A podcast for those who are different and want to make a difference.
Jan. 4, 2023

Restore: Dele Kooley on New Years' Resolutions, Setting Goals, Career Advancement and Inspiring Professionals on the Rise to Make an Impact

Restore: Dele Kooley on New Years' Resolutions, Setting Goals, Career Advancement and Inspiring Professionals on the Rise to Make an Impact

In Dele Downs Kooley's military family, Christmas traditions are reinvented every couple of years, from reindeer food to Snoop on the Stoop. Despite being told single mothers couldn't start over, she took a huge risk to relocate with $1,500 and forged a path to a six-figure income.

"I chose not to listen to the stories that we tell ourselves, that society tells us, that condition us to not want more. I chose to create a plan, measure my progress against it, and build the life of my dreams." - Dele Downs Kooley

Dele Downs Kooley is a life and leadership coach, certified coach, and author of Inspiring Women Professionals Who Boss Up. She brings 20 years of experience from her Air Force family, Department of Defense, and three law enforcement agencies to her work.

Dele had been tasked with taking a huge risk; leaving her 20 year marriage with $1,500 and her daughter, uprooting her life and starting fresh. She had a goal and a plan, and despite the fear and the doubt from those around her, she followed it. After months of hard work, she managed to find a job, make a home for her family and build a life of her dreams. She had to adjust her plan many times, but her ambition and resilience allowed her to overcome all obstacles. Taking the risk was the best decision she ever made.

In this episode, you will learn the following:

1. How did a blended family, with a Jamaican-born mother, manage to move and create traditions around the world?

2. How did the speaker create a plan to start over with $1,500 and no job prospects?

3. How did the speaker manage to defy industry math and reimagine her career to earn a living wage?



Other episodes you'll enjoy:

Doni Aldine on Third Culture Kids

Martine Kalaw on Being a Stateless Immigrant, DEI and Corporations

Jake Sasseville on Moving to Costa Rica to Start a Retreat Center

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Chapter Summaries:


A World of Difference is a podcast for those who are different and want to make a difference. Deli Downs Kooley is a life coach and leadership coach. She's here on the show today to talk about her personal journey.


This year, all of the children will be home for the holidays. The family has added snoop on the stoop to their collection. The kids hide their own snoop dogs and go about the day trying to find them. For many, it's a gift to be able to take some time off and enjoy family.


I'm Jamaican by birth. I was born in Jamaica. And moved to Kansas, of all places. Grew up in international schools, and so did my husband. We spent 20 years raising our family in Southeast Asia. Love it. Military family.


Author of book, inspiring Women Professionals Who Boss Up. Her story starts with $1,500.04 suitcases and one girl. She left her 20 year marriage with the biggest risk she's ever taken. Would recommend the book to anyone looking to inspire a young woman or an ally.


The author was told she wouldn't be able to start over when she moved to the U.S. Nine years later, she has remarried and her family is thriving. What inspired her to write the book? The people who took a chance on her.


I'd been offered many jobs where I could work at a higher level, a higher capacity, but my pay wouldn't increase. So I started thinking again about what might a different life look like. How could I reimagine my career again in a way that serves me well?


Did you find that there was bias around you as a woman? Was there a motherhood penalty that you feel like you faced? As a single mom in particular, there's the single mom tax that works against single parents. When you're open and transparent, your working relationships are much better because of it.


Research shows men are seen for their potential and women have to show all the experience and sometimes double the experience. As women, be more open and honest about your aspirations. Be clear about what you want. When you are, it's much easier to find sponsors.


Sometimes our energy is on the things that we have absolutely no control over. Instead, focus on what we do have control over, our plan. If you're focused on the outcome, then you don't get tripped up in the details.


Every job I've ever had was because I knew someone. It's the who you know, that makes such a difference. There's more than one way to connect to the hiring managers resources for jobs that you're interested in.


The bias that impacts women, single moms, first generation, all of those things. Deli Downs is running a New Year's special, Career Catalyst, where she has a coaching package that is currently 60% off of my coaching rates. How can you accelerate your progress in 2023 and beyond?


She's someone who's overcome some adversity and found some handles on how to walk through that. Please reach out to her for coaching. Read her book, glean from her wisdom and her years of experience both abroad and back in her home country.


I know many of you have made some New Year's resolutions. I have my own board of advisors, so to speak, of people I've brought around me. The end of the year and the beginning of a new year is the chance to kind of reset some things. Let us know what you're saying goodbye to from last year.

Become a patron of this podcast, and enjoy free merch. Join other patrons of this podcast at Patreon.


Dele Downs Kooley (sounds like Deli) is the master of the pivot and your fast pass to the front of the line! She has a diverse background complements of her 20 year adventure as an Air Force family member and Department of Defense civilian, working at three law enforcement agencies, and navigating corporate America at some of the largest names in the business. Her career roles centered on communications, training, finance, program management, and leadership & development. Dele gives to her community through her roles as President of the Board of Directors for No More Under, a non-profit focused on drowning prevention; and sits on the Board of the Leader Transition Institute, a non-profit focused on military transition assistance. She has most recently added the title of author to her list of accomplishments with the December launch of her book project along with other authors: Inspiring Women Professionals Who BossUp: Learning the Ways of Women on the Rise Making an Impact

As a certified Leadership + life coach, she uses the lessons she learned along the way to help herclients find clarity on the life they want to live, create intentional pivots, and how to achieve their goals as quickly as possible. She speaks often on the topics of personal development, career transitions, mentoring, resilience, Diversity & Inclusion, and inclusive hiring at companies such as Amazon, Expedia Group, Microsoft, the Women in Tech Regatta, and The Bicycle Leadership Conference.

Dele's superpower is networking and connecting people to create magic! When not working or coaching her clients to create the life of their dreams this busy mother of five can be found outside enjoying the Pacific Northwest or at a live sporting event with her family.

Dele Downs Kooley

Founder, CEO; Dele Kooley Coaching

(425) 628-8495


New Years' Special: you can get 60% off by going to delekooleycoaching.com to book a free session, and ask Delle about the Career Catalyst Package you heard about on the podcast.

Find Dellee on Instagram and LinkedIn

How Women Rise is a book Delle mentioned that impacted her.


