. You can put this framework to use through the questions you ask.

I’ve put together a guide to help you quickly understand and apply the You, You, Me, You framework. You can request the guide here or use the form below. If you want to go deeper, you’ll find my book helpful.

As Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming more interested in others than you can in two years by trying to get other people more interested in you.”

How do you turn a networking conversation into an ongoing professional relationship?

Use the You, You, Me, You Framework to easily engage in smoother conversations that leave a great impression.

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How can I become more confident?

Three business women sharing a high-five

How can I become more confident?

June 20, 2022

Three business women sharing a high-fiveYour confidence plays an important role in your career, especially in terms of your success.

Having confidence allows you to take risks. It gives you the courage to request assignments on high level projects and to speak up for yourself when your boundaries are compromised. It is an overall feeling that you can manage most situations without fear of doubt.

If you feel like your confidence could be better, trust me that you are not alone. We all have areas in our lives where we wish we were more confident. Happily, you aren’t stuck with your current level of confidence. This is something that you can work on and improve!

What are you doing to become more confident?

Building confidence takes time, effort, and your willingness to take risks. You have to be willing to lean into the concept popularized by Thomas H. Palmer: “If you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again.” You must be willing to fall short (I am not a fan of the word failure) each time you attempt to do something new. That is what learning is all about, and confidence comes with working for your eventual success.

A recent conversation with one of my clients highlights the challenge that most of us face when it comes to our confidence. She was telling me about a stressful, difficult experience that happened to her one time in college. As she told me her story, she realized that many of the decisions she’s made about her career were based on that one, single experience. We talked about how important it is to not define ourselves by one moment in time; that we need to look at the many other moments that were positive and use those to ground our self-perception and our confidence.

How about YOU? Are you ready to begin building your confidence?

Use the process below to start growing your confidence one step at a time.

First, identify your unique challenge:

Grab a piece of paper and draw two vertical lines so that you have 3 columns.

  1. In the left column, identify the situations where you especially struggle with your confidence. Get really specific. The clearer you can be about where you struggle with your confidence, the easier it will be to focus on improving it. For example: If you lack confidence when speaking in public, list some situations that come to mind. Giving a speech at a conference? Being on stage in a play? Or being at a party with people you don’t know?
  2. In the middle column, identify what you believe may be the source of your lack of confidence in each of those situations. Was there one incident in your life or several that contributed to this struggle? What did someone say to you that affected your confidence?
  3. In the right column, capture your thoughts, emotions, and actions that you associate with each of those situations where you don’t feel confident.

Second, select one situation from your piece of paper that you want to work on, and do the following:

  1. Find opportunities to practice the thing that you envision. Now is your chance to take that risk. Start small and choose to be ok with the fact that it may not go perfectly the first time, or the second. But the more you do it, the more confident you will become.
  2. Before you actually step into that situation, visualize yourself doing it confidently. Be very specific! For example, if you want to become more confident with giving a speech at a conference, visualize yourself up on the stage giving a speech with total confidence. What would you be thinking if you were confident up on that stage? What would it feel like to be so confident? As you visualize, think and feel those things as if you were actually up on that stage, feeling confident.

Developing a stronger foundation of confidence takes time and it does not happen overnight. Celebrate your successes and learn from your challenges. You’ve got this!

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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How to Make Sure You’re on Track: An Assessment

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How to Make Sure You’re on Track: An Assessment

June 6, 2022

pictured: book with the word assessment on the coverThe journey to finding a job and career you love can feel like a long one. How are things going? Answering that question is something that we don’t do enough of. While I’m writing this at the half-year point (hello, June!), there’s never a wrong time to stop and assess your progress.

Here’s why:

First, it can confirm that you are still headed in the right direction. In this busy and distracting world, it’s easy to fall off track and wander away. Reviewing your progress can help you make sure you’re still on track and, if you aren’t, make the necessary corrections that will save you time and effort.

Second, I like to use these to celebrate how far you’ve come. An assessment, or as I like to think of it – an Accomplishment Review! – can bolster your energy and refresh your focus.

