Today’s episode, “Charting Success Through Leadership and Innovation with Jackie Cook – Unleash the Innovator Within!” promises to illuminate the traits that make a leader genuinely impactful.

Our guest, Jackie Cook, an esteemed early career development leader at Marsh McLennan, joins us to share her wisdom on the nexus of leadership, innovation, and personal development. Jackie’s distinctive approach to leadership, underpinned by authenticity and a tailored understanding of her team, has marked her as a pioneer in nurturing young talent.

In this episode, we will discuss everything from the intricacies of managing diverse generational cohorts within the workforce to the art of fostering sustainable client relationships. Jackie’s early lessons in recognizing her potential set the stage for a career dedicated to amplifying the strengths within her colleagues and the importance of remaining true to one’s values.

Jackie and I will tackle her disciplined daily routine, the pivotal role of mentorship, and why she credits her mentor, lovingly dubbed “Jodie the Jedi,” for her profound growth. Plus, we’ll get into Jackie’s strategy for creating a personal board of directors and why developing self-awareness and clear communication are non-negotiables for leading teams through change.

Key Takeaways

The Importance of Individuality in Leadership

  • Discussing personal motivation and core values as a leader.
  • The significance of authenticity in leadership style.

Role of Emotions and Authenticity in Effective Leadership

  • Angie Lee and Jackie Cook delve into how emotions influence leadership dynamics.
  • Incorporating innovation within authentic leadership.

Mentorship and Its Role in Career Development

  • The value of being genuine and engaging in mentorship.
  • How a mentor can identify and help to improve blind spots.
  • Creating meaningful connections with the mentees.

Managing a Multi-Generational Workforce

  • Approaches to understanding and motivating various age groups.
  • Tailoring leadership styles to meet generational differences.

Fostering Early Career Talent

  • Importance of inclusivity, recognition, and collaboration.
  • Jackie Cook’s early career experiences and the pivotal realizations about self-doubt and potential.

Daily Routines and Influences

  • Jackie’s disciplined morning routine and how it contributes to her leadership effectiveness.
  • How her passion for developing leaders guided her career towards talent development.

Essential Leadership Skills

  • Key leadership skills like effective communication and clarity.
  • Balancing team needs with client demands.
  • Creating a balanced work environment rooted in core values.

The Concept of a Personal Board of Directors

  • Benefits of having a personal board of directors for mentorship.
  • Choosing the right mentors to guide career paths.

Turning Points and Personal Growth

  • Jackie Cook’s career turning point and the impact on her perception of self-recognition.
  • The importance of self-awareness in the workplace.
    – The role of a mentor in personal and professional growth.

The Value of a Good Mentor

  • Jackie’s experience with her mentor “Jodie the Jedi.”
  • How the right mentorship can help navigate career challenges.

Guest Bio

Jackie is the Early Career Talent Development Leader for the US, Canada, & Latin America at Marsh McLennan, where she utilizes leadership skills to foster a team environment conducive to growth and development, focusing on nurturing early career talent. Prior to her current role, Jackie held multiple key positions at Mercer. As a Principal Service Delivery Leader, she successfully transitioned to a remote workforce, leading her team to exceed all performance goals and reducing overtime hours. Her leadership led to increased client satisfaction and stronger relationships with direct sales teams. Earlier at Mercer, Jackie served as a Principal West Market Leader, where she gained recognition for establishing efficient workflows and processes. Before moving to Mercer, Jackie kick-started her career at Guardian Life Insurance, serving as a Team Leader and Implementation Manager. Her innovative approaches to process improvements decreased transition time from a month to only two weeks and eased the transition to the service team. Throughout her career, Jackie Cook has consistently demonstrated her ability to drive efficiency, mentor future leaders and increase client satisfaction. A dedication to streamlined processes, effective communications, and a tireless commitment to professional development marks her career.

Learn more about Jackie’s work on LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/jackie-cook

Transcript

Angie Lee [00:00:36]:

Welcome back to another episode of Leadership Narratives. This is a podcast featuring a collection of intimate conversations with industry giants, trailblazers and game changers across different disciplines on what it means to make a mark on the world. I’m your host, Angie Lee, and in today’s episode, we’re exploring the intersection of leadership and innovation.

