Ep #4: How to Use a Growth Mindset to Advance Your Career with Celeste Palermo
One of the things I love about having a podcast is that I get to connect with amazing professionals who are doing extraordinary things with their career. And today I am doing just that. Celeste was recently promoted to Senior Director at the world's leading gold company and I am so excited to have her on my podcast.
If you are one of those people that believes success comes easy for some and is harder for others, this episode is for you. Celeste is going to break it down step-by-step the exact mindset and leaps of faith she had to take in her career to get where she is today.
You will learn how she pivoted when things got tough, how she always knows the direction she is headed and the ways she is truly able to make an impact at her organization.
We are not all born with drive and career ambitions, it is something that we learn to cultivate over time. Celeste has crafted her career for herself by having a growth mindset. She takes her professional development seriously. She is not afraid to speak up and go after what she wants. And other's recognize her as a leader because of it.
Now Celeste is not only able to have a fulfilling career that she loves but she is also able to fulfill her life's passion of championing the careers of other women and girls. All because she knew where she was headed and created a path to get there.
Listen to find out how you can do that too.
What You'll Learn:
- What exactly is a growth mindset and how can you apply it
- How to find opportunities where you can truly shine
- How to lead through impact and influence
- What does a visibility strategy actually look like
- How to use mentors and sponsors to know that you are headed in the right direction
- And ultimately how to use your success to give back to others
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- “Compare Yourself to who you were yesterday, not who someone else is today.” Rule 4 in Jordon B Peterson’s, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
- Celeste's sister and self care coach https://www.thesplendidspark.com/
- Connect with Celeste on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/celeste-palermodeliversresults/
- Book your free 50-minute Discovery Call at stacymayer.com/apply
|Stacy: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Maximize Your Career Podcast with Stacy Mayer. I am here today with a special guest. I'm super excited about this. As you know, I help managers get promoted into leadership positions, and I'm always looking for a really great promotion story. So when I heard from my friend Kara, who is also a really fantastic coach and online entrepreneur, who I met-- oh my gosh, like, I don't know, like 8, 10 years ago when we were first starting out this aspiration of starting online businesses. And she's a self-care coach and she helps people with really amazing Yogi and mindfulness coach. And she wrote to me, "Oh, my sister got promoted recently." And I was like, "Yeah, tell me more." So I met Celeste too, you're going to hear from just a few weeks ago, and she was talking to me about her promotion process. She was recently promoted in last August into a leadership position. And the strategy and the thought that it took her to get to this place that she's at in her career right now is so compelling and so fascinating, and I just really thought it could be useful for all of you guys to hear about. And so I'm so grateful that she is here today. Celeste, are you there?|
|Celeste: I am. Thank you for having me?|
|Stacy: Awesome. I'm going to do a quick intro so you guys know a little bit more about her. Celeste Palermo is currently Senior Director of Human Resources for Newmont Mining Corporation, the world's leading gold company. Celeste also serves on the board of directors for the Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce, and has a passion for champion women and girls. She has her MBA, is a certified Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma and the author of two books. I'm so excited to hear from you and I know that you're going to be a great, valuable resource for many of our audience, many of our listeners. So thank you again for being here today.|
|Celeste: Thank you.|
|Stacy: So let's start out with just like sharing with us some of your secrets of success. So what does that mean to you when I say that?|
|Celeste: Well, there's probably a few main contributors or factors contributing to my success this far. Certainly, there's a lot of work and perseverance and things that go into it, but probably the things that I think would be most significant are probably three main buckets, just a fundamental confidence in myself and the related willingness to take risks, being able to define a career path for myself, and then being able to advocate for myself, I think those are probably the three big ones. I think the confidence piece of that-- I'll just say a little bit about each of them. Confidence is really, honestly, a pretty hard one for me. I'm naturally an introvert. And the confidence in myself was really born of doing the work and showing up and knowing what I'm capable of, and knowing that I can stand on my feet in any environment and in new environments. And it's also you have to be willing to-- I suppose, be willing to try new things and thus fail. And I sort of run the worst-case scenario and say, "Well, if I fail, can I get another job? Or can I do something else?" And then it kind of is a catalyst to have me continue to move forward. And I've changed companies. I've changed industries. I never thought that I would be working in mining. But I've been here nine years, and I love it. And taking new risks has included, not only moving industries but moving within functions within my own company now.|
