Friday, November 6, 2009

Share: Nadine McHugh at the Leadership Breakfast Series by Amy Lam and Sue McCauley

Our second exclusive Leadership Breakfast Series featured Nadine McHugh, Managing Director, MindShare, as the guest speaker at Yahoo! on October 15th. Interviewed by Terry Yoffe, Personal & Professional Development Coach and chair of the AWNY Mentoring committee, Nadine talked about key themes in mentoring, leadership and work/life balance. She is proud to be part of the AWNY Mentoring program, as it gives her an opportunity to give back to the community and to reflect on her roots.

She started in the advertising industry with the dream of being a copywriter. Her initial plan was to land a job in account management and transition into copy writing, but she ended up in the world of media planning. She attributes her career success to her family upbringing and motto: "I never thought I couldn't do anything" and advises women to tune into their natural skills to be successful by "listening to your gut." She also noted that people should not be hung up at having a precise career path because choices are now changing faster than ever and may result in a "zig-zag" route.

Throughout her career, her leadership success came from observing other people and deciding which behaviors she wanted to own (and not to own). She has very fond memories of one of her mentors, her first boss. He had a special way of connecting with people. He:

  • Knew how to rally the group
  • Had an attitude that was not above anyone
  • Taught others to not be afraid to use common sense
  • Had a great sense of humor
  • Did little things that meant so much (i.e. bring people flowers spontaneously) - Knew when people had enough
  • Was passionate about his work
  • Had perspective on life
  • Knew how to get from point A to B quickly
  • Was a great storyteller
  • Took risks

One of the most important lessons she learned was to maintain a level of integrity and focus. "As you move up, you need to be aware of what you put out there for people below." Nadine warned about those who "drink their own kool-aid" when they get to a certain level. "It is so important to be able to see yourself in the mirror." She continues to find pockets of inspiration and be a good role model to her children.

During the Q&As portion of the breakfast, Nadine addressed several different topics:

  1. Work/Life Balance
    - She does not work towards balancing her life. "I strive to be and do the best that I can. Be true to yourself and who you are."
    - Understand what feeds your soul
    - Take pause to figure out what you want to do
    - Explore
    and ask constantly
    - Be good to yourself
    - Exercise
    - Eat better
    - Do what's right for you
  2. Motivation
    - Keep looking for pockets of inspiration
    - You just have to pull yourself up; rise to the occasion
    - Be innovative, be resourceful
    - Talk about it--have conversations and reassess the situation
    - Don't beat yourself up for 6 months when you start a new job - get your feet on the ground and get comfortable
    - You learn from failures in life
    - When you freak out, you paralyze yourself
    - Listen to intuition aka: your "gut"
    - Give yourself credit and be kinder to yourself
    - As women, it is natural for us to reflect inward; whereas men forge forward
  3. Mentoring
    - Be open to learning
    - Don't be afraid to be creative
    - Follow your intuition: Use & Trust; Go with your gut!
    - Keep charging
    - You can be anything you want to be, as long as you are happy
    - Believe you can do it
    - Allow ourselves to use your natural gifts
    - Discover formal and informal mentors in life and decide which behaviors you want to emulate and others that you just observe
    - Take risks, be bold & think outside the box
    - Be mindful of your behavior
    - Be creative
    - Maintain level of integrity
  4. Inspirational Life Mantras
    - Grass isn't always greener
    - Strive to do the best you can everyday
    - Be true to yourself
    - Define your own parameters
    - Embody a desire to learn
    - Have a path/idea of where you want to go
    - Sit & figure out what makes you special - what are you bringing to the table? What's your brand? Who am I? What do I want to be? What feeds your soul?
    - Take pause to figure out what you want to do
    - Ask questions & explore
    - Stay focused on who you want to be and be proud of who you are
On Nadine's reading list is Cathie Black's (President of Hearst Magazines) 2007 book: "Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life)."

1 comment:

Amy Lam said...

Has anyone read the book Basic Black? What did you think of it?