I AM CEO PODCAST

IAM474- Success Coach Advances Diversity for Greater Opportunities for All

Podcast Interview with Brian Kelly

Brian Kelly is a Success Coach and Business Consultant who works with socially conscious small to medium-sized companies to create more inclusive work environments and to unleash human greatness in their people and teams producing better business AND human results.

Brian’s career spans three decades across Information Technology, Human Resources, Project Management, Program Management, People Development, and nonprofit leadership.

Brian is committed to advancing diversity, inclusion, belonging, and equity for greater economic and career opportunities for all human beings.

  • CEO Hack: Gratitude to focus better
  • CEO Nugget: Focused Mindset
  • CEO Defined: Being a leader and enabling people to be successful

Website: https://briankellyleadershipcoaching.com/

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


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Transcription:

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Intro 0:02

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:29

Hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Brian Kelly of briankellyleadershipcoaching.com. Brian, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Brain Kelly 0:38

Thanks for having me.

Gresham Harkless 0:40

No problem. Super excited to have you on and what I want to do is just read a little bit more about Brian so you hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. Brian Kelly is a success coach and business consultant who works with socially conscious small to medium-sized companies to create more inclusive work environments and to unleash human greatness in their people in teams, producing better business and human results. Brian's career spans three decades across information technology, human resources, project management, project people development, and nonprofit leadership. Brian is committed to advancing diversity, inclusion, belonging to equity for greater economic and career opportunities for all human beings. Brian, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO Community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

Brian Kelly 1:17

Looking forward to it?

Gresham Harkless 1:18

Awesome, let's do it. So I wanted to kick everything off and just hear a little bit more about that background and in your CEO story, when did you start your business?

Brian Kelly 1:25

So well, let me just start my business. So it took someone else seeing something in me that I hadn't seen in myself, which is ironically, what I do right now there's, and so always I've played a lot of sports growing up in my life. So always had been a coach on the field and a team player and I saw in terms of that role, being very strategic. I was part of this nonprofit, I shouldn't say nonprofit, it was a volunteer organization within the organization I was looking at, it was focused on leadership development of people at the early career stage, right, that had been really opportunities within our job to gain leadership skills. So we helped with providing that kind of service-based opportunities, as well as networking opportunities to senior leaders across the organization to create an interconnected network at all levels.

As I was helping to lead the organization for one or two of my years there, I was blessed to be the person who introduced a mentoring program to the community. As part of that, I connected to an internal leadership coach and so as we're going through our conversations with regard to this particular arrangement, he's like, you should think about going to Georgetown's transformational leadership coaching program, and that's where he saw something in me, so it's ironic, because that's not the first time someone had mentioned it to me but it was the time I was ready to hear it. In terms of that timing being right, I went to Georgetown, and I ended up leaving my company because I knew I wanted to go into *coaching around coaching opportunities there*. I figured, well, let me go to Georgetown and go through that process and I'll figure out what the next stage is after I graduate. So as I went through the experience there, what ended up being sort of like the foundation of what I do now is I reframed my relationship with vulnerability.

How I saw vulnerability prior to that was weakness and so men don't cry and don't show emotion, that kind of thing. That was sort of somewhat reinforced in my career in the workplace in terms of the command and control, industrial-age type of environment. And so now I reframe that to its humanity. It's how we connect with one another. It's a lot about what I do now I help people connect to who they are, unlearn a lot of stuff that they may have learned, so that they can relearn and kind of focus on what matters to them, now, what's most important? How do they, wherever they are now, it's fine, there's no judgment on that but getting them to focus, and sometimes for the first time on themselves, because a lot of times, we end up living our lives based on the expectations of others, how do we get connected to ourselves so we can kind of intentionally move forward from where we are. That's a lot about what I do now with my coaching and consulting practice with teams.

