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Career Stewardship with Michael Melcher
28 minutes | Oct 13, 2021
40. She Hated Networking. Then She Ran for Congress.
In 2018, Lauren Baer ran for Congress from Florida's 18th District. She won the Democratic primary handily and came close to unseating her rival in a deep-red district. While she had a stellar professional background, including stints working directly for two Secretaries of State and for the Ambassador to the United Nations, she was a first-time candidate and her district had never had an out, lesbian mom candidate running for the seat. She now runs Arena.run, an organization that prepares new candidates for office and trains staff to be effective. But years before all this, Lauren found herself in a career transition, wondering what she could or should do, and how she would accomplish that. That's when she and our host met, and it's when she was confronted big time with the anxieties and satisfactions that come up in networking. In this episode, Lauren talks with Coach Michael about her initial views on networking, how she made the process work with her, and how she took it to the next level when running for office. She also has great advice for people thinking of public office but who haven't quite taken the first step. An extra-delightful and interesting episode!
49 minutes | Sep 29, 2021
39. Coaching Realness with Meghan Daum
It's time for another real coaching session. Michael's client-for-the-day is Meghan Daum, host of The Unspeakable podcast and author of many bestselling and critically acclaimed books, including The Problem With Everything. Meghan is a writer who hit all the marks of literary success early in her career. She published her first collection of essays at 30, and since then has written several additional books of essays plus a comic novel. But in recent years she's made a big pivot and this has presented big challenges, as she shared in a fascinating episode she called The Tyranny of the Mid-Career Pivot. So Michael invited her on the show to have a coaching session about it. Michael is a huge fan of Meghan's work but in this episode is just a coach. The topic in front of them relates a lot to money - namely, how to make more of it. Curious? Tune in. This is some good stuff!
34 minutes | Aug 11, 2021
38. Are You Ready for Disability? Is Your Company?
We often plan our lives assuming best-case scenarios: the fastest commute, the home that will always rise in value, the jump to a new exciting job. But sometimes we have to deal with things that are not on our wish lists. One of these is disability. Disabilities can be temporary or permanent, hidden or visible, predictable or a total surprise. At least 15 percent of the workforce deals with disability. What can you do to manage this? And what should your company be doing? In this episode, we are joined by Michael's business school classmate, Ed Gray, who is Director of Partnering Programs and Accessibility at Avid. In the past few years, he gradually lost his eyesight and he talks about his journey, what he's learned about living with a disability, and how you can navigate disability – and help your company navigate it as well. Notwithstanding the serious nature of the subject, Ed is as much a character now as he was when Michael met him in the 1990s. Join us for an informative, heartfelt, serious and funny conversation.
39 minutes | Jul 28, 2021
37. What You Can Do When You're Successful But Unsatisfied (and Why "Presence" Is a Loaded Word)
What if you end up achieving a big dream, but discover that it's someone else's dream, not your own? What do you do then? This week, we are joined by Executive Coach Jennifer Chow Bevan. Jenn and Michael talk about how putting your head down and working hard isn't always the best strategy for career happiness, and how true insight is difficult but can come over time. We talk about imposter syndrome, pivotal feedback moments that shake up our thinking, the pluses and minuses of the immigrant experience as it relates to careers, why "presence" is a loaded word, and what to do when we discover that the behaviors that got us here aren't necessarily going to get us there. A very personal, wide-ranging and fun conversation.
30 minutes | Jul 21, 2021
36. What Is Awareness? And How Do I Get Some?
This week we go DEEP and ask: If you were really present in your life, as opposed to being stuck in your head most of the time, what might you experience? Michael is joined by executive coach Duncan Drechsel, who walks us through the subtleties of this thing called awareness: what is it, why it is important, and how we can develop it. We learn how cultivating awareness fits into leadership – and how our busy, task-oriented work lives seemed almost designed to prevent any actual awareness. Duncan shares three specific techniques for beginning to cultivating this mysterious but essential quality and – spoiler alert – none of these have to do with thinking harder.
25 minutes | Jul 7, 2021
35. Coach Your Brain
You have a brain and, guess what, it has an impact on how you function. What can you do to make sure it functions well? In this week's episode, we speak with executive coach Deb Elbaum about what we can learn from modern brain science. Deb trained as a physician before going into coaching, so she's a great source for distinguishing evidence-based realness vs. wishful thinking. Among other things, we learn about the continued plasticity of the brain, why breathing and movement are so important to optimal brain functioning, and how you can use language to start creating new neural pathways. Listen in and learn how to help your own brain do its best work!