|Stacy: So you talked a little bit about having this career path and being able to set a career path. So that kind of reminds me of-- you've flip-flopped industries. It sounds like it wasn't a linear career path for you. So maybe if you could take us back to getting your MBA and then realizing, "Okay. How do I set up this career path but then be willing to shift and change along the way as needed?"|
|Stacy: So can you tell us a little bit more about that path for you?|
|Celeste: Sure. Really, I have sort of learned what I'm good at by the process of discovery. I mean, within my roles at Newmont, I've had five different roles and have worked in communications and sales and a lot of different places. And I found that the sweet spot of what I'm good at and what I like to do, or what lights me up, is really strategy and process work and kind of program-type work. And so I've really looked for opportunities where I can shine, where the work feels really fun to me. And that's required me to move around a little bit. The MBA is really something that I've kind of pursued more recently. I actually just finished last May. I was actually sitting in an all-corporate meeting, and they used the term EBITDA. And I didn't know what it meant, and that's embarrassing. But I was like, "Huh. Well, that's a gap. I need to close that gap. I--"|
|Stacy: What was the word you just said?|
|Celeste: EBITDA. It's earnings before taxes, amortization, and depreciation. And I didn't know what that intrinsically meant. It's a financial term, and I didn't have a financial background. And so I was like, "Huh. I am going to-- I need to close that gap for myself." So it's been part of-- part of my strategy into leadership is, "What are my gaps, and how do I close them? And then how do I find opportunities to position myself to do work that I really like?"|
|Stacy: Yeah. So tell us about the transition into human resources. So that's really when you transitioned more from being a manager into a leadership position. Is that correct?|
|Celeste: Yeah. I've had a lot of different individual contributor roles if you will, where I'm sort of leading through impact and influence. And this has been into human resources. I took a role as global operational effectiveness. So it was actually still an individual contributor role but at a pretty high level, where I was working around the globe and traveling to work with our global teams on process improvement and looking at how we streamline and do work better. And then have since had a couple of different roles within HR that have helped me really learn the core of the business, what are our global processes, sort of everything from the operations side and so that I really kind of grasp what that is. It's required me to really step out of my comfort zone and learn new things and things that I never thought that I'd dip my toe into but have really broadened my skill set.|
|Stacy: Yeah, it sounds like one of your strategies is having a very well-rounded approach, right, knowing all the different aspects of the business and if you don't understand something, figuring it out.|
|Celeste: Certainly. Yep, I think that just having a deep-- no matter the industry, I think it's important to have good business acumen, but then you need to know your business - so how does work get done - and making sure that you understand kind of the big perspective and details too. And I think that one of the things that's helped me is being able to dive deep into the details and be willing to roll up my sleeves and join the team and get the work done but also then to fly at a higher level and look at the strategy and kind of step back a little bit and do the vision piece as well.|
|Stacy: Yeah, so speaking of, so when you moved from being an individual contributor into more of a leadership-type, strategic role, what were some of the things that you actually had to learn to let go of?|
|Celeste: Yeah, that's interesting. I think one of the main things I had to stop doing is stop sweating the small stuff or taking things personally, if you will, so as an individual contributor, one of my roles was a chief-of-staff role. And I was responsible for all sorts of stuff, but one of the things was just the budget roll up for the whole function. And my work was dependent on the deliverables from a lot of different people, and if people didn't turn their stuff in on time or dropped the ball, then that sometimes was hard for me. And I would find myself frustrated, and I had a mentor call me out one time and just say, "It doesn't matter what other people do, period. It matters how you respond and how you're going to solve the problem." And it really helped me be able to kind of raise the bar of how I respond personally in every situation, so you can't sweat the small stuff. And you have to be able to find the creative solution. I think the other thing is that I've stopped sitting at my desk so much. That sounds funny, but I have a quote on the bulletin board in my office that says, "You can't lead from behind a desk." And sometimes, we can have the mentality that if you do great work, someone's going to come tap you on the shoulder, and that may not always be the case. So I found it's been really valuable to me to be visible, to talk to people, to raise my hand, to do presentations, to try to get out and make sure that people know who I am and what I can do and now, as a leader, to be visible to my team. And sometimes, the trade-off is that I'm on my computer in the evenings once in a while just to make up, but I really try to make it a priority to be up and visible with people as well.|
