Unlock Your Leadership Potential: Essential Skills for Executive Level-Success with Michelle Ji-Yeun Kim - Speak in Flow

Welcome back to the Speak in Flow Podcast with your host, Melinda Lee! In today’s episode, we dive deep into the realms of corporate success and personal growth with our esteemed guest, Michelle J Kim. Michelle is a renowned executive coach and author, specializing in empowering individuals to break through barriers and thrive in their professional lives.

1. **Unlock Your Leadership Potential: Essential Skills for Executive Level-Success:** Michelle shares her insights on navigating the treacherous waters of imposter syndrome and conquering self-doubt. She offers practical tips and strategies for silencing that inner critic and embracing your true potential.

2. **The New Rules of Executive Presence:** Drawing from a recent Harvard Business Review article, Michelle unpacks the evolving landscape of executive presence. She highlights the critical shifts in mindset and behavior necessary to command attention and influence in today’s corporate environment.

3. **Climbing the Corporate Ladder with Executive Communication:** Communication is key to success in any leadership role. Michelle delves into the nuances of executive communication and reveals how mastering this skill can propel you up the corporate ladder.

4. **Strategies for Being Seen and Heard:** In a world filled with naysayers and skeptics, it’s essential to find your voice and stand out from the crowd. Michelle shares invaluable strategies for making your presence known and amplifying your impact, even in challenging environments.

5. **Conquering Fear and Embracing the Uncomfortable:** Fear can be a paralyzing force that holds us back from reaching our full potential. Michelle discusses the importance of embracing discomfort and stepping outside your comfort zone to foster personal and professional growth.

**Article Reference:**

During our conversation, Michelle references a thought-provoking article from the Harvard Business Review titled [“The New Rules of Executive Presence”](https://hbr.org/2024/01/the-new-rules-of-executive-presence). This insightful piece offers valuable insights into the changing dynamics of leadership and provides practical guidance for cultivating a powerful executive presence.

Thank you for tuning in to this enlightening episode of the Speak in Flow Podcast! Don’t forget to subscribe for more inspiring conversations and actionable insights to help you thrive in both your personal and professional life. Stay tuned for our next episode, where we’ll continue our journey towards mastery and fulfillment. Until then, keep flowing!

About Melinda:

Melinda Lee is a Presentation Skills Expert, Speaking Coach and nationally renowned Motivational Speaker. She holds an M.A. in Organizational Psychology, is an Insights Practitioner, and is a Certified Professional in Talent Development as well as Certified in Conflict Resolution. For over a decade, Melinda has researched and studied the state of “flow” and used it as a proven technique to help corporate leaders and business owners amplify their voices, access flow, and present their mission in a more powerful way to achieve results.

She has been the TEDx Berkeley Speaker Coach and worked with hundreds of executives and teams from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Caltrans, Bay Area Rapid Transit System, and more. Currently, she lives in San Francisco, California, and is breaking the ancestral lineage of silence.

Website: https://speakinflow.com/

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/speakinflow

Instagram: https://instagram.com/speakinflow

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

Thanks for listening!

Thanks so much for listening to our podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the social media buttons on this page.

Do you have some feedback or questions about this episode? Leave a comment in the section below!

Subscribe to the podcast

If you would like to get automatic updates of new podcast episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. You can also subscribe in your favorite podcast app.

Leave us an Apple Podcasts review

Ratings and reviews from our listeners are extremely valuable to us and greatly appreciated. They help our podcast rank higher on Apple Podcasts, which exposes our show to more awesome listeners like you. If you have a minute, please leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts.

Transcript
Melinda Lee:

Welcome to the Speak In Flow podcast where we

Melinda Lee:

dive into strategies, techniques to change the way this world

Melinda Lee:

communicates for the better. I have an amazing leader I can't

Melinda Lee:

wait for you to meet today. Her name is Michelle J Kim. She's a

Melinda Lee:

Reb ops leader, as well as the director of sales strategy and

Melinda Lee:

operations at Zendesk. She also started her very own podcast,

Melinda Lee:

breaking the tech ceiling. I'm excited for you to meet her. So

Melinda Lee:

I dive right in and ask her how does she get herself into the

Melinda Lee:

tech world? Anyways, here we go.

Melinda Lee:

Michelle J Kim: When I was in college, I was like many people

Melinda Lee:

trying to figure out like, what is it that I want to do? What's

Melinda Lee:

my passion? And it was 2008. So part of the you know, there was

Melinda Lee:

an economic downturn at that point. And I had a dichotomy

Melinda Lee:

right out two roads diverged in the woods, as thick as Robert

Melinda Lee:

Frost would say. And I went to DC to see if I could get a job

Melinda Lee:

on Capitol Hill. But then I also had alum in my Korean

Melinda Lee:

traditional drumming group, whose sister was looking for

Melinda Lee:

sales reps. So it was either it's two hands, a hand a bird in

Melinda Lee:

the hand or two in the bush, right? So at that point, you

Melinda Lee:

know, just with my kind of my upbringing and my personality,

Melinda Lee:

more at that time, I would say, I decided to go with a bird in

Melinda Lee:

the hand versus two in the bush, and gotten an introduction to

Melinda Lee:

Director of Sales at a tech company named Irene Chang.

