Episode 16 - “Normalizing Women in Positions of Power with Natalie Micale”
In this episode, I had a conversation with Natalie Micale - an Executive Leadership and Communication Coach. We talked about normalizing women in positions of power and how to support women in leadership roles - a fitting topic in celebration of Women's History Month.
8:07 - Overcoming the "nice girl syndrome"
10:39 - On being a leader
13:52 - "Embrace the suck"
16:46 - Communicate with intent
18:56 - Confidence is the cornerstone of leadership
20:49 - Perfect is the enemy of progress
23:01 - On being a "coach"
28:53 - Natalie's resources to help people be mindfully recharged
31:21 - YOU have the power
Check out the transcript for this episode in case you missed anything, and click on my website Mindfully Recharged Podcast by Mariana Thomas for the full show notes and information about my guest, Natalie Micale.
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Who is Natalie Micale?
Natalie Micale is on a mission to normalize women in positions of power. She helps women overcome issues that limit their executive leadership potential using principles grounded in evidence-based leadership, presence and communication practices, as well as individualized coaching on personal habits and strategic mindful awareness. In addition to being an executive leadership and communication coach, Natalie is also a public speaking instructor, healthcare leader and mentor for over 15 years, and holds an advanced business degree in Management, Strategy and Leadership from Michigan State University.
Leadership Communication Guide - https://www.nataliemicalecoaching.com/get-your-guide
Welcome back, everyone. This is Mariana Thomas, your host of the Mindfully Recharged podcast. Super excited to bring this episode to you guys. Today, I'm talking with Natalie Micale . Natalie is on a mission to normalize women in positions of power. I love this topic, especially this month when we are celebrating Women's History Month. Natalie helps women overcome issues that limit their executive leadership potential using principles grounded in evidence-based leadership, presence, and communication practices. I absolutely enjoyed this conversation, and I know you are going to love it. You don't want to miss it. So, let's get to it.
Intro Speaker 1:06
Welcome to Mindfully Recharged with Mariana Thomas. In this podcast, Mariana brings you mindful conversations with people that will develop and recharge you from the inside out so that you can increase productivity in your personal and professional life. This is Mindfully Recharged.
Natalie Micale oh my goodness, what a beautiful last name. I'm so jealous. Super excited to have you here on the podcast, Mindfully Recharged with Mariana Thomas. I know that beautiful face you're just making me like stop. I just want to laugh. I just want to be like, Oh my god, she's so cute. Let's get this conversation started, Natalie. What is going on?
Hey, Mariana, thank you so much for having me on. And I have to say it's amazing. The first time we talked, you pronounce my last name right. And that is, I appreciate that so much. It's my married name, so I was not used to having a name that people mispronounced. So now when people pronounce it the right way, I am… just warms my heart.
That makes me really happy. And you know, with my accent, I'm always concerned when I'm pronouncing people's names or last names. So, Woohoo. 10 points to me. Right. I did it right! Oh, my God, yes! I am so excited about getting this conversation going. Talk about everything that you do, and how we can serve this audience with this topic. So, Natalie, tell me where you are coming from? What city are you in today?
I am in Asheville, North Carolina. And it is absolutely beautiful here today, looking out the window right here. It's perfectly sunny. And it's just, I'm going to get out after this. After this, I'm going to get out and go for a hike.
Oh, my goodness. So, you know Asheville is one of my favorite places in the United States. That is where I study yoga for the entire year. And I just love, love, love going to Asheville every single weekend. So you are in one of my favorite places. So, Natalie, tell the audience what exactly you do? But before that before, I want to get into what you do and all that. So, tell me, what made you choose this career, like where you are at today? What was the journey that got you here?
I am, so I'm an executive leadership and communication coach for women. And this came about pretty organically. I am also a registered dietician, and I work as the chief of Clinical Nutrition at a local hospital. So, I work with a team, a pretty large team of women. And I've done it at this hospital and one before and I noticed some pretty big differences in the way that teams of all women interact, versus teams of men and women. And I found that very interesting. And then when I report my department's findings up to our executive leadership team, I can see the way that, the way I interact with them was very different than the way a lot of other women interacted with the team that is, you know, not entirely men, but a lot of men on this team. That really got me thinking and eventually got to so much thinking and researching I decided to go back to school for it. So, I got my master's in management strategy and leadership to really understand the, you know, the ins and outs of the different organizations and different hierarchies. And it led me to believe that there's a lot of work that, you know, there's a lot of societal expectations that are thrown on women and they don't always they're not always conducive to moving up the corporate ladder. You know.