Angie Lee [00:00:55]:

We’ll treverse Jackie’s journey, exploring how she’s infused innovation into her leadership style, the lessons she’s learned from her failures, and the practices that help her maintain balance and avoid burnout. If you’re seeking insights to spark your leadership journey, this episode is a must. Now, I’m pleased to introduce my dear friend Jackie Cook, the early career development leader at Marsh McLennan. Renowned for her unique ability to chart success through innovative leadership, Jackie is a testament to what it means to be a trailblazer in today’s dynamic corporate landscape. From spearheading major transitions to fostering an environment of collaboration and growth, Jackie’s journey is a riveting narrative that perfectly encapsulates the essence of progressive leadership.

Jackie Cook [00:01:42]:

Welcome to the show, Jackie. Thank you for having me.

Angie Lee [00:01:45]:

Absolutely. Hey Jackie, what did you have for breakfast today?

Jackie Cook [00:01:49]:

I didn’t. That’s terrible. I know. And I know you asked that question, but what I have moved on to is I don’t eat breakfast, but I’m doing this thing called proffee. Have you heard of this? It’s like a protein shake mixed with cOffee.

Angie Lee [00:02:03]:

I think I’ve seen it floating around the web. So that’s good. So is that your typical morning routine right now?

Jackie Cook [00:02:10]:

Yes. Yeah.

Angie Lee [00:02:11]:

And does it typically start with the protein shake or does your morning routine include any other elements?

Jackie Cook [00:02:18]:

No, that’s where I start. But I get up early. I’m an early riser, so I’m up at 430 every day. Start with the coffee and the protein, get me going and then I have a little me time. I usually read in the morning before I even start. And then about 06:00 I’ll check some work emails and start kind of going through the day, but I’m a creature of routine. I really am.

Angie Lee [00:02:39]:

Jackie, I admire you. 430 in the morning. Oh, my goodness.

Jackie Cook [00:02:43]:

There were times when I used to.

Angie Lee [00:02:45]:

Go to bed at 430 because I was on the computer trying to hash out all this work. I have to get 8 hours minimum of sleep every day. So for me, I’m usually up around seven a 08:00 a.m. But 430. Wow, you’re an early bird.

Jackie Cook [00:03:00]:

I am. And it started decades ago because I used to get up at 415 to kickbox at 05:00 a.m. Before I went into the office, and I’ve just stuck with the routine, so it’s habit.

Angie Lee [00:03:12]:

Wow, that is so amazing. You’re the first person on my show who’s had such a rigorous morning schedule. But again, to your point, you value having that sense of structure in your life and discipline. So that’s amazing to hear, Jackie. So, Jackie, what inspired you to venture into career and talent development?

Jackie Cook [00:03:32]:

So with my leadership background, I had really been honing in and focusing a lot on the development of my leaders. Things I needed to do to make them stronger and make them better. And as I continued to have that operational leadership role, I really was focusing more on the development side and realized this is a thing I’m passionate about. This is something I’m very good at and this is something I’d like to progress and everything aligned for me. And they happened to have this role that opened up this new position focusing primarily on early career colleagues and the talent development pieces that go with them. So it was also a challenge for me because I was very much so used to working with people who were more seasoned, had a little more career experience, et cetera. But I made that change over in March of 2022, and I couldn’t be happier. Yeah.

Angie Lee [00:04:15]:

And speaking of which, you’ve mentioned managing a different group of people. What leadership skills did you find most essential in that role?

Jackie Cook [00:04:23]:

Communication was very, very key. You’re dealing with so many different personalities and so many different levels, so making sure that you understand how to adjust your communication and make it meaningful for every different person or every different type of individual you’re talking to. And also, clarity was something that was really important. You were dealing with so many people that understood things differently based on their position or reacted differently based on their position. So really, communication and clarity were two of probably the biggest muscles. I had to flex with that one.