Are you ready? Grab a piece of paper… here we go!


  1. Identify all the steps you took over the last six months to move yourself towards your goal.
    These should be fresh in your mind so you can remember the details. List them out so you can see what you’ve accomplished!
  2. Identify any problems you experienced. Think of these as PARs (Problem, Action, Result) and capture them in that way. It’s important for you to not just see the problems you experienced, but also what you did about them and what happened as a result. These may be problems along your journey to building your career; they can also be problems you solved at work. It’s important to note those for future interviews!
  3. Identify any skills that you developed or strengthened. Consider both functional skills (head) and soft skills (heart). How have these skills contributed to your success? How have they added value to your team or organization?


  1. Consider your work relationships with your colleagues, team members and, most importantly, your relationship with your boss. Has there been any conflict that you have not resolved? Are there relationships that you want to strengthen because they can help you achieve some of your career goals or they have a great network that you would love to get to know. Do they know of your talents and career aspirations?
  2. Evaluate how strong your network outside the company is. Have you been meeting with existing contacts regularly to stay connected? How many new contacts have you made in the last six months? Your network can be your powerhouse for finding your next role, but you have to keep it warm if you want to leverage it when you need it.
  3. Check in with your values. Are you following a path that you believe in? Are you maintaining clear boundaries? Have boundaries been crossed and you need to have a conversation with the person who might be unaware they are important to you?
  4. Are you clear about where you want to go? And if so, are you clear on what you need to advance in the direction you envision for yourself? Is your manager aware of what you need to help you in your career? If not, now is a good time to schedule a meeting with them to discuss your plans and any support that they may be able to provide.

Taking time now to assess where you are with your career goals gives you the chance to adjust before you get too far off track.

Work situations change, management changes, and you might have changed, too! Paying attention to what you have achieved and what you need to do to continue to develop will keep you marketable and prepared for pursuing new opportunities when they arise.

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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They need you in the office but you like working from home. Now what?

Pictured: woman with her feet up on her desk at home

They need you in the office but you like working from home. Now what?

March 28, 2022

Pictured: woman with her feet up on her desk at homeAt first, the idea of working from home made a lot of employees uncomfortable.

They worried about feeling isolated and about being distracted or unable to focus. They didn’t have their homes set up with a space to work and with the entire family home all the time, it probably felt like chaos.

Two years later, they’ve figured out how to make it work and have settled in. They’ve learned to like it!

And now, companies are making decisions around bringing their employees back into the office. They need to decide if they will continue to have employees work remotely, move to a hybrid model, or have everyone fully return to the office.

As they make this decision, companies are trying to balance the wants of their employees and the needs of their business. They need to be profitable and competitive with productive employees, and they also need to make sure their employees are happy.

There is no one simple answer. Every company has unique needs so the solution will be unique to them. And every job is different. Some require face-to-face interaction while others work perfectly well in a remote environment

What I want to focus on here is how employees are responding to the prospect of going back into the office.

This is what I’m hearing from my own clients:

  • I don’t want to commute. I’ve saved money by staying home and I don’t want the hassle with the traffic.
  • I like working in my sweatpants!
  • I’ve saved so much time by not having to get dressed and pulled together for work.
  • I don’t want to spend my money on new clothes for the office.
  • I like the flexibility that working from home gives me. Going to the office means I won’t be able to take a quick nap after lunch.
  • I do my exercises at lunch, and I won’t be able to do that if I go back to the office
  • I am more productive working from home.

I feel the need to point out that the last point above about productivity is the one that companies are going to be most interested in! Your productivity serves their business needs… but so does your happiness.

On the flip side, I do have some clients who have already gone back to their office. They’re happy to see their colleagues but they find it disruptive. They tell me they can’t get their work done.

It is to the benefit of the company that its employees see each other in less formal “watercooler” settings, and it’s to your benefit as well. These casual meetups are opportunities for spur-of-the-moment brainstorming sessions, spontaneous sharing of ideas, and for networking.