Melinda Lee:

She's, I love her, she's my mentor, she's been my sponsor, I

Melinda Lee:

just can't say enough good things about her. And everyone

Melinda Lee:

feels the same about her. And so I interviewed with her. And, you

Melinda Lee:

know, I definitely was bad at negotiating at the time, and

Melinda Lee:

speaking up for myself. But you know, she didn't get solid and

Melinda Lee:

was like, Michelle, no, that's not how much you need to get

Melinda Lee:

paid more than that. So, you know, I don't think she'll get

Melinda Lee:

in trouble 15 years later from now, but like, she really has

Melinda Lee:

shefford shepherded me through the early part of my career, she

Melinda Lee:

has been someone that I go to Time and again, for career

Melinda Lee:

advice, and for, you know, help whenever I have a situation at

Melinda Lee:

work, or my career that I need some mentorship on. But really,

Melinda Lee:

you know, I've learned over the years that I can't just rely on

Melinda Lee:

this, go back to the same wall over and over again. So I try to

Melinda Lee:

give her a reprieve and try to connect with her whenever I can.

Melinda Lee:

But that's how I got into tech. And just for just for everyone

Melinda Lee:

to know a little bit about me. It wasn't just sales. So I

Melinda Lee:

started my career in SAS software, hardware sales. And

Melinda Lee:

then I went into marketing, and I did programme management. And

Melinda Lee:

then I did CS or customer success operations. And then

Melinda Lee:

I've been at Zendesk now for over four years doing sales

Melinda Lee:

strategy and operations. But I will say that it's been a very

Melinda Lee:

common theme through my life and my career to have been this is

Melinda Lee:

very rare, like not a lot of women executives that I talked

Melinda Lee:

to have had mentors and sponsors in their career that look like

Melinda Lee:

them. And and in the regard of I've had several Asian and Asian

Melinda Lee:

American women leaders in my career, I've been very, very

Melinda Lee:

grateful for that. And it actually stems into or I guess,

Melinda Lee:

ties into kind of the theme of my life, I grew up in the bay

Melinda Lee:

area with 10 aunts, blood relative aunts, my mom is one of

Melinda Lee:

10 kids, she has eight sisters, my dad had two sisters. And, you

Melinda Lee:

know, we were a very, I've been very lucky to have grown up in a

Melinda Lee:

very family oriented environment, we would get

Melinda Lee:

together for barbecues and dinners at my house. And you

Melinda Lee:

know, another avenue you just, you just never know, with your

Melinda Lee:

family. I never really never really clicked for me, but I

Melinda Lee:

actually have an aunt, who is was an SVP at Samsung for many

Melinda Lee:

years. And so, you know, like, I never really talked to her about

Melinda Lee:

career pathing when I was younger, so I really encourage

Melinda Lee:

listeners to think about who's in your environment who's in

Melinda Lee:

your network, because you just never know, like the people who

Melinda Lee:

are your you know, if you're a parent, you know, your soccer

Melinda Lee:

camp, other moms, other dads, you know, like making those

Melinda Lee:

connections and finding out like, kind people and finding

Melinda Lee:

those people who, you know, contribute to the world in a

Melinda Lee:

positive way. I think it's, it's really part of what excites me

Melinda Lee:

in life. Right?

Melinda Lee:

I mean, it just sounds like you were able to

Melinda Lee:

capitalise know who the people in your circle are your

Melinda Lee:

community and it's true. I think that sometimes people

Melinda Lee:

underestimate how in people they do really know. I mean, they

Melinda Lee:

don't like Think it's they don't mean just to do that exercise is

Melinda Lee:

sit down, who can I reach out to or who's in my circle whose

Melinda Lee:

mind, maybe they think about the immediate circle, or never

Melinda Lee:

there's probably a tonne of people outside the broader

Melinda Lee:

circle. And people nowadays I feel like are willing to help

Melinda Lee:

are willing to especially if you are someone that is just genuine

Melinda Lee:

lying to people, you know, we just to be surrounded by these

Melinda Lee:

type of people, and to know who to call to I think people are

Melinda Lee:

just willing to do that to route. Yeah, I mean, look, we

Melinda Lee:

use your really relationships to get in the door for work, and

Melinda Lee:

also learn and have a mentor, which is

Melinda Lee:

Michelle J Kim: rare. Yeah. And I mean, it was really kind of an

Melinda Lee:

accident. I mean, I don't think I was very intentional about it

Melinda Lee:

when I was starting out in my career, but, you know, they say,

Melinda Lee:

I think I had a Berkeley UC Berkeley professor, say, like

Melinda Lee:

your six degrees? Or maybe it's like six degrees away from Kevin

Melinda Lee:

Bacon thing. Yeah, you know, so like, you just never know

Melinda Lee:

who to who never know, especially

Melinda Lee:

Michelle J Kim: the cousin of the doctor, you know. So, yeah,

Melinda Lee:

you

Melinda Lee:

want social media and just say, Hi, how are you

Melinda Lee:

doing? And you just connect? What are your degrees of

Melinda Lee:

conviction? So tell me so what it sounds like you have a

Melinda Lee:

fascinating industry, tech, career journey in the tech

Melinda Lee:

industry, you went through a lot of different different roles,

Melinda Lee:

and you climbed a ladder in the, in the tech industry. So what

Melinda Lee:

are the hardest was one of the hardest things in that industry

Melinda Lee:

as a minority woman leader.