Gresham Harkless 4:03

Nice. I definitely appreciate that because I think so many times, just as you said, as you go throughout life, it seems to get noisier and noisier, you have more things pulling at you to do this and do that, for whatever reason. It's funny, because a lot of times I usually say to myself, as I tried to go back to when I was a kid, to find out who you are, and what you're passionate about things that you'd like to do because you just did it because it was your gift. Sometimes you were good at it and a lot of times we lose sight of that as we go on through life, because it gets so noisy. There are so many things pulling us and we shouldn't be doing this or we shouldn't be doing that and you kind of have to definitely correct me if I'm wrong, you have to work to get back to that simplicity of kind of who you are, in the essence of who you are as a person.

Brian Kelly 4:38

It sounds strange, but that's exactly what it is. We have all this stuff laid on top of us and what ends up becoming beliefs and often limiting beliefs, things people that were well intended throughout our life, our parents or grandparents or teachers, because, there's no judgment because they're looking through the lens of what they see. So it's honoring that and saying well, others have a different level of awareness. What do I want to create for myself so my journey is really about unleashing human greatness and teams and individuals? That's a big part of it is the unlearning piece and just focusing on self, not from an ego perspective, but from a sort of a soulful, what matters to me purpose perspective, so that we can kind of gravitate and move in the direction of where you want to go.

Gresham Harkless 5:18

Yeah, that makes so much sense. And I definitely appreciate you doing it. Because I feel like there's never a time that you're supposed to do that through your life and you kind of have to take the initiative or come across somebody who says, just like you, you had that experience where somebody sees something in you and helps you to kind of see some of those things. I know you obviously work with a lot of clients on a lot of teams so I wanted to drill a little bit deeper, can you take us through like exactly like what you do to kind of sell them support and how you work with the clients you have?

Brian Kelly 5:43

So what I do ultimately, is help people connect to their strengths, and what makes them unique, and help them move from where they are to where they want to go. There's a goal setting aspect of that purposeful goal setting and it's really about discovering what your high energy and high-performance space is. That energy piece sometimes gets lost because we focus on performance so much I'm high-performing here. But what I find is most people, not most people, people I've worked with a lot of folks are just not fulfilled with what they're doing. They've been on the career path they've gone on, they sometimes forget why they got on it. They just are on it for maybe external expectations from parents, or that's what people are supposed to do when they graduate college, they go down this path of that path.

It's really about a journey of discovery and really reconnecting to themselves to get to wherever they want to go and so it becomes a going through an assessment process. Then we do a design based on the individual or the team what their needs are and then we implement. Then we just go through the process, again, we reassess, and we adjust there too. So it starts with an assessment of having a grounding and language and I use Strengths Assessment, that is got some data backing into it and scientific. So people like that aspect of, people that need data really gravitate to that. It's really about embracing who you are embracing who you're not and we're saying that I know who I am, I know who I'm not and both are okay. It's that last part that we as human beings struggle with and so it's about, I say I'm lucky and unleashing human greatness, that human element of it is what we also struggle with, *that we are vulnerable.*

There are times when we feel weak, and we can't suppress that stuff, or go into fear-based behaviors, instead of just acknowledging that's part of being human and understanding, hey, what am I needing here, and starting to look at self first, rather than being dependent or victim mentality? If we don't have what we need, then reaching out and interdependence to others to help us because that's an act of caring, actually, people don't realize that but it's an act of caring to ask for help. I help people reframe that's the thought of asking for help and I think that becomes easier. When we do that, ask me for help, or reach out to people, it's really about just reframing what their belief system is around that, that might be hard for a lot of people and that's a good example in terms of asking for help, because that's something we all struggle with at times.

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Gresham Harkless 7:58

Yeah, that makes so much sense. I've always heard this, and I don't know if this is, why, or what is one of the joys of being able to ask for help is because a lot of times the greatest gift you can give to somebody is the gift of giving. And if you don't ask for help, you don't give people the opportunity to actually give to you, or provide you or help you, then a lot of times you're kind of blocking somebody from having that greatest joy. So a lot of times when you're able to do that, or, or create that opportunity, you don't do that, then that kind of blocks that opportunity for somebody to experience the greatest joy.

