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IAM713- Founder Empowers Women to Up-Level Their Business and Mindset

Podcast Interview with Olenka Cullinan

Olenka Cullinan is a CEO and Founder of iStartFirst. She empowers women to up-Level their business and mindset via on-line Bootcamp, iStartFirst Women's Summit, and delivering keynotes and workshops for companies nationwide & globally. Olenka has developed a “Backbone of Success”™ method that helps female leaders to take action, get paid their worth and show up like a BOSS-Babe. Olenka’s work globally, combined with humor and personal experiences led to her recent appearances at TEDx (twice) and made her into one of the nation’s premier consultants.

  • CEO Hack: My calendar blocking system
  • CEO Nugget: If skills are learnable, success is learnable too
  • CEO Defined: Showing up in your best but most vulnerable version as a leader

Website: https://istartfirst.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/olenka-cullinan
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stories/olenkacullinan/


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Transcription

 

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[00:00:02.20] – Intro

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.

[00:00:30.39] – Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Olinka calling in of I Start First. Olinka, it's awesome to have you on the show.

[00:00:40.10] – Olenka Cullinan

Thanks for having me. So excited.

[00:00:42.10] – Gresham Harkless

Definitely excited to have you on. And before we jumped in, I want to read a little bit more about Olinka so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. And Olinka is a is a CEO and founder of iStart First. She empowers women to uplevel their business and mindset via online boot camp, iStart First women's summit, and delivering keynotes and workshops for companies nationwide and globally. Olinka has developed a backbone of success method that helps female leaders to take action, get paid their worth, and show up like a boss babe. Olinka's work globally combined with humor and personal experiences led to her recent experiences her recent appearances at TEDx twice and made her into one of the nation's premier consultants. Alinka, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

[00:01:26.79] – Olenka Cullinan

Oh, I am. I am.

[00:01:28.50] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I wanted to to kind of rewind the clock a little bit and hear a little bit more about how you got started. So could you take us through your CEO story? We'll let you get started with the business.

[00:01:39.50] – Olenka Cullinan

Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Well, first of all, if you guys can hear from my accent, I'm not from Texas. I was born and raised in Russia and moved to the US right before I turned twenty one. You know, my journey as a CEO started even before I was CEO of a company because my mother actually built a company and, you know, ran it for thirty seven years. So I got introduced to entrepreneurship very, very early. I was one of those teens who got to walk into rooms and negotiate million dollar contracts and didn't think anything of it. But I took a lot of entrepreneurship for granted because, you know, it's one thing is seen and done and one and another thing living it. But I also debated whether or not I wanted to be an entrepreneur.

So in my early career, actually, my brother and I made made a pact, believe it or not. So for all of those listening, listen to your mother because my I I didn't want to be an entrepreneur initially, and I went into teaching, actually. And, I did not want to take over my mom's company, moved here to the US, stayed in, higher ed in higher education for a little bit, and quickly realized that, you know, after all, I couldn't get rid of the entrepreneurial bug. So my first journey as a CEO started when I launched my first company. It was called Rising Tycoons, and we were teaching teens how to take ideas and make them marketable. We're working with fourteen to seventeen year olds pretty much all over the country and globally. We put over ten thousand kids, over fifteen hundred educators through the program in three and a half years. I mean, talk about startup on steroids.

But I also realized, you know, that that was not necessarily the legacy because in the process, I started working with universities and colleges and speaking in different platforms and saw that every time I walked into rooms and, you know, talk about investors or pitching or building businesses, the men to women ratio was always ninety ten or eighty twenty on a good day. And I guess, to be honest, I was I knew that always. You know? I knew it when I was younger because my mom was primarily in a male dominated arena, but that's where the awareness set in. And I started realizing that, you know, whether I'm working with fourteen year olds or twenty some year olds in colleges, somehow male were dominated in the business field.

And I thought, you know, interesting. Why is that? Why are we having why why are we not having more women becoming CEOs and coming into c suites in the companies? And, you know, in the process, got invited into this project called Passionistas, which was my first book. We went Amazon bestseller in one week. Our claim to fame is that we surpassed Tony Robbins in few categories. And from that point, got invited to different talk shows, radio shows, podcasts, and to be honest, just started using the hashtag I start first more so as a combination and enhancement to my message. Because my message to women was, if you want to change something in your life, in your community, you need to start. And, you know, nobody's coming to save you per se. So I started using the hashtag, and then, you know, then more women started reaching out asking, what else do you have? And it's ironic because I Start First actually was born from a conversation with a male with one of my guy friends.