Melinda Lee:

Michelle J Kim: There's two things I'm going to call out

Melinda Lee:

that have been a challenge for me personally. So I think in

Melinda Lee:

general, one of the hardest things about being confident in

Melinda Lee:

the workplace for myself is self doubt. And I don't know if

Melinda Lee:

you're familiar with the different types of imposter

Melinda Lee:

syndrome that exist. And I don't I actually even don't even like

Melinda Lee:

that expression of imposter syndrome, because I don't think

Melinda Lee:

it's, it's not a syndrome, it's something that, you know, many

Melinda Lee:

people feel as a result of, you know, what, pressures we that

Melinda Lee:

are expected, you know, expectations of us. But, you

Melinda Lee:

know, I, I have a lot of, quote unquote, impostor syndrome

Melinda Lee:

around like, not being not knowing enough not being an

Melinda Lee:

expert. But, you know, I know a lot. I mean, there's a reason

Melinda Lee:

I've changed roles I've been promoted at Zendesk, I've been

Melinda Lee:

here, for four years, I got promoted twice within the first

Melinda Lee:

few years. And so you know, it's not, it's not for nothing. But I

Melinda Lee:

would say that, as a female, as a Asian American. in tech, it's,

Melinda Lee:

it's really hard when I have that self doubt, and I'm doing

Melinda Lee:

everything I can to build my confidence to build my

Melinda Lee:

competency, so I can feel more competent, because I'm confident

Melinda Lee:

because that's, you know, where my, where my, where my

Melinda Lee:

challenges are. But I think two challenges, specifically one is,

Melinda Lee:

and this is just the case, it's not me calling out good or bad.

Melinda Lee:

But the majority of leaders that I work with, are white men. And

Melinda Lee:

I already doubt myself enough. But when there are white men in

Melinda Lee:

the room, who start to doubt me in a public forum, that's really

Melinda Lee:

hard. And I take it kind of personally, and I really, I work

Melinda Lee:

with an executive coach that got mentors, but that's something

Melinda Lee:

that's been really hard for me to overcome. And I try my best

Melinda Lee:

to just shake it off, right, dust off your shoulder, get up.

Melinda Lee:

And don't take things personally. But you know, when

Melinda Lee:

people question your expertise, and you have to constantly

Melinda Lee:

reinforce and reiterate that you are the expert, that you have a

Melinda Lee:

lot of the domain knowledge that you have information that they

Melinda Lee:

don't, that is exhausting. And then I say the second thing

Melinda Lee:

that's really hard, is just constantly being interrupted and

Melinda Lee:

talked over. And I don't think people realise, at least in my

Melinda Lee:

personal experience, and I can only speak to my experience,

Melinda Lee:

right? I grew up in a culture where you're not supposed to

Melinda Lee:

speak over people. You're not supposed to speak back to your

Melinda Lee:

elders, and it's taken 15 plus years of experience in the

Melinda Lee:

corporate space to realise you know what, unfortunately,

Melinda Lee:

sometimes I do have to talk over people, because otherwise I

Melinda Lee:

won't get heard. And so, you know, I've been told like, I was

Melinda Lee:

really surprised because I'm someone who's quite vocal, and I

Melinda Lee:

will share my opinions. And so I've tried very intentionally to

Melinda Lee:

do less of that sometimes because sometimes it's not

Melinda Lee:

warranted. But you know, What's conflicting? Right? Because when

Melinda Lee:

we're the theme is executive presence, you need to speak up

Melinda Lee:

and be heard. But what's the balance right? When you have

Melinda Lee:

people who are constant interrupters, people who just go

Melinda Lee:

on and on and on, it's really hard to get a word. And so I've

Melinda Lee:

really been intentional about trying to choose my words

Melinda Lee:

wisely, take pauses, give people time to react, take some time

Melinda Lee:

before I react. And before I say something, and obviously, I'm

Melinda Lee:

not perfect, but those are two challenges that I've faced, just

Melinda Lee:

from like a, you know, my personality and how I have shown

Melinda Lee:

up in my life prior to gaining more confidence, I would say.

Melinda Lee:

And just like from a cultural background, right, like, even

Melinda Lee:

though I'm very much a Americanized person, I was born

Melinda Lee:

in the United States, my parents immigrated here they met, and

Melinda Lee:

they had me I was born in the Bay Area. But I'm gonna

Melinda Lee:

reference Jane Hans book, breaking the bamboo ceiling

Melinda Lee:

where she talks about, you know, cultural assimilation, which I

Melinda Lee:

am very much an American. But it takes generations to get past

Melinda Lee:

the value, values assimilation. So it'll always be hard for me

Melinda Lee:

to it's not hard, necessarily, but it always will feel a little

Melinda Lee:

weird to me to kind of like speak over people or like, you

Melinda Lee:

know, just because I'm not getting a chance to be heard. So

Melinda Lee:

I think that all plays into executive presence and

Melinda Lee:

communicating with executive presence, because there's a

Melinda Lee:

degree of forcefulness that has been traditionally been marked

Melinda Lee:

or identified or treated to executive presence that I think,

Melinda Lee:

really thankfully, as I'm seeing more, you know, millennials more

Melinda Lee:

Gen Z, or people, younger people enter the workforce, that's no

Melinda Lee:

longer really acceptable. So I'm actually very excited for that

Melinda Lee:

time when I won't have to force myself into the conversation.