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Lori Adams-Brown, Host & Executive Producer

A World of Difference Podcast



Lori Adams - Brown:

Welcome to the A World of Difference podcast . I'm laurie Lori Adams-Brown, and this is a podcast for

those who are different and want to make a difference . Happy 2023 , everyone all around the world . I

hope it's off to a great start today. We are going to start off strong with Deli downes Kooley who is going

to help us understand how to overcome and obstacles in this new year. She's a life coach and leadership

coach who's a certified coach , and she also brings just tons of experience of her 20 year adventure in an

Air Force family and working for the Department of Defense as a civilian and also working in three law

enforcement agencies . She's navigated corporate America at some of the largest names in the business .

Her career roles have been in communications , training , finance , program management , and leadership

and development . She also gives back to her community through roles as President of the Board of

Directors for no More Under, a nonprofit focused on drowning prevention . And she sits on the board of

the Leader Transition Institute , which is a nonprofit focused on military transition assistance . She has

recently written a book called Inspiring Women. Professionals Who Boss Up learning the Ways of Women

on the Rise making an Impact . And she's here on the show today to talk about her personal journey .

Coming back to the United States from Europe and being a single mom with a high schooler , she's

walked through so many obstacles and helped her own career in ways that are just really inspiring .

Welcome to today's show, deli downes Kouli.

Dele Downs Kooley:

Hi Deli. Welcome to the world of Difference podcast today.

Speaker C:

Hi, it's a pleasure to be here.

Lori Adams - Brown:

Well, it's a pleasure to meet you.

Dele Downs Kooley:

And to hear more about your work . And I'm really excited for as all of us are ending a year and starting a

new one, to learn more about your journey and your background and kind of the way you're approaching

things . Just to start off with , do you celebrate any holidays at the end of the year? Is that something that

your family is involved in?

Speaker C:

Yes. Well, we celebrate Christmas and we're a military family, so when home was someplace different

every couple of years, our celebrations are very much based or centered around traditions . So for us, it's

making reindeer food and decorating cookies . We have a book that has grandma's voice recorded on it

reading The Night Before Christmas for my kids . And we have Simon James Alexander ragsdale III, our

elf. And now that my kids are older and we don't do the Elf on the shelf, traditionally , we now have added

snoop on the stoop to our collection just to make it a little bit more fun. And they hide their own snoop

dogs and go about the day trying to find them . So that's the newest tradition that we've added . I only

have two at home. The rest of them are out of the house in college or newly married . So this year we

have all of the children because I'm a blended family, so all of the children will be home, which is very

exciting , and we get to share the traditions that we've created together .

Dele Downs Kooley:

So fun. I love it. We actually did the Elf on the shelf thing , too. Started when we were in Singapore with

our kids , and now we live in California , but they're too old for it now. But she's sofia twinkle and they just

laugh now. That was the name of my paper. She still comes out . We just put her out , but we don't do the

whole thing every night . But I've seen the whole stoop on the snoop what is it again? I forgot . I've seen a

few people posting about it.

Speaker C:

Snoop on the stoop . It's snoop dogg in elf form . And how much more fun can it be than adding snoop

dogg to the mix?

Dele Downs Kooley:

I don't think there is much more fun than that . That is like, hilarious . And we might want to start that in

our family, too. Oh, my goodness . That's hilarious . Well, I do hope that the holidays are a special time for

you and your family with all the kids home. That sounds like so much fun. And you are the kind of person

that works hard, and so I feel like for people this time of year, it's just especially a gift to be able to take

some time off and just enjoy family. It's been a hard several years for so many of us with the COVID

pandemic and the way work has been so crazy. I know you mentioned you're a military family. Tell us a

little bit more about your background and how you grew up and all that .

Speaker C 00:04 :39

So in the military , we always have a question when someone says, Where are you from ? You always say,

Where was I born , where did I grow up? Or where was the last place I lived? And so that very much

embodies my entire life because I'm jamaican by birth . I was born in Jamaica. My father's jamaican . He's

a rastafarian .

Lori Adams - Brown:


Speaker C:

And moved to Kansas, of all places .

Dele Downs Kooley:

Oh, gosh .

Speaker C:

Where I met my first husband as a civilian working on the Air Force base, McConnell Air Force Base

there . And we got married and traveled the world . So I had the opportunity to live in other states within

the United States , but I also had the opportunity to go outside of the Us. So I lived in Italy, I lived in

mountain Home, idaho, and I lived in Germany for five and a half, almost six years before moving to the

Seattle area where I live now with my family.

Dele Downs Kooley:

Love it. Military family. Yeah, it's just just you're everywhere . And I was not in the military , but I was a

third culture kid, grew up in international schools , and so did my husband . And then we spent 20 years

raising our family in Southeast Asia and our kids were in international schools too. So their culture ,

experience of international school , you just know a lot of military families from the Us. Singapore had a

large military presence for the Us. There. So we have many friends in the Us. Military who have been

abroad and been in a million places . So I have a little bit of understanding of what that life was like for

you and how it makes you a person with all these rich experiences that you bring into life and career. I'm

really excited for you to talk about why you wrote your book , inspiring Women Professionals Who Boss

Up, learning the Ways of Women on the Rise, Making an Impact . What is it about your journey that led

you to write this ?

Speaker C:

I had a story that I just needed to tell, and if it inspires even one individual and it's not just my story . This

is a collection of inspiring stories of women with very diverse background . So I would recommend to

anyone who's looking to inspire a young woman, a young professional or an ally to give the book a read.

It's book number ten in a series of inspiring women who Boss up. And my story in particular starts with

$1,500.04 suitcases and one girl . I had traveled the world for over 20 years and raised my family as we

traveled around the world . And I always thought that I was going to be married and be a civilian , working

for the Department of Defense . That was how I imagined my life. That was the only vision I had for my

life and I loved it. As I got close to my late thirty s, I realized that my marriage is not going to last for the

rest of my life. And so I need to start thinking about my life differently . And essentially as my marriage

came to an end, I had to make a decision . Having a career that I had had to reinvent many times as I

traveled the world , and having a child that was getting ready to start her freshman year of high school , I

had a decision to make. I would have the opportunity to either stay in Europe, which I loved, I loved my

life, I loved the people I worked with . But she would have to move in the middle of her senior year of high

school . And for a child who had spent most of her life traveling and being uprooted and changing

cultures , schools and geographies , I had to make a decision as a mom, not as a person with a career, but

as a mother , to take her back to the Us. And put her in school as a sophomore and give her a chance to

have three years after spending most of her life living overseas . So that's this story is, is about the

decision that I made. And it's the biggest risk that I've ever taken because I left my 20 year marriage

with $1,500 and I got on a C 17 airplane with my daughter , who, by the way, was my middle child . So one

of the three children at home boarded a C 17 and flew from ramstein Air Base to Joint Base Lewis

mccord in the Seattle area, where I knew one person .