Brian Kelly 8:27

Yeah, I love where you're looking there and it's interesting, because along my journey, I've heard the give to get, that kind of thing, it's really not about giving to get it, to give me it's giving about for paying for, it's the aspect of giving without the expectation of reciprocity. So think about that, if everyone is just giving because they want to uplift humanity, and they're really trying to connect to another person and what they might need, without an expectation.

Oftentimes, that leads to reciprocity, but not just knee-jerk reaction but hey, if we're able to have in the future, they're really willing to do that, you've created the conditions for that. So it's really about creating the conditions by modeling it and being inviting in terms of your way of being versus doing I think that's the aspect of what our human journey like it's, we've been conditioned to be doers, I gotta do this, I gotta be great, I gotta execute or gotta execute. And all that's important, I don't mean to diminish that. But I often find that we neglect the being piece of that and when we're being so encouraging, it's inspiring different ways of being that opens up the space for more expansive doing and more creativity and innovation.

Gresham Harkless 9:36

Yeah, absolutely. And I love that aspect of it, as you touched on that and also, you brought up a couple of times that vulnerability piece, but I wanted to kind of ask you for what I call your secret sauce as it'd be for you or your organization, but do you feel like that human piece or bringing that human or bringing us back to being more human, I guess you could say is what you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique.

Brian Kelly 9:56

It's part of what makes me I think what people have told me when we get to the diversity inclusion pieces, being a white male and being in that space and having to be a voice in that space, advocating for, people always asking me, why is that important to you? I didn't really know, I just was initially, and then I went back to sort of some inspirations from my mom, if you think about the generations going back, gender roles in marriage were different, and so expectations were different. But men were traditionally the breadwinners, and, the moms were staying-at-home moms so the path my mom went down, she didn't go through the education process and was the stay-at-home mom, and maybe hadn't set herself up to be financially independent, because my dad was, was there and so I find that, especially nowadays, where there's single person, single-parent households, and single income households, that's been kind of an important thing in terms of fairness and opportunity.

Thinking in terms of the opportunities for career growth and development getting into leadership roles and being perceived as a leader, people, my demographic don't have as many challenges as other people do. So I get curious about why those challenges are down. How can we kind of educate people on leadership to see differently that's really what I think my perspective on helping people see differently because we all have our own lenses. But what if we expand our awareness and look through other people's eyes and my strengths, my skill sets allow me to do that and that's awesome, I've trained myself to be able to kind of continue to try and get better at that. But if we're able to see that, we're able to kind of develop a different lens of what a leader looks like.

While we're making some progress there, there's still a long way to go and so whether it's developing leaders and opportunities right now, for people that are at a point in their career where they want to do that, and it's also building the pipeline, it's also going back to when kids make decisions about majors for schools. So women aren't choosing majors because there's no women and IT leadership, there's not as much of a pathway that they're seeing, or African Americans or other demographics. It just doesn't make sense to me, I think the the mindset, the goddess here is okay and we need to create that shift. So I believe it's the responsibility of all of us not that anybody has to take on a charge and the way that I have, but how do we not just identify the issue, but actually help create change about the issue.

That's where my inspiration for it comes from. It comes from a little bit of vulnerability too. In terms of what I've done, how do I know what different communities other than mine really care about what are their challenges and what is their perspective that's completely different than mine? So that's where I made decisions around volunteering and culturally based nonprofits focused on leadership development and networking. I've done that in the pan Asian in the Latino community, being on boards. So I can serve but it's also a learning opportunity for me to actually firsthand, understand better about those challenges. So I can better help create change there.

Gresham Harkless 12:53

I appreciate you for dedicating your time and your energy to that. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app or book or habit that you have but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Brian Kelly 13:05

Really, there are two things that have helped me, gratitude practice. The other thing that's somewhat related to building a mindfulness practice, which has allowed me to focus better, and decide what's important. Personally, I think it's helpful for each of us to think in terms of how not to get overwhelmed by all that is coming at me personally, and professionally, and focus on what matters.

Gresham Harkless 13:30

Absolutely, I definitely appreciate that and so now, I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. So this is a word of wisdom or piece of advice or if you can happen to a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self?