Angie Lee [00:05:01]:

Yeah, I hear you. Communication is one of the top skills, and I think effective communication and active listening is one of the core skills as a leader that we all need to possess. Jackie, how did you manage to balance the needs of your team and the demands of your clients in that role?

Jackie Cook [00:05:19]:

Yeah, it’s always such a delicate balance. Right. Because clients bring you the revenue, but your people also essentially bring you the revenue because they have to be happy and willing to work and having that safe space as well. So I really try to make sure that we’re looking at ensuring that the people who work for us have a balance. So you need to come to work and want to give 100%, but when you’re away for work, we need to make sure that you’re feeling everything is covered where you’re working so that you can go and enjoy your family time, go and enjoy the things that you want to enjoy. You have to come in refreshed and wanting to be a part of the team, and so it’s really important to make sure that people balance. And sometimes that’s a lot more challenging than people probably realize or give it credit for, because there are a lot of people with really strong work ethics who feel like. But part of me is defined by how I work, or part of me is defined by how much time I put in.

Jackie Cook [00:06:09]:

So those are the harder ones. Right. To help coach and challenge and just make sure they understand that it’s really important that their needs come just as importantly as the client needs. And then it’s also that balance with the clients. Right. I definitely have had situations in my career where I’ve had to say to clients, I’m not sure you’re a good fit for us at this point. There can’t be all these demands against us if you’re not also willing to give. So there’s also some finesse in that.

Jackie Cook [00:06:37]:

Right. Recognizing when those lines are starting to cross to a point that it’s unhealthy for both parties in the relationship. So it’s a finesse thing to get in there, but it’s also making sure that you know your key values as a leader and what you’re willing to compromise on and where you’re not. Because that’s what sort of sets your North Star and helps you recognize when you’re going to need to make what moves where, whether it be on your side of the house with your employees or on the side with your clients.

Angie Lee [00:07:04]:

As I hear you talk about core values and North Star, I mean, those are keywords that we often use in coaching. Right. Could you expand a little bit on that? Could you tell our audience more about what are some of those core values to possess?

Jackie Cook [00:07:19]:

Yeah, I think everyone’s different, right? I think that’s the main thing. Right. To start with, that is everyone leads differently, and leadership looks successful in many different formats. But I think people need to really drive home and look at what motivates you, what inspires you, and then from there, you can set your core values. So for me, my core values are definitely around communication structure. They’re definitely around efficiency, they’re around innovation, and they’re around happiness. Those are the big things for me to make sure that I’m not only balancing myself, but I’m also able to balance my team that way, because those are the things I’m working towards, and they’re the things I want them to also make sure that they’re having, along with their individuality, to pick their core values that make sense for them.

Angie Lee [00:08:10]:

I recall in reading through your bio when you trained 15 new managers who later moved up to various leadership roles, what is your secret to mentorship and coaching?

Jackie Cook [00:08:23]:

I’d like to think it’s being engaging, encouraging, but also being really genuine with them. Honestly, I learned a lot of lessons throughout my career in just how you handle people and how a lot of the time you inadvertently send a message that you don’t intend to send or you certainly didn’t mean to send. And so I really try and keep all of that at the forefront and keep all of that conscious whenever I’m having conversations, whenever I’m trying to develop someone. So I’d like to think that that’s what it is for me, is that they sense the genuineness and they recognize, like, hey, I’ve been through it, too, and we all make mistakes. I recently shared, actually, with my team, one of my favorite videos of all time is by Denzel Washington on YouTube, where he talks about falling forward. And that’s just the greatest thing for me. Right. And I recently shared that with my team to say, I know we’re in a hard time and we’re going to make mistakes.

Jackie Cook [00:09:14]:

We’re all going to make them, but that’s okay. This is what we do to learn from it. So, again, I think probably the genuineness, that was pretty long winded for you. I’m sorry, but I think the genuineness.

Angie Lee [00:09:25]:

No, that was great. I have so many leaders on my show that talks about the humanizing or being a human, and in just that part of leadership that people often forget that as a leader, we need to show up all stiff and perfectly put together without any emotions. And that’s not what leadership is at all right? It’s about that genuine connection, showing up authentic and being able to inspire your team members or your teams through those set of emotions. JackIe, how do you incorporate innovation into your leadership style at every opportunity?