Dele Downs Kooley:


Speaker C:

And I remember my mom calling me because she didn't even know that I was in the Us. And she said, I

thought you would go back to Kansas where I grew up, or that you would come to Texas where she lived,

or that I would go to Washington , DC. Even, which is a place where there's a very large military presence

and I could get a job easily. I didn't go to any of those places . The obvious choices I went to the place

where I knew one person , and the decision was very intentional . I knew that for children who had grown

up in a globally mobile world where they were surrounded by demographically diverse perspectives and

cultures and very highly educated individuals leading their Girl scout Boy scout troops , that I wanted

them to for their own for ease of transition , I wanted them to land in a place that was very similar. So I

chose bellevue , Washington . And the reason I chose it was, again, very serendipitous . I sat at a table I

actually traded seats at a table for a wedding and met a man who was the principal architect for azure, I

believe . Anyway, he was a really big deal. I didn't know that when I met him. And he had said, I'd like to

introduce you to some people . I think that we could find you a job. And that was the first time in my life

that I thought about imagining my life differently . Prior to that , I'd always had this vision for my life that

was aligned to the military and my marriage . So a year later, when I found myself having to make this

very big decision about what to do with my life, I took a risk . And I came to the place where I knew one

person . She just happened to be out of the country when we left Germany. So it wasn't until we landed in

Seattle that I called her and said, can we stay with you while I figure out what to do next? So I stayed

with my friend and went to a job interview . I'd had multiple loops before I came to have an in person job

interview , and I didn't get the job. So that was the first lesson that if the plan doesn't work out , change

the plan, not the goal. And the goal was to find a new job and reestablish myself. So I didn't get the job.

It was actually the best thing that could have ever happened to me at the time . It felt like a devastating

blow because at this point in time , I'm staying with friends . We don't have a home. We don't have a car, I

have no job, and two of my children are still in Germany. So I regrouped , borrowed money from my

parents and went back to get my children . The two youngest brought them back and put them in school

and then set about the task of finding a job, a home, being able to do all the things that we take for

granted so often . And it took me almost four months to do all of those things . And I actually signed the

lease on my house the day before I got a job offer. And it was because of my military connection that we

were able to do that , because I took my daughter and my friend , who was a military spouse and civilian

employee previously , to an open house where the people who owned the house were children , military

brats and their parents had retired from the Air Force and left the house to them . So when they met my

daughter , my friend , and myself, even though there were ten people at that open house, they saw fit to

take a chance on me. And I signed the lease on the house and got a job the next day and then moved in

the following month . So it was a huge risk . But all of those things happened because I was incredibly

intentional . I didn't let life happen to me. I created a plan, and I measured my progress against my plan.

So if the plan wasn't working , I adjusted the plan, but I knew what I needed to do. I sat down and created

three budgets of low, medium , and high. What are the expenses ? What's the dollar amount I need to

make to actually be able to live based on my expenses ? The job that I got was actually the low range. It

was exactly if I made $19 an hour, I could make my life work . And again, it was a byproduct of being

incredibly intentional throughout the entire process that allowed me to do that . So the book is the story

about my leaving , coming here. What are some of the things that I had to do to be able to make my life

work ? And that's where the inspiration comes from . When I got here, I thought all of the things that the

stories that we hear replayed over and over in our life, I chose not to listen to them . I was told , you're a

single mom with young children . You're never going to be able to start over. You're not going to be able

to take care of your children . You're going to need to find a man. No man is going to want you because

you've got three children . And all of those things were the recordings that were playing over and over in

my head.

Dele Downs Kooley:


Speaker C:

But here I am, nine years later. By year six, I had hit a multiple or a six figure income and have since

increased my earning capacity . I've remarried . We call our family all the gifts with purchase . We have an

amazing and beautiful family and we're thriving . We're building the life of our dreams together . And that

would not have happened had I been willing to listen to and indulge in the stories that we tell ourselves ,

that society tells us, that condition us to not want more.

Dele Downs Kooley:

What a compelling story and so much adversity , so much risk that you had to take with the hope that it

would get better . And a plan, like you said. Also, just the parts that stand out to me are the people who

took a chance on you, because I think we all need that . No matter how much life goes in our favor and

the wind is at our back , all of us still need people to take a chance on us. But in particular , a single

woman who's just arrived in the country with children and no place to live and no car, even the culture

shock , I know what that's like to repatriate after so many years, and you already have a third culture kid

upbringing , which I do as well. And so I can relate to that story in so many ways. We arrived here on the

West Coast just before COVID hit from Singapore with children . Yeah, two middle schoolers and a high

schooler . And we moved for schooling issue reasons as well. And it's hard to repatriate for yourself the

culture shock that you go through for your children who aren't little babies . They're understanding . I just

left all my scout friends and my school friends and my church friends , neighborhood friends in

Singapore , and now nobody understands that I wasn't born and raised here. I don't know how to do this .

But you're also going through it as an adult and then you're trying to figure out your career, not having a

job. Like, all of it. It feels like a movie in a way. Like I want to see who's going to play you in the movie.

Somebody gorgeous and smart . Of course , when we hear other people's stories , it's so compelling

because I think the thing about story is we can all find parts of ourselves in another person's story , even

if the details are somewhat different . So I love that you have this book because that is what inspires us

when we share the different narrative than what we're told , the almost cultural gaslighting that we are

told about ourselves and what we're supposed to be. That if you keep that in your head, we'll really hold

you back from being who you can be and for your children and for your livelihood that you can pass on.