|Stacy: Yeah, so what in particular do you do to be visible?|
|Celeste: Well, I think just some of those things-- I definitely will look for opportunities to raise my hand to lead and extra scope of work or proactively go grab coffee with someone or just make sure that I'm actually here in the office so I have the opportunity. When opportunity presents, I'm around. I think those things are important. I've also, as far as self-advocating, I developed, in one of my prior roles, like a dashboard, if you will, that sort of highlighted the monthly summary of all the good work that was being moved forward. And I think it's hard for people to toot their own horn, so to speak. But I think that there's [laughter] a lot of value if you do it right, and consistently reminding people how you're driving the business forward and the value that you bring on a day-to-day basis. And you have to be doing it to be able to tangibly quantify it on the dashboard. And I sent it to some really key stakeholders, and I think that that has helped me stay visible as well.|
|Stacy: Yeah. Tell me about that. So what do you mean by dashboard? What did you actually have? Was it like a spreadsheet that you shared with somebody? What did this look like, this process?|
|Celeste: Yeah. So in this incident, it was just a one-page PowerPoint that I broke up into quadrants. We have a lot of different operating regions that we operate in, so I had one quadrant for each region, and then key projects that we were working on, highlighting key wins, and then also outlining upcoming opportunities and potential issues or threats just to keep transparency of-- You know. Not everything's always easy. And here's the harder things that I'm proactively working through.|
|Stacy: Excellent. So then you sent this to some leaders, right, at the organization. And then what was the-- You said that it was pretty well-received. Like, what was the actual feedback you received?|
|Celeste: Well, I think sometimes we can do really good work and nobody knows about it. Right? I mean, we're all so busy that what it did is just help people to see the good work that was being done in the HR function. And not all of it was me. I mean, certainly, I'm partnering with people on all the projects and all the processes and all the improvements and work that I was doing. It's definitely not a one-person show. So it gave me the ability to kind of tell a good new story for the HR function, not just myself. But at the same time, it gives the opportunity to highlight my voice a little bit. And it just-- It was like a monthly readout, almost like a little bit of a report card, if you will. And I think it could look a lot of different ways. I sent it to our HR leadership team, and then just some of my really key partners that were doing the work with me so that they could see that I was championing them as well.|
|Stacy: Yeah. And I think it also gives leaders the opportunity to speak up and to develop a dialogue with you about it, right? So you have obstacles on there, and you have challenges that you're facing. And it can start to open the door-- open the conversation up as well.|
|Celeste: Yep. And sometimes-- This can be different at a lot of companies, but sometimes it's really hard to get time to talk to a senior leader. And so it gave me the opportunity to just put something sort of under their nose or in their email that they could read and review at their leisure, when they have time for-- Opportunity presented and I think it's helped my visibility overall.|
|Stacy: And you talked a little bit about confidence as well, right? I mean, this has to play into your feeling of being more confident in your role.|
|Celeste: Yeah, I mean, the confidence piece is really, like I said, hard-won. I think there's a lot of-- We can tend to underplay or sell ourselves short a little bit. And I think it's sometimes a good reminder, like, when you're doing your year-end review and like, "I really, actually, did do a lot of good stuff this year." It's just to keep track of the good work that you're doing and make sure people know about it. Because we can get so busy, sometimes really good work can get overlooked. So it's important to remind yourself and build your confidence, and then remind others as well.|
|Stacy: It sounds like you've had this point of view for a long time. So what would you say is your particular method of career strategy, even from the beginning?|
|Celeste: Yeah. I think my career strategy has been one of, I'm somebody that kind of is constantly wanting to improve myself. I'm personally driven to grow and take on challenges and feel like I'm helping move the needle for the business, and showing up as the best version of myself. I heard a quote once; it said, "You should never compare yourself to somebody else, but compare yourself to yourself yesterday." And I really like that. It helps me think like, "What am I doing today to continue to grow Celeste?" And so I think my career path has really just been born of that. I've certainly done a lot of different things, but where are those opportunities and challenges that seem appealing and will grow me and help grow my career. And then I've been able to kind of link them to an area of skill that I'm really good at and really like. So I think that's also helped people champion me. Because people can't help move you forward unless they know what you really want to do. So you have to be able to tell people what you're interested in and advocate for yourself like that, as well.|