Melinda Lee:

Yeah. Oh,

Melinda Lee:

my gosh, thank you so much for sharing that. That

Melinda Lee:

really means a lot. I mean, I think that it's very inspiring,

Melinda Lee:

because when I met you, but we were at the same conference, we

Melinda Lee:

kept you know, we hit it off, had a great conversation, it was

Melinda Lee:

a great conference, and I was one of the speakers. And then

Melinda Lee:

Michelle and I met, we got a chance to talk and you just

Melinda Lee:

exude so much confidence, you have you, you're a leader in

Melinda Lee:

your industry. And then so to hear this backstory, it just,

Melinda Lee:

it's so inspirational, because we all have this, so it does, it

Melinda Lee:

helps us not feel alone. Because we have all been there where

Melinda Lee:

we're trying so hard, we're doing everything that we can

Melinda Lee:

know, you know, to be the expert in the industry, and then to be

Melinda Lee:

put on the spot to be able to, to where people are addressing

Melinda Lee:

or asking you questions to make you seem like you don't know

Melinda Lee:

things, it's so it can be very tough, and to not be spoken

Melinda Lee:

over. And so thank you so much to share that so that we

Melinda Lee:

everybody can all have a connection that way. And so can

Melinda Lee:

you share what what like any tips, any advice? What are some

Melinda Lee:

of the techniques that you learned along the way?

Melinda Lee:

Michelle J Kim: So I would really figure out, what is it

Melinda Lee:

that stopping you from being confident? Or I guess that is it

Melinda Lee:

because you just don't know enough? And that could be valid,

Melinda Lee:

right? Like there are times when you just don't know enough to

Melinda Lee:

study up, you need to learn, you need to research you need to

Melinda Lee:

interview people. So for me, I've always like the

Melinda Lee:

stereotypical, I've always been an excellent student, I learned

Melinda Lee:

really well in classroom settings. I'm an auditory

Melinda Lee:

learner. And so, you know, and obviously, like, application is

Melinda Lee:

important too. But I've been very blessed to have a learning

Melinda Lee:

style that allows me to learn not necessarily by doing so

Melinda Lee:

finding out your own learning style and figuring out like, is

Melinda Lee:

it because I don't know enough? Is it because I'm not

Melinda Lee:

comfortable with the material? So whatever it is that you're

Melinda Lee:

not feeling confident in pinpoint? Why is it like

Melinda Lee:

question yourself, stop yourself. And I'm really proud

Melinda Lee:

of myself because I would say that for most of my life, I had

Melinda Lee:

a lot of negative self talk. And it was really unwarranted. Like

Melinda Lee:

I said, I was like, top of my class, I went to UC Berkeley,

Melinda Lee:

very successful, outwardly successful person, you know, had

Melinda Lee:

multiple jobs at like companies like Seagate, LinkedIn, but I

Melinda Lee:

just never had that confidence in myself. I sat back and I

Melinda Lee:

asked like, what the heck why?

Melinda Lee:

Right. So this is a clear discernment, right? Is it

Melinda Lee:

that you don't know enough because sometimes it is the lack

Melinda Lee:

of knowledge. But then there's other times where you're

Melinda Lee:

studying and studying and then you just have to stop that.

Melinda Lee:

There's just so much more that you can continue to study and

Melinda Lee:

then at They're knowing and having that discernment of I

Melinda Lee:

know enough for today, and then deciding whether okay, even now

Melinda Lee:

that I know enough, is it still that I have the lack of

Melinda Lee:

confidence? Yeah. And I think what

Melinda Lee:

Michelle J Kim: I really learned is, I'm very confident in my

Melinda Lee:

ability to learn and figure it out and get, right. So find out

Melinda Lee:

what your strengths are, find out what will help you shine

Melinda Lee:

best. What do you enjoy? I think, you know, there's this

Melinda Lee:

preconception or idea that, you know, maybe it's society, maybe

Melinda Lee:

it's media, it's like, we have to be all, we all have to be so

Melinda Lee:

well rounded, we have to be good at everything. No, it's fine to

Melinda Lee:

like what you like, and it's fine to do more of what you're

Melinda Lee:

good at, because that will help build your confidence. And I

Melinda Lee:

really challenged myself to go out of my comfort zone, and try

Melinda Lee:

different things like how the heck am I supposed to create a

Melinda Lee:

podcast? Like, you know, this, it really came out of me taking

Melinda Lee:

a class because my my friend was starting one. And I was like,

Melinda Lee:

why? No, I've spent a lot of time in the in the fall like

Melinda Lee:

working really hard at work. And I just decided I want to

Melinda Lee:

dedicate two hours a week for just a few weeks on how to learn

Melinda Lee:

this new thing. And that's, that's what started that

Melinda Lee:

podcast. And like, I just didn't know, and you don't know things

Melinda Lee:

from at least like I said, for myself, I don't have as much

Melinda Lee:

confidence. But once I learned, like, Oh, this is this is all

Melinda Lee:

you need to do. I can do it. And you just try it and you put

Melinda Lee:

yourself out there. And you know, just in the case of my

Melinda Lee:

podcast, it's really opened a lot of doors for me. And it's

Melinda Lee:

really more than that I get messages from strangers, saying,

Melinda Lee:

oh my gosh, thanks for doing this. This has inspired me or

Melinda Lee:

like, you know, this was really helpful. So that's really all I

Melinda Lee:

want to do. I you know, I am very lucky to have found a

Melinda Lee:

career and a space that I'm thriving in. And so what can I

Melinda Lee:

do to give back and help others feel that same sense of

Melinda Lee:

achievement and success? Because it's available to all of us if

Melinda Lee:

we can access it? Yeah,

Melinda Lee:

yeah. Yeah. So like, you're stretching

Melinda Lee:

yourself, putting yourself out there. When you're doing

Melinda Lee:

something fresh, new, you have knowledge you do the studying.

Melinda Lee:

But once you have that, than just continuing to do yourself,

Melinda Lee:

the favour of stretching yourself taking the risk, yes,

Melinda Lee:

it's gonna be uncomfortable, like your podcasts in the

Melinda Lee:

beginning, it's a little uncomfortable, what am I doing?