As you mentioned , at the end, you start off at like a $19 an hour salary, which on the West Coast is really

ridiculously low for a mom raising kids . I understand that . But at the same time , now you're at more of a

six figure salary, which we live in the Bay area is the most expensive place in the Us. So that isn't unusual

for people to have. But you're definitely well above that now, and I would love to know, as you wrote this

book , like, what are some of the challenges around women in particular , rising from those lower level

roles into more of, like, a manager or an executive ? What kind of bias do women face and what is your

advice around that ?

Speaker C:

Oh, my goodness , that's such a great question . I started off because I had to reinvent myself over and

over again. My roles have always centered around learning , leadership , and development . Because of all

of the pivots that I made along the way, I was able to pull in some financial background and some project

management . So I had this very diverse set of experiences . I worked in emergency communications at

three different law enforcement agencies . I've done hostage negotiations before . So when I went to find

a job here, the first thing that I did was go back to my default setting of, oh, I could be an emergency

communication specialist , or I could be a secretary . Everyone needs one of those . The problem with that ,

and this is where being intentional comes into play, is I didn't do the things that I had always done before

I got to thinking about it. I was actually applying for jobs , and all of a sudden I thought , this is not the

way that I want to live my life. I don't want to do this . And it's so often we know what we don't want to

do. It's the what do you actually want to do part that is much harder to get clarity on. So for me, that

meant slowing down and pausing for a moment to actually get the clarity that I needed to determine

what was my path forward going to be. And when you're in that situation , you have to get really

anchored on your why. So the first thing was, what am I doing and why is this important ? The first job

was simply , I need cash to be able to finance my life. So that was the first job that paid me $19 an hour. I

needed a job in the corporate workforce , so I started off at Nintendo and product testing and

development , working for the director there . And each time I made a change or pivot , I had to sit in the

space that I was in before I moved on to the next space . So the first order of business was get a job. And

once I had a job and was settled , then I could start thinking about what's the next step after this ? So it

really was a step by step approach . It wasn't , let me map out my whole life to how am I going to get to a

six figure income quickly ? It was, what do you think about math , love's , hierarchy of needs?

Dele Downs Kooley:


Speaker C:

How do you create the foundation ? First so I did go back to my roots working as an administrative

assistant so that I could earn a paycheck and then figure out , what do I want to do next in the corporate

space . I knew that that's not where I wanted to stay. And so when you think about your job strategically , I

knew the first thing for me was I have to move away from hourly employment because this is never going

to get me to where I want to be. So the next objective was to get a job that was salaried , not hourly . So

my next step was, and this is where you have to determine what are the priorities ? And so the next job

was a salaried position at Microsoft Soft . Well, I had taken so many steps back in my career just to leave

and start over that at the time , and the world has changed . But at the time , the business standard was

you had a 10% pay bump above what you got paid when you went outside of the industry , and the math

would say, 2.5% pay increase every year and a 10% pay bump if you get promoted . That was the

standard math at the time . So what I didn't realize when I took that first job, making $19 an hour was how

it was going to impact me from a pay perspective the next time .

Dele Downs Kooley:


Speaker C:

So I found myself in a job where I was excelling because I was overqualified to do the job, but I was

underpaid . And I managed our headcount , I managed our finances , I posted job descriptions . And one

day I found a job that was multiple levels higher than the one I was being compensated for that was more

closely aligned to the work that I did. So I went to my manager and I said, I'd like to talk to you about how

do we bridge the gap from where I am right now to this role, which is still not what I do, but much more

closely aligned . And I think it's important to have those conversations , but you have to educate yourself

first . And I had the conversation knowing that it was probably not going to go the way I wanted it to. I'd

been offered many jobs where I could work at a higher level, a higher capacity , but my pay wouldn't

increase .

Dele Downs Kooley:


Speaker C:

So again, that was one of those times where I needed to slow down and think about , okay, what's next?

Because sometimes we just take the next thing , not thinking about the impact . And again, so that goes

back to being super intentional . So for me, I knew that this was not going to be a situation that was going

to work for me. And I remember talking to one of my mentors who was an executive at expedia at the

time and her walking me through math . And as a kid, we always say, what am I going to use math for ?

Dele Downs Kooley:


Speaker C:

We use math for everything . In fact , it's when we're not using math that we find ourselves in positions

that maybe they don't suit us well. So for me, as we were having that conversation , she said, look , you

can stay, do the math . You can stay, work your way up, get a 2.5% pay increase every year. When you do

an annual appraisal for the cost of living , you might get bumped up to three or 4%, or you can go outside

and get a 10% pay bump . She said, but either way, it's not going to yield a living wage. So you need to

come up with a different plan, or you need to accept the math as it is. So that's where I then made the

decision to start thinking again about what might a different life look like? How could I reimagine my

career again in a way that serves me well, serves my family well? And it was my willingness to be open to

how might this work differently if I didn't follow the industry math equation ? So, again, it goes to the level

of intentionality and I don't know, does that answer the question ?

Lori Adams - Brown:

Absolutely , yes.

Dele Downs Kooley:

I think that the original question had to do also with the bias toward women . And so I heard a little bit of

it potentially in your story . But could you speak more specifically to that ? I mean, did you face people

thinking you had a husband at home really being the breadwinner , and you just were like the mom who's

making money so you could go out to dinner ? Did you find that there was bias around you as a woman?

Was there a motherhood penalty that you feel like you faced ? And as a single mom in particular .

Speaker C:

Where there are some oh, my gosh , so much . All of the things . First, there's the single mom tax. Yeah, so

there's the bias there . And I actually remember I got a job, and at the time that I got the job, I qualified

for food stamps and federal assistance . I did not opt to take any of those benefits , but my kids had free

lunches , and as soon as I got that job, I had to pay for my kids lunches . So I actually made less. Yeah, so

there's the mom tax part that works against single parents or someone who's just on the cusp of that

line one way or the other. So that was just systemic bias. I remember when I got my divorce , they said,

okay, well, the receiving parent has to pay for travel arrangements . Well, my ex husband lived in


Dele Downs Kooley:


Speaker C:

So now, again, single parent just trying to make it, and I'm responsible for international travel for three

children , and I can't even pay for their lunches .

Dele Downs Kooley:

Yeah, that's not realistic .