I love, I love what you just said, Natalie, because you know, this is Women's History Month and the fact that we are talking about empowering women on leadership in this way. This is amazing. I love your combination of leadership and being a dietician or nutritionist. Oh, my goodness, that is amazing. So, with that, Natalie, tell me, what type of clients did you, did you look for? Like, what are the clients that you serve? And I'm sorry, guys, my voice is a little scratchy today, I have a runny nose. What are the clients that benefit from what you do? And how that, you know how that happened? Like, how do we work with these women and leadership? And the reason I'm asking this is because I was in - I have been in the leadership world since I was in my 20’s. You know, back in Colombia, I was in a human resources world. That's what I went to college for. So, I always bring in a leadership environment. I always notice it is a little bit different for women, you know, and then I transition to the United States, got back into the corporate world, hosted, you know, a couple of leadership roles and all that. And so I find it very interesting when women are supporting women in leadership. And that just unbelievable. So that's why I'm asking this, Natalie.
I love that. I love your story, too. Women in leadership, it's so important. The more women we have that help control, the big decisions that are made, you know, the better I think the world will be. So, the clients that I work with currently are they kind of, they're all over the leadership spectrum, as far as… some are very, very high up in the leadership world already. A couple of my clients are brand new to supervisory roles. So, they have been in positions where they have run programs before but have never been in charge of a team of people and running a program is running a program and running a team of people. They each have their own unique challenges.
So, these are women, sorry to interrupt. These are women that are looking to be on a leadership role?
Well, a lot of them, yes, some of them are aspiring for those roles, are not quite there yet. But most of them are in the, I would say their middle, kind of the middle of the leadership rung in the ladder. And they're looking to move up to the executive level.
Got it. So, they’re already in the company, they trying to learn oh my goodness, yeah, this is so important. Because sometimes, we just don't know how to move up. Right? To continue that, Natalie.
Yeah, and so much of that has to do with your communication style, but also with working against these conditionings that a lot of women, I think women everywhere we're conditioned to be - there's that whole “nice girl syndrome thing” where we want to make sure that we are never offending anybody. And there's a difference between being mean and being firm. And I think that's something that a lot of women struggle with. And there are some men that struggle with that too, obviously, of course, but women in leadership roles, in order to continue to advance you really have to be comfortable with stating your opinion, and communicating in a way that is both warm, but also authoritative, in a way that's maybe authoritative isn't exactly the word I would say: “expert”, you have to be able to project your expertise. And a lot of women sometimes we want to back down from that,
Well, Natalie, I'm laughing well not laughing, but laughing inside, because you're speaking my language. I remember when I was in my corporate job. Before I retired, from the moment I wanted to get into the regional role. You know, it's a coordinator role first. And then I told myself, I'm going to be the Regional, and I kept telling everybody at that's going to be my role. I'm going to be the Regional. You know, they all would be looking at me like “Maybe she's crazy. What are you talking about?” But what would you said, you know, “be authoritative, be a little firm” That's exactly what I did, Natalie because I was doing things that they were not expecting from me. They were not asking me to do it, but I was doing it, and I was doing it with firm, I was doing it with authority, I was just creating my way to that role. But not everyone thinks that way. Right? And that's where you come, and you help this individual that is ready to move to the next level.
Yep, absolutely. I do mostly individual coaching with people one-on-one private coaching because it takes a lot of, it's a pretty intimate process to get people to I mean, you know this - to get people to break through the stuff that they've been told they should be their whole lives, right?
So, were you a leader, when you were a little girl, Natalie?
Yes, I actually was, really kind of funny. I was talking to my mom about this the other day. And she was, you know, there is, of course, there are different things that I guess the thing that's really funny is I'm the oldest grandkid of 20. And I am the oldest sister. So yeah, I kind of always had that sort of I was the de facto authority in the family when it came to the children. So yeah, that worked out well. But I do think that a lot of it has to do with testing yourself the failure and coming in and getting back up again. And I think as I was really good at that, yeah, that was trying all sorts of crazy things. And eventually, something worked.
That's what I wanted to get to. I wanted to, I wanted to hear that you have felt, you had been there. You have been there. You have been that one that wanted to climb the ladder, you have been that one, that wanted to get to the next role, to the next leadership role. Because sometimes a lot of people want to help others. But they have never been there. Yes, you know, and you have in order to give something you have to have it. You have to live it. You know, that’s very important, I'm so glad that we got there.
