“There is a time and a place for humility.”
I clapped when Kim Blue said this during our interview.
Kim is a Human Resources Executive and the Global Head of People Experience Partners At Zoom, where she has been leading the company’s worldwide team of HR business partners since October of 2020 (ie: since the middle of the pandemic).
She’s a brilliant executive, an inspiring thought leader, and a master of what she calls ‘executive advocacy.’
Executive advocacy refers to your willingness to advocate for yourself like an executive leader.
It means being confident in your skills and aligned with your leadership values so you can show up powerfully to any interview, meeting, or situation.
In this episode, Kim and I dive into how executive advocacy will help you own your value, step into your next interview with confidence, and excel in whatever role you’re in.
This episode is absolutely packed with practical tips and serious moments of inspiration. Grab a pen and paper and hit play!
What You'll Learn:
- What executive advocacy is and exactly how you can develop your own
- Kim’s tips for showing up to an interview like an executive leader
- What it takes to become a ‘corporate athlete’
- How Kim developed a powerful thought leadership platform – despite having a day job
- How Kim coaches up to leaders in her organization
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Ep #48: Becoming a Sought-after Thought Leader with Eva Jannotta
- Download my Promotion Roadmap
- Connect with Kim on LinkedIn
- Connect with me on LinkedIn
- Join the waitlist for my 6-week group coaching intensive, Executive Ahead of Time
Stacy Mayer: Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career. I'm your host, Stacy Mayer.
And super excited about today's interview that I'm bringing you.
I was recently introduced to this amazing executive named Kim through a dear friend of mine who you've heard on this podcast, Eva Jannotta.
Eva Jannotta is one of those women that I referred to as a super connector. And if any of you aspire to be someone in terms of knowing a lot of people and making connections, and I think Adam Grant actually talks about this in his book somewhere, I've definitely heard this advice from him, is the best way to really support people is to connect them with other people. And Eva is one of those brilliant thought leaders in and of herself. And that's what she does. She helps amazing people will come out with their own thought leadership.
And so she met Kim on a panel discussion that she was attending and she said, you know what, you have to meet my friend Stacy. And I'm so grateful that she did.
So let me give you a little bit of background about Kim, and then we're just going to dive right in.
Kim joined Zoom as the global head of People Experience Partners, where she leads the company's worldwide team of HR business partners in October of 2020. So that's something I want to talk about. What that was like moving over to zoom in the middle of the pandemic. And prior to that she created and executed organizational blueprints for top organizations, including ESPN and Microsoft.
Kim, thank you so much for being here with us today.
Kim Blue: Thank you so much for having me. I'm very excited to join your podcast.
Stacy Mayer: So I mentioned a little teaser in your introduction. What was it like? So I imagine, right, just as a lay person behind the scenes that Zoom has been through a lot of change this year. Every single one of us as individuals have also been through an extreme amount of change. So what was it like transitioning into an environment right in the middle of the pandemic into this higher level executive role as well? So tell us how that transition was for you.
Kim Blue: That's a great question. And it has been an amazing transition because I've only been in my role and with the organization for six months. So I'm new on all fronts. And here's the here's the real thing that I tell people. This is what bakes your noodle eventually when you start to think about it.
As you grow in your career and as you advance and that career trajectory increases. Once you reach a certain level, there is less of that opportunity or that time to ramp or to onboard. You step into these roles with that industry knowledge, with subject matter expertise. And that is what really solidifies the impact that you're able to make. Day one, right?
Organizations like Zoom that underwent such meteoric growth in 2020 really needed to bring in smart thought leaders who were innovative, creative and who were not afraid to roll up their sleeves and dive into what the change management looked like and where there was opportunity to make impact.
And so when you're doing something like that, there's no time to really ramp. You're kind of ramping on the fly, which has served me well because in this particular case, I was bringing a lot of my industry knowledge up front. And that's what I've been doing. So it's experience, what I've seen, what I've created and how that can be implemented immediately into the needs of the organization. So I tell people: you only get to jump into a volcano once and Zoom was my volcano. But it's been immersive and uncomfortable and amazing all at the same time. It's exactly the thing that I needed to do for myself.
