• EP 66 - I Took the Leap or Something Like That...

        In this episode, I discuss some of the major-ish career lessons that I was forced to learn during COVID. There may or may not be a special ann...
  • EP 65 - Meet Tiana Conley, Vice President of Global Cereal, the Kellogg Company

    New I Choose the Ladder podcast episode with Tiana Conley, Vice President of Global Cereal, the Kellogg Company. 

    Some of the things that stood out to me during our conversation were about:⁠

    - Finding sponsors
    - Your authentic self
    - Being ambitious while prioritizing children
    - Getting an MBA while working full-time
    - Imposter Syndrome

  • EP - 64: Who's Telling Your Career Story?

            We are getting VERYYYY close to that “new year, new me” phase of the year, where most of us start reflecting on what we accomplished and ...
  • Ep 63 - Meet Amelia Hardy, Vice President - Inclusion and Diversity Strategic Initiatives, Best Buy

    In this episode you meet Amelia Hardy, the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for Inclusion and Diversity at Best Buy. She joined the company in 2014 and has held various roles including Category Marketing Director- Home Theater & Digital Imaging and Director of Brand Marketing for Holiday and seasonal campaigns. Most recently she was the Sr. Director Health- Enterprise Relationship Management. She has had over 20 years of strategic leadership roles at fortune 100 companies. Her career experiences include marketing, strategy, brand management, business development, product commercialization and P&L management. Amelia is significantly involved within the community. Currently she serves as the Champion for the Black Employee Resource Group and serves on multiple national and community boards including the Boys and Girls Club of the Twin Cities.

    Outside of work, Amelia resides in Woodbury, MN and enjoys spending time with her husband and their 4 kids ranging in ages from 3 yrs old to 15 yrs old. She spends time at dance competitions, soccer and basketball games and at the local playgrounds.

    Some of the things that stood out to me during our conversation were about:⁠

    - The importance of value alignment in our work.

    - The impact of positioning.

    - Passion V. Growth opportunities

    - The three P's.

  • Ep 62 - Why You Should Be In An Accountability Group

    In this episode Watchen discusses why you need to get into an accountability group. If your goal is to get a raise, promotion, a new job, or a complete pivot, this is one of the things that needs to be very high on your priority list.

  • Ep 61 - Meet Sandra Hurse, Managing Director, Chief Human Resources Officer, GCM Grosvenor

    In this episode you meet Sandra Hurse, Managing Director, Chief Human Resources Officer, GCM Grosvenor. Sandra Hurse is the firm’s Chief Human Resources Officer. She also serves on the ESG Committee and the Diversity & Inclusion Governing Committee. Prior to joining GCM Grosvenor, Ms. Hurse held various positions at Bank of America, most recently serving as Global Head of Human Resources for Corporate and Investment Banking. Previously, Ms. Hurse also held leadership roles in Talent Management and Talent Acquisition at Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Bernard M. Baruch College and her Master of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Michigan. Ms. Hurse serves as a Corporate Board Member for the Harlem School of the Arts.

    Some of the things that stood out to me during our conversation were about:⁠

    - The importance of people being able to see your humanity.

    - The difference between humility and hubris.

    - Hiring well.

    - Understanding value creation in your organization.

  • Ep 60 -Six Ways to Invest in Your Professional Development

    In this episode Watchen shares six simple ways that you can invest in your career development today. It's been proven that people are willing to invest in people who have demonstrated that they have some skin in the game and have first invested in themselves.

    If you want to be competitive in this changing job market, you have to start by investing in yourself.

  • Ep 59 - Meet Lolly Bowean, Program Officer for Media & Storytelling, Field Foundation

    In this episode you meet Lolly Bowean. Lolly is the program officer for Media & Storytelling at the Field Foundation.

    Before joining the Field, she worked as a general assignment reporter at the Chicago Tribune for more than 15 years and had a particular focus on urban affairs, youth culture, housing, minority communities and government relations. She wrote primarily about Chicago’s unique African-American community and the development of the Obama Presidential Center.

    During her tenure, she covered the death of Nelson Mandela, how violence was lived and experienced in troubled neighborhoods, and the 2008 election and inauguration of President Barack Obama. Most recently, she wrote about the election of Chicago’s first African-American woman Mayor, Lori Lightfoot. In addition, she’s covered Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the last gathering of the original Tuskegee Airmen.

    Before joining the Chicago Tribune, Bowean covered suburban crime, government and environmental issues for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans.

    She has been published in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, Lenny Letter and Longreads. She has served as a contributing instructor for the Poynter Institute and lectured at the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and is the former program officer for the Chicago Headline Club. She was a 2017 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and is a Studs Terkel Award winner. In 2019 she became the first African-American awarded the Gene Burd Urban Journalism Award. She is a Pulitzer prize nominated writer who lives on the South Side of Chicago.

    If you attended The CLIMB then you already know about Lolly Bowean, wordsmith extraordinaire. Her "what's your career story?" session had us all thinking about how we effectively articulate this career journey that we are on.

    Because everyone loved her so much I thought I'd bring her back so that we can hear a bit of her career story, spoiler alert, she was the first African-American awarded the Gene Burd Urban Journalism Award!

    Some of the things that stood out to me during our conversation were about:⁠

    - Knowing what your sword is.

