Shellye Archambeau and the Many Feathers on Her Hat
Shellye Archambeau is one of Silicon Valley’s first female African American CEOs. She is a Former Executive of IBM, CMO at two public companies and Former CEO of a then-struggling Silicon Valley startup which is now MetricStream, a recognized global leader in governance, risk, and compliance software solutions. She is currently a Fortune 500 board member and serves on the board of Verizon, Nordstrom, Roper Technologies, and Okta. She is a Strategic Advisor to Royal Bank of Canada, Capital Markets, and Forbes Ignite as well as growing startups. Archambeau is also a renowned speaker and someone who’s regularly seen to make it on the Who’s Who list in technology. The list really goes on. Her debut book, Unapologetically Ambitious: Take Risks, Break Barriers, and Create Success is yet another milestone achieved.
American Internet Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist, Author, Co-founder and Former Executive Chairman of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman describes her as the woman who pulled off the most incredible Silicon Valley turnaround you never heard of.
But what got Archambeau interested in the technology sector in the first place?
She says, “Growth and constant innovation is important in technology. It was happening before my very own eyes. How could have I not been a part of something as extraordinary as that?”
Technology paves the way for endless possibilities. If we can stay connected via Zoom call, WhatApp or FaceTime, while we are all locked in our homes in the midst of a global pandemic, it is because of technology. If we can transfer money to someone in need via mobile banking, without actually physically going to the bank, it is because of technology. If we can shop on Amazon or eBay using our mobiles and have the orders delivered to our doorstep, it is because of technology. Do you see how amazing technology is? These are just some of the things technology enables us to do. There is so much untapped potential in there! We have barely scratched the surface of it! That’s what makes it so exciting!
Archambeau has come this far because of her ambition and intentional approach to life. “I set goals, create plans, and then make decisions and tradeoffs,” she says. If one can get some help and support along the way, the way I did, much can be attained. “I have had mentors and role models in my life. They inspired me to do better and be better every single day,” she adds. So, if you want to become successful, realize that you have to be focused on excelling in your current role and planning for the next.
She also says that knowing how to handle criticism is crucial. You must accept it as a gift. Then, decide what to do with it. If it’s constructive, take it. If not, leave it. However, that’s not all. Knowing how to deal with uncertainties is imperative as well, she adds. Both of these are bound to meet you on your journey, so it’s important that you prepare yourself to deal with it and move forward to take on the world anyway. When the odds are against you, even them out with the right mindset and intentional approach. It’s very easy to settle when the going gets tough, but that’s when you have to push through.
The 58-year-old has had many proud moments, but what makes her most proud is her 30 plus year marriage, two lovely children and the positive impact she has had on others.
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Meet Leigh Ashton, Founder, and CEO at The Sales Consultancy, a UK-based firm that uses proven methodologies to introduce and develop a Sales Growth Mindset within Salespeople and Leaders.
Leigh Ashton is a sales wizard, a speaker, trainer, coach, and author of isell, a book setting sales professionals on the path to success by adding practical mindset strategies to conventional sales skills. 26 years ago, she founded The Sales Consultancy, where she works with sales leaders and teams to develop a “Sales Growth Mindset Culture,” so they meet and exceed targets. Their programs develop sales teams and leaders to think more healthily and effectively which leads to higher performance, fulfilment, and success.
Growing up in East London as the eldest daughter of Italian immigrants, her childhood was filled with happy memories from her hard-working parents. Her parents embedded a desire in her to do her best and strive to keep learning and growing.
So, how did she end up in her current role? Ashton had a very successful career in sales, which led to her early promotion to sales manager. Taking on the new role, she realized how leading and developing a team can be a challenge for the leaders. “I decided I needed to step up my skills and focused on my leadership development, which led me down the path of psychology. I learned that what goes on inside a person’s head has the biggest impact on the success they can achieve. Once you have been trained in the required sales skills, it is the mindset that ensures you apply and develop what you have learned so that you can grow, thrive and succeed,” she says. Her challenges led her to lay the foundation of a venture through which she has been able to help managers develop the right set of skills required to keep their sales team motivated and succeeding.