When we work remotely, those casual meet-ups with our colleagues don’t happen. Every interaction is planned. That means that both you and your company miss out.

As your call to return to the office looms, I invite you to think about this from your company’s perspective.

Remember, companies are in business to make money, be profitable, remain competitive, and grow. If they don’t do all these things, then you might not have a job to go back to the office for.

With all of this in mind, the question is: How can both your company’s needs and your wants be met?

You have your list of wants (and perhaps, a resistance to change when you’ve just finally settled in), and your company has business needs.

How can you use this information to create a solution where everyone benefits?

This is about incorporating your wants with the company’s needs. If you can think about things from their perspective, you may find a way to incorporate what you want so that it fits within their needs.

If this is of interest to you, I invite you to take the following steps.

  1. On a piece of paper, create two columns.
    - In the first column, write out all the things you want.
    - In the second column, write out how the company benefits from what you want.
  2. On another page, write out your accomplishments from the past year along with the results of those activities, especially in terms of how the company has benefited.
  3. Then, have a conversation with your manager. Let them know that you want to support them during this time of transition. Take the opportunity to share what you want, and frame it with a focus on how your wants benefit the company.

I’m hoping these steps will open up your perspective. What you want is important! But if they don’t serve the company then it may not be feasible, and it’s important that you get clear on this!

You are an integral part of your company’s success. They want to keep you!

Work towards a solution where everyone benefits; the company will be profitable, growing, and competitive and you will be happy as well.

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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Getting Comfortable With Small Talk

5 business people talking and looking uncomfortable

Getting Comfortable With Small Talk

March 14, 2022

5 business people talking and looking uncomfortableAre you comfortable with small talk? I’m not a fan of small talk, and I’ve noticed that many people struggle with it.

The thing is, we can’t avoid small talk. It’s an inherent part of how we communicate, even if we hate it.

The answer to our discomfort with small talk is to understand its purpose so that we can leverage it to have the deeper conversations that we seek, and to develop new relationships.

So, what is the purpose of small talk?

It leads to deeper conversation and opportunities that you might not have had prior to what feels like an unimportant conversation that’s going nowhere.

If small talk is so important, why do we struggle so much with it?

For one, I don’t think we realize what purpose small talk plays, so it’s easy to discount it.

That’s the big misconception: We tend to think that small talk is unimportant and something we just have to endure. But small talk IS important! It is leading us to a rich opportunity.

When we engage in small talk, we’re working with our conversational partners to create a connection and get on the same page. It may just feel like chatter, but it can lead us into deeper conversation and it can serve as the beginning of a relationship with the other person.

And for another…it just plain makes us uncomfortable! We spend a lot of our time during small talk thinking things like:

  • “What do I say?”
  • “What if I say something wrong?”
  • “Why is this matter? It doesn’t sound important.”
  • “What do they think of me?”
  • “Is this going anywhere?”
  • “Is this worth my time? Should I be someplace else…?”

These concerns are normal. The realm of small talk is a vague, uncertain space where we’re all just trying to find some solid ground.

To help you (and your conversational partner) have a better small talk experience, I’d like to offer three suggestions that can make it less uncomfortable and also get you into the deeper conversation faster:

  1. Say their name a few different times. The most powerful word for any of us is our own name. It gives them an amazingly positive feeling and it will help you leave a positive impression. It also helps you remember their name for your next conversation with them.
  2. Give them a compliment. Whether you say you like their name, the color of a piece of clothing they are wearing, or are impressed by something they’ve accomplished, a compliment is another way to leave a positive impression. On top of that is the fact that they have the same concerns that you do. They’re thinking, “What if I say something wrong?” and “What does this person think of me?” Giving them a compliment eases these concerns, enabling the conversation to move more smoothly into deeper territory.
  3. Think of small talk as less about talking and more about listening. This is your opportunity to get to know the other person better. Bonus: When you ask your conversational partner questions that invite them to talk longer, you start moving beyond small talk and into the rich, deeper stuff.