    - Attracting opportunities.

    - Public V. private career battles.

    - Shattering glass ceilings.

    - Belonging.

  • Ep 58 - Performance Review Q&A with Watchen

    In this episode I answer some user submitted performance review questions.
  • Ep 57 - Meet Amy S. Hilliard, Principal, The Hilliard Group

    In this episode you meet Amy S. Hilliard. Amy is an award-winning serial entrepreneur and a former senior corporate executive. A native of Detroit, she is an honors graduate of both Howard University and the Harvard Business School and is also certified in Digital/Social Marketing by Columbia University. The Hilliard Group, her strategic marketing consulting firm for over 20 years has worked with clients including Nielsen, IBM, Pandora Jewelry, BET Networks, American Express, HBO, The GAP, The Limited, PepsiCo and others. In 2001, she founded The ComfortCake​® ​Company, makers of “Pound Cake so Good it feels like a Hug “​, ​which gained distribution with United Airlines, Walmart, a McDonald’s test market and Home Shopping Network among others using Amy’s own pound cake recipes. Amy now licenses ComfortCake’s®​ intellectual property and ​Sugarless Sweetness​, a patent-pending sugar substitute.

    Recently President of Fashion Fair Cosmetics, the global legacy cosmetics company focused on women of color, Amy is a former retailing, senior marketing and advertising executive with Bloomingdale’s, Gillette, Pillsbury, Burrell Communications, and L’Oreal. Her marketing innovations to build Gillette’s White Rain brand into a $100 million-dollar business were documented in a case study for the University of Virginia’s Darden Business School. Amy has also been an Executive Lecturer at Loyola University’s Quinlan School of Business. A proven thought leader on entrepreneurship, empowerment and marketing, Amy has been profiled in ​Fortune, Success, Entrepreneur, ​CNN, Black Enterprise, Essence, Ebony and NPR​. An international speaker, she is also the author of ​“TAP INTO YOUR JUICE -- Find Your Gifts, Lose Your Fears and Build Your Dreams” –​ endorsed by First Lady Michelle Obama. Her blog, ​Sizzling After 60 – Thriving at Every Stage of Your Life ​is popular among all ages.

    Based in Chicago and passionate about her community and health/wellness, Amy is the proud mother of two young professionals. Amy served two terms as a Trustee of Howard University, thirteen years on PepsiCo’s Multi-cultural Advisory Board, and was the first African-American elected to the board of the National Association of the Specialty Food Trade. Amy currently sits on the LeanIn.org Advisory Board with Sheryl Sandberg. Her website is ​www.amyshilliard.com​.

    Some of the things that stood out to me during our conversation were about:

    - Starting over in your 40's

    - Recovering after a major loss

    - Integrating a junior high school

    - Building a business while being a corporate executive

    - The importance of reciprocity

  • Ep 56 - ICTL Update + You Ask, I Answer

    In this episode I share an update on what's coming up for I Choose the Ladder and answer some of the questions that I get asked the most.
  • Ep 55 - Meet, Dannielle Cumberbatch, VP, Product Operations, Rakuten Advertising

    In this episode you meet Dannielle Cumberbatch. Dannielle has over 20 years of experience in the digital & performance-based marketing industry. She grew up loving computers and socially was in the middle of everything – sports, academic activities, Girl Scouts © and anything fun. Dannielle credits her tenure within the business to her mix of client service experience and technical know-how, which allows her to pull the best out of People & Machine. Dannielle got her first taste of entrepreneurship during her college years as an independent singer/songwriter. She officially transitioned into the business marketing scene, working as an intern at an independent marketing company - Own Your Power Communications, run by Simone Kelly. During her time at Own Your Power, Dannielle was webmaster for the site and responsible for organizing geo-targeted promotional campaigns to increase awareness and attendance of local OYP events in NY, NJ, GA, FL & Wash, DC. Joining Rakuten Advertising in 2006, Mrs. Cumberbatch was selected to build a brand new service offering for the business – identifying and activating Lead Generation partnerships with publishers who distribute offers through Form-Hosting, Web Display, Email, Search (SEM/SEO), Pay-Per-Call: Mobile, Print & Per-inquiry Radio. At its peak, Dannielle was responsible for a client portfolio with an annual revenue target of $17M+.

    In her most recent role as Vice-President, Product Operations, Dannielle leads a dynamic, global team responsible for the technical integration and marketing launch of brands seeking to increase their distribution and sales opportunities through Affiliate, Search and Programmatic Display channels. With clients seeking to drive new online and offline sales, within the Americas and Internationally, Dannielle’s daily work responsibilities all lead back to how her and her team can ensure the client satisfies their consumer privacy needs, create a workflow that supports their business profitability goals; and has the best onboarding experience. Outside of work, Dannielle is a wife and mother of two beautiful children and pushes to be a better version of herself every day.

    Some of the things that stood out to me during our conversation were about:

    ~The importance of keeping receipts when it comes to self advocacy.

    ~Deciding where you put your focus.

    ~The role of entrepreneurship in a corporate setting.

    ~How to remain visible when the company you work for is going through growing pains.

    ~Balancing herself, her spouse and her children during COVID.

    ~The importance of asking for and accepting help.

    Really grateful to Dannielle for sharing a bit of her career journey with us.