35 minutes | Jun 23, 2021
34. "You Can Do More Than You Know" Courage and Leadership in the Not-for-Profit World
Michael Roberts is the Executive Director of Comprehensive Youth Development (CYD) in NYC. CYD partners with three public high schools to give support to students from disadvantaged backgrounds so that they can complete high school and start adult life successfully. (Michael M has been on the Board of Directors of this org for more than a decade.). Michael R is best known for his leadership and experience in the philanthropic and not-for-profit worlds, but he actually started out as a Broadway performer. He shares with us why courage is so important, what his parents taught him about planning for careers. and how to figure out where to make your mark in the not-for-profit world.
35 minutes | Jun 16, 2021
33. The Person You Cannot Disappoint Is Yourself: Talking Career Transition with Ailsa Chang
In this week's episode, we have a special guest, NPR host Ailsa Chang, who shares her own career story. Ailsa grew up as a high achiever, which led to a career in corporate law that she discovered she had no interest in. In her 30s, she enrolled in a Master's program in journalism and decided to pursue the much rockier road of radio journalism. And look at her now! Ailsa shares how likely success seemed when she started (spoiler alert: not very), why the radio is a more visual medium than television, and what it's been like being an Asian-American reporter during a year of attacks against Asian-Americans. She also shares the interesting fact that legions of people constantly tell her how she should speak, act and be, which is why any good career starts with embracing yourself. Not to be missed!
33 minutes | Jun 9, 2021
32. Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World, with Dorie Clark
In our Pride Month special, Michael interviews bestselling author and general cool person, Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You, Stand Out, Entrepreneurial You and, forthcoming in September, The Long Game. Dorie explores how to reorient ourselves to see the big picture so we can tap into the power of small changes that, made today, will have an enormous and disproportionate impact on our future success. We also talk about how careers have changed in the past 30-50 years, and how to approach shaping your career when many of the past paradigms have gone way. And we also share how we ended up with excellent mental health notwithstanding growing up in the dark, homophobic past and what learnings there might be from that.
33 minutes | Jun 2, 2021
31. Are You Thinking of Writing a Book? with Jennie Nash
Sometimes career stewardship involves writing a whole entire book! This is not a task for the meek but it is doable – and maybe it's doable with less pain than is normally associated with the process. In this week's episode, we speak with author, publisher and book coach extraordinaire Jennie Nash, who is the CEO of Author Accelerator and happens to be Michael Melcher's very own and highly valued book coach. Michael and Jennie talk about what would-be authors do wrong, why writing a book will probably not change your entire life but still possibly be worthwhile, and the role that book coaches can play in helping you get where you want to go. A lively, entertaining episode!
35 minutes | May 26, 2021
30. Networking While Immigrant
Networking is a necessary part of career stewardship. It can be hard to find the time, know what to say, and overcome discomfort. But it's even harder if you don't have preexisting relationships, grew up speaking a different language, and are trying to make a career change. Yet, it's still possible to triumph. In this episode, Michael takes a deep dive with a former client of his, "Emily." Emily was born and raised in another country, grew up speaking a non-European language, came to the U.S. as an adult, and attempted a major career change during a massive recession. She was successful – after a LOT of hard work. In this deeply personal conversation, Emily talks about what she learned, how she has dealt with doubt and imposter syndrome, and the ways her views on careers have changed. Not to be missed!
32 minutes | May 19, 2021
29. Your Email Inbox Should Not Be Your To-Do List – Productivity Best Practices
No matter how you slice it, work involves getting things done. "Getting Things Done" is the name of a bestselling book published nearly 20 years ago by David Allen, and it's spawned a community of ardent practitioners. In this week's episode, Michael Melcher is joined by Michael Dolan, a coaching colleague who also has deep knowledge of how this program works. We learn why the worst thing for our brain is an open loop, why most to-do lists are of limited utility, and how even though this work is about productivity, it can also make us into better human beings. Check it out, and then go check off those boxes!
34 minutes | May 12, 2021
28. What You Don't Know When You Start Your Big Career - with Niki Khoshzamir
Just because you've spent years of effort and hundreds of thousands of dollars on your education doesn't mean you are prepared for your big career. Crazy, but true. The world of work is different in many ways from school; just because you've been successful in one doesn't mean you'll hit the ground running in the other. So, what can you do? Today we're joined by Niki Khoshzamir, the CEO of PracticePro, a social enterprise that helps new grads set themselves up for success in their new careers. We talk about the unwritten rules of career success, why your most important relationship is your relationship with yourself, the challenges and rewards of being first generation, how to talk up potential mentors, and why looking for sponsors might be a distraction. Born and raised in Iran, educated in Vienna and the U.S., and a successful lawyer-turned-entrepreneur, Niki is fascinating person in her own right and has some great tips for cultivating resilience. Check it out!