Melinda Lee:

And then eventually you get there, and then the confidence

Melinda Lee:

builds, and then you're like, oh, okay, I figured that's how

Melinda Lee:

you do it. It's not too bad. It's very uncomfortable in the

Melinda Lee:

beginning with anything that we're learning anything new. And

Melinda Lee:

Michelle J Kim: there's, I think, I just cannot remember

Melinda Lee:

her name. But she's actually the the, there's a woman, I think

Melinda Lee:

she's maybe the founder of Girls Who Code, I can't recall. But

Melinda Lee:

just, I think for women, we as children, specifically, at least

Melinda Lee:

the United States, we're kind of conditioned right to just be

Melinda Lee:

perfect to, like, get good grades to be polite. And

Melinda Lee:

sometimes boys are more encouraged to try and, you know,

Melinda Lee:

be encouraged to try you know, and so I think that's part of

Melinda Lee:

how I was conditioned, not necessarily through any fault of

Melinda Lee:

my mom, or my dad or anything, it's just like the way society

Melinda Lee:

is. And so for myself, like I said, I've been successful. In

Melinda Lee:

my academic career, I've been successful in a lot of ways. But

Melinda Lee:

many times I just always had this fear of failure. And you

Melinda Lee:

know, what, one day I just decided, like, I need to just

Melinda Lee:

try to fail more, if that makes sense, because I don't if I'm

Melinda Lee:

not failing, am I really growing? So, you know, just keep

Melinda Lee:

you got to keep at it. You got to keep trying new things. And,

Melinda Lee:

you know, it's a balance of trying to do the things that I

Melinda Lee:

love that I like that I'm good at, and but also pushing myself

Melinda Lee:

to do things that I haven't ever done before. or learning about

Melinda Lee:

things that I don't know about. And just approaching things with

Melinda Lee:

curiosity rather than worry or fear is something I continue to

Melinda Lee:

challenge myself to do every day.

Melinda Lee:

Mm hmm. Oh, I love that. Very inspirational. And a

Melinda Lee:

good reminder, a good, good reason to step out and look at

Melinda Lee:

not be so afraid of failure. And want to revisit back the the

Melinda Lee:

conversation you were just mentioning when people talk over

Melinda Lee:

you or there had been meetings or people would talk over you

Melinda Lee:

any tips on what would you do in that situation?

Melinda Lee:

Michelle J Kim: I'm going to cite a person that I learned a

Melinda Lee:

lot from in terms of executive communication. I used to work

Melinda Lee:

with Jamie buss who was the SVP of sales North America sales

Melinda Lee:

Zendesk when I started and she has since moved on. She has a

Melinda Lee:

CRO now, which is amazing. But I learned from Jamie, that pre

Melinda Lee:

socialisation is really key. So if you and as an addition, I was

Melinda Lee:

a programme manager. So you know, running meetings and

Melinda Lee:

figuring out like power dynamics in the meeting is very important

Melinda Lee:

and you need to be aware of those things. But if you can set

Melinda Lee:

yourself up for success in a meeting, so that you've already

Melinda Lee:

pre socialised with the potential naysayers, you know,

Melinda Lee:

there are certain people you know them who are going to speak

Melinda Lee:

up or disagree or be, you know, have grumblings So figuring out

Melinda Lee:

how can you neutralise that almost not threat, but like

Melinda Lee:

situation in advance, and be helpful? If you can find your

Melinda Lee:

allies, like, you know, certain people agree with you, your

Melinda Lee:

manager is going to be on the call with you? How can you work

Melinda Lee:

together to reinforce the message? You know, figuring that

Melinda Lee:

out? I think that's a really good practice to try and do I

Melinda Lee:

know, we're all so busy that it seems like how do I find the

Melinda Lee:

time to meet with this individual person before the

Melinda Lee:

group meeting? But when you're in a group meeting, airtime is

Melinda Lee:

very valuable? And if you haven't sorted out in advance,

Melinda Lee:

like what is the purpose of the meeting? What is our goal? What

Melinda Lee:

is the expectation of the people in the meeting? Are they there

Melinda Lee:

to contribute ideas? Are they are we there to make a decision?

Melinda Lee:

Are we there to be informed? I think making a very clear

Melinda Lee:

purpose for the meeting, if it's yours is really important. So

Melinda Lee:

those are just some some tips. I would say if you are the meeting

Melinda Lee:

attendee and it's not your meeting. I think it's hard, it's

Melinda Lee:

the best you can do is really like if I employed this a few

Melinda Lee:

times, even just today, you know, if so many people are in

Melinda Lee:

the meeting, and no one's giving you a chance to talk. I put it

Melinda Lee:

in as the Zoom chat. Mm hmm. Hopefully, you know, usually

Melinda Lee:

there will be someone who's like keeping an eye on it. And

Melinda Lee:

hopefully the most senior person in the room or the meeting owner

Melinda Lee:

or someone will look at that and acknowledge that. And so that's

Melinda Lee:

like one way to kind of make your voice heard. And I think as

Melinda Lee:

a leader, as leaders, yes, we need to set that example, too.

Melinda Lee:

Because if I'm going on and on and on as a leader, the most

Melinda Lee:

senior person on the call, and I don't check the chat, or I don't

Melinda Lee:

notice people's like facial expressions, and I just go on

Melinda Lee:

and on. Like, you're just what's, what's the whole point?