Brian Kelly 13:41

My younger business self, what I would say is notice and awareness. It's like, it wouldn't happen to me, I was sort of going through the emotions based on where my islands were, which I was told you get into a company or there for a shorter period of time than to retire and so that was sort of the mindset.

Gresham Harkless 13:58

Yeah, absolutely. I appreciate those nuggets. Now I want to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote unquote, CEOs on this show. So Brian, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Brian Kelly 14:10

Being a CEO, to me means being a leader, and enabling your people to be successful, starting with employees, and ultimately, your customers as well, because those are the people that are the reason why you're in business in the first place. So always remember your why and people first.

Gresham Harkless 14:28

Absolutely, at the end of the day, I always say, when you peel back the onion in business, and in organizations, you forget that it's made up of people, but people are, those that we need to cultivate and to make sure that we are developing those relationships and doing all the great things and that's only happens when you do take care of the people first. So I appreciate you for reminding us of that. I appreciate you for that being your mission and everything that you're doing. And what I want to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and listeners know and then of course how best people can get a hold of you and find out about all the awesome things you're working on.

Brian Kelly 14:59

Thank you so much for getting in touch with me. So briankellyleadershipcoaching.com, which you mentioned at the beginning, social media, LinkedIn is usually a really good place to get connected to me. In terms of things, I would leave the audience getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. As CEO, oftentimes, we may have really good technical knowledge in terms of our business and whatnot, and stepping into the growth that may be necessary to kind of take it to the next level in terms of relationships with your employees, delegating, letting go of stuff, and cultivating the pipeline of leaders there too, so that you can focus on the strategic stuff and not stay so attached perhaps I've seen this happen. In some cases, stay attached to what you've known, because at this point as leader of the organization, you need to be thinking ahead, in terms of the business and where it's going and developing your employees so that they can kind of take care of the business as it currently is, but also positioned them in the company for future success.

Gresham Harkless 15:58

Yeah, absolutely. Well, I definitely appreciate that a lot of times, we think, the ultimate definition of leadership is sometimes developing other leaders and empowering people to be able to kind of see the vision and be able to execute when you're not there. To me, that's a true sign of a great leader. So I definitely appreciate you for reminding us of that and again, appreciate your time. We will have the links and information in the show notes as well so that everybody can follow up with you. But I appreciate you so much. And Brian, I hope you have a phenomenal day.

Extro 16:22

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Intro 0:02

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Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:29

Hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Brian Kelly of briankellyleadershipcoaching.com. Brian, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Brain Kelly 0:38

Thanks for having me.

Gresham Harkless 0:40

No problem. Super excited to have you on and what I want to do is just read a little bit more about Brian so you hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. Brian Kelly is a success coach and business consultant who works with socially conscious small to medium sized companies to create more inclusive work environments and to unleash human greatness in their people in teams, producing better business and human results. Brian's career spans three decades across information technology, human resources, project management, project people development, and nonprofit leadership. Brian is committed to advancing diversity, inclusion, belonging to equity for greater economic and career opportunities for all human beings. Brian, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO Community?

Brian Kelly 1:17

Looking forward to it?

Gresham Harkless 1:18

Awesome, let's do it. So I wanted to kick everything off and just hear a little bit more about that background and in your CEO story, and when did you start your business?

