In our Q&A series, we talk with webinar presenters about their current roles, work-life balance and any helpful tips they may have for alumni.

Tell us about yourself and your work.

I'm the CEO and founder of Great on the Job, LLC (a leadership development and communication training firm), and I'm passionate about developing leaders— both seasoned execs and next generation talent. I also care deeply about closing the skills gap— giving everyone a chance to thrive at work and unleash economic opportunity—regardless of whether you've got an Ivy League degree or work at a top-tier organization. I believe in the power of GIFT—Generosity, Initiative, Forward Momentum and Transparency— and use that model to inspire others to action— to become skilled communicators and better leaders. I'm genuinely surprised by the fact that I'm an entrepreneur, but it turns out that communication skills are my super power and the only thing I'm really great at. I was a sub-par investment banker at best (four years at Goldman Sachs) and by no means a policy whiz (White House, EPA).  Today I love what I do and I'm excited by the idea of growing my business, expanding my reach and impact and hopefully, continuing to change lives.

Can you tell us what inspired your work?

My husband has always struggled to communicate effectively at work.  When we met, I was working 24/7 as an investment banker and he used to listen to me on conference calls and talking to my team.  One day he told me that he could never communicate the way I did— he didn't know how to ask for help and sound smart, or answer a question he didn't know the answer to (and sound smart), or give someone junior to him feedback… He told me he learned more from listening to me on the phone than he did reading every business communication book on the market. And thus, the idea for Great on the Job was born.  We're like peanut butter and the jelly— we have perpendicular skill sets.  He is creative and insightful and I’m super analytical and linear. We deconstructed and reverse engineered the communication strategies that come naturally to me— and created a curriculum that is teachable and learnable.  So he was client #1, and I'm forever grateful to him for spotting my "gift" as I had spent a lot of time barking up the wrong tree trying to do things I wasn’t great at.  He's a great communicator now by the way :)

What advice would you give to alumni who are struggling with perfecting their pitch?

The most important part of your pitch is your destination— that's what people care most about— what you’re doing now that's exciting or what you’re hoping to do going forward.  Spend your time thinking about the future and why what you're doing is compelling, innovative, transformational, etc.  Don't worry so much about having the right skill set, it's more important that you have a compelling story — which we'll talk about in the webinar.

What is the life in your work/life balance?

I have three young children, and before my third child came along, I remember thinking that I probably couldn’t fit another little person into my life. But I decided that would defeat the whole purpose of being an entrepreneur— if I couldn't live the life I wanted, what was the point of running my own business? So I made it work. I am not a very disciplined person by nature, but I'm good at turning off by 5:30 pm, and working late at night. I travel often, but I do school pick up on the days I come back. I work hard to schedule meetings around what works for me (to the best I can) and I sometimes say no to clients if my personal life simply won’t allow me to be away from home on a certain day. I don't feel the need to be available 24/7 (there are very few emergency [leadership development] needs).  Ultimately, I think that because I put GIFT into practice with my clients— I am generous and transparent and always try to exceed their expectations, I’m able to put their needs first and run a thriving business while not feeling like I have to sacrifice my own life and happiness for it.  I don't, however, get to the gym often enough...