Oh, yeah, you have to know, you have to know the field that you are, the people that you're working with, you have to know what you know, they're doing their day in and day out job. But you also have to know that feeling of having that pressure on you. And that pressure to perform and be in that role. And that kind of that, almost that I call it like the “fire in your belly” - that drive for more, if you don't have that it is really difficult to work with women to get them to move into leadership roles if you yourself don't have it. And I think that's one of the hallmarks of my personality. I say it a lot. I'd like a good challenge. I had a fire in my belly to help people and to help them reach their goals.
I think you are a D-personality, if I do an assessment on you, you will be a D.
Oh, yeah, the disc assessment. Yeah, it is mostly D.
Yes. Yeah. You want to, you want to get it done. So yeah, I can tell. I can tell. So, I'm there with you. Natalie, I'm a D as well. So, you know, it's not as important to us, as it is their results. So yeah, you see another thing that we have in common. So, what are some tips that you can give women when it comes to bearable, you know like communication and leadership is very important? And I think that’s one thing that before I became this, you know, the person that I knew how to communicate, you know, I was a little probably too aggressive, but because of my D-personality and I didn’t understand the other person. So, it's coming across a little bit too much. So, I'm eager to hear from you about leadership communication. Because this is I mean, it's very, very important.
Yeah, it really is how you get everything is done through other people. Leadership is accomplishing things through and with the help of other people. And if you can't communicate, you're not going to get very far. One of the things that are the most common, and this really surprises me and it well, it doesn't surprise me anymore, but it did in the beginning. One of the things that my clients found the most challenging, was communicating through, communicating during difficult conversations, when they had to confront a topic that was going to be of course, uncomfortable, possibly even controversial, but it really was there for the betterment of the organization or the department or whatever it had to be addressed. And I think there's that, what comes into play there a lot what I hear, and I felt it myself even being a D sometimes this is the thing that this is what I've had to coach myself on the most throughout all these years, is that you just walk into the uncomfortable situation. You have to kind of embrace the suck, you have to embrace the bad times, sit there, live it, and then speak confidently and address the situation head-on. Not any little tiptoeing around it, you know, still be their ways to deliver it. When I work with my clients individually, we go through ways to deliver messages that are well received, but that is still very, very honest. But you can't get there if you're not willing to step into that discomfort.
Yes, yes, you’re definitely speaking my language, yeah. “Be willing to suck”. And then be willing to be in the suck.
Yeah, and you have to be willing to maybe get it wrong, or to not be 100% right all the time on everything. But to always, always give it a try, you got to try to make things better. And the only way to do that is through communication. You can't, you know, think your team to better performance, or you can't think a poor-performing employee into acting better you have to, you yourself as the leader have to take action. And that requires guts and embracing confrontation sometimes.
And also, I will add to that, you know, being a leader myself and knowing this well, I will say that also putting in the other person's shoes, right? It’s so important to also take yourself out of the picture. Right, to take yourself out of the picture and think about “how am I going to communicate with this person? What is the other person going through right this moment?” You know, those things.
Yeah. That's so important. And that goes back to intent. I think also, you if you go in there with the intent of communicating and hearing the other person out and making sure that you are just addressing the facts, and you're not going in there with all these different stories in your head, and all these different assumptions. When you go in there. And on a level playing field with whoever or however many people you're working with, and just go for it from the kind of start from ground zero, you'll have much, much better results.
Absolutely. I'm going to remember that. So, when, yeah, when my day goes up.
I tell you, I that's why I feel like I know that really well. Because that's what I have to keep playing in my head is “no, don't go there. Just stay”
Those are our blind spots. You know, that's what was people like you and myself. Is to recognize those blind spots and you know, and work with it. So, I want to get to my next question, what are some tips? Okay, I've already asked you that. But let me ask you this one. How does, and this is a good one because I am a professional, so how this hurts us? And why is it important for leaders to address the harm of being professional? In their own right? Because Natalie, this has been something in my life for a long time. And I have to come to terms, that that was not serving me. I mean, you hurt when you are professional. You suffer when you are a professional. I have been there. And I am looking forward to what you have to say about this because this is all close to my heart.