Brian Kelly 1:25

So well, let me just start my business. So it took someone else seeing something in me that I hadn't seen in myself, which is ironically, what I do right now there's, and so always I've played a lot of sports growing up in my life. So always had been a coach on the field and a team player and I saw in terms of that role, being very strategic. I was part of this nonprofit, I shouldn't say nonprofit, it was a volunteer organisation within the organisation I was looking at, it was focused on leadership development of people at the early career stage, right, that had been really have opportunities within our job to gain leadership skills. So we helped with providing those kind of service based opportunities, as well as networking opportunities to senior leaders across the organisation to create an interconnected network at all levels. As I was helping to lead the organisation for one or two of the years there, I was blessed to be the person that introduced a mentoring programme to the community. As part of that, I connected to an internal leadership coach and so as we're going through our conversations with regard to this particular arrangement, he's like, you should think about going to Georgetown's transformational leadership coaching programme, and that's where he saw something in me, so it's ironic, because that's not the first time someone had mentioned it to me but it was the time I was ready to hear it. In terms of that timing being right, so I went to Georgetown, and I ended up leaving my company, because I knew I wanted to go into *coaching around coaching opportunities there*. I figured, well, let me go to Georgetown go through that process and I'll figure out what the next stage is, after I graduate. So as I went through the experience there, what ended up being sort of like the foundation of what I do now is I reframed my relationship with vulnerability, right. How I saw vulnerability prior to that was weakness and so men don't cry and don't show emotion, that kind of thing. That was sort of somewhat reinforced in my career in the workplace in terms of the command and control, industrial age type of environment. And so now I reframe that to its humanity. It's how we connect with one another. It's a lot about what I do now is I help people connect to who they are, unlearn a lot of stuff that they may have learned, so that they can relearn and kind of focus on what matters to them, now, what's most important? How do they, wherever they are now, it's fine, there's no judgement on that but getting them to focus, and sometimes for the first time on themselves, because a lot of times, we end up living our lives based on the expectations of others, how do we get connected to ourselves so we can kind of intentionally move forward from where we are. That's a lot about what I do now with my coaching and consulting practice with teams.

Gresham Harkless 4:03

Nice. I definitely appreciate that because I think so many times, just as you said, as you go throughout life, it seems to get noisier and noisier, you have more things pulling at you to do this and do that, for whatever reason. It's funny, because a lot of times I usually say to myself, as I tried to go back to when I was a kid, to find out like who you are, and what you're passionate about things that you'd like to do, because you just did it because it was your gift. Sometimes you were good at it and a lot of times we lose sight of that as we go on through life, because it gets so noisy. There's so many things pulling us and we shouldn't be doing this or we shouldn't be doing that and that you kind of have to definitely correct me if I'm wrong, you have to work to get back to that simplicity of kind of who you are, in essence of who you are as a person.

Brian Kelly 4:38

It sounds strange, but that's exactly what it is. We have all this stuff like laid on top of us and what ends up becoming beliefs and often limiting beliefs, things people that were well intended throughout our life, our parents or grandparents or teachers, because, there's no judgement because they're looking through the lens of what they see. So it's honouring that and saying well, and other have a different level of awareness. What do I want to create for myself and so my journey is really about unleashing human greatness and teams and individuals. That's a big part of it is the unlearning piece and just focusing on self, not from an ego perspective, but from a sort of a soulful, what matters to me purpose perspective, so that we can kind of gravitate and move in the direction of where you want to go.

Gresham Harkless 5:18

Yeah, that that makes so much sense. And I definitely appreciate you doing it. Because I feel like there's never a time that you're supposed to do that through your life and you kind of have to take the initiative or come across somebody who says, just like you, you had that experience where somebody sees something in you, and helps you to kind of see some of those things. I know you obviously work with a lot of clients on a lot of teams so I wanted to drill a little bit deeper, can you take us through like exactly like what you do to kind of sell them support and how you work with the clients you have.