It took years of trial and error, practice, and rigorous testing of leadership approaches before she finally figured it out. Ashton found out why some sales teams succeed while others don’t and why some leaders flourish while others stagnate. She has helped hundreds of teams exceed their targets and leaders to overcome the challenges on the way. Their programs focus on mindset and personal development to bring out the very best in people. Their clientele includes NatWest, Harrods, Wright Medical, AVEVA, Motorpoint, British Airways, and many more.
Today, it is all about keeping abreast of the fast-evolving research in areas of psychology, neuroscience, and mindset development. She focuses on creating engaging programs that are effective at successfully delivering clients their desired results. Ashton knows that sales-led organizations are always looking for ways to increase their sales and explore new ways of thinking. Once they realize that growth mindset development is the crucial missing element, they are keen to develop it in their sales teams. “Organisations that are ready to create a sales growth mindset culture will always outperform those that stick with old school methodologies,” she says.
Leigh is happy and fulfilled doing what she loves and making a difference in the world. Her mission is to help create happy and healthy sales growth mindset cultures that deliver results. She is keen to work with organizations that are aligned with this more sustainable approach to growing their sales revenue. Leaving an inspiring message for her readers, she says, “You have so much more potential than you think you have. There is only one like you on this planet, and you are here for a very specific reason. Allow your journey to unfold at a pace that suits you. Keep learning, implementing, and moving towards the work that brings you joy.“
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I Meet Veronica Tribolati, Co-Founder at HelloGuest, a professional Airbnb management service and property management services for other short-stay rental sites in London.
Being an equity trader for 15 years, Veronica Tribolati always wanted to explore the entrepreneurial world. About 6 years ago, she had the idea of developing services for short letting. This was when the market wasn’t saturated as it is today and starting at the right time worked out for her well. HelloGuest is an independent short let and Airbnb management service in the major cities and tourist sites in the UK.
Tribolati was born and brought up in Italy, and her childhood was quite tough. About nine years ago, she moved to London and has been living and working here ever since. She is a single mum who is juggling between her work and family life.
Talking about her organization and the team that is making magic every day, she says, (It includes) “Mostly women and big part single mums like me. We are like a big family where we respect each other and we arrange our workload depending on our life and needs. We work very hard, and we have a happy environment. I wanted to rethink the old way of working based just on being stuck in an office all day and I focused my efforts on productivity. All my team can work from anywhere as long as the results are coming.”
Starting out, as a professional in stock trading and even now, Veronica has always worked in male-dominated industries. Although she is one of the few women working in the sectors, she didn’t give up fighting even for a second. She bagged the top managerial position while everyone doubted her expertise and caliber as a woman professional. This is something many women go through in their careers. Now, through her own business, she can ensure equality and respect for everyone and prevent all kinds of biases.
HelloGuest is completely independent and is counted in the top 5. From guest communication, key exchange, and check-in to cleaning & laundry service and creating and optimizing property listing, they take care of everything. When her clients get to know about her story, they are quite fascinated. The team is passionate and dedicated, and they offer the best service to the customers. During the pandemic, they reviewed and cut down their expenses to fall in line with the decrease in bookings and occupancy rates. They made changes to their booking terms and made cancellations flexible to encourage longer stays of their customers.
With HelloGuest, her life has changed completely. Like most business owners, she works 24/7 and 365 days a year but smartly and knows when and how to change her strategy quickly.
Success never comes easy. You have to accept and fight through various challenges before getting to the other side. Veronica is a positive person and a smart entrepreneur who understands the needs of her clients and business to provide the best. She is ever-ready to take chances, adapt, and put in efforts to help the business grow. Leaving a short but inspiring message for her readers, she says, “Don’t be afraid of failing and think out of the box.”
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Meet Charlotte Griffiths, Founder and Managing Director at Bridge Models Limited, an agency trying to ‘bridge the gap’ between standard and size in the fashion industry.
As diversity is gaining more focus in the fashion industry, many brands are moving towards including models of all sizes in their catalogs and on the runways. This is not possible without the agencies bringing in plus-size models to the center stage. Charlotte Griffiths is the owner of one such international model agency that is trying to bridge this gap. Passionate about diversity, she opened the doors to Bridge Models Limited in London in 2014 and has been working to change the fashion world ever since.