We were sitting in a coffee shop, and he said, well, what are you gonna do about it? Because I kept complaining how I go to all these conferences and speak at all these different global platforms that it's always, you know, more men than women. And he said, what are you gonna do about it? And I thought about it, and I said, you know, I don't know. And he said, well, don't you just start? And I said, yeah. I start first. And so that's how I start first was born as a company. We bought domain right there in that coffee shop, and then it started unfolding from that point because we brought the boot camps online so more women could participate from all over the world. And then I started listening to women saying we want to meet each other in person. So we created iStart First Summit, which is a one day transformational transformation into women only arena happened because of me essentially avoiding the topic that we didn't have enough females in, you know, c suites and playing at the CEO level. So it's definitely interesting journey.

[00:06:01.39] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. But I'm super, you know, excited that you've been able to to to build and and grow that. And I think it's so funny you were saying that when you we we were mentioning, I was like, this exact thing is, like, you when you were saying that you couldn't get rid of, like, the entrepreneurial bug, that's the definition of entrepreneurship by seeing something that's an issue and saying, hey. I'm gonna create this. I'm gonna I'm gonna fulfill what this need is, this void, and something that's kind of helping out an underserved community as well too. So I definitely commend you for being able to do that and reminding people how important it is to do that, so many times.

[00:06:33.19] – Olenka Cullinan

Agree. So true. Because I think the best businesses come out of out of solving pain point pain points. Right? Whether yours or someone else's. So, yes, couldn't agree more.

[00:06:43.19] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. So I I know you touched on it a little bit. Could you take us through, I guess, the the many different ways that people can interact and and and, engage with iStar First and some of the the things you have for your, clients.

[00:06:56.50] – Olenka Cullinan

Yeah. Absolutely. Well, yeah. IStar First is designed to be, you know, a women, you know, empowerment brand. And, one of the things we do is the year long boot camp, which is designed for women who want to start scale their own businesses, but also for women who are in their careers and maybe want to go next level or ready to change something. And maybe they've been in corporate America, but they're kind of sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. And even though everything looks successful on paper, they just don't feel fulfilled or they feel, you know, sort of stuck in the same place. So that boot camp is a year long. It's designed to be a twelve month boot camp because we've had such incredible, incredible, you know, growth with the women we work with. We have women who come in with ideas on a napkin and launch full blown companies seven months in.

We've had women who went from, you know, being engineers to launching their own clothing brands and becoming Sports Illustrated designer of the year. So it definitely has proved its own version of success. So that's one of the ways and, to be honest, is my favorite, you know, pathway for growth for the women we work with just because it's been proven to be such a you know, the results we're getting are so extraordinary. And it's essentially a combination of working with me one on one because they get biweekly calls with me. But they also have a group support and a group call with experts that I bring from my personal network monthly. So it gives them the best of both worlds because I truly believe that women benefit in community rather than being alone. Women are designed to be tribal. We definitely need that support.

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We need that camaraderie that we get from other women, but we also need reminder that we're not alone when we're going through really difficult struggles and we feel like we're the only ones stuck in this, you know? So, another, another way we interact is community. We have an I Start First community, which is a very inexpensive, very easy, quick way to sort of get a taste for what I Start First is all about. It's a monthly subscription fee, and women who are in it get weekly videos, kind of do it yourself videos on everything from finance to business that they need. But then they also still get that support because we do in person as of now in Phoenix, but we're gonna be expanding to other cities. And then we do online meetings. They also get access to online master classes that we run. So they get a lot of value for, basically for very little investment.

And I'm doing it because a lot of women I work with are also young, and they are, you know, brand new out of college or just starting in their careers. So that was a way to serve a much larger community of women all across the nation. And then, the third avenue is working with corporations. You know, my big strong push in the corporate world is obviously, one, bringing more women into c suites, like I said, but also having companies understand that having a women's initiative is not at this point, it's not a luxury. It's not it's a necessity because women are bringing very, very different skill set to the marketplace. There is, you know, there is no secret that companies that have the men to, to men to women ratios, especially in their upper echelons, are performing much better. Their ROI is increasing.

So that's one of the things I do is I teach companies how to work with women and millennials because we have millennials entering the work force, and so many companies are struggling with retaining them, recruiting them, managing them because it's such a different generation. So when I do, I, when I do, I speak and I do a lot of trainings specifically with companies on working with millennials and females and, you know, expanding that avenue. So those are the three primary ways and, obviously, the conference that we run once a twice a year. We run it once in state where we go to different cities. Yeah. I'm very, very excited. But, yeah, that's we are, you know, we are online. We are fully accessible nationally and globally, really.