Jackie Cook [00:10:03]:

I can, quite honestly. So it’s such a vital part, especially in the world that we’re in, and especially when we think about the younger colleagues coming into the workplace, because the generations are so different. And so looking at things like social media, looking at things like technology, looking at all the different things that exist today that weren’t there before AI, how can we involve AI more in the things that we’re doing from an efficiency standpoint, a communication standpoint, those things. So it’s something I look at often, and it’s something I try to bring to the table with every solution we’re looking at is what’s the creativity, and how are we changing the game in a way that hasn’t been done before? And that’s, I think it’s such a fun process in what we get to do as leaders because we have that ability and that opportunity to go and seek out those things and really try and move the needle and impact and influence in ways with different technologies, like I said, and just different things that haven’t been there before.

Angie Lee [00:11:00]:

You talked about having young leaders or leaders that are coming into the organization, and it sounds like the generational differences or even the generational gap is something that’s relatively new that we haven’t seen before. Right. Because I remember reading about having, what, four, five generations are now in the same workforce. So tell us a little bit more about that. How do you deal with that generational gap in your team?

Jackie Cook [00:11:27]:

Yeah, it is interesting. You’re right. We do have multiple generations now. And with that comes just not just multiple ways at how they’re looking at things, but it’s multiple ways in how you relate to them, how you motivate them, how they show up and come to work, what values they have, and what things matter to them. So it is a challenge I think any leader for right now is faced with in how do you make sure your messaging, you make sure that your directives, you make sure that your support are meeting all those various ages that we’re working with today. And I think for the early career individuals, the really fun, fresh, exciting thing is they really are coming in and they are the future of the workforce. And they’re bringing with them this new wave of responsibility and challenge for us as leaders to think about how do we market to you? How do we communicate to you what are the things that matter to you that look very different. So it’s this great balance right now of bringing them in and helping guide them and helping teach them in ways and about things that we haven’t seen or had to do in quite a long time, which is, again, it’s a really exciting and challenging time, I think, for all of us as leaders who deal with those multi generational teams.

Angie Lee [00:12:42]:

And speaking of the early career talent, Jackie, how do you inspire and motivate your team members to achieve their best?

Jackie Cook [00:12:50]:

Yeah. So the early career talent is different. They are a lot of fun. And I think that the way that we have really connected with them, right. Is through socialization, really making sure that they have the engagement, making sure that they get recognized and you do more fun things. Right. Whether it’s providing badges on your websites or doing things like that or doing shout outs on LinkedIn, it’s this different way to communicate. So it’s a lot of fun.

Jackie Cook [00:13:15]:

But the engagement piece, I think, is the biggest piece to keep them motivated is making them feel a part of it and the inclusivity of it, making sure that they feel like they’re not just here to work. They’re part of the journey. And part of the journey means your voice matters, we want to hear it, and we want to take your ideas and put some of those into action. So that’s the really cool part. The collaborative part with them motivates them and it motivates us. So it’s a great partnering.

Angie Lee [00:13:44]:

It certainly sounds like a fun partnership. What are some of the more significant lessons you’ve learned throughout your career journey?

Jackie Cook [00:13:53]:

There’s been a lot. It’s funny that you asked this question, actually, because I, a couple of years ago, did an activity with my leadership team, and I called it moments that mattered. And what I asked each of them to do and myself was build a timeline of your career. So whether it was two decades or three years, right, so far in your journey, what have been the moments that mattered for you and the couple that really stick out for me in mine was in 2000. I had, like I said, just basically started working and was working around various jobs and doing things. But a lot of people see things in you that you don’t see in yourself. And when you’re in the moment, a lot of us are our hardest critic. And I had somebody pull me aside one day in the office, and they said to me, they’re like, you are so busy doubting yourself while so many others are intimidated by your potential and you don’t even realize it.