Stacy Mayer: Oh my goodness, I love that image of jumping into a volcano and all of the promise and all of the fear attached to it. But so I'm just going to go straight up and ask you.
I was looking at your LinkedIn profile and...so let's just break this down. You have words and titles like Head and Global Business Partner? Let's just say: OK, manager, senior manager, director.' And then you also say something like 'vice president'. So I think that it's probably your current role might be more of the equivalent of a vice president type role. And the reason why I'm asking this is because when you were at ESPN, it's listed as senior manager. And so I want to hear about that transition and how you had to show up in that interview process. I think this could be incredibly valuable for our listeners who are really looking to make that leap into executive leadership. And it's also possible you were doing that role as a senior manager. So just tell us all about it. I'd love it.
Kim Blue: No, I'm so glad you asked me that question, because when we think about career trajectory and we think about that runway, there is a bit of alchemy that comes with understanding how you need to navigate your career. It's like: 'OK, I'm in this space, which is at this level or this is where my title is or this is how I met. I'm in the industry, but I aspire to get to here. And I don't have a clue on how to take this stone and turn it into a diamond., but I've got to perform something, I've got to do something. So when I was with ESPN, I was a senior HR business partner or a senior HR manager. And I had responsibility for a certain type of client groups in terms of size and scope and complexity. And the thing that I loved about that was they offered me the opportunity to look at different types of client groups or different types of organizations, all within one umbrella. So instead of having one client-aligned group as a business partner, I kind of had many organizations that were holistic. So, for example, one of the organizations that I supported at ESPN had the sales inside of it. It also had marketing inside of it. It also had engineering inside. That was so I was already supporting these matrixed organizations any way, or matrixed teams. So that's what started getting me into this place of knowing that, hey, I can think about the different types of our resources or partnership that is needed. Because what I did with one client group, I couldn't do with another. The marketing and sales team needed things that were very different than engineering. And so I had to have that HR savvy, that organizational savvy to say we can't be cookie cutter here. The way I influence engineering leaders was not the same way that I influence the sales and marketing leaders. But those were the transferable skills that helped me evolve as a HR professional. And so by the time I got to Microsoft and I stepped into a formal HR manager role, again, while I didn't have any direct reports in that role, I also had oversight of virtual teams that I was able to manage. And that really is what helped connect the dots for me around saying this is like an organization in itself. I also had incredible functional partners at both ESPN and Microsoft, just amazing, amazing partners and talent acquisition and diversity, inclusion and compensation. That's really what makes the success of any leader is the team that's around them. And so we had a lot of trust there. And I was able to really step into a leadership role that allowed me to be the leader to my functional partners and my centers of excellence partners, but also be very ingrained and be a student of the business.
My client group at Microsoft is 2000 people. It was just me. But I had an amazing support system around me and partnerships around me. And so that allowed me to really get in with the leaders and sit alongside them as that strategic thought leader. And that is what changed from being more of an administrative transactional business partner where I was helping them, but it wasn't as frequent, to moving into the role at Microsoft, where I literally was at the table with my leaders saying, how are we thinking about things like talent development? How then does that tie into performance management? What then does that mean as we're thinking about our charters and the work that needs to happen? And do we have the resources and the roadmaps that we need? So that really helped me level up my thinking alongside my academic journey. I'd like to tell people that I am a practitioner scholar. So I did the work first and then I went back and pursued the the fancy letters behind my name to help solidify my journey. But bringing all of that to the table, I think, is what really helped me make that transition into the executive leadership space, because this is my first executive role.