[00:10:51.10] – Gresham Harkless

Nice. And I I definitely appreciate that again for championing that one. And two, of course, providing so many different ways that, you know, women can can develop their own business or or be part of the SC suite as you as you talked about as well too. So, I I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce, and it could be for yourself personally or your business. What do you feel kinda sets you apart and makes you unique?

[00:11:11.29] – Olenka Cullinan

Well, a couple things. In terms of, business, it's definitely the fact that, we a lot we essentially are teaching women completely opposite skills that they're naturally taught, which is competitiveness. And a lot of times, you know, women treat each other not as nice. We definitely teach collaboration to our women. We teach them that you grow much, much faster collaborating and not competing. So it is a pride and joy for me to say that, you know, when we run our event, we have extraordinary, very powerful women in the same room who love on each other, who are very raw, real, and honest. That's one of the core values of I start first.

And as for me personally, I would I would say what, you know, most women who've worked with me and companies who work with me said, I have this ability of seeing people in their next level of growth before they even get there. And I think that's what makes me a good guide, good coach, good facilitator because I can quickly recognize where the growth is needed, but also kind of see that high level vision and get whether it's a company or an individual to that level, basically, on borrowed belief first. Because sometimes we don't believe in ourselves, so we need that borrowed belief. And I think that's what I do really, really well.

[00:12:28.70] – Gresham Harkless

Nice. I absolutely love that. I wanted to, switch gears a little bit, and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

[00:12:41.39] – Olenka Cullinan

Well, it's definitely my calendar blocking system because I think everybody has the same twenty four hours in a day. And I think, you know, I would say you have to be committed to what you get done in a day. And a lot of us get so, you know, caught caught up in the fact that we are so busy that we lose the difference between being busy and being productive. To me, I leave and, you know, die by productivity hacks. So I am very big believer in the power of three, which means I have three things three main things I put on my calendar daily, and though I don't get to go to bed until those get done. So if I have to move something off my calendar, if I have to remove things, those three things are nonnegotiable. I do exactly the same way with my monthly goals, my quarterly goals, my yearly goals. I never go over three.

[00:13:34.60] – Gresham Harkless

And you're absolutely right. Awesome. So now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. So that could be a word of wisdom or piece of advice. It might be something you would tell somebody that's, in your community or might even be something, if you were to hop into a time machine, would tell your younger business self.

[00:13:49.89] – Olenka Cullinan

I love it. Yes. I use this one all the time. I say that if skills are learnable, success is learnable too. Because I feel that a lot of times, especially for women, we get stuck on, you know, almost not believing in possibility of our own success because it just seems so big and unattainable. But all success really is is a set of skills. Right? So if you can up your skills, if you can focus on what skills you need to get to the mastery level at a certain, you know, area, that's how you really build your success. You just become a master, and you create an incredible skill set that you are working on and focusing committed. And that's how success is really built.

[00:14:32.50] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Well, Alika, truly appreciate that. And I wanted to ask you now 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 the show. So, Alika, what does being a CEO mean to you?

[00:14:45.39] – Olenka Cullinan

To me, it means showing up in your best but most vulnerable version as a leader. Because you see, people will never do what you say. They will only do what you do. So if you are not willing to show up in your best, but yet most vulnerable, which in my opinion is most powerful, honest, and raw version, then they never really get to see the great CEO and leader that you are. They only see a version of yourself, and you can't really create a masterpiece from a part of anything. Right? It has to be whole, and it has to be complete, and it has to be there.

[00:15:22.50] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Well, Link, I truly appreciate that definition. I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional. You can let our readers and listeners know, and, of course, how best they can get a hold of you and find out about all those and things you're working on.

[00:15:36.70] – Olenka Cullinan

Well, thank you so much again, Brash, for having me. I loved it. Great questions. Thank you for all of you who are listening. Remember that starting is just as important as success. And to get a hold of me is very easy. Everything I run is under I star first dot com, or my social media is under my name, Alinka Cullinan, and it's not a bot that's going to respond to you. It's going to be me. So I'm very raw and real, just like I said. And anything I can serve or help with, I'm always there and available.