Jackie Cook [00:14:49]:

And it took me back to take a step back and go, I really need to give myself more credit and recognize that the things I’m doing are working and do make sense and matter. So that one really took me back, but the other one that’s probably the most impactful to this point and is something, like I said earlier, I definitely keep at the forefront is around being genuine in your generosity. There is a difference between showing up and helping people and the motive behind that. And people know it, right? So being supportive is important, but knowing when and how to be supportive is even more important. And so that’s a lesson that I really try and stick with me because there are definitely times where people just want you to listen and they don’t want you to solution. And you just being able to show up and listen matters more to them than any advice you could have given them. But then there are other times where they’re going to be struggling to even communicate what is frustrating them. So you being able to be supportive and be there and draw out of them things that they didn’t think they could share is equally important.

Jackie Cook [00:16:00]:

But it’s that genuineness and that generosity with your time, or however it is you’re connecting with them that matters the most. And that’s the one that I really, like I said, stays at my forefront. And I just really try to lead with that in most things that I do.

Angie Lee [00:16:15]:

It sounds like, based on the first example, Jackie, that it was a true turning point in your career.

Jackie Cook [00:16:22]:

It was. The first one was. It was also the first time it set in motion for me, quite honestly, listening more to things that matter. Because for the first time ever, when somebody said that to me, like I said, I took it back. But then similarly, probably six months or a year later, I had another experience where I really learned that words matter, and encouraging words are more powerful. So it’s learning that balance, right? And learning that what you say matters, but it also matters more when you say it in a way that’s encouraging, because if you’re just telling someone, hey, you did a good job, that can fall flat a lot, right? So it’s making sure that you’re making it relative and making those words matter and making them be encouraging. And it’s also probably the turning point when I really learned the importance of seeing and treating colleagues as people, right? Like, we’re not here to be machines, we’re not here just to come in and say, I’m looking to impress, I’m looking to make sure, I do what I do. It’s also how are we connecting and how are we making sure the words that we’re sharing back and forth again matter but are genuine and that we’re listening to each other and that we’re forming and building relationships.

Jackie Cook [00:17:33]:

Because if you are comfortable with the people you’re working with and with your leaders, you are going to want to come to work more. You are going to feel more comfortable. You’re going to feel more empowered to stretch yourself and do different things. I know. That’s how I felt is the more people spoke with me and the more people encouraged me, the more I was willing to take on more, the more I was willing to say, I’m okay to stretch and try this, because if I fail, it’s going to be okay. You’re going to help me figure out how we get back to something better. And so those are the things that matter. But, yeah, I agree with you.

Jackie Cook [00:18:05]:

That one was definitely a game changer for me. In my career.

Angie Lee [00:18:10]:

I think most people strive to show up to work as the best version of themselves, right? And I think we think that we’re doing our best and we’re showing up as our best version of ourselves each and every day. But having people in our lives, whether it’s at work or at home, that can help us to see ourselves from that different perspective, a different set of lenses, or even to point out those blind spots, those things are so incredibly important because what you’re talking about is building self awareness and knowing exactly what you’re doing or what you may not be doing, and just having those things pointed out by someone you trust, someone in your circle. Those things are very small. Those are little things, but it really matters, right?

Jackie Cook [00:18:56]:

100%. And it’s interesting that you picked up on that and that you say it that way, because self awareness is actually interesting. I just recently had my six month review, and that was one of the things my manager pointed out. She’s like, you’re so incredibly self aware. And I instantly went back to, I’m sure I am, because I’ve had all these lessons that have taught me to really think about, how am I communicating this? And I mean, quite honestly, even when I meet with my team today, it’s not uncommon for me to say to my team, did that make sense? How was that meeting for you? Did we hit it right? Did you walk away understanding it? Because I want to be so aware of how am I communicating again, making sure that there’s that connection and making sure that they feel it and it resonates. So, yeah, it’s interesting that you point that out. I would definitely say it lends itself to self awareness.

Angie Lee [00:19:45]:

So, Jackie, what advice would you give to young professionals aspiring to be in leadership role?

