Monday, December 5, 2016

Coaching, Mentors, and #LeadershipTips, Oh My!

A prominent aspect of the 2016 Presidential Election was the glass ceiling. To quote Hillary Clinton, “We still have not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling. But some day, someone will.” Following the election on November 10, I discovered a chat on Twitter, also referred to as a TweetChat, that featured the hashtag #InnovateWomen, and I decided to check it out. 

As an active member of the Twitterverse, I’m a big fan of TweetChats and regularly participate in #DThink (sponsored by @DisneyInstitute), #NCMNchat (sponsored by @NCMNetworkSoCal), #DBIchat (sponsored by @DBIweb), and #NPMC (sponsored by @NPMarCommunity), to name just a few. Upon the conclusion of the #InnovateWomen chat, I connected with the chat’s moderator, Valerie Martinelli, and highlights of our discussion follow below.

First, a few words of introduction…Valerie Martinelli is the CEO & Owner of Valerie Martinelli Consulting, LLC, and she provides career, life, and leadership coaching for women and human resources and management consulting for organizations. She is also the founder of Innovate 50/50, a mentorship program for young women and the host of #InnovateWomen, a monthly Twitter chat that discusses issues women face at work, in business, and in life. Links to Valerie’s digital footprint are provided at the end.

QUESTION: Some have said that the reason few women get ahead in corporate America is that they are denied entry into the "pro-bro" culture. When men are assertive, they are respected, but when women are assertive, they are not taken seriously. How can we move forward as a society and achieve gender equality?

VALERIE MARTINELLI: By working together. This is not a task that can be accomplished alone or just by one gender. We need to find a plethora of solutions to achieve gender equality. To move forward together, we need to learn how to work together first. Gender equality needs to be separated from partisan politics because it is too closely associated with the liberal agenda. Gender equality will bring us closer to an inclusive, whole, thriving society in which politics should not be playing a role. By empowering women and providing the space and means to be successful, our economy and society can flourish.


To move forward together, we need to learn how to work together first. -@AskVMC via @DebbieLaskeyMBA’s Blog #NoCeilings

QUESTION: According to McKinsey, women change jobs for the following reasons: Lack of role models, exclusion from informal networks, and not having an advocate in upper management to create opportunities. How can we improve these scenarios?

VALERIE MARTINELLI: I am an advocate of coaching for women. It is very discouraging for women to lack role models in or out of the work environment. We need to have that network of professional women not only to look up to but also to teach us the things that we need to learn to grow and be successful. Mentors and coaches can be life-changing for those have been lucky to have one or more. Mentors and coaches have the know-how to get women into the appropriate networks and act as advocates to upper management. Formal coaching programs inside of an organization can also make a difference because they can provide female employees with what they need to be successful.

QUESTION: According to a recent article on LinkedIn, "A Trump Presidency could actually be good for women in business." What do you think?

VALERIE MARTINELLI: I think that Sallie Krawcheck made plenty of excellent points. While we are ready to “be there” and have attained equality, this shows us that we absolutely cannot rely on anyone else but ourselves. This has quickly become an inside job.  With each setback, we learn something new. Trump’s Presidential win shows us that as women that we need to continue to work together and do what we can to advance ourselves and each other. I have never fully believed in relying on someone else, which is why I created a business with such a strong mission to empower women toward their purpose, achievements, and success as well as each of us toward gender equality.

QUESTION: Mentors are especially important for women. Who do you consider as your mentor and what have you learned from him or her?

VALERIE MARTINELLI: I have been fortunate to have strong male mentors in my life. I think we need to learn from each other and not just exclusively from one gender. My mentor and friend, Allen Ellison, taught me a lot as I was transitioning from one career to another. He supported me through a tough time and encouraged me to start my business. I learned to stop fearing failure and just to allow myself to grow. My other mentor, Michael Mapes, has been very supportive through the first few months of being a business owner and a coach. I have also heard plenty of male point of views to balance out my female ones. They also have taught me plenty about how men advance themselves in the workplace and how we hold ourselves back. These are things that I have been able to apply in my coaching for other women.

QUESTION: On November 10, you hosted a chat on Twitter, also known as a TweetChat, using the hashtag #InnovateWomen. What were three goals for the hour-long chat, and what do you think were three key take-aways for participants?

VALERIE MARTINELLI: As the initial #InnovateWomen chat, we had many goals. One goal is to create a community of men and women that can engage in these monthly discussions regarding issues that women face at work, in business, and in life. We need to work together on these issues. My second goal is to for us to continue to work together toward positive change on these issues. My third goal is for #InnovateWomen to become the brand that is synonymous with these topics, and I think we’re well on our way. I would say that three take-aways for each participant is that diversity and inclusion belong in the workplace, we need to continue to advance ourselves and each other, and social media can be a powerful tool for women in leadership.

A big thank-you to Valerie for sharing her thoughts on my blog! #InnovateWomen will be on hiatus during the holiday season and will return on January 26, 2017, at 1PM PST/4PM EST. The topic will be announced soon, but in the meantime, connect on Twitter using the hashtag #InnovateWomen. I urge you to save the date and participate in the January chat.

Connect with Valerie on LinkedIn (, Twitter (, Facebook (, and Instagram (