|Stacy: Yeah. So you have to know that first. And it sounds like, even just through asking yourself this question, like, "What can I do better than I did yesterday," that gives you an opportunity to even present that to look for those answers.|
|Celeste: Yeah. And I think it's-- Sometimes opportunities can come in different packages and you have to just be willing to try new things and figure out what you really like and what you're good at. And growth can come in all kinds of projects and challenges.|
|Stacy: So speaking of challenges, is there a time or a story that you could tell us, where this level of certainty at least in the willingness to take risks, right? It sounds like you have an ability to go for growth, to do hard stuff. You're not afraid to do that. But was there a point in your life where you just were like, "Oh my gosh! I don't know how I'm going to get through this"?|
|Celeste: Yeah. I mean, I've had a lot of those points, I think. I think one thing that comes to mind is just-- I've gone through some changes where I've been moved into roles that weren't necessarily of my choosing through just organizational changes. And I think in retrospect, some of those have been the best moves for me. We tend to think of career growth as constantly moving up the ladder versus necessarily across functional move or across kind of a deeper dive into something else. And some of those moves have been the best ones. And they require a little bit of patience and a little bit of trusting that the leaders are doing something for a reason. Certainly, a strategic development. In retrospect, some of those have been my best moves that I've done because they have grown [inaudible] in areas that-- in leadership, or skills, or systems, or processes that I didn't know.|
|Stacy: Yeah. It sounds like you have a really strong mindset, right, that you have your head on straight, you're always looking towards the future and possibilities. So even if the present circumstances are showing themselves as being challenging, or maybe not exactly how you had planned out, you're able to find the silver lining, so to speak.|
|Celeste: Yeah. I mean, there's growth and opportunity in everything if you look for it. I mean, certainly, if we feel like at times where I felt you start to get a little frustrated. I mean, I try to look for new opportunities before I feel stagnant. I don't want to ever get to a spot where I feel like I'm not learning or growing. So I'm trying to always sort of move myself forward before it might readily seem like a natural step, but.|
|Stacy: Yeah. So this promotion that you received in August to a director role, were you a shoo-in for that job? Was that just something that was handed to you, or was it something that you really had to advocate for and strategize to get it?|
|Celeste: Well, it was a role that we actually-- I did an interview for the role, so I was a role that I was promoted into. It was a role, though, that I definitely was interested in and expressed my interest in it. So I would say that fill into the bucket I'm advocating for myself. We have at [Newmont?] what they call individual development plan, so you kind of mark out the roles that you're interested in and what you're doing to develop yourself to get to those roles. And I had this-- this one definitely listed as like a core area of interest. But I also took the opportunity to go to leadership and let them know that I was a great fit for the job and here's why, and--|
|Stacy: Even before it was posted, or do you mean like once that it became an actual opportunity?|
|Celeste: Yeah, before it even became an opportunity. I mean, there are-- I wanted to make sure that as business changes came about, or opportunities presented themselves, that I was definitely interested in it. So I think sometimes your-- I just didn't want an opportunity to get missed, or somebody didn't know what I was interested in, so.|
|Stacy: Yeah. I feel like people think that right place and right time is just a thing that happens to us, but I think it's actually a thing that we create for ourselves.|
|Celeste: I agree. I mean, I think we [certainly?] [inaudible] create it by having people know what you want and asking for it and using your voice. And it's really funny example, but-- I have two daughters. I was at Starbucks with them, a couple years back, and we were in line getting drinks. And I asked one of them, "What do you want?" And one of them said, "I don't care." And I said, "You can't say that [laughter]. You have to know what you want and ask for it," and then-- and I think, whether it's Starbucks or your career, you have to be able to define what you want and ask for it. And the business changes, people change, opportunities come up that you might not anticipate. And so it's always good to make sure that, if you know what your path is, that you're communicating that, and if you're not sure what your path is-- because it took me a long time to figure out what lights me on fire on a daily basis, that you're turning enough stones to figure it out.|