[00:16:05.79] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Thank you so much again, Olinka. We will have the links and information in the show notes, but I definitely appreciate you for reminding us as well too. In order for us to get to reach success, we have to get started. So what better way to do that than to reach out to Olinka? So I appreciate you again, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

[00:16:20.89] – Olenka Cullinan

Thank you so much.

[00:16:22.50] – Outro

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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.

Title: Transcript - Sat, 20 Apr 2024 06:08:15 GMT

Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2024 06:08:15 GMT, Duration: [00:16:58.47]

[00:00:02.20] - Intro

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

[00:00:30.39] - Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Olinka calling in of I Start First. Olinka, it's awesome to have you on the show.

[00:00:40.10] - Olenka Cullinan

for having me. So excited.

[00:00:42.10] - Gresham Harkless

Definitely excited to have you on. And before we jumped in, I want to read a little bit more about Olinka so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. And Olinka is a is a CEO and founder of iStart First. She empowers women to uplevel their business and mindset via online boot camp, iStart First women's summit, and delivering keynotes and workshops for companies nationwide and globally. Olinka has developed a backbone of success method that helps female leaders to take action, get paid their worth, and show up like a boss babe. Olinka's work globally combined with humor and personal experiences led to her recent experiences her recent appearances at TEDx twice and made her into one of the nation's premier consultants. Alinka, are you ready to speak to the IMCO community?

[00:01:26.79] - Olenka Cullinan

Oh, I am. I am.

[00:01:28.50] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I wanted to to kind of rewind the clock a little bit and hear a little bit more about how you got started. So could you take us through your CEO story? We'll let you get started with the business.

[00:01:39.50] - Olenka Cullinan

Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Well, first of all, if you guys can hear from my accent, I'm not from Texas. I was born and raised in Russia and moved to the US right before I turned twenty one. You know, my journey as a CEO started even before I was CEO of a company because my mother actually built a company and, you know, ran it for thirty seven years. So I got introduced to entrepreneurship very, very early. I was one of those teens who got to walk into rooms and negotiate million dollar contracts and didn't think anything of it. But I took a lot of entrepreneurship for granted because, you know, it's one thing is seen and done and one and another thing living it. But I also debated whether or not I wanted to be an entrepreneur. So in my early career, actually, my brother and I made made a pact, believe it or not. So for all of those listening, listen to your mother because my I I didn't want to be an entrepreneur initially, and I went into teaching, actually. And, I did not want to take over my mom's company, moved here to the US, stayed in, higher ed in higher education for a little bit, and quickly realized that, you know, after all, I couldn't get rid of the entrepreneurial bug. So my first journey as a CEO started when I launched my first company. It was called Rising Tycoons, and we were teaching teens how to take ideas and make them marketable. We're working with fourteen to seventeen year olds pretty much all over the country and globally. We put over ten thousand kids, over fifteen hundred educators through the program in three and a half years. I mean, talk about startup on steroids. But I also realized, you know, that that was not necessarily the legacy because in the process, I started working with universities and colleges and speaking in different platforms and saw that every time I walked into rooms and, you know, talk about investors or pitching or building businesses, the men to women ratio was always ninety ten or eighty twenty on a good day. And I guess, to be honest, I was I knew that always. You know? I knew it when I was younger because my mom was primarily in a male dominated arena, but that's where the awareness set in. And I started realizing that, you know, whether I'm working with fourteen year olds or twenty some year olds in colleges, somehow male were dominated in the business field. And I thought, you know, interesting. Why is that? Why are we having why why are we not having more women becoming CEOs and coming into c suites in the companies? And, you know, in the process, got invited into this project called Passionistas, which was my first book. We went Amazon bestseller in one week. Our claim to fame is that we surpassed Tony Robbins in few categories. And from that point, got invited to different talk shows, radio shows, podcasts, and to be honest, just started using the hashtag I start first more so as a combination and enhancement to my message. Because my message to women was, if you want to change something in your life, in your community, you need to start. And, you know, nobody's coming to save you per se. So I started using the hashtag, and then, you know, then more women started reaching out asking, what else do you have? And it's ironic because I Start First actually was born from a conversation with a male with one of my guy friends. We were sitting in a coffee shop, and he said, well, what are you gonna do about it? Because I kept complaining how I go to all these conferences and speak at all these different global platforms that it's always, you know, more men than women. And he said, what are you gonna do about it? And I thought about it, and I said, you know, I don't know. And he said, well, don't you just start? And I said, yeah. I start first. And so that's how I start first was born as a company. We bought domain right there in that coffee shop, and then it started unfolding from that point because we brought the boot camps online so more women could participate from all over the world. And then I started listening to women saying we want to meet each other in person. So we created iStart First Summit, which is a one day transformational transformation into women only arena happened because of me essentially avoiding the topic that we didn't have enough females in, you know, c suites and playing at the CEO level. So it's definitely interesting journey.