Melinda Lee:

That's not executive communication? It's like doing a

Melinda Lee:

monologue. Yes. I don't know if that's like one tactical helpful

Melinda Lee:

tip. I think just getting mentorship, I mean, it's all

Melinda Lee:

just experience, like I'm a really huge proponent of

Melinda Lee:

mentorship, a part of a free community called Women in

Melinda Lee:

revenue. And we have, they have a mentorship programme that's

Melinda Lee:

free. But just talking to people who are good at that, like not

Melinda Lee:

being talked to her is another tactic, getting some mentorship,

Melinda Lee:

like if you notice, like you're in a room, Zoom Room with 10

Melinda Lee:

people. And you know, someone gets talked over and you notice

Melinda Lee:

that they handle it gracefully. talk to that person, ask them

Melinda Lee:

for Hey, can I buy you a coffee? And can I chat with you about

Melinda Lee:

how you dealt with that situation? Because, man, I would

Melinda Lee:

really love to be able to do that myself. I think that's

Melinda Lee:

another kind of tactical tip that you can employ as well

Melinda Lee:

finding a mentor someone in your organisation and your company in

Melinda Lee:

your team that handles those situations. Well,

Melinda Lee:

right. I think actually, your tips are so

Melinda Lee:

powerful, too. I mean, I think that there are key and anyone

Melinda Lee:

who's listening who's struggling with this, just staying in touch

Melinda Lee:

with what Michelle just said and committed to it. I think we'll

Melinda Lee:

go it just meeting with the people the pre networking, the

Melinda Lee:

pre socialisation before any with the naysayers, and then

Melinda Lee:

also find your allies. Those are huge. And then again, if you're

Melinda Lee:

still not feeling heard, you can use the chat and then reach out

Melinda Lee:

to a mentor.

Melinda Lee:

Michelle J Kim: Yeah, and if it's happening to repeatedly

Melinda Lee:

Yeah, you know, it could also be just an indication of the

Melinda Lee:

culture. Right, the culture of the company. Like I'm very

Melinda Lee:

grateful because Zendesk has a great culture. But yeah, there

Melinda Lee:

are times you know, to be frank and when that does happen. But

Melinda Lee:

yeah, really being conscious of like, what environment are you

Melinda Lee:

in? On a day to day basis? And are you okay with this? Yes.

Melinda Lee:

And, you know, are people aware, their self awareness is such a

Melinda Lee:

big part of being a leader and executive presence. They can't

Melinda Lee:

self diagnose, like, oh, shoot, I made that person feel really

Melinda Lee:

small by saying things this way. Like that's, that's something

Melinda Lee:

that, you know, is really important to be cognizant of.

Melinda Lee:

And You know, what does executive presence mean to me?

Melinda Lee:

Well, I'm still figuring out but one thing that I want to point

Melinda Lee:

our listeners to is a Harvard Business Review article called

Melinda Lee:

The New Rules of executive presence, where they did a

Melinda Lee:

comparison, it was a study, I think they must have done

Melinda Lee:

surveys back in 2012. And they did the same kind of survey 10

Melinda Lee:

years later in 2022. And back, then, you know, I think they

Melinda Lee:

kind of have a couple of categories, grab a toss,

Melinda Lee:

communication, and appearance. And things have shifted, like,

Melinda Lee:

in a good way, you know, 1010 years ago, like, I think

Melinda Lee:

confidence and decisiveness are still very important parts of

Melinda Lee:

gravitas, but 10 years ago, pedigree like where you came out

Melinda Lee:

of school, like that was really important part of your gravitas.

Melinda Lee:

And now, I'm so excited that this is part of, you know, how

Melinda Lee:

things are moving. inclusiveness and respect for others are

Melinda Lee:

actually have replaced Marvel three. And that's important, I

Melinda Lee:

think, you know, in addition to gravitas, your communication,

Melinda Lee:

then it was, you know, like I said, being forceful or joking

Melinda Lee:

or bantering, you know, jokes and banter. And those have gone

Melinda Lee:

out of trend. And now it's more presence on Zoom. Like, how can

Melinda Lee:

you communicate well on Zoom effectively with Zoom? Yeah. And

Melinda Lee:

how do you are you listening to learn? Or are you just like I

Melinda Lee:

said, it's like, is it forceful? Or are you there to receive and

Melinda Lee:

actually listen and give your opinion and thoughts on the

Melinda Lee:

matter in a way that is reflective of actual active

Melinda Lee:

listening, right. And then, in addition to grab a toss and

Melinda Lee:

communication, appearance, so like, I just thought it was so

Melinda Lee:

fascinating, because 10 years ago, people ranked physical

Melinda Lee:

attractiveness, tallness, slimness as high factors for

Melinda Lee:

contributing to like, this is what executive presence looks

Melinda Lee:

like. And I was so happy to see like, 10 years later, that's

Melinda Lee:

those are not on the list at all. It's actually more

Melinda Lee:

authenticity. And surprisingly, not just your ability to show up

Melinda Lee:

in person. But your online presence, like your social media

Melinda Lee:

presence is also another indicator of executive presence.

Melinda Lee:

And so I all credit, finding this article through Peter on

Melinda Lee:

who is a tech sales coach. And yeah, after he shared that

Melinda Lee:

article, I just was like, wow, this is such a positive thing,

Melinda Lee:

right? To show that it's evolved so much, even just in 10 years.

Melinda Lee:

So, you know, that's, that's kind of what you know, I'm

Melinda Lee:

figuring it out. But I'm really glad to see out in the world

Melinda Lee:

that things are moving in a direction where it's less what

Melinda Lee:

is the right word for this less old traditional old school?

Melinda Lee:

Yeah.

Melinda Lee:

Cold knowledge. Like yes, you it's great to have

Melinda Lee:

the pedigree and the expertise but I think it just without just

Melinda Lee:

with that component alone is not sufficient. Absolutely. No.