|Stacy: So good. And it sounds like you had support along the way. So tell me a little bit about your mentors and relationships with different mentors and sponsors that help you figure this out.|
|Celeste: Yeah. I've had definitely some really good mentors and sponsors I think within the organization and externally. Our talent management group partnered with an organization to match us up with mentors that were external to the business a few years ago, and I had a woman that helped me for probably about a year through a pretty challenging career time. And some of what she spoke in really landed with me. She was the person that reminded me it doesn't matter what happens; it matters how you respond. And then I've also been able to develop some really good sponsors, not only previous managers that I've worked for but raising my hand for different opportunities, such as-- we have what we call business resource groups. They're sort of employee interest groups, different interests that allow us to bring our whole self to work. We have one called [Women?] and Allies that really champions professional development of women, which-- that's very close to my heart, so I raise my hand to lead that group for a couple years and as part of that, and that-- a lot of people. So a lot of people get line of sight to who I am, what I can do, how I lead and develop sponsors through those types of opportunities as well, that people that have a better visibility to opportunities in the organization are always good people to-- that should know your skill set and be able to speak for you.|
|Stacy: Yeah, and it also helps you test along the way, like what it is that you're actually going to be good at. So while you're willing to take these big risks, it sounds like the risks are actually more strategic.|
|Celeste: Yeah, I think so. I mean, everything, there's-- I suppose it comes down to perspective, but you're always gaining something out of every risk or every challenge. You're either discovering that you love something and you're good at it, or that's maybe not your cup of tea and there's another path you should try. But, I mean, there's-- it just depends on-- nothing's really wasted if you choose to look at it as growth one way or the other.|
|Stacy: And so you talked a little bit about the Women and Allies group, and then you're also on a board. Can you tell us a little bit more about that pull for you to help other women and girls in business and how that drives you and motivates you for the actual work that you do on a daily basis?|
|Celeste: Sure. I think it's [all?] always been something that sits pretty close to my heart. I have two daughters, a sister and I really as I've built my career and gained confidence want to make sure that I'm pulling other people. Other people have pulled me forward just like with this sponsorship and mentorship and I feel really compelled to do what I can to pull people up as well. This is not my original thought but I heard the quote one time to, "Climb the stairs sideways." And people are always pulling us up so we should pull up others as well and that really drives me. And one of the best parts for me of being a leader is I get to lead an amazing team of people and speak into their careers and help figure out what lights them on fire and try to help create those opportunities for them and that feels really personally meaningful to me at the end of every day.|
|Stacy: And as you've been able to move more into a leadership role I'm sure that those opportunities are coming more frequently for you?|
|Celeste: I think you can create those opportunities even when you're not in a leadership role as well. Certainly we have the opportunity to sponsor each other even in just like speaking up in a meeting to say, "Stacy did a great job on that project and helped a lot." Being able to just champion people through using your voice. But I think certainly you can actually help see what career opportunities might be open in a business or you need to hire someone in on your team. There's certainly satisfaction in being able to tangibly help with those kind of opportunities as well.|
|Stacy: So you talked for a minute about your daughters and your sister and different people that are actually in your family life. And one of the things that comes to mind when you talk about all these really amazing things that you're actually doing is you work really hard. It sounds like you are a very busy person and you're a hard worker. How do you manage self-care and I was thinking about Kara and with her coaching and the different tools that she offers people. What are some of those practices that you can share with us that actually helps you keep all of this stuff in perspective?|
|Celeste: That's a good question. I think there's no magic formula. Certainly the wheels come off the bus sometimes. I remember one time I was making a lasagna for one of my daughter's team dinners and I was making it about five in the morning. And was feeling very accomplished until I realized that I had forgotten to put cheese in it. And the whole big bucket of cheese was sitting on the side of the counter [laughter]. I had to dump it all on the top. But--|
|Stacy: You still went for it though. I love it.|