Brian Kelly 5:43

So what I do ultimately, is help people connect to their strengths, and what makes them unique, and help them move from where they are to where they want to go. There's a goal setting aspect of that purposeful goal setting and it's really about discovering what your high energy and high performance space is. That energy piece sometimes get lost because we focus on performance so much I'm high performing here. But what I find is most people, not most people, people I've worked with a lot of folks are just not fulfilled with what they're doing. They've been on the career path they've gone on, they sometimes forget why they got on it. They just are on it for maybe external expectations from parents, or that's what people are supposed to do when they graduate college, they go down this path of that path. It's really about a journey of discovery and really reconnecting to themselves to get to wherever they want to go and so it becomes a going through an assessment process. Then we do a design based on the individual that or the team what their needs are and then we implement. Then we just go through the process, again, we reassess, and we adjust there too. So it starts with an assessment of having a grounding and language and I use Strengths Assessment, that is got some data backing into it and scientific. So people like that aspect of, people that need data really gravitate to that. It's really about embracing who you are embracing who you're not and we're saying that I know who I am, I know who I'm not and both are okay. It's that last part that we as human beings struggle with and so it's about, I say I'm lucky and unleashing human greatness, that human element of it is what we also struggle with, *that we are vulnerable.* There's times when we feel weak, and we can't we suppress that stuff, or go into fear based behaviours, instead of just acknowledging that's part of being human and understand, hey, what am I needing here, and starting to look at self first, rather than being dependent or victim mentality? If we don't have what we need, then reaching out and interdependence to others to help us because that's an act of caring, actually, people don't realise is that but it's an act of caring to ask for help. I help people reframe that's the thought of asking for help and I think that becomes easier. When we do that, ask me for help, or reaching out to people, it's really about just reframing what their belief system is around that, that might be hard for a lot of people and that's a good example of in terms of asking for help, because that's something we all struggle with at times.

Gresham Harkless 7:58

Yeah, that makes so much sense. I've always heard this, and I don't know if this is, why, or what is one of the joys of being able to ask for help is because a lot of times the greatest gift you can give to somebody is the gift of giving. And if you don't ask for help, you don't give people the opportunity to actually give to you, or provide you or help you, then a lot of times you're kind of blocking somebody from having that greatest joy. So a lot of times when you're able to do that, or, or create that opportunity, you don't do that, then that kind of blocks that opportunity for somebody to experience the greatest joy.

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Brian Kelly 8:27

Yeah, I love where you're looking there and it's interesting, because along my journey, I've heard the give to get, that kind of thing, it's really not about giving to get it, to give me it's giving about for paying for, it's the aspect of giving without the expectation of reciprocity. So think about that, if everyone is just giving because they want to uplift humanity, and they're really trying to connect to another person and what they might need, without an expectation. Oftentimes, that leads to reciprocity, but not just knee jerk reaction but hey, if we're able to have in the future, they're really willing to do that, you've created the conditions for that. So it's really about creating the conditions by modelling it, and being inviting in terms of your way of being versus doing I think that's the aspect of what our human journey like it's, we've been conditioned to be doers, I gotta do this, I gotta be great, I gotta execute or gotta execute. And all that's important, I don't mean to diminish that. But I often find that we neglect the being piece of that and when we're being so encouraging, it's inspiring different ways of being that opens up the space for more expansive doing and more creativity and innovation.

Gresham Harkless 9:36

Yeah, absolutely. And I love that aspect of it, as you touched on that and also, you brought up a couple of times that vulnerability piece, but I wanted to kind of ask you for what I call your secret sauce, like it'd be for you or your organisation, but do you feel like that human piece or bringing that human or bringing us back to being more human, I guess you could say is what you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique.

Brian Kelly 9:56

It's part of what makes me I think what people have told me when we get to the diversity inclusion pieces, being a white male and being in that space and having being a voice in that space, advocating for, people always asking me, why is that important to you? I didn't really know, I just was initially, and then I went back to sort of some inspirations or from my mom, if you think about the generations going back, gender roles in marriage were different, and so expectations were different. But men were traditionally the breadwinners, and, the moms were stay at home moms and so the path my mom went down, she didn't go through the education process and was the stay at home mom, and maybe hadn't set herself up to be financially independent, because my dad was, was there and so I find that, especially nowadays, where there's single person, single parent households, and single income households, that's been kind of an important thing in terms of fairness and opportunity. Thinking in terms of where the opportunities for career growth and development and getting into leadership roles and being perceived as a leader, people, my demographic don't have as many challenges as other people do. SoI get curious about why those challenges down? How can we kind of educate the people on leadership to see differently and that's really what I think my perspective on helping people see differently, because we all have our own lenses. But what if we expand our awareness and look through other people's eyes and my strengths, my skill sets allow me to do that and that's awesome, I've trained myself to be able to kind of continue to try and get better at that. But if we're able to see that, we're able to kind of develop a different lens of what a leader looks like. While we're making some progress there, there's still a long ways to go and so whether it's developing leaders and opportunities right now, for people that are in a point in their career where they want to do that, and it's also building the pipeline, it's also going back to when kids make decisions about majors for schools .So women aren't choosing it majors because there's no women and IT leadership, there's not as much of a pathway that they're seeing, or African Americans or other demographics. It just doesn't make sense to me, I think the the mindset, the goddess here is okay and we need to create that shift. So I believe it's the responsibility of all of us not that anybody has to take on a charge and way that I have, but how do we not just identify the issue, but actually help create change about the issue. That's where my inspiration for it comes from? It comes from a little bit of vulnerability too. In terms of what I've done, how do I know what different communities other than mine really care about what are their challenges and what is their perspective that's completely different than mine. So that's where I made decisions around volunteering and culturally based nonprofits focused on leadership development, and networking. I've done that in the pan asian in the Latino community, being on boards. So I can serve but it's also a learning opportunity for me to actually firsthand, understand better about those challenges. So I can better help create change there.