Jackie Cook [00:19:51]:

I would be genuine, be motivated, be willing to collaboraTe, and really think about how you want to show up. Meaning, do you want to be an enabler? Do you want to be a connector? Like, what is it? And how is it that you want to build your brand as you build that leadership ladder for yourself? I think those are the key pieces, I would say, for young individuals coming into leadership to think about. Think about them seriously and put thought into how they’re going to develop those skills and those relationships to get them to have those right skills.

Angie Lee [00:20:37]:

Throughout your career, you’ve been part of major transitions. What advice would you give to someone leading a team through a significant change?

Jackie Cook [00:20:48]:

Make sure that you are clear and concise in all that is happening. I think one of the biggest misses is that people think they’re doing people a favor by not being as transparent as they can be. So make sure that you’re being clear and concise and transparent, and make sure you listen to what people are saying. Because while you might not be able to necessarily change the direction something is going, the one thing you always have control over as a leader is your ability to listen and your ability to encourage and your reactions. So while you might not be able to change the direction of a decision, you can help alter the direction of somebody’s attitude or somebody’s mindset. So those are the big things with transition, because transition is so scary. Change is scary, and a lot of people struggle through it at different levels. So those are the things I’ve learned in my time that just matter the most when it comes to helping things be successful in those transitions.

Angie Lee [00:21:48]:

And has there been a mentor in your professional journey?

Jackie Cook [00:21:54]:

There has been. I actually affectionately call her Jodie the Jedi. She was my manager at Guardian, but she is the person who by far, I would say most took me under her wing, really helped me out, really guided me, but also, it was the first time I truly had an interaction with a manager where they treated me as a person and they recognized my talents that I brought and they encouraged me and they challenged me. So, yeah, she’s definitely the one I would call out there.

Angie Lee [00:22:25]:

And what’s the value of mentorship, in your opinion? Is this something that every young leader or every leader needs to seek out?

Jackie Cook [00:22:34]:

Yeah, I do think that. I think that they help give you such a balanced view of what it is you’re working on. And it’s such an objective view of how your skills are developing or how you’re approaching things. And I think that’s really key. When you’re picking a mentor, make sure you’re picking someone that you feel comfortable with in that regard. It’s not just about. I think a lot of people make a mistake in picking a mentor that they think is high enough up or has enough reach or has enough connections, but that’s not the kind of mentor you want. You truly want a mentor who you are comfortable with, who you know is going to say to you, listen, we need to have a conversation about how you’re approaching that.

Jackie Cook [00:23:14]:

Or, listen, I’m not sure if you recognize, you may have said this, but you had this body language. And those are the things that you’re going to take with you as you continue to step through your career. Those are the moments that are ultimately going to end up mattering for you. So I definitely think a mentor is a must, but I also think you’ve got to be selective in who you’re choosing to make sure you have the right one.

Angie Lee [00:23:35]:

I love that because what you’re saying is whether it’s having a mentor or someone in our lives to help us really, truly see. And it goes back to what we were saying about the level of self awareness that we need to build for ourselves. Right. And having someone like a mentor point out our blind spots and calling us out when we need to be called out, because I think that’s one aspect of our lives. And I hear this often about the millennial generation or the millennials growing up who were just touted for everything that they were doing, that they were constantly being praised and told they’re the best thing and they could do whatever they want, and they could be anything they want in lives. And lo and behold, they start building their careers. They come to work and they realize, hey, you know what? Maybe we can’t do everything. And we’re not made for everything.

Angie Lee [00:24:23]:

Right? There’s certain skills and contributions we bring to the table. And so I think it is incredibly important for us to think about what that mentorship relationship looks like, because I think you’re right. Most people do get it wrong, especially people that are early in their careers.

Jackie Cook [00:24:38]:

They do. And I also think they misunderstand the career path and the trajectory. And that’s where the right mentor can really help you. Because a lot of people go, I want to be a leader. And they automatically think being a leader means you have to lead people and it doesn’t. Right. Success is different based on where you’re sitting and that’s where that right mentor, I think really helps is making sure you understand not only like you’re saying those things about yourself and your blind spots and your self awareness, but also guiding you correctly to say, I know you want to do this and I think it’s great you’re going to try, but now that you’re trying it, I don’t know that that’s a fit for you. Let’s talk about these other skills that you’re showcasing so strongly and what that might look like if we just shifted this position a little bit.