|Celeste: I'm like, "I'm just going to put it all on the top." So we can't ever do it all perfectly but I think some of the things that help me are I'm a very good prioritizer so I know, I call them my must-bes, but what are the things that absolutely will move the needle for me and I focus there first. Whether it business or personal. What are the things that have to get done, so your top three or top five in everyday. And everything else can fall by the wayside or get moved until tomorrow. I also get up pretty early. I'm a pretty disciplined-- I sort of exercise self [inaudible] through discipline so I get up pretty early and exercise probably five days a week and take time to do gratitude and just so I have some time to myself at the beginning of the day. Because I have this really big sense of accomplishment and some positive energy going into every day if I've taken that time for myself in the early hours. But it doesn't happen naturally, you have to demagnetize yourself from bed and get up early which has helped me a lot.|
|Stacy: Yeah. Yeah. That's great. It seems like you've really both prioritized your career and your self-care , it goes hand in hand. And then the self-care actually helps motivate you for the day to day at work?|
|Celeste: Yep. And it's been a learned process right. I think that there's been times in my career where I'm certainly somebody that can work long hours and I've had to step back and make sure that I really model work-life health through example for my team.|
|Stacy: Yeah. Yeah. So I'm wondering if you have any words of advice for our listeners? Somebody who's listening to this, they're struggling, they have a good sense of their career path, maybe they haven't been able to advocate for themselves or they just feel like they're getting blocked along the way but they're not really able to get that recognition or make it to that next level. Do you have any words of wisdom or advice to them?|
|Celeste: Yeah. I mean I would say look for opportunities to raise your hand. Be willing to take on an extra project or do something extra to help people see who you are, what you can do and build those relationships. That might help take you to the next level or give you that, honestly, visibility to you and your work that will help get you to the next level.|
|Stacy: Yeah. It sounds like there's this aspect to it which is thinking about what you can do, right, rather than all the roadblocks in front of you but more like, "How can I raise my hand? How can I put myself out there? What are some projects that I can take on?" Is that aspect to what you're saying?|
|Celeste: Absolutely. I mean I think sometimes we certainly need help from our managers to define our career path but mostly we need help from ourselves. I mean we need to be able to proactively look for, what do we want to do and how do we grow and what does that look like and where are the opportunities. And there are probably a lot of different places if you just really pay attention and look for them and ask people for them. People always need help with something. We're all busy so there's opportunities if you're looking for it.|
|Stacy: And then what's next for you, for Celeste, what's your 2020 goals?|
|Celeste: My 2020 goals? I'm trying to just really step into and be maybe the best version of myself I think in my current - I'm still fairly new in this role - and really trying to make a positive mark and add value on a day to day basis and take care of myself in the process. I think long term I certainly want to continue to grow into and toward the next role, whether it is some sort of ultimately an executive leadership position or whatnot. But that's going to require me to continue to identify my gaps and look for opportunities to grow. I certainly need to continue to learn more about HR and sort of the depth of all the knowledge that I can gain in this space as well. So yeah I'll continue to look for opportunities for growth and sort of strategically chart that path for myself as well.|
|Stacy: Yeah. Well, I look forward to having you back on the podcast in a year from now and seeing where you are and all the different shifts in life has taken you on. But this interview has been super inspiring and I'm really thankful that you were willing to share your story with us. Is there anything else that you want to add, anything I forgot to ask?|
|Celeste: No, I don't think so. I mean I would just say for people just to keep showing up and keep doing good work. The perseverance piece of it really pays off ultimately because there's so much change and I think about even just in my current job I've had five different roles at Newmont and four of them were brand new opportunities that were sort of created and then I stepped into them. So I mean you never know, or you don't see an opportunity, something could be there tomorrow that wasn't before and you just have to kind of stick at it and I think perseverance is really key to success.|
|Stacy: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being here with us today. If you want to connect with Celeste I'll link to her LinkedIn in the show notes. Otherwise, I wish you all the best and I look forward to connecting with again you in the future.|
|Celeste: Thank you so much for having me.|
|Stacy: Take care.|
|Celeste: Okay. Thank you.|
About Your Host
Hi, I’m Stacy Mayer, a Leadership Coach for emerging executives who are ready to take their career to the next level or seeking more fulfillment in their current organizational roles.
I help corporate managers reposition themselves to advance their careers, build confidence in their ability to solve problems in real-time, and step into their higher leadership potential so they can make a bigger impact in their organizations.
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