Melinda Lee:

Yeah. And I love the authenticity part is in there,

Melinda Lee:

that's awesome.

Melinda Lee:

Michelle J Kim: I would say it's kind of a tough spot to be a

Melinda Lee:

millennial, because you kind of still like the people who are my

Melinda Lee:

managers and VPs are still there older than me generally. And

Melinda Lee:

they might still have the older perception of executive

Melinda Lee:

presence, right executive communication, they might still

Melinda Lee:

have that there are definitely a lot of great amazing leaders

Melinda Lee:

I've worked with who are actually trending more toward

Melinda Lee:

like this new this new definition of executive

Melinda Lee:

presence. But it's it's a balance of like, okay, how

Melinda Lee:

authentic can I really be with this person? You know, like,

Melinda Lee:

because I'm a pretty off like I'm very authentic. It's hard

Melinda Lee:

for me to hide who I am and I'm so grateful to work with the

Melinda Lee:

younger generation of Gen Z alpha who are just like they

Melinda Lee:

love it. They want to be real they want people who are real

Melinda Lee:

with them in a real be real Yeah, it's a line down so

Melinda Lee:

yeah, to answer that I mean, reflecting back on

Melinda Lee:

your career and we don't have that much more time but I just

Melinda Lee:

have so many questions for you we could probably do a part two

Melinda Lee:

but just Michelle you're you bit your success and you grow you've

Melinda Lee:

expanded in your role and adopt a new roles like work could you

Melinda Lee:

credit, your expansion your development, your growth, your

Melinda Lee:

new climbing up the ladder to is competence or executive presence

Melinda Lee:

a part of that?

Melinda Lee:

Michelle J Kim: Yeah. So I always say that Competence and

Melinda Lee:

Confidence go hand in hand like they really do like for me, you

Melinda Lee:

cannot, there is no reason you should be confident if you have

Melinda Lee:

no credibility. Right. Right. So and it's a question of like,

Melinda Lee:

well, how much is enough? Michelle? And yeah, it's you

Melinda Lee:

just always have to have that shoshan That beginner's mindset

Melinda Lee:

always willing to learn and grow? Yeah. So I think for

Melinda Lee:

myself, even

Melinda Lee:

okay, even as you're beginning to learn and

Melinda Lee:

grow, still having the confidence. Yeah.

Melinda Lee:

Michelle J Kim: Which is like, like I said, I've discovered I

Melinda Lee:

really, I am confident in my ability to learn, yes. So

Melinda Lee:

figuring out like, what is it you're good at? And how can you

Melinda Lee:

develop in those areas in like a safer, quote, unquote, safer

Melinda Lee:

way? Yeah. But really, I will say, of outside of the podcasts,

Melinda Lee:

which I just said, ended my season one of breaking the tech

Melinda Lee:

ceiling, where I interview VP and sea level woman and go to

Melinda Lee:

market tech roles about how to get from director, Senior

Melinda Lee:

Director to VP, from VP to sea level, in revenue roles. And

Melinda Lee:

after talking to not just those women, but they almost probably

Melinda Lee:

100, plus tech executives across many different functions. You

Melinda Lee:

just don't advance your career unless you're intentional about

Melinda Lee:

it. And for me, so I do strategy and operations. So thinking

Melinda Lee:

about my life and my career from a strategy and operations

Melinda Lee:

perspective, what's the end goal for me? And what are the steps

Melinda Lee:

for me to take to get to those points. And sometimes you don't

Melinda Lee:

always need to have like an end goal in mind, maybe it's fine to

Melinda Lee:

stay where you are, maybe you don't need that promotion. And

Melinda Lee:

maybe there are other ways to enrich your life, but only you

Melinda Lee:

can decide what is right for you. So a big part of what I do.

Melinda Lee:

And what I'm passionate about, is professional development and

Melinda Lee:

goal setting. And I literally have some I have a F in front of

Melinda Lee:

me, I have it with me always. It's called the purpose planner,

Melinda Lee:

I have a planner that I live and die by. And what's really helped

Melinda Lee:

me I used to have a lot of negative self talk. And I've

Melinda Lee:

helped quiet that because I write things down. I don't want

Melinda Lee:

to keep things in my brain, we need to save our brain capacity,

Melinda Lee:

like processing capacity for important things not, you know,

Melinda Lee:

I have to remember to pay, do my taxes, I need to remember, like

Melinda Lee:

these are all things that you can schedule. So I'm I'm very

Melinda Lee:

much a proponent of planning out your life and your career. And

Melinda Lee:

this is not for everyone, like really not for everyone. Some

Melinda Lee:

people hate that. My husband and I are very opposite. He doesn't

Melinda Lee:

like to have a plan. He won't even tell me when he's coming

Melinda Lee:

home for dinner. So it's like, someone who's like, I want to

Melinda Lee:

know what meals I'm having the rest of the week. So it's, you

Melinda Lee:

know, just it's different for everyone. But for me, that's

Melinda Lee:

what's worked. Yeah, absolutely. Trying to figure out what can I

Melinda Lee:

learn. Last year, I had a goal to be a better speaker, public

Melinda Lee:

speaker. And I took Stanford continuing study classes at

Melinda Lee:

Stanford Continuing Studies class, a woman named Amy Eliza

Melinda Lee:

long, she's amazing. And that was so powerful, and like doing

Melinda Lee:

all these other things. In addition to that, that I won't,

Melinda Lee:

I won't go into too much detail here. But you know, culminating

Melinda Lee:

to going to your workshop, Melinda, and you had us all do

Melinda Lee:

an exercise in small groups. And, like, share, like what was

Melinda Lee:

like a one minute, like something you're passionate

Melinda Lee:

about, do one minute little, you know, chat on what you're

Melinda Lee:

passionate about to your small group. And everyone gives

Melinda Lee:

feedback. And I was just so proud of myself in that moment,

Melinda Lee:

because I nailed it. I killed it without any sort of preparation.