[00:06:01.39] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. But I'm super, you know, excited that you've been able to to to build and and grow that. And I think it's so funny you were saying that when you we we were mentioning, I was like, this exact thing is, like, you when you were saying that you couldn't get rid of, like, the entrepreneurial bug, that's the definition of entrepreneurship by seeing something that's an issue and saying, hey. I'm gonna create this. I'm gonna I'm gonna fulfill what this need is, this void, and something that's kind of helping out an underserved community as well too. So I definitely commend you for being able to do that and reminding people how important it is to do that, so so many times.

[00:06:33.19] - Olenka Cullinan

Agree. Agree. So true. Because I think the best businesses come out of out of solving pain point pain points. Right? Whether yours or someone else's. So, yes, couldn't agree more.

[00:06:43.19] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. So I I know you touched on it a little bit. Could you take us through, I guess, the the many different ways that people can interact and and and, engage with iStar First and some of the the things you have for your your your, clients.

[00:06:56.50] - Olenka Cullinan

Yeah. Absolutely. Well, yeah. IStar First is designed to be, you know, a women, you know, empowerment brand. And, one of the things we do is the year long boot camp, which is designed for women who want to start scale their own businesses, but also for women who are in their careers and maybe want to go next level or ready to change something. And maybe they've been in corporate America, but they're kind of sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. And even though everything looks successful on paper, they just don't feel fulfilled or they feel, you know, sort of stuck in the same place. So that boot camp is a year long. It's designed to be a twelve month boot camp because we've had such incredible, incredible, you know, growth with the women we work with. We have women who come in with ideas on a napkin and launch full blown companies seven months in. We've had women who went from, you know, being engineers to launching their own clothing brands and becoming Sports Illustrated designer of the year. So it definitely has proved its own version of success. So that's one of the ways and, to be honest, is my favorite, you know, pathway for growth for the women we work with just because it's been proven to be such a you know, the results we're getting are so extraordinary. And it's essentially a combination of working with me one on one because they get biweekly calls with me. But they also have a group support and a group call with experts that I bring from my personal network monthly. So it gives them the best of both worlds because I truly believe that women benefit in community rather than being alone. Women are designed to be tribal. We definitely need that support. We need that camaraderie that we get from other women, but we also need reminder that we're not alone when we're going through really difficult struggles and we feel like we're the only ones stuck in this, you know? So, another, another way we interact is community. We have an I Start First community, which is a very inexpensive, very easy, quick way to sort of get a taste for what I Start First is all about. It's a monthly subscription fee, and women who are in it get weekly videos, kind of do it yourself videos on everything from finance to business that they need. But then they also still get that support because we do in person as of now in Phoenix, but we're gonna be expanding to other cities. And then we do online meetings. They also get access to online master classes that we run. So they get a lot of value for, basically for very little investment. And I'm doing it because a lot of women I work with are also young, and they are, you know, brand new out of college or just starting in their careers. So that was a way to serve a much larger community of women all across the nation. And then, the third avenue is working with corporations. You know, my big strong push in the corporate world is obviously, one, bringing more women into c suites, like I said, but also having companies understand that having a women's initiative is not at this point, it's not a luxury. It's not it's a necessity because women are bringing very, very different skill set to the marketplace. There is, you know, there is no secret that companies that have the men to, to men to women ratios, especially in their upper echelons, are performing much better. Their ROI is increasing. So that's one of the things I do is I teach companies how to work with women and millennials because we have millennials entering the work force, and so many companies are struggling with retaining them, recruiting them, managing them because it's such a different generation. So when I do, I, when I do, I speak and I do a lot of trainings specifically with companies on working with millennials and females and, you know, expanding that avenue. So those are the three primary ways and, obviously, the conference that we run once a twice a year. We run it once in state where we go to different cities. Yeah. I'm very, very excited. But, yeah, that's we are, you know, we are online. We are fully accessible nationally and globally, really.

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[00:10:51.10] - Gresham Harkless

Nice. And I I definitely appreciate that again for championing that one. And two, of course, providing so many different ways that, you know, women can can develop their own business or or be part of the SC suite as you as you talked about as well too. So, I I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce, and it could be for yourself personally or your business. What do you feel kinda sets you apart and makes you unique?