I'm so glad you asked about this. And it's close to, it's amazing people, women who are, you know, high accomplished high accomplishing women who go after their dream careers. And all of these, we do tend to be perfectionist, we tend to have perfectionist qualities. And I think a lot of that and there is actually research that shows a lot of this falls back on the women feeling. You have to feel, there's that whole thing the women feel will only apply for a job when they feel they have 100% of the job qualifications. And for men, it's about 50%. And is that feeling of the whole Good girl syndrome again, needing to be exactly what everyone wants us to be. But the thing that's really tricky with perfectionism if you're not careful, it really will chip away your confidence just little by little because you're constantly going through that mental message to yourself that you aren't doing this right. You're not good enough because you weren't perfect and that is… confidence is the cornerstone of leadership. Without confidence, you really cannot be an effective leader. And it keeps you from taking chances. Because you know, no one's gonna take a chance and be, it's not gonna be perfect every time if you're doing things that are uncomfortable. But if you, without taking chances, it keeps, it keeps women from reaching those high levels of leadership, because we aren't taking the chances that we maybe need, that we do need to take to get to those positions. So, we have to… There's a wonderful TED Talk, Oh, I wish I had written this down. I'm just thinking of this. No, I didn't write it down. But a wonderful TED talk by the woman who is the creator of Girls Who Code, which is a computer coding organization.
I think I’ve heard that, I can't remember right now either.
You remember her name, but it's called “teach girls to make - to take risks not be perfect” is the name of her TED Talk. And it is so inspiring. And it is it's great. Yeah, but that's really the big thing. In order to be, to fight perfectionism, you have to be, you're going to be uncomfortable. And you're going to have to take some risks. And I know, as you said, as a recovering perfectionist, I feel that same thing. I have started doing little things like I don’t, I write a blog post, I give myself a very defined amount of time. And then I post it. Yep, I have to do that kind of stuff. And I think it… and of course, it makes me uncomfortable. Because I'm like, “oh, what if it isn't perfect?”, but you, you just work your way through it. And before you know it, you've made a lot of progress. And now your work is shared, and people can see your work. If you’re perfect. You know, perfect is the enemy of progress.
That is okay. That's a Twitter moment right there. “Perfect is the enemy of progress”. Yeah. So that is equal to procrastination. Really is. Right. So, the only thing that I was, I was thinking, as you were giving all this wonderful information, Natalie, I think it is sometimes professionals, or when you're when you were talking about confidence, you know, which is a different, different ball. I was thinking sometimes when we don't feel confident there is so much behind it. And when it comes to executing sometimes in a position, it has to do with “Do I have the competence?” You know, “Do I have the competence to do it?” So, it's just so much in there to unveil to a person. So that's why this woman that we are talking about needs a coach, needs a person, all these things, but they are ready to step up to the next level. This is amazing.
What we do, you know, as coaches and you know, this is really just shining a light on those dark spots on those blind spots, and helping people come to their own conclusions about things that they've just, you know, going through life so fast that we're driving by things that 100 miles an hour, and we don't see it until somebody pointed out to us. Think about it.
Yeah, I love, I love what you just said, “coming to your own conclusion”. Yesterday, I was in a conversation where they were discussing coaches, right? Like, “Oh my god, all these life coaches now,” there's a huge difference. And what a real coach is, you know, a coach doesn't tell people what to do. A coach allows the person to realize what they need to do. That's the difference. So, I love that. You said that because it allows me to know that you are a coach, you know.
And that is quote-unquote, “coach”. There's so many out there now that I'm like, “Oh my god, what is that?” You're giving it out for free or something? Yeah, no. But there's something out, something going out there in the world, but everyone is calling themselves coach now.
Yeah, no, I think I would say if you felt that your job is pretty easy, then I would say you're probably not a coach because it should be difficult. It should be not it should be challenging because you can’t control the other person.
Exactly. You know, I totally agree with you. And I want to go back to the professional's topic, and I want to tell you a little exercise that I did. Maybe you will appreciate this. You know, working with your clients. Years ago, I cannot leave my house without making the bed. Because in my mind, you know, that would just like devastating. And oh my god, my house is messy is not perfect. I just couldn't do it. If I was late for something, I had to do it. But I was doing it for the wrong reason, right. I was doing it for the reason. I have to be perfect. Okay, so I started not doing the bed, not just leaving it messy twice a week. But now, Natalie, I do make my bed for a different reason. It teaches me discipline.
Yeah. So, I change the, “oh, it's messy” - I got to be perfect, for something that is actually going to be productive for me.
Absolutely. mindset, the way that you… anything, anything can be good or bad. It really just depends on how you think about it if everything you're doing is because of this overwhelming pressure that you feel because you just can't let any of the balls drop and everything has to be perfect. That is going to be really hard and wear you down. If you do something because you know that it helps you be better in other parts of your life. Do it.
You know, especially for women. Oh, my goodness, we have so many things.
