MELLIE PRICE – PART 1
Today our guest is award-winning tech entrepreneur, Mellie Price. She is currently the Executive Director of Technology Innovations at the Dell Medical School. She is a Founder and Managing Director of Capital Factory and a co-founder of SoftMatch. Additionally, she is an experienced investor and fund manager, an eight-time entrepreneur and has managed explosive growth in large and small companies. I’d encourage you to read her full bio here. Her accomplishments are remarkable.
Even with all of her accomplishments, Mellie still feels like she is learning new things. She still feels like a “pup,” as you’ll hear in this episode. Today, you’ll hear from Mellie that leadership is less about the hard skills and more about your authenticity and the soft skills. She shares her personal definitions of leadership that led to her success.
I believe there are too few women leaders in the workplace. Over my career, some of the best leaders I’ve worked with were woman leaders. I asked Mellie her thoughts on why there were so few women leaders.
She, admittedly, didn’t see the gap until she saw the workplace through the lens of being a parent. She then experienced the real issues first-hand. Listen to my interview to get Mellie’s powerful leadership insight for women…and for men.
Today’s Other Topics Include:
- The characteristics of being a good leader.
- The simplicity of leadership that we try and complicate.
- How your word is your bond with employees, friends and family.
- How personal accountability is key.
- What do you do when you make a mistake? How can you rise above the mistake?
- Mellie’s advice for women leaders.
- How women are judged by a different measuring stick.
- Is it really a man’s world?
- The role motherhood had on changing her views of women in the workplace and our society.
- The practical issues that exist for women she’s recently discovered.
- The gap in For You leaders.
- How the same issues exist for men, but in a different way.
- How to find the right boss for your family.
Links and Resources:
- Capital Factory
- Mellie Price’s LinkedIn
- @MelliePrice on Twitter
- Dell Medical School
- What’s your leadership style?
“I’ve worked with a wide variety of women in my career, and they are some of the best leaders I’ve ever worked with.” Kirk Dando
“In the realm of leadership, I still feel like a pup.” Mellie Price
“Everyday I serve in some way, I am genuinely honored to be asked, and I’m inspired to do my best.” Mellie Price
Kirk: When do you first remember being a leader?
Mellie: When I think about the first time I was called out to be a leader, it goes back to childhood. I’m still adjusting to it. In the realm of leadership, I still feel like a pup. I feel like that young girl in class where the teacher asks you to do something. They are asking you to be a leader. The feeling for me was always, “Oh, you picked me?…Okay, I’m on it.”
Honestly, to this day, feel that way. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or bad thing. Every day that I’m serving in some sort of way, I’m genuinely honored to be asked. Tt inspires me to do my best in that moment, and that’s a feeling that goes as far back as I can remember.
Kirk: I appreciate you saying that, and this is by no stretch of imagination a setup question. If you listen to the theme through all of these podcasts, the people that I have met as leaders, what you just said is so true. The best leaders I have experienced are the ones that didn’t set out to be great leaders, they just set out to be great people. I would definitely put you in that category. They often feel like they’re still…like, they’re neophytes when it comes to leadership. It’s the ones that feel like they have cracked the code that you gotta watch out for.
Mellie: Yeah, I concur. To me, I am just trying to be the best person that I can be in any given moment. Some moments are better than others. Leadership, to me, is less the hard skills of communication that you can learn and be trained. But it’s more about the authenticity of who you are as a person. Do your actions speak louder than your words? Do you extend compassion and generosity in the face of adversity? Are you trustworthy? Are you impeccable with your word? Those are all things that are just about being a person. Doing what you say you are gonna do, well, it’s just…that will put you miles above a lot.
Mellie: I literally, sometimes I take an inventory, and it’s easier said than done. As I raise my five-year-old daughter, I tell her every day that it comes up. I always do what I say I’ll do and I really try to honor that. So if tell her, “If you do X, Y, and Z, then you’ll get to enjoy X, Y, and Z.” I really try to make good on that because I’m setting and example. I’m setting an example on an everyday basis. I’m setting an example for her with my actions and my words. Character, integrity, trustworthiness, authenticity are all the things I think about when I think of leadership.
Kirk: Mellie, I love what you said. We over complicate things. Because leadership is not different at work or in a not-for-profit or in a VC fund or at home, right? It’s those characteristics of like what you just said. It’s the simple things, do what you say you’re gonna do. Your word is your bond. We often lose sight og that. We think that leadership means being out front, having a big influence. But sometimes it’s the simple things of pouring into your five-year-old daughter. Thank you sharing that, that’s really powerful for sure.
Mellie: I’m just sitting here, my brain is exploding as we are talking about this. All of that rolls up to personal accountability. And if there’s one thing that is a key attribute, its personal accountability. That shows up not only in the form of doing what you say you are gonna do, but also being personally accountable to reflect back on your actions and see. Ask yourself: is there room for improvement in that?
Being honest about that aspect too, and we are human, none of us get it right the first time. Sometimes we have horrible reactions. Sometimes we provide horrible advice. Sometimes we act from our lesser self, and that is not a failure. From my perspective, it’s an opportunity to reflect. That in and of itself, it builds trust. The other day with my daughter, I said I would do something and I didn’t. She said, “Mama, you promised me I could have two choices.” I said, “You are right, I did.” I made a mistake and I asked for her forgiveness. She gave it to me and there was no issue.
Kirk: Do you have some other areas where you have made a mistake and had the circle background and how you handled? Because lot of times people sweep those under the rug, looked the other way. Have you ever had to swallow a bitter pill and step up personal accountability?
Mellie: Absolutely, absolutely. In fact, I would say it happens on a fairly regular basis. Whether it’s to my daughter, my partner or my colleagues at work. I make mistakes all the time, all the time.
I really do try to realize it as soon to when I did it as possible and just own it.
Kirk: Overly obvious and embarrassingly simple. Just own it. And I love the way you said that. We all make mistakes all the time. It’s what we do with them. It’s really hard for leaders, because oftentimes we’re expected to have all the answers. Or to be the ones that get it right the first time. We’re the final stop. Unintentionally, we think that when we make mistakes or we don’t know what we don’t know, we turtle in a little bit.
Mellie: Yeah, I think that’s human nature.
Read about Mellie’s thoughts on Women in Leadership.