35 minutes | May 5, 2021
27. Interrupting Bias and Creating "Just Work," with Kim Scott and Trier Bryant
Career stewardship includes knowing how to navigate problems like bias, prejudice, and bullying, as well as doing our part to create workplaces that don't have those problems. Currently, there is a lot of talk about these kinds of problems, but what can you actually do? In today's episode, we speak with Kim Scott and Trier Bryant and get some specific, practical tools for dealing with unfairness in the workplace. Kim Scott is the author of the best-seller, "Radical Candor," and recently wrote a wonderful book, "Just Work: Get Sh*t Done, Fast and Fair." Trier Bryant is a former Air Force Captain and veteran of Twitter and now the CEO of Just Work, the company. We talk about the specific different roles we can play in problematic situations, the different strategies we can use based on the nature of the problem, and in general how to move from being bystanders to "upstanders." A super-refreshing perspective on dealing with some thorny issues.
26 minutes | Apr 28, 2021
26. Careers in Politics, with Maria Robles Meier
Politics is one of those careers that is featured frequently in television and movies, but how much do we really know about it? In this week's episode, we examine ways you can get into politics and what it's like when you're there. Our guest is Maria Robles Meier, a political staffer and inclusion expert who grew up in a working-class family in Nebraska and built a career working on Capitol Hill, ultimately running the Senate Diversity Initiative under former Senator Harry Reid. Maria and Michael talk about what it's like being the only person who looks like you, the difference between being fully engaged and only one foot in, and how she ended up having 1,500 individual networking meetings (that is not a typo!).
34 minutes | Apr 14, 2021
25. Discovering You're a Venture Capitalist, with Soraya Darabi
In this episode, we interview Soraya Darabi, general partner and co-founder of the venture-capital firm, TMV. We learn about how one ends up as a VC when you're from a family that never read the business section of the New York Times, the value of doing a ton of internships when young, and what it's like to work in an industry that has a lot of people born on third base who think they hit a triple. We reflect on how important relationships are for success in the tech-investment world, and also how others can denigrate your relational assets even as they are desperately trying to access them. We also learn that it can be fun, even electrifying, to be different and not like the others and that there's a lot to be said for loving the subject matter you're working in. A super-interesting episode!
25 minutes | Mar 24, 2021
24. The Courage to Have Good Meetings
How many bad, boring or ineffectual meetings have you attended this week? How many bad meetings do you expect to attend in your lifetime? It doesn't have to be this way. It's possible to have good meetings and if you know how to make them happen, your career will benefit. The question is: Do you have the courage to make this happen? In this episode, we speak with coach and organizational psychologist Dennis Adsit about how to triumph over bad-meeting culture. We start with the interesting insight that if everyone tends to experience the same thing there is probably a systemic problem at play. We review best practices, talk about the responsibilities of meeting organizers, note that "facilitator" is a role and not a person, and discuss how you can make meetings better, even if you're just an attendee. We make the point that "inclusion" and "going to lots of meetings" are not the same concept, and how one of the most liberating things you can do for someone is to tell them they don't need to be at the meeting.
23 minutes | Mar 3, 2021
23. The Intergenerational Workplace and Rethinking Age, with Marci Alboher
Age doesn't mean what it used to. The current workplace contains as many as five generations. It's not uncommon to work alongside people who may be the age of your grandparents – or the age of your grandchildren. It used to be that you would move from being middle-aged to old, but now we have a whole new stage of life called "Middle Adulthood" – the period of life from 50 to 70+ when people are still very much engaged in the workplace and in living. In this episode, we speak with Marci Alboher, a writer and expert on the intergenerational workplace. We learn about the idea of "stage not age," examine our preconceptions on what we thought aging would feel like, and look at the various ways that we self-segregate by age, even when it's not good for us. We also ask a key question: are you just a one-channel communicator?
21 minutes | Jan 20, 2021
22. Angst About American-Style Self-Promotion
Do you feel uncomfortable with self-promotion? Join the club. Lots of people have hesitations, discomforts, or hang-ups about American-style career self-promotion. Yet talking about yourself, your capabilities, and your interests are not optional. It’s a requirement of career stewardship. In this episode, Michael is joined again by his colleague, Leslie Hom. They talk about the particular cultural choices of “American-style self-promotion” (and how shows up quite distinctly in the Netflix show, “Emily in Paris”), discuss why it doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and analyze some of the specific reasons we can get skeeved out by talking about ourselves. And then they offer some suggestions about what you can do to feel and get better at this.
29 minutes | Jan 6, 2021
21. Coaching Realness Special Episode
Season 2 of the Career Stewardship podcast kicks off with a bang. In Episode 21, we introduce a new, occasionally recurring feature: coaching realness. Michael has a coaching conversation with Liz, a 31-year old who is at a professional crossroads, and the convo is real, unscripted and human. Among other questions, Michael and Liz examine what she’s passionate about vs. what she knows, how to deal with family opinions and pressure regarding career options, and how a big new relationship does or doesn’t fit into career planning.
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