Absolutely. Especially now during the pandemic. And you know, I think kids are starting to go back to school now. And I think people are feeling it's a little bit mixed. Some people are worried, but I think there are also people who are relieved to have a little bit of normalcy back. And most of that added pressure was put on to women, was put on to moms, it really was, and you know, it's going to take years probably to recover the women in the workforce who lost their jobs or who quit, you know, resigned during the pandemic to take care of their kids. So, we got, we have some work to do but we can get there, we can do it.
Thank God for people like you and I, because we are here *high five* - we are high-fiving through the internet you guys, this is how we do this thing today.
Virtual high five
Virtual high five, and you know, we are here to support women and women's month history. What a better way of celebrating this. And well, I was thinking right now, the women during the pandemic. How it will be to gather, you know, different women that have different stories right now. Maybe there would be another way to getting a new job. Getting a new role in all this crumble.
Yeah, it was a, this has been really, really eye-opening and transformative in good ways and bad ways here for a lot of people. And I think we have a moment in time right now to you know, we, I don't want to let this moment pass because hopefully, this something like this will never happen again in our lifetime, the complete shutdown of the world. But it's almost like we can reset. A lot of people are starting off, you know, a little bit, a little bit worse off than they were last March. But it's a chance for everybody to sort of recollect themselves. And I mean, I'm here, I'm here working with all these ladies, I need some help with this. Because this is, this is our chance, I think this is really good. It's good, terrible timing.
Well grateful for you, Natalie, grateful for you. And before we go, I want to ask you, you know, this, the name of this podcast is called Mindfully Recharged. I want my audience to always feel like they are recharging themselves, every time they listen to an episode. And that's why you know, I say D - You and I, we go to the point. We don’t, we don't mess around. You know, we were not talking about like, “Oh, so what did you do when you were here?” And we just went right to “how can we add value to people today?” So, my question to you is how can people mindfully recharge with some of the resources that you have available? Like what good resources do you have?
Well, I would say I have some good resources and they really fall in line with how I mindfully recharge, which is my biggest hobby is reading. I love to read I could read a book a day if I had the time. I love learning. So, for one of the resources that I have available on my website, which is nataliemicalecoaching.com
Natalie Micale is a women's executive leadership and communication coach on a mission to help more women move into positions of power. She uses her 15+ years of leadership experience to help women clarify and meet their highest professional and personal goals.
, I have a free guide for women who, it's powerful dialogue, women leading through communication. And it goes over different verbal and nonverbal communication techniques that we can use as women to present ourselves with, you know, an executive presence with more confidence than I think a lot of women have in high-pressure difficult situations that involve leading teams of people at work.
Wow, that's amazing. That's amazing. I'm going to have to read that.
Absolutely, Natalie because I have read all about you, but I don't have the resource yet. So, ladies, and gentlemen, make sure you got that and even the guys who are listening to this episode. You know, they know women, they have women in their lives, they can refer to this resource. Okay, Natalie, we are coming to the end. So, what is something that you would like to say before we go, something that maybe I didn’t ask, you know, something in your mind and in your heart?
Well, one of, I think something that I love, that I like to point out to people that I've made a big change in my life is thinking about how - the way you speak about yourself. And the way that you speak to other people, the language that you use, says a lot about where you find, where you think you are in the hierarchy of power. And we are powerful. We are so valuable to this world; everybody is valuable to this world. The negative speak that I hear people saying about themselves, is really damaging. And I want people to think about how you speak about yourself and to other people, tells them how to speak about you. So be empowered…man, you deliver that message, and just go for it because you have the power to do that.
That's awesome. That's awesome. You have the power to do it. Speak your message, deliver your message. That's what I heard from you. And you know what Natalie, that is something that I'm doing myself. So thank you for that. I appreciate it so much. Well, it has been an absolute pleasure. Guys, everything is going to be on the show notes. We will have Natalie's website so you can get the resources. Don't forget to share this episode with your friends, your families, anybody that you think that can benefit from this fantastic information that Natalie has given us today. Super excited to have you, Natalie, what a pleasure. What an honor. And until next time, that’s it!
Thank you so much, Mariana, this has been amazing.
Thank you, Natalie. I'll see you next time. Thank you everyone for listening. And I'll see you in the next episode.
Thank you for listening, everyone. And don't forget to go to the show notes and click to download your free Mindful and Energetic Living Guide. Also, don't forget to share this podcast with your friends, families, and everyone up there. I want to get this out there to everyone. So, thank you for your support, and I'll see you next week.