Stacy Mayer: Can I just can I just point out...I want you guys to look at the way that she just talked about this. A lot of times when I get clients that are looking to make that transition, like I can tell them all day long: 'Look, all of this stuff is executive leadership. This is what you're doing. But but they're still stuck in what what what they think of me. But you wrote you wrote your own story, and it was based in truth. You're like, look, I am doing this work. I am with the executive leaders. And so now I want to talk about that interview.So you have you're interviewing for this high level role. You already said one of the key differentiators was that you were bringing a ton to the table. You were going to be able to work right out of the gate. Can you share with us maybe one tip or something that you did in that interview process, whether it's from a mindset or a practical standpoint, that you how you showed up as that executive leader, that you were just like, oh, that was good?
Kim Blue: Yes, absolutely. And and so for me, I think this is an important question, because when you're looking at career transition in this way, you come up against so many things. Imposter syndrome shows up or you come up against these notions of confidence and am I really seen in that way? And so what I actually did in order to prepare was when I spent time with the reviewing the description of the role, I actually wrote down for myself the things that I knew I was already doing and examples of how I had done that over the course of my career. I wanted to be rock solid. I wanted to leave no reason for anybody to think that Kim was not the right person for this role. If you were going to hire me, you were going to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I am the best candidate and here's why. And I also spent time aligning that to questions around the organization and saying: 'OK, so, this is the first time that the organization has had this role. What have been the other roles that have come into the organization that this role is going to partner closely with?' Because in previous experiences, here are the things that I have done or here the teams that I've interacted with. Is that a similar operating model? So it was a very clear about connecting the dots between the dots, between my experience, being able to speak to that and aligning that to what I saw in the description of the role.
And then once I was able to align that algorithm, it made it very easy for me to ensure that I was tooting my own horn in the right way. I could still remain humble. Anybody who knows me knows that I'm very humble. But at this level there is a time and a place for humility. In the interview, you have to have that balance of you have to be able to get out there and advocate for yourself. Executive advocacy is huge. And because you're stepping into a role where people are getting to know you, especially a role that's going to be with an organization as visible as the one that I'm aligned to, you have to be able to say, no, I can do this and I'm capable of doing that. And let me tell you why I am different from other candidates who also may be able to do that. So I had to really get comfortable with advocating for myself, which is not something that I'm comfortable doing at all. But I knew going into this role, if I wanted to be successful, I needed to step in and I really needed to do things that I did not do for myself in prior roles. And I would advocate for myself, but nowhere near the way that I did in consideration for this role. So that was really big for me.
Stacy Mayer: I love it too, because it sounds like, you know, you used the interview process as a way to step into your fear, to begin to advocate for yourself to to really strategically plan out how you speak about yourself. But then I can tell that it's also transitioned into the role itself. Like you showed them: OK, this is the leader that I'm going to show up. And so I'm going to advocate for resources for my team. I am going to put myself out there. I'm not a meek performer here who doesn't get it done. So you're like, I'm going to show up in this exact same way as a leader. And I think that that's the missing piece that we forget, is that it's part of this advocacy for ourself, I like how you framed it. Executive advocacy is teaching us how to become that executive, how to really show up in that role, because that's one hundred percent what they need.
Kim Blue: Yes. And it's one of the things that, and I love the way he said, because one of the quotes that I absolutely buy is that you have to step into the fear to find joy. And so I knew that I wanted to be able to lead at this level. I knew that I wanted to have a different type of impact and wanted to leave a team, lead a team. I wanted to have that global footprint. All things that I'm wildly afraid of, but I still did them because I am a human resource. That means that I am passionate about people. I am a social scientist by trade. I study human behavior in organizations. That's what organization development means. So all of my gifts in a leadership capacity put me in the best position to be able to leave the right type of impact. And so for me, I come at it from a very genuine place. So it's a no brainer when it comes to being able to advocate for myself. If I'm coming at it from aligning with my values and being grounded in the things that I know I am good at and grounded in the things that really allow me to say confidently: 'Nope, I'm your girl. I'm the person that you want for this. And this is why this is what you can expect from me. And you're not going to have any regrets. Give me the room to swim. Don't let me drown. That's all I ask as a leader.