Speaker C:

So it was so interesting , all of the things as a single parent , and you're right . People would look at me

who didn't know anything about me, well, you live in bellevue , you must be doing amazingly well. And I'm

like, no, I live in a tear down in between two multi million dollar homes and just got lucky. But people

make assumptions . They look at you, they don't ask questions . I went to work every day being perfectly

put together and my kids had clean clothes and were also very well put together . But people make

assumptions about you. And I actually had a manager tell me well, I gave the promotion to the there was

one male on our team and I gave the promotion to him because he's the primary breadwinner .

Dele Downs Kooley:

What a gut punch .

Speaker C:

And I was like, you've got to be kidding me. I'm a single mom with three kids . What about me? We both

worked really hard. Why does he get the promotion ? Because his wife stays at home with his kids . And

so there are things just bias that are definitely perpetuated . And I have not had this experience myself

recently , but quite frequently as I mentor younger women in my organization , not talking about or saying

that they had children so that they would not lose an opportunity to have a job. And interestingly

enough , that was not my approach , but I think that has to do with age. Had I been in my early twenty s, I

probably would have taken the same approach and not spoken about the fact that I had children at

home. But I chose a different one. I actually told one of my managers , I have three children , two of them

are very young and at any moment I could get a phone call and I will run out of here like my hair is on fire

and I will not tell you why I said, I will tell you when I resolved the situation . But if you ever see me run out

of here, it's because something's happening with my children . And not everyone is willing to be that

open and honest . But I have found that when I'm true to myself and where I am in my life, if someone's

willing to still accept me as I am because I've been open and transparent , my working relationships are

much better because of it. But it's a risk not all companies are willing to they will actually I've heard

many men say this as I have friends that are executives , oh well, she's a mom or she's having a baby,

she's not going to stay. So there are definitely biases that work against us as women . And I think that's

where contextually as you're interviewing or trying to understand the culture , if you were to think of

yourself as a diamond being multifaceted , what facet would you choose to shine in the context of a

conversation ? Is it going to benefit you or is it going to harm you in the long run?

Dele Downs Kooley:

Yeah, it's a good question . I myself have not always done the same thing and I definitely think that it has

been. A factor for me personally and not getting some executive roles at times . On the one hand, you

don't want to be in a place as a mother where they're not going to support you going forward . That if you

do have a call from the school where you have to go and be there for your child , then you definitely want

a workplace that's going to work with you around that , that you have a life, that you are a person . And at

the same time , we know that the motherhood penalty is so different than for men. Men tend to get a

bump in salary when they have kids . They're seen as a better leader. They display their photos of their

kids at work . They use them in analogies when they give speeches and everybody's like, oh, what a

good leader. And the research is out there where it's like, if a man says, hey, I need to leave early for a

soccer game, that everybody swoons like he's .

Speaker C:

Such a great dad and a woman does the same thing and they're like, she's gone again.

Dele Downs Kooley:

Yeah, she's so lazy, she doesn't work . And you're just like, she's the hardest working person here,

probably . She's doing double shift at home too, right . But especially for a single mom where it all

absolutely falls on you. And they say with each kid, each kid that you have is more of a percentage . So

it's like, what is it, like 5%? I can't remember the number, but I think when you have like three , it's like

15% less than like, what a man gets without kids . So it's like, wow, already when we're talking math ,

because math is everywhere . And then you're not also getting the promotion because the assumption is

this man is the breadwinner and you're not . There's so many factors . So as you're working with women

and helping women learn to find ways to promote their career with their managers and it is that hard

conversation , what are some tips that you would give for women who are really struggling to be seen for

their potential ? It seems as though the research shows men are seen for their potential and women have

to show all the experience and sometimes double the experience . So how can women have these ?

Whether they're in interviews or job searches or trying to get a promotion , how can they be seen for

their potential ? Or what are some tips that you have?

Speaker C 00:34 :24

So there's a great book called How Women Rise. It's actually one of the most impactful books I've ever

read when it comes to women in the workforce because it actually does these case studies of men and

women side by side. And I think this goes down to how we're socialized one as women because we're

told to be kind and we're told to not brag and not put ourselves out there . But when a man does that , it's

considered to be again, they have such great leadership , they're such great communicators and men are

transactional . This is a generalization . There's the science that goes behind it. But in general men tend

to be transactional and women tend to be relational . Well, where this hurts us in the job force is the way

that we communicate and what we elevate . So not all conversations are created equally and that's the

first thing that we can do to change is as a man, understand the difference between the way that women

communicate and the way men communicate and ask better questions and as women , be more open

and honest about your aspirations . Because for me, the moment that just nailed it when I was reading

this book , How Women Rise, was the story of two equally competent partners or individuals in a law firm

that were trying to get promoted to partner . Work was the same but when it came down to it, the man

had said very clearly these are my career aspirations , this is what I want to do, and was very clear about

his goals . The woman, as you just said, was very focused on if I work hard, I will be rewarded because

that's what relations are. If you work hard, you get rewarded . So in the promotion , as they're going about

trying to decide who's going to get promoted to partner , the decision was made to give the promotion to

the man because they knew that if he didn't get partner he would leave and go somewhere else and they

didn't want him to leave. So they promoted the man and the decision was we'll promote the woman the

next time . They're both great . This is how we get to keep both of them . So often that is the way that

promotions or work is done. Because if you're speaking very clearly and articulately about what your

career aspirations are, then there's no mystery either way if I get the promotion or if I don't get the

promotion and decide to go elsewhere where I have a better chance of getting the promotion versus a

woman who's relational and has been socialized to not brag about their work . So I think that's where we

have the opportunity as women is to one, be more articulate about what our aspirations are. Don't keep

it to yourself . And so many of my clients that is the first , most startling thing is they have these

aspirations and if we start talking about well, what have you done? Well, I'm just working really hard. At

the end of the day, working hard is having a strong work ethic . There's nothing wrong with that . But it's if

you're not providing clarity about what you want and sometimes you don't know what you want . So I

think that's the first step is just the quality of the conversation . Are you clear about what you want ?

When you are, it's much easier to find the whos that can help you with the how you're able to find

sponsors because in the situation that I just outlined , someone knew the work ethic of both of those

individuals , but they also knew that this one person would leave if they didn't give them the promotion .