I think the most important thing about small talk that we need to remember is that we are not the only ones who are uncomfortable with it. Most people are! But if we can be strategic about how we engage with that initial part of a conversation, we can get a lot more out of where it’s leading… deeper conversation and building great relationships that serve us.

Are you ready to move beyond small talk into building a professional relationship?

Use this step-by-step guide to easily engage in smoother conversation and improve your confidence.

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5 Tips for a Successful Informational Interview

informational interview

5 Tips for a Successful Informational Interview

February 28, 2022

informational interviewAre you thinking about entering a career, industry, or company, but you have questions that you wish you could ask someone?

If so, you are prime for doing an Informational Interview.

Informational Interviews are conversations with key people that help you gain information and advice about the companies you are targeting, industries you’re interested in getting into, and the career goals that you’re considering. As an added advantage, these interviews can help you develop your professional network and your relationship building skills.

It’s imperative that you keep this one thing in mind: Informational Interviews are NOT about asking for a job!

However, through these conversations, you can learn what employers are looking for in new hires, the trends in specific industries, plus which hard and soft skills you should focus on. You can also build a professional relationship that does, in the end, lead to an actual job, so don’t discount the benefits to your job hunt altogether.

So how can you get the most out of an informational interview? Here are 5 tips:

1. Be prepared before you set up your meeting

Prior to reaching out for to set up the interview, there are a few things you should get in place:

  • A formatted resume – Though you are not using this conversation to ask for a job, your resume will help them understand who you are, what you’ve done, and where you’re hoping to go. This will help them get a sense of who you are prior to your interview.
  • A completed LinkedIn profile – Make sure everything is up to date because it’s highly likely that they’ll check you out sometime before your meeting.
  • A targeted list of 5-10 companies that you think might be a good fit for where you’d like to go next. Even if the list is just a guess at where you think you’d like to be, it serves as a starting point and can create context for your conversation as well as your job search.

2. Aim to make a great impression

Some of the things you need to do to make a great impression are obvious: Be early for your meeting and dress professionally (even if it’s a virtual meeting!). But there’s more that you can do to leave a great impression:

Be gracious by thanking them for meeting with you both at the beginning and at the end of the conversation. This step is crucial! They are taking time out of their day to help you, and so it’s important that they know that you are aware of this and that you aren’t taking it for granted.

Since YOU asked for the meeting, it’s your job to run it. After your initial greeting and saying thank you, get to your questions. Your being prepared will show them that you respect their time and it could increase your chances of being introduced to new contacts.

When you put in the time and effort to make a great impression – through your graciousness, preparation, and professionalism – you deepen your professional relationship with the person you are meeting with. The chances of them thinking of you if an opportunity comes up increases dramatically!

3. Do your research

Do some initial research so it’s clear you already know a bit about the topic you’ll be asking about.

Now to be clear – the Informational Interview is a form of research! What I’m saying here is… don’t go in with a blank slate. There are things you can learn online so start there. Then use the Informational Interview to deepen your understanding.

This means that instead of asking, “What does a person in this role do?”, you can say: “I understand that this role involves doing x, y, and z. Can you tell me a little bit more about what a person in this role does beyond that?”

When it’s clear that you already know a bit about what you’re discussing, it can raise your conversation to a new level. They aren’t talking to someone who has no clue… they’re talking to an informed and interested party who is trying to make a decision. This will shift their approach and increase the quality of the information they share.

4. Ask them these two final questions:

Use these two final questions to bring a close to your conversation:

  • Is there anyone else that you think I should talk to about this? If they do suggest someone, either ask them to introduce you or ask if you can mention the referral.
  • Is there anything I can do for you? Don’t discount this question! You never know how you might be of service in return! At the very least, just you asking this question will tell them something more about your character and it will help you to leave a great impression.

5. Follow Up

The follow up is where most people go wrong, and yet it’s the most powerful work that you can do. Do not drop this ball!