Jackie Cook [00:25:22]:

So, yeah, I agree with you 100%. I think a lot of people also in leadership positions think, well, I should be a mentor. It’s just what I should do. Right. It comes with the territory and that is semi true, I’d say. Right. I don’t think everybody is cut out to be a mentor and that’s okay. But I also think if you’re going to do it, you need to make sure that you’re doing it well as well.

Jackie Cook [00:25:45]:

I do think people need to probably take a step back and recognize, like, just because you had success doing it this way doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s how you project job is to listen to them, understand their skill sets and help them see things through the lens that makes sense to them, not necessarily projecting your lens onto them. Does that make sense? Absolutely.

Angie Lee [00:26:07]:

And what you’re saying is so powerful, Jackie, because people have different perceptions or beliefs about what a mentorship looks like. And I even had some leaders that showed up on the show and said, go look for a mentor outside of your organization or outside of your teams. Because sometimes the mentor you truly need may be a part of a different team or maybe part of a different division. You just never know. But actively seek out mentorship in different areas rather than just trying to look for that within the teams. Because I think that’s also an area where we get wrong, is where do we go and who do we mentor. And I think to your point earlier about connection, right. Making sure that you’re establishing that connection with people, whether it’s mentorship or team members or whatever, but it really comes down to that authentic connection that you described earlier.

Jackie Cook [00:26:57]:

Yeah. And I also think people shouldn’t be afraid to the point that those other leaders made. They shouldn’t be afraid of something like maybe creating their own personal board of directors. Taking a look at, I have three or four different things I want to learn. And so I need maybe three or four different people to help me. And that’s okay. Make that time commitment to yourself and go ahead and pursue that. There’s also no limit.

Jackie Cook [00:27:20]:

Right. On, necessarily, the number of mentors you can have. So if you’re dedicated to it, create yourself a personal board of directors that, like you’re saying, have people, maybe in different industries, who can give you different insights, who can give you a different lens to look at that’s equally vital and equally important.

Angie Lee [00:27:36]:

And I think you and I will have to talk about having another conversation around the concept of personal board of advisors, because that is such a new thing. People don’t understand it, and they’re starting to grasp it. But I think I completely agree with you that we all need to have that personal board of directors in our lives.

Jackie Cook [00:27:53]:

Yeah. Our checks and balances. Right. Our personal checks and balances.

Angie Lee [00:27:59]:

Absolutely. Do you have one last final thought that you want to leave our listeners with?

Jackie Cook [00:28:06]:

Just be true to yourselves. I think that’s the biggest thing right. As you go through, like we were talking about your journey. Whatever your journey is, whether it is leadership or know a business analyst role or whatever it is, just continue to be true to your North Star and your core values, and you are going to find a very successful career if you continue down those paths and putting those and your values first.

Angie Lee [00:28:31]:

Amazing. Jackie, how can listeners support you and your work?

Jackie Cook [00:28:36]:

I am on LinkedIn, so you can find me there just as Jackie Cook. And then obviously, our marshmallow website has information about what we do as a firm, as a company, as well as any opportunities that we have open.

Angie Lee [00:28:48]:

That’s great. And I will be sure to reference your link in my show notes on our website. And that is it for today. And Jackie, what a heartwarming, deep conversation around talent and leadership and really being true to ourselves. I think this conversation is going to not only help others learn how to lead, but really helping people understand what it takes to be a great leader. So thank you for your time today, Jackie, of course.

Jackie Cook [00:29:19]:

Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate your time.

Angie Lee [00:29:21]:

It’s been a pleasure. So, guys, if you’ve taken away something from today that will help you to tweak how you lead, and if you want to tell us about it, wherever you’re listening to the show, please drop a note or a comment in the box. Be sure to tune back to next week’s Leadership narrative podcast from another industry giant. And that is all for today. See you later. Thank you so much for joining us.

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