Gresham Harkless 12:53

I appreciate you for dedicating your time and your energy to that. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app or book or habit that you have but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Brian Kelly 13:05

Really, there's two things that have helped me, gratitude practice. The other thing that's somewhat related to building a mindfulness practice, which has allowed me to focus better, and decide what's important. Personally, I think it's helpful for each of us to think in terms of how do I not get overwhelmed by all that is coming at me personally, professionally, and focus on what matters?

Gresham Harkless 13:30

Absolutely, now I definitely appreciate that and so now, I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. So this is a word of wisdom or piece of advice or if you can happen to a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self?

Brian Kelly 13:41

My younger business self, what I would say is notice and awareness. It's like, I wouldn't happen to me, I was sort of going through the emotions based on where my islands was, which I was told you get into a company or there for a shorter period of time than to retire and so that was sort of the mindset.

Gresham Harkless 13:58

Yeah, absolutely. I appreciate those nugget. Now I want to ask you my absolute favourite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote unquote, CEOs on this show. So Brian, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Brian Kelly 14:10

Being a CEO, to me means being a leader, and enabling your people to be successful, starting with employees, and ultimately, your customers as well, because those are the people that are the reason why you're in business in the first place. So always remember your why and people first.

Gresham Harkless 14:28

Absolutely, at the end of the day, I always say, when you peel back the onion in business, and in organisations, you forget that it's made up of people, but people are, those that we need to cultivate and to make sure that we are developing those relationships and doing all the great things and that's only happens when you do take care of the people first. So I appreciate you for reminding us of that. I appreciate you for that being your mission and everything that you're doing. And what I want to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and listeners know and then of course how best people can get a hold of you and find out about all the awesome things you're working on.

Brian Kelly 14:59

Thank you so much for getting in touch with me. So briankellyleadershipcoaching.com, which you mentioned at the beginning, social media, LinkedIn is usually a really good place to get connected to me there. In terms of things I would leave the audience with getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. As CEO, oftentimes, we may have really good technical knowledge in terms of our business and whatnot, and stepping into the growth that may be necessary to kind of take it to the next level in terms of relationships with your employees, delegating, letting go of stuff, and cultivating the pipeline of leaders there too, so that you can focus on the strategic stuff and not stay so attached perhaps I've seen this happen. In some cases, stay attached to what you've known, because at this point as leader of the organisation, you need to be thinking ahead, and in terms of the business and where it's going and developing your employees so that they can kind of take care of the business as it currently is, but also positioned them in the company for future success.

Gresham Harkless 15:58

Yeah, absolutely. Well, I definitely appreciate that a lot of times, we think, the ultimate definition of leadership is sometimes developing other leaders and empowering people to be able to kind of see the vision and be able to execute when you're not there. To me, that's a true sign of a great leader. So I definitely appreciate you for reminding us of that and again, appreciate your time. We will have the links and information in the show notes as well so that everybody can follow up with you. But I appreciate you so much. And Brian, I hope you have a phenomenal day.

Extro 16:22

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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