When you follow-up, you are creating an ongoing connection with the person you spoke with, and you are deepening a professional relationship that can serve you (and them!) for many years to come.

Here’s your quick follow-up to-do list:

  1. Send a thank you card through the mail or, if you don’t have their address, an email will do
  2. Send a personalized LinkedIn Connection request mentioning you look forward to staying in touch.
  3. Mark your calendar to reach out in a couple of months. Let them know how meeting with them helped you further your search, update them on where you are in that search, and ask if there’s anything that you can do to help them.

Throughout this entire informational interview process, your focus is on building the relationship with the person you are meeting.

Throughout the process, I invite you to keep Dale Carnegie’s words in mind:

“You can develop more relationships in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can getting people interested in you.”

If you’re looking for a more in-depth conversation about this topic, I talked about it recently in one of my LinkedIn videos. You can check it out below:

Do you want to make sure you're happy in your next job?

Use this worksheet to clarify what you need in the next company you work for.

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Want a Job You Love? Reverse Your Job Search Process

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Want a Job You Love? Reverse Your Job Search Process

February 14, 2022

image: arrow going from B to AHow do you go about looking for a job?

Most people use this process:

Step 1: See what is available
Step 2: Apply, go through the traditional process… eventually get an offer
Step 3: Make that job fit their world and figure out how to be happy in it.

As much as this process will address the challenge of getting you into a job, it creates new challenges along the way, including dissatisfaction at work and taking your career in a direction that you weren’t intending or, perhaps, even wanting. And these are all reasons why people go in search of yet another new job all too quickly.

If you want to find a job that you actually want and will be happy in, I recommend that you reverse the order of the typical job search process:

Step 1: Get clear on what you want: What will make you happy?
Step 2: Use those criteria to find jobs that you apply for… eventually get an offer
Step 3: Notice whether it makes you as happy as you thought it might, and use that information to continue to progress your career in the direction you choose for yourself

Going back to the beginning… The thing that undermines the whole job-search process is desperation. We get to a place where we need the job urgently. And I understand that! Sometimes, life is that way: We need a job, and we need it now.

So, I recommend that you do this work as soon as possible so that if things do get urgent, you already know these answers.

If you’d like some help figuring out what would make you happy in your career, download my free guide, Set Your Intentions for Your Career. It will walk you through a series of questions that will help you understand where you actually want to go in your career.

If you’re looking for a more in-depth conversation about this topic, I talked about it recently in one of my LinkedIn videos. You can check it out below:

Do you want to make sure you're happy in your next job?

Use this worksheet to clarify what you need in the next company you work for.

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Where Are You Going in Your Career? Here’s How to Decide

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Where Are You Going in Your Career? Here’s How to Decide

January 30, 2022

clipboard with the words: "Where I'm going from here..."What are you doing to set your intentions for your career?

Setting your intentions for where you want to go in your career is essential.

This is your opportunity to get clear on what you believe will make you happy and to set your trajectory. Because yes – you do have a choice! And when we know where we are headed, it’s easier to make the best decisions to get us there.

So how do we set career intentions?

As we think about what we want for ourselves in the future, one of the best things we can do is look back.

Following the advice of the very wise Maya Angelou: “If you don't know where you've come from, you don't know where you're going.”

Here’s why: It’s when we look back at what we’ve done and how we feel about it, that we can make smart decisions about what we want to do next.

So, as you think about where you want to be in the future, use this Career Guide to look back at what you’ve been doing at work with regards to three specific areas that are known to drive (or undermine) career satisfaction:

  • Your skills
  • Your values
  • Your interests

When we can take these three important areas and align them with how we spend our time and how we connect with the company we work with, we can positively impact how happy we are in our careers.

This is a process of introspection… so download this guide, grab a pen and a comforting drink that inspires deep thought (my favorite is cup of black tea), and give your future the time and attention it deserves.

Sidenote: Setting your career intention not just an end-of-year activity. You can walk through this process anytime and plan your year ahead. Is it July? Cool. Keep going…

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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