Growing up, Charlotte moved a lot, so much so that her family had relocated about six times by the time she was 9. This gave her a chance to travel a lot in her early years. She lived in Barcelona up to the age of six, from where although the memories are a blur but she recalls watching a lot of home movies and being outside in the sun. Charlotte has a background in retail management and film production. She worked in Los Angeles when she was younger where she fell in love with production. Then, as she moved to London, she shifted focus to talent management and has been thriving in the sphere ever since.
Talking about her company, she says, “As an agency, we aim to BRIDGE the gap with diversity in the industry. We launched originally trying to diminish the gap between straight-size and plus-size models, but we have expanded to look at the issues of diversity as a whole and the impact it has on society if we are not all represented.” In 2016, Bridge Models started representing men in bigger and broader divisions. Launching the first men’s Big and Tall board in the UK was a real changing point in Charlotte’s career. She is leading the fashion industry towards a change we have all wanted to witness for a long time now.
Five years into the business, she was able to set up the New York branch for the agency, taking her mission to the States. Currently, they are running a 6-week model search with CAVALIER Underwear, and this time they are working to put together talks and events based around men’s mental health and body dysmorphia issues. Through such unique and innovative campaigns, she is working to spread awareness about issues that actually matter. For Charlotte, fashion is also about change and can be used to make a real difference.
Gone are those days when modeling was only meant for skinnier people. We are on our way to change, and entrepreneurs like Griffiths are playing a significant role in it. She is striving to make the industry inclusive for both men and women alike. Initially, industry recognition was a struggle mostly because most brands did not want their portfolio of ranges and advertising briefs. They were concerned about their image and eventually the sales that depended on it. It wasn’t an easy task, but Griffiths made it work.
She may not have been a professional in the talent management space, but her passion for change led her to work in this direction. Leaving an inspiring message for her readers, she says, “You don’t have to be an expert to pursue your passion or chosen venture, you just have to be willing to listen and learn. To have the drive to make an impact and be humble. Ask for help when you need it, you are not a failure if you need support, it is a sign of strength to know how far your own skill sets can get you and when you need assistance.”
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Meet Elizabeth Sutton, an Artist, a Designer, and an Entrepreneur, whose colorful artworks and products are helping others stay motivated.
A single mother of two, and born and raised in New York City, Elizabeth is a self-taught artist, designer, and entrepreneur. Her business ranges from custom commissions, fine art, and limited edition prints, to the manufacturing and distribution of fashion accessories and homeware. She also provides best-selling and award-winning licensing deals spanning from tile to rugs to home office desk chairs and luxury accessories for girls.
The third child of four, Elizabeth grew up in a nice family, with good education and other great opportunities, but she had some difficult time in her teenage years. Talking about that time, she says, “My life started getting messed-up when I was thirteen years old. My parents went through a very traumatic divorce which led to me not having any relationship with my father.”
Being raised in a traditional and conservative environment, getting married young and becoming a good wife and mom, and taking care of the home were supposed to be her primary goals in life. She elaborates, “I followed that path, studied marketing and finance in college, got married at 21, and didn’t have any further career goals. I had a very fortunate and blessed lifestyle, and was a very spoiled upper-east-side housewife and hostess.” It was because of a series of distressing events and fiscal and personal needs that she decided to have a career. She wanted to be happy and have freedom from a bad marriage, and she took the leap. She explains, “My business actually involved me throwing a lot of spaghetti against a wall and then accessing what stuck best and how to synergize those cash cows.”
Her organization, Elizabeth Sutton Collection, is an NYC based fine art and design firm with a mission to foster positivity and good vibes through colorful artworks and products. Elizabeth, along with her team, tries to inspire people to change the things they are unhappy about in their lives through hard work and resilience. She says, “Very often our most uncomfortable life circumstances are the ones that are meant to teach us the most important lessons, as long as we learn them and put in the effort and hard work that it takes to create change. I try to teach people to not only be comfortable, but to embrace change.” Through her art and designs, Elizabeth tries to explain to people that energy is extremely important, She believes that life is a ball of energy and one must keep the good and cut the bad out, while surrounding oneself by those who deserve their love and attention.