Stacy Mayer: So one of the concepts that I teach my leaders is how to 3x their vision. And so really what we're doing is we're describing our C-Suite title. So wherever they are in the role, it's like where do we want to be in five, 10 years? A little bit bigger. And one of the trends that I've been noticing in business, and as more women continue to get themselves promoted into these higher level executive positions, is that the titles are changing. And so, we have chief impact officer, we have chief heart officer. Oh, that sounds fun. You're a vice president of people experience. I feel like the people thing has has really evolved in the last couple of years as a title. So can you tell me anything about...I want to talk a little bit more about the platform of femininity and leadership, bringing these diverse voices to the leadership table. I think it's why we're able to tap into things like impact, people, heart, that are coming out in the actual titles. But it's actually giving us as leaders who are looking to advance, something to strive for. You're like, oh, I want that right.
Kim Blue: So the fundamentals haven't changed. I tell people all the time, I am a people strategist. People strategy is my jam and it's just a nice way to say. I'm a great HR professional. But often one of the things that I also do is draw a positive connotation through just different word economy to human resources. If we look at the history of the word HR, Human Resources or personnel or the evolution of it, it always comes with more of a negative connotation. Or more of sort of a defined or siloed definition of what that experience is. And so when you change the word economy, you help people think differently about what the experience is that they want to have. I tell people all the time, I'm all about positive people experience. I'm all about positive HR. So to the point where I even speak about the humanization of the role and getting away from it being such this foundational thing where you're referring to a human who performs a function by their function. Case in point, when you walk into a room and people say, oh, you know, you've got to behave with the chit chat, HR's in the room, which is very common, right?
Stacy Mayer: Yeah, totally.
Kim Blue: And I finally one day there was a matter that I was dealing with some of the leaders that I supported at Microsoft on, and it was a very human based matter. Had elements of culture and some DNI and we really needed to approach it. And I was coaching these leaders. And it just so happened at the time, most of the leaders in this particular team were all men and there was one woman and then another leader who had just joined the team.
And the leader of the team said: 'Kim, what is it that we can do to really help this process? You've laid out a phenomenal approach for us, like we're committed, we're going to follow it.'.
And I said: 'You have to humanize me in this effort. If you're going to leverage me as your partner, what you can't do is in your communications, when you're talking to your direct reports, is that you can't say, and our HR partners are going to be with us. This is the time where you have to see people as people. And that includes me. So I'm asking you very kindly, when you are talking about what's happening to say and Kim is going to join us so that she can help ensure that we are staying aligned to the process. Or you can say and Kim is going to join us because there's some learnings that she can do with us along this journey. Please don't say HR's in the room. Or our HR partners in the room.'
I said: 'The minute you humanize me, you reduce the anxiety of my presence. And I am here to do good work, but you have to open up that runway in order for me to do it.'
And I had a leader after that, tell me, he said: 'I was on video. He said I shot my video off because my eyes welled up with tears. He said it never occurred to me that we were not humanizing you by not using your name. And it's such a simple gesture that we can do.'.
And so when you think about that in the scope of everything. I mean, again. Something that's so important when you're talking about the titling and how we get to things like the magnitude of the word impact, the magnitude of the word strategy or chief customer. Whatever that is, because it now changes everything we think or think we know or have been associated with the understanding of what those words are. So I think this is the best time to be able to look at how we bring that word economy in to try to translate that same feeling or that experience that we want people to have, but also understand about the culture of the organization. Right. Because that's really what we're reflecting in these titles is the culture.
Stacy Mayer: Oh, that's yeah. It basically states in a higher level the values of the organization. And it also says this is really what we expect at these higher level, that people are the forefront, that, you know, that our hearts that are impacted and. Yeah, so big. That's so great. Thank you.
So I noticed in your bio that it says that in your earlier career you were a personal trainer and then you transitioned into this. And I hear a great deal about that. Like, I can totally tell it. Like you're you're a teacher, right? Like it seems like you're a guide, a facilitator, a person that wants to be collaborative. Right. And so can you tell us about maybe some of your early experiences in your career or any stories that you'd be willing to share?