[00:11:11.29] - Olenka Cullinan

Well, a couple things. In terms of, business, it's definitely the fact that, we a lot we essentially are teaching women completely opposite skills that they're naturally taught, which is competitiveness. And a lot of times, you know, women treat each other not as nice. We definitely teach collaboration to our women. We teach them that you grow much, much faster collaborating and not competing. So it is a pride and joy for me to say that, you know, when we run our event, we have extraordinary, very powerful women in the same room who love on each other, who are very raw, real, and honest. That's one of the core values of I start first. And as for me personally, I would I would say what, you know, most women who've worked with me and companies who work with me said, I have this ability of seeing people in their next level of growth before they even get there. And I think that's what makes me a good guide, good coach, good facilitator because I can quickly recognize where the growth is needed, but also kind of see that high level vision and get whether it's a company or an individual to that level, basically, on borrowed belief first. Because sometimes we don't believe in ourselves, so we need that borrowed belief. And I think that's what I do really, really well.

[00:12:28.70] - Gresham Harkless

Nice. I absolutely love that. I wanted to, switch gears a little bit, and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

[00:12:41.39] - Olenka Cullinan

Well, it's definitely my calendar blocking system because I think everybody has the same twenty four hours in a day. And I think, you know, I would say you have to be committed to what you get done in a day. And a lot of us get so, you know, caught caught up in the fact that we are so busy that we lose the difference between being busy and being productive. To me, I leave and, you know, die by productivity hacks. So I am very big believer in the power of three, which means I have three things three main things I put on my calendar daily, and though I don't get to go to bed until those get done. So if I have to move something off my calendar, if I have to remove things, those three things are nonnegotiable. I do exactly the same way with my monthly goals, my quarterly goals, my yearly goals. I never go over three.

[00:13:34.60] - Gresham Harkless

And you're absolutely right. Awesome. So now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. So that could be a word of wisdom or piece of advice. It might be something you would tell somebody that's, in your community or might even be something, if you were to hop into a time machine, would tell your younger business self. I I

[00:13:49.89] - Olenka Cullinan

I I love it. I love it. Yes. I use this one all the time. I say that if skills are learnable, success is learnable too. Because I feel that a lot of times, especially for women, we get stuck on, you know, almost not believing in possibility of our own success because it just seems so big and unattainable. But all success really is is a set of skills. Right? So if you can up your skills, if you can focus on what skills you need to get to the mastery level at a certain, you know, area, that's how you really build your success. You just become a master, and you create an incredible skill set that you are working on and focusing committed. And that's how success is really built.

[00:14:32.50] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Well, Alika, truly appreciate that. And I wanted to ask you now 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 the show. So, Alika, what does being a CEO mean to

[00:14:45.39] - Olenka Cullinan

you? To me, it means showing up in your best but most vulnerable version as a leader. Because you see, people will never do what you say. They will only do what you do. So if you are not willing to show up in your best, but yet most vulnerable, which in my opinion is most powerful, honest, and raw version, then they never really get to see the great CEO and leader that you are. They only see a version of yourself, and you can't really create a masterpiece from a part of anything. Right? It has to be whole, and it has to be complete, and it has to be there.

[00:15:22.50] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Well, Link, I truly appreciate that definition. I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional. You can let our readers and listeners know, and, of course, how best they can get a hold of you and find out about all those and things you're working on.

[00:15:36.70] - Olenka Cullinan

Well, thank you so much again, Brash, for having me. I loved it. Great questions. Thank you for all of you who are listening. Remember that starting is just as important as success. And to get a hold of me is very easy. Everything I run is under I star first dot com, or my social media is under my name, Alinka Cullinan, and it's not a bot that's going to respond to you. It's going to be me. So I'm very raw and real, just like I said. And anything I can serve or help with, I'm always there and available.

[00:16:05.79] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Thank you so much again, Olinka. We will have the links and information in the show notes, but I definitely appreciate you for reminding us as well too. In order for us to get to reach success, we have to get started. So what better way to do that than to reach out to Olinka? So I appreciate you again, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

[00:16:20.89] - Olenka Cullinan

Thank you so much.

[00:16:22.50] - Outro

Thank you for listening to the I am CEO podcast powered by Blue sixteen Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I am CEO dot c o. I am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to 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 w w w dot CEO gear dot co. This has been the I am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

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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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