Elizabeth had to overcome many hurdles on this journey. She had no skill set or actual work experience when she decided to start her firm. The death of her best friend and father-in-law, a miscarriage after the birth of her first son, getting divorced and being left with the responsibility of her two-year-old and three-year-old kids with little money in her wallet, and the death of her art assistant in her car after leaving her birthday party had left her devastated, but she fought her way through it all.
Even today, some of her challenges remain. Her current obstacles include lack of time. She elaborates, “Success doesn’t come without hard work and that means logging a lot of hours. I have a lot of responsibilities between my children and my company, and I often neglect myself. It’s very challenging to find a balance.” In addition to this, growing without proper capital and finding the right people for her team are the continual challenges that she faces.
Elizabeth’s licensing deals have been both award-winning and bestselling. She has been awarded at the two largest hospitality conventions in the United States, and her MP pool party installation, an 8,500 square foot hand-painted pool deck was featured by Architectural Digest, Architectural Digest Spain, and New York Post. Elizabeth has been written about in almost every major New York publication including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, Forbes, and Lux Magazine.
Elizabeth believes that her biggest accomplishment is being called “The Artist and Designer you need to know right now”, by Forbes. She feels fortunate for being blessed with so much and has a message for anyone who finds her story inspiring. She says, “Life is hard, but we have the choice to make it beautiful. If you are unhappy about something, change it. Even if you are afraid, use fear as your motivator. If you are willing to help yourself, you will be pleasantly surprised by how many people are willing to help you if you just ask. God closes some doors so that other doors can be opened. Just lean on to your fundamental support, your family and friends that love you, to help you get through the hard times”.
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Meet Jules Pierce Weldon and Stacey Weldon Pierce, Co-founders and CEOs at OME Gear, an outdoor product company that is creating innovative solutions to make the outdoor experiences more enjoyable.
Making your parents’ dearest wishes come true is a privilege for every child. Twenty years ago, as Paul and Jerie Weldon sat on Bethany Beach, watching a mom of three struggle with her stuff, they had an idea to build a chair that could be used to carry all the beach items at once. They weren’t engineers and only had their own ideas and creative minds. Sketches were drawn, a plan was put together, a patent was granted, but then they hit a roadblock.
Fifteen years later, their oldest daughter, Jules Pierce lie “Jules” Weldon, decided to bring their design and innovation alive. She partnered with a friend and colleague to redesign the product and won many innovation awards. It attracted many eyes, gained media exposure, and customers demanded a product also relevant to fishing, climbing, hunting, soccer games, and other outdoor activities.
But the journey was not as easy. In 2014, Jules realized things weren’t working out as she wanted, and it would be impossible to set them right with the current manufacturer. Two Three years later, Jules and her wife Stacey Weldon Pierce decided that the idea was not dead yet. They launched OME Gear (Oceans, Mountains, and Earth). They successfully redesigned the product and launched the revolutionary 5-in-1 Kickstarter and Wanderr. Customers have been loving The Wanderr, and the co-founders couldn’t be happier.
Talking about the company a bit, they say, “We are a women-owned outdoor gear company. Our mission is to produce quality products to help people get outside more easily.”
They say the third time’s the charm. This is exactly what has happened to them. They are taking their Jules’ parents’ legacy forward and also helping out the beach bumsoutdoor lovers who were strugglingstruggle to carry all their stuff. You know your venture is going to be a hit if it solves a problem. And OME Gear is doing that quite well.
Things are slowly getting better. In 2020Over the last couple of years, they received 3 patents, fired their old manufacturer, and hired a new one – both during Covid. They had to sell almost everything to fund their company. Now living in an RV, they move around the US, promoting and building their brand. Their two biggest challenges are manufacturing and raising funds but they are making it work.
As an entrepreneur, it is crucial to mtake difficult decisions to help your business, and yourself grow. Comfort is the enemy of progress, and Jules and Stacey aren’t going to let it get in between. They wish to make the outdoor experience better for their customers, and their products are helping a great deal with it. Leaving an inspiring message in this regard, they say, “The biggest risks in life are the ones not taken.” We would prefer to give 100% toward something and fail than 0% towards nothing and look back, thinking we “shoulda”, “woulda”, or “coulda” done some great things!”
And Jules and Stacey are committed to building something great.
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