Kim Blue: Absolutely. One of the things that people ask me when they bring this up and they say you started out in your career as a wellness trainer or a fitness coach. And then how did you get to HR? And what I tell people is that I've always been a coach. I've always been someone who has helped people align to a narrative to gain by. When you are personal training someone and you are helping them understand why their health is important, why they need to choose this path in order to get healthy. You are still getting to the very core of what it is that is important to someone. Their health is important. Here is why. And you have to bring them along on the journey so that they're committed and so that they get to the results that they want to do. It's the same thing in leadership. When you are leading a team, you still have to get by-in and you have to bring them on the journey. You have to be that authentic and transparent leader. Right. And it helps when you are doing that because those transferable skills that I'm talking about allow you to be able to be more consistent and they allow you to evolve in your own personal experience. So for me, going from a wellness trainer to an our business partner to a more senior business partner to now an executive leader, I not foundationally changed anything that I'm doing. I'm still coaching. I'm still mentoring. I am still driving narratives. I'm still encouraging and influencing people to choose their career in this case instead of choosing their health. But at the same time, I'm sort of navigating this notion of what it means to be a corporate athlete. So you've got to commit. You've got to take care of yourself, but you have to take care of yourself before we can take care of the organization. And oh by the way, Org health extends into HR too. So it goes both ways. I've always done that. I'm always naturally been the person that's encouraged and motivated and been a leader. I've just grown in my leadership capacity and then I've been able to leverage those those transferable skills in a way that has allowed me to show up in different types of organizations or in different places, wherever the organization is on their own journey and saying, OK, this is now what you need. I'm bringing in these knowledge points. These levels of capabilities, but I'm doing so knowing that I still have to gain buy-in. I still need to build credibility. All things that you have to do as a personal trainer, you're building relationships foundational as a leader. You're influencing bringing people along on the journey. You've got to be savvy. You've got to be able to adapt to situations that those are things I've been doing literally since my personal training days. And while I'm not a trainer any more in that regard, I do take this notion of being a corporate athlete very seriously because there's a lot of things that you just go back to that just serve you as as a leader. And I can tell you probably early on teaching fitness classes. It's kind of like having a virtual team. You've got people there who are saying, guide us, lead us, give us the direction. What's the strategy? What's our end? It's no different. And those are a lot of the things that I found have been some of the best moments of my career. When I think about having those groups and people and look up to me and say, can we trust you? We know that you're committed. You show up every day. You give us your all. Thank you for that. That's that's leadership. It just it just evolves. It goes from one environment to another. And I've been very fortunate to be able to make that transition.
Stacy Mayer: And one of the things as you're as you're talking. I just got really super curious about is a big transition for some of my clients, is that they're really great managers and so they are able to coach their teams then that way and inspire their teams, but they kind of don't know how to talk up. Right. So they don't know how to talk. And I get this instinct, and it's just from the way that you're talking, that it's that you've probably learned some lessons and have the ability to also coach up. So would you be willing to share how you're guiding at your level executive leadership and your boss and your boss's boss and the organization? Would you be willing to share any of that with us?
Kim Blue: Yes. There's a measure of savvy that comes with it, but it's different types of savvy. Sometimes it's Org savvy. You kind of have to know when to listen and when to lean in. And then there is a level of this, and I'm going to go back to that executive advocacy, but there's some executive savvy that comes with that as well and really getting clear on what are my values? And that's where I am grounded the most. So if I know that honesty, accountability and integrity are things that are important to me, that's how I'm going to engage with you. That's how you're going to experience me. But I'm going to speak from those things as well. And I also, up front, what the standard is with folks, I tell people: 'listen, I'm not a micromanager, but I do want to understand what's important to you when it comes to your leadership style.' And then I use the types of...I'm going to say language or messaging or word economy that helps appeal to a leader. So if I'm coaching a leader, for example, on the design of their organization. And they're coming up against some people issues, I'll say to them: 'What are the things that are most important to you? And have you openly communicated that to your organization?' So it's not a difficult question, but it is a thought provoking question. There's a way to put a leader on the spot without doing so in such a pointed way.