Melinda Lee:

And so, you know, that just really made me happy to be in a

Melinda Lee:

spot in my life in a skill area that I concentrated on improving

Melinda Lee:

and seeing it pay out in that way. So yeah, so I really I

Melinda Lee:

really believe in that the power, right of intentionality

Melinda Lee:

of planning, like I said, all of those executives that I've

Melinda Lee:

worked with, when I asked, How did you go from it? Was it an

Melinda Lee:

accident? No, it was never an accident. There's a lot of

Melinda Lee:

things that need to go right, in order to go from a director,

Melinda Lee:

Senior Director to a VP from a VP to sea level. And you know,

Melinda Lee:

there's different things required at different levels.

Melinda Lee:

And it's not just going to happen to you can't just sit and

Melinda Lee:

wait around and pray that you're going to get that promotion.

Melinda Lee:

I agree. I agree. I love that. Yeah, I have the

Melinda Lee:

intentionality. What are the things that I need to do? How

Melinda Lee:

can I stretch myself? How can I fail fast and learn Quickly get

Melinda Lee:

feedback, get a mentor, and move up and not be afraid of those

Melinda Lee:

things. And then you'll watch yourself just when you focus on

Melinda Lee:

something like you like, focus on the speaking. And as soon as

Melinda Lee:

you focus yourself, of course, you're gonna make mistakes along

Melinda Lee:

the way. But then once you do that, then you can expand and

Melinda Lee:

then you you look back and you say, oh, my gosh, I did it. And

Melinda Lee:

now, now we can move on to something else. Yeah,

Melinda Lee:

Michelle J Kim: and I want to say one, one thing, I, I really

Melinda Lee:

am a proponent of mentorship. But as I mentioned, at the

Melinda Lee:

beginning of this conversation, like I don't go to my mentor

Melinda Lee:

anymore for every single thing, because it's not sustainable. I

Melinda Lee:

highly recommend people who are serious about career

Melinda Lee:

progression, find yourself a career coach, find yourself an

Melinda Lee:

executive coach, and have that person, be your or even find a

Melinda Lee:

group coaching, right? Worst case go to a better is a better

Melinda Lee:

a better prop. No better up as a teaching a coach, you got it.

Melinda Lee:

Got it. That's the worst case study, you can find coaches. But

Melinda Lee:

if you're serious about career growth and career progression, I

Melinda Lee:

really recommend finding a coach that will hold you help you hold

Melinda Lee:

yourself accountable, yes, to do everything for you. But like,

Melinda Lee:

you know, just for me, that was another big shift in my career

Melinda Lee:

journey. When I was sponsored for a career career coaching

Melinda Lee:

programme at Zendesk, it was very lucky for that. Thankful,

Melinda Lee:

and I'm thankful for it. Because dedicating it was a 30 minute

Melinda Lee:

call every two weeks. And I always prepared 10 minutes

Melinda Lee:

before like, it wasn't even like, you know, a long time it

Melinda Lee:

wasn't an advanced was just literally 10 minutes before that

Melinda Lee:

call, I sat down and I wrote down, what is it that's going on

Melinda Lee:

in my career in my role in my life that I want to talk to

Melinda Lee:

about this coach. And that really helped accelerate things

Melinda Lee:

for me. You know, it's not, I always talk about mentorship.

Melinda Lee:

But it's not enough. Like if you really want to invest in

Melinda Lee:

yourself, it'll pay off into this now. Yeah, first that

Melinda Lee:

I totally Yeah, because it gets it out of the

Melinda Lee:

head, you have so many bounced, you know, somebody you trust

Melinda Lee:

that you can bounce ideas off of, and just support you along

Melinda Lee:

your journey along the obstacles and kind of overcoming them. And

Melinda Lee:

so, I love that. Thank you so much, Michelle, I had so much

Melinda Lee:

fun with you. Thank you, lots of great insight. I learned a lot.

Melinda Lee:

I trust that the listeners got some really good golden

Melinda Lee:

takeaways. And so really appreciate your time, Michelle,

Melinda Lee:

your leadership, your expertise and helping us grow. Think about

Melinda Lee:

executive communication and how to break that glass ceiling,

Melinda Lee:

whether in the tech industry or whether in any industry, I think

Melinda Lee:

that you've got some good nuggets from Michelle today. So

Melinda Lee:

thank you,

Melinda Lee:

Michelle J Kim: thank you so much for having me. Yeah, I

Melinda Lee:

really, really thoughtful. And I really hope people become

Melinda Lee:

intentional about how they want to spend their time on this

Melinda Lee:

earth. And it doesn't have to be your career. Just Just know that

Melinda Lee:

just figure out what it is that's right for you in this

Melinda Lee:

time. To change you can change your mind. But you know, don't

Melinda Lee:

stress out so much. This is kind of like the parting advice that

Melinda Lee:

I would give

Melinda Lee:

to what are the memories that you want to have

Melinda Lee:

hold for yourself? Yeah, to take away. Oh, thank you so much. And

Melinda Lee:

thank you, dear listeners for joining me until the next time I

Melinda Lee:

see you Take care. Bye bye