So that's where , especially in a hybrid work environment , it's really important to be able to articulate

what are your future aspirations and what are the metrics , how are you delivering against impact ?

Because I think that's the other thing for women in particular is we get these non promotable , busy work ,

like, did you manage the Giving campaign ? Are you managing recognition ? Are you running meetings ?

Are you taking notes ? All of those things take time , but they don't actually deliver impact against the

deliverables of a business . So when you are doing a performance appraisal , while all of those things

contributed to the overall morale , they didn't necessarily deliver impact to the business itself . And in the

business world , we measure what matters . So that goes back to math and metrics . What is the impact ?

Can you actually articulate the impact of the work that you're doing ? If you can't , there's a chance that

you may want to have a conversation with your manager simply about the duties that have been

assigned to you.

Dele Downs Kooley 00:40 :26

Yes, indeed . I think that one of the things that we have seen quite a bit in the online working environment

of the COVID Pandemic is some of those duties like bringing in the coffee or cleaning up the room and

more of the housekeeping . Things that even manager level women were somehow being given. Once

those weren't there , suddenly women started to realize, wow, what am I doing ? That's advancing my

career ? I've been so exhausted doing this at work and at home, and then all of a sudden you realize the

men have metrics that show how they can get promoted . And you've just been trying to do what you

were asked to do and show that you're a diligent worker, especially if you're a mom. And there's this bias

or stereotype that you're lazy, which is so ridiculous because moms are some of the hardest working

people . But if you do have to leave for your child's parent teacher conference , it looks like you're not

dedicated to your job because of the way people perceive that . And so saying yes to the other things

being asked of you, like, no, I am a hard worker, I'm willing to do this , I'm willing to do whatever you ask,

has actually been sabotaging their career and their ability to provide for those children in their home,

those families . I think there was such a pivot that we started to see and so many articles written about it,

right , about women leaving the workforce , women switching companies to one that was more mom

friendly or just if they're a woman without children , even just woman friendly . And then some women just

leaving the workforce altogether to either start their own small business or just take some time out

because women are tired from all of this . It's really exhausting to work hard. And as you said, if women

are more relational , that's how we raise girls in our culture . It does feel like hard work should be

rewarded , and when it's not , that can be doubly overwhelming . So some women are really in that career

Pivot right now. Even here in Silicon Valley, we have a lot of layoffs . We've seen them in the news over

the past few weeks. We've had obviously the big Twitter situation , but Facebook and even Amazon and

salesforce every day. It seems like we're reading even adobe here. And so a lot of people are looking for

going to the same job, but a lot of competition because a lot of people have now been laid off and are

looking for it. Or some people are looking for more of a career Pivot. So what are some tips you have to

create intentional pivots for people in their career ?

Speaker C 00:43 :15

So, interestingly enough , I just had a meeting with an sbp senior human resources leader who was going

through a Pivot just yesterday . We're having this conversation , and I always start with what are you doing

right now? So that I know what are they doing . But the one thing that I'm noticing in common in all of the

conversations , because I have multiple conversations a week around this topic , is we have a tendency to

understand what are the things that we need to do? Like what are the mechanics around getting a new

job? Well, I should network . In the absence of the COVID lockdown world , I can go and network in public .

I'll use my LinkedIn and I'll reach out to people . I'll reach out to my network , I'll apply for jobs . All of those

things are good and they are the right things to do. One, it's knowing where to start that's the most

overwhelming part , is where do I start ? I know all these things . So the conversation that I had yesterday

with this svp in human resources was create a plan and create kpis . What are your metrics ? Again, going

back to math , because we know in business that we measure what matters , and that's how we

determine the health of the organization , the health of our performance . Well, if we apply that same

practice to our life, that's where intentionality comes in. And we don't have control over getting laid off.

We don't have control over when we're going to get a job. But so often that's where we focus . Our

energy is on the things that we have absolutely no control over versus focusing on the things that we do

have control over, our plan. And if we know that we have a sound plan, and if you are focused on the

outcome , tony robbins does this fire walk, and he spends all day getting you into state , and then you go

outside and you walk on fire . Well, if you look down at your feet , you're going to burn your feet . Where

you're focused is where your energy goes. But if you're focused on the outcome , then you don't tend to

get tripped up in the details . You don't get sucked down into the swirl or the churn of uncertainty . And so

I think that's where when you're going through a job search , because I did this when I first got here and

had no job, I was very intentional . And this is where we have control over the plan. One, you're going to

get a job that is going to happen when you get the job you don't have control over. You have control over

what jobs you get based on what you're applying for. But it's focusing on the outcome . So if you focus

on the outcome and work backward from there , what might you do? What are the things that you have

control over? I have control over I'm going to have to go to three in person networking events a week.

You decide what your kpis are. So for me and for this executive that I was talking to yesterday , I was like,

well, let's look at your kpis . What are you doing ? Well, it was inconsistent . Sometimes it was like, full

speed ahead, and other times it was very little . Well, it's a lack of consistency , but she wasn't measuring .

So it was only when we had this conversation that she realized , this is where I want to focus more and

here's where I could see more impact . So decide on what your kpis are. Are you going to connect with

three people in person ? I mean, if you don't have a job, this is your full time job. So how many people are

you going to connect with in person ? What's reasonable ? Like, during the holidays , probably not going

to connect with as many people . And people aren't responding to job applications because they're on

holiday. So understanding how you're performing and being able to look at, okay, is there something I

can change , or is this outside of my control ? The week between Christmas and the New year, you don't

have a lot of control about people getting back to you having connections . So what are the seeds that

you can plant during that time that you can harvest later ? So that's the first thing . It's just having a plan

that's focused on an outcome , not on activity . Without clarity on how many people do I need to meet

with , how many outreaches should I make on LinkedIn ? And that's the other thing that people do so

often , is if there were two things that I would say are really important , one, I don't wait until I have to get

a job to update my resume . So this is the time of year where I look and take an inventory of what have I

done? And I do this with my clients . Take an inventory of what you've done. What are you proud of?

Where did you make impact ? Not activity , but impact and how do you quantify that impact and then

update your resume ? And if you're future focused , what do you want to go after next? And then again,

take an inventory . What are the skills that you currently have and what are the skills that are missing that

you are going to want to work on acquiring . And I don't wait until I need a job to update my resume . I do

this annually. So that would be the one thing is take an annual inventory , think about where you want to

go in the future if you're in the position to be able to do that . If you're not because you've been laid off,

then that would be the first thing to do is take an inventory of what are the skills that you need to have

for that next job and who. I'm a huge believer in the power of who not how. So who can help you not how

do I do this on my own. So that's the one thing is updating your resume . The other thing is curiosity

conversations . Don't wait until you need a job to reach out to people . When I'm not trying to make a

Pivot or I don't have a specific goal in mind , I just have a goal of connecting with one person in my

network . So that's 52 curiosity conversations a year at a minimum because our network is always

available to us. But quite often people neglect their LinkedIn . They're not cultivating relationships . So if

you have the ability to proactively have curiosity conversations with your network , you're now building

your personal brand . People know you like you and trust you and therefore are willing to make

introductions , whatever those things are. So I am a firm believer in the power of your network as well. So

if you've been laid off, working on that resume update and really being focused on impact because that's

what people are hiring you for, is impact , not activity . And then leverage your network . Use your LinkedIn

community as you're looking for jobs . We do have a tendency to use LinkedIn . While there are so many

companies , especially tech , that were impacted by what's happening with our economy , there are other

businesses , some of them are smaller, that they are still hiring . So focusing on who's still hiring and that

may not be a big corporate entity that might be a smaller company . And right now they're reaping the

benefit of being able to hire top quality talent that they might not have been able to compete with the

corporate large corporations previously . So all hope is not lost . There are still companies that are hiring

and this is again where you look at how might I do this differently to get the outcome that I desire . And it

does require us to think differently . Maybe the last time that we did this , if you change jobs during COVI

and then we're laid off, it was really easy to get a job during COVID Now it's a little bit harder, but that

just means where are the opportunities to look and do your job search differently than you might have in

the past ? Because as humans were creatures of habit , so we tend to approach the job search the way

we've always approach it versus looking at it differently . And in the case of the woman I was talking to

yesterday , as we talked , she said, okay, I realized that I could be more intentional and reach out to a

couple more people . Maybe instead of just reaching out to my first line connections , I could look at who

are the second line connections that are connected to jobs that I might be interested in, and I could ask

them to make an introduction . So I think that's another thing that we don't always do is when you look at

recruiters , tenure has dropped because we've had so many new recruiters join the workforce . So a really

talented recruiter has the ability to kind of read between the lines, and if a candidate is not the right fit

for that role, but they find something else, they'll bring it to them , that's not always going to be the case.

So as a candidate , if you're able to tap into your network and find people that are connected to the jobs

and reach out to them directly , that is always an opportunity that's available to you as you're doing your

job search . I hear a lot of people say, well, I reached out to the recruiter and I didn't hear back , which is

not uncommon . There's more than one way to connect to the hiring managers resources for jobs that

you're interested in. It just takes a little bit more work .

Dele Downs Kooley:

Yes. Oh, goodness , that's such good advice . Yes. I think for sure every job I've ever had, maybe except

for my first one, was because I knew someone . I think that we often talk about resume . We talk about

having had the experience and all that , but really, it's the who you know, that makes such a difference .

It's not just I think that growing up in Venezuela or living in Indonesia , there was a lot of conversation

sometimes , especially from Americans , that , well, Americans are more like it's not as relational in terms

of jobs . But that's not been my experience . Having come back to the United States in the last three

years, it's still very much the network and who you know. And I understand , having been on the other

side of the hiring position , you don't want to take a chance on somebody that you don't know. And if you

have a connection with them somehow, even if you went to the same university or there's something

about them , human psychology is a real thing that if you can find a way to relate to that person , you're

more likely to hire them . But especially if you know someone who knows them and says, oh no, they're a

good person or they're a hard worker or whatever they say about them , it does go a really long way. And

I think most jobs , that is that extra factor , if it's very competitive right now, that's really good advice .

Well, I definitely want people to be able to know where to find you because I know you do some

coaching and also for them to find your book . So let us know where you're at and where we can find you.

Speaker C:

Okay. Do you mind if I do one more pitch before I tell you that ?

Dele Downs Kooley:

Sure, go for it.

Speaker C:

We talked about bias and the impact it has on women . Well, the reason that I do what I do is I ran the

global mentoring program at Amazon, and I remember looking around the room and seeing the people

that were there were quite oftentimes women , first generation in the Us. First generation to graduate

from college or melania in whatever capacity that meant . And so what you just said is there's the tension

that goes with the bias. If you don't have access or you don't have privilege and you don't have access

to network , where there's a gap, anyone that grew up outside of the Us, if they went back home, they

have a strong network . But that's the bias that impacts women , single moms , first generation , all of

those things . And I actually spent 18 months creating this inclusive hiring training for Microsoft that's

focused on creating more inclusive outcomes to combat some of the unconscious bias. So the challenge

is real because if you get jobs because of who you know, and there's a gap in your network , then you are

climbing an uphill battle to begin with . And so the reason that I started doing what I was doing was if my

day job is focused on creating inclusive outcomes for managers and interviewers , we know that human

behavior does not change quickly . So that is a very long road. So that's where I made the decision that

while my day job is focused on creating inclusive outcomes in the long run, what I can do today is

provide the tools and resources necessary to close the gap in your network to be more intentional and to

accelerate your progress . I say that I'm the fast pass to the front of the line because we're all smart

people , we can figure this out . But the cost is time and time is money. So you can figure it out on your

own and it takes you longer. While there was a dollar amount associated with how much money did you

leave on the table while you were trying to figure it out on your own versus connecting with the right

whos to help you with the how do I do this faster ? That would be the thing that I would leave anyone with

is in the absence of income to pay for resources , who are the people in your network that can help you

with the how. And for me, I'm deli Downs. Kooley. I have Delikooly coaching that's my website is

www.delicoolycoaching .com. You can find me on Instagram at delikoolycoaching . And I'm actually going

to be running a New Year's special , Career Catalyst , where I have a coaching package that is currently

60 % off of my coaching rates . A very specific package . So if anyone is interested in how can I accelerate

my progress in 2023 and beyond ? Because the investments that you make today are things that you can

reuse over and over again. So the investment is the accelerant that will help you with how do I do this

over and over again? How do I replicate creating intentional pivots ? So go to my website , sign up for a

free strategy session , and when you see me, let me know that you're interested in the Career Catalyst

package and I'll be more than happy to share details on that .

Dele Downs Kooley:

Sounds great . Sounds like a great way to start off the New Year for people to advance in their careers in

ways that they can be helpful at a level that maybe they have not tapped into yet for themselves as they

provide for their families , those who have families . And just also there's organizations and companies out

there that need these skills and experiences and the knowledge that so many people bring . And it's

good for us to help each other because we all grow together . We all rise together . If we work in an

organization and there's somebody who has potential and we don't recognize it, and then we help them

rise, then the whole organization gets better . So thank you for the work that you do. Thank you for

bringing your full self to this interview and your experience . We're going to ask you to stay on for a little

bit for our patreon supporters and just ask you one other question for them . But for all those who are

ending with you now, thank you so much for this interview and I just wish you and your family all the best

in this holiday and New Year's season.

Speaker C:

You as well, laurie. I hope that your holidays are restful and regenerative .

Dele Downs Kooley:

Thank you. bye, deli.

Speaker C:


Lori Adams - Brown:

Well, there you have it. deli Down schooly starting us off in 2023 with some really great advice . Please

reach out to her for coaching . Read her book , glean from her wisdom and her years of experience both

abroad and back in her home country , and just with all her experiences of the third culture , experience

that she brings into her life. And as an example of someone who's overcome some adversity and found

some handles on how to walk through that , who's able to coach others and is giving back to many

around the world who need that kind of wisdom . So it's really helpful to have someone who's walked

through some things , who's walking on the road ahead of us, and she's definitely one of those people .

So whether you're in the corporate space , the nonprofit space . If you're in the military , if you work for a

nonprofit , I highly recommend that you reach out to her and learn from her experience of having to

switch careers , of what that meant , if you're in that situation , or how to advance in your career at the

moment , and just how to get unstuck . She's she's one of those people who's definitely had to find some

innovative ways around obstacles . And when we find people in our lives that have walked through that

and know how to coach others through it, they're just really valuable , especially as we start off this year,

2023 . I know many of you have made some New Year's resolutions , some very lofty , some realistic , some

it's going to take a village around you. And I think for the most part , any of our goals , that's the truth . So

building that village around you of your own sort of board of advisors who can speak into your life, she's

definitely someone that seems to have learned enough things to be able to advise , and she does that on

a couple of boards . But what I've learned in my journey at this point in my career and my life is I need to

have my own village too, and I have my own board of advisors , so to speak , of people I've brought

around me. I have a therapist , a spiritual director , a life coach , a career coach , friends who just have a lot

of wisdom , family members that I've brought into that kind of circle around me to help me walk through

the goals that I have to be the kind of person that I want to be. And so as we start off this new year, I

know that you're looking for some of those people . And I highly recommend deli as somebody who's

walked a road and has something to give back to many of us. So we'll link all her information in the show

notes for you, and I'd love to hear more about your New Year's resolutions or goals for this year, how

you're posturing yourself . Some of you are choosing a word for the year. We'd love to hear about that .

We'd love to hear what you're saying goodbye to from last year, things that you're sort of putting off. We

don't want to kind of live in that anymore . Some changes you're making and what you're kind of

welcoming this year, what you're saying yes to for this year, or what you're seeking out . The end of the

year and the beginning of a new year is the chance to kind of reset some things . So let us know on our

Facebook group or Instagram , send me a dm, interact with us on Twitter . We'd love to hear from you.

And if you're not in our Facebook community , we'd love for you to stop by and let us know what you're

thinking about , what you're saying you're putting off from last year. And what you're putting on for this

year, and it might inspire some of the rest of us who are trying to sort of still think through that process .

And if that process lasts for you into February and March , that's okay. There's no rush. But the new year

does give us that chance to kind of think through how we're going to reset something . So we'd love to

hear about it. And yeah, welcome deli, into this conversation with you. And if this conversation has

brought up some things for you that helped you get some new ideas or think through that , we'd love to

hear about that too. If you have guests that you'd like to see on the show this year, we are still planning

out our year in terms of our guests . We have some already lined up this year, some really exciting ones,

but we certainly have slots available throughout the year. And if there's a new series you'd like for us to

cover, we'd love to know about that too. I always want to get feedback from you as the community , and I

thank you for so many of you who often give that very much appreciated . Because we all know that here

at the World of Difference podcast , we're all in this together , trying to do our part to make a difference in

our little corners of the world , wherever we are. We'd love to hear how that's going for you and what we

can do to support each other throughout this year 2023 . It's going to certainly be a year of surprises .

Every year brings those . It's going to be a year of opportunities . It's going to be a year to make some

choices for ourselves and for our communities and those around us. And we just want to walk through

this sort of faithfully together here. So let us know what you're interested in hearing in terms of series or

guests on the show. In the meantime , hope you're staying warm if you're in the winter areas of the world

where we've been getting lots of snow and rain in California , I know Buffalo , New York, was really hit

hard this year, so stay warm wherever you are. If you're still in a cold place and if you're enjoying that

tropical weather, we're just hoping that you just continue to be grateful for what you have in the

meantime . Yes. Hope it's a great start to your 2023 . And we will be posting our most popular episodes

from this past year over the next few weeks to sort of revisit those and say, these are the ones that you

mostly downloaded throughout last year. So you'll get some revisit on those and a way to take those in

once again and listen once again to the things that were so impactful to each of you throughout the year.

So we'll be posting a few of those over the next few weeks. And if any of you are in the Orlando area, I'll

be speaking at pod fest podcast conference in Orlando . So if you're in the area, please let me know. We

might could grab a coffee while I'm there . it'd be great to catch up with some of you or to meet some of

you for the first time . So if you're going to be at podfest , definitely let me know. And if you're just in the

Orlando area and want to catch up while I'm there , I'd love to meet up in person . So in the meantime ,

take care of yourselves and your families in this new year, and we'll talk again soon. Take care, everyone .


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