Kim Blue: There is this notion of still demonstrating care in your word choice, still operating out of respect in your word economy, ensuring that there is trust in the way that you show up. So I speak and operate from my principles because I also know the response that I get back. I want to be regarded in the way that my values are. I don't ever want to be in violation of my values, nor do I want to violate the values of anybody that I'm communicating with. And so for me, sometimes it's being OK with the pause. Sometimes it's being intentional about saying: 'let me sit with that for a moment, because you've shared some things with me and I don't want to rush through an answer. I want to make sure that I'm bringing you some thoughtful data to consider before we make a decision.' Sometimes it's just saying: 'how do you want to be regarded and or and or dealt with or engaged with? Do you want somebody who's going to be a little closer to the weeds with you or do you want more of a strategic thought partner? And when I say partner, I mean, let me help you think through these things. And this is what that looks like. If there's bigger occurances or things that are happening, yes, I can be right alongside you. Or what are the things that keep you up at night? So to speak. Or what are the things that you feel like you're already doing well? I use appreciative inquiry often, which is what are we already doing? Well, then how do we build from that? It also makes it easier to address the opportunities that come up when you're thinking and where's the where's the work? So I found that there are frameworks and things that allow me to ask a very simple question. I don't need to use a ton of big words. That's the other thing. Sometimes I hear a question that's so convoluted and one of the things that my fellow industry colleagues are like: 'you are so great at taking something that is just complex and bringing it down.' Simple questioning, it doesn't need to be... Just because they've got a big title doesn't mean that you have to talk to them in a big way. And a professor in grad school who used to say: 'brief and deep.' That's what you give them. You make it brief, but you make it deep. And as in my coaching training that's what I that's what I aspire to. And that's how I treat the leaders. I don't try to talk over them or above them. I meet them right where they are and I talk to them. Period.
Stacy Mayer: Oh, so good.
Kim Blue: And that's served me really.
Stacy Mayer: And I also want to point out that as Kim was talking, she said, I always say to true to my core values of honesty, accountability and integrity. And I was like, bam, because so I do a lot of work with clients on how to find their values and how to uncover their values. And so I just want to show this is such a fantastic example of not only has Kim done the work and understands her values and really knows what those words mean to her, she's living by it. That's what draws her to have these open, honest conversations. It's what I'm sure what draws her to have that voice at the table to really make that impact, but also talk about executive advocacy. She just brilliantly weaved it into the conversation. You may not have even noticed it. And yet now I identify him as a person who her core values are honesty, accountability and integrity. Talk about simplicity. And it just sticks in my mind. And I'm like: 'yep, that's who Kim is.'
Kim Blue: But it's so easy to get away from that. And I think if I go back to a question you asked earlier about making that transition into the executive space in particular for the first time, it's so easy to align what you think you should be doing based on what you observe, or perhaps what you what you've read or even just your own interpretation of leadership. So if you don't do the work and define for yourself the type of leader that you want to be, you can, unnecessarily find yourself in a space where your brand or the way that people experience you is absolutely misaligned with what you actually want to be known for. One of the things that I tell teams and partners all the time when I talk about honesty and I say to folks: 'listen, I'm always going to be honest with you. I'm never going to tell you an untruth. Now, let me define that for you. What that means is, is that you're not always going to like what I'm going to say, but you're always going to know that I'm speaking to you from a place of truth, because I want you to have honest feedback, because that's how we move forward.
That's how we design the path towards end goal or whatever the case may be. That's honesty for me. And then I say to them, it's OK. If you feel something about the fact that I'm being honest and you don't like it or you feel a certain way. But remember, ultimately, I'm committed to my own honesty to you. And that's what I'm always going to deliver. Because, again, I don't want to be in violation of my own values. When I'm in violation of my values, I can't show up authentically. And when I can't show up authentically that I'm not in a position to establish boundaries. And if I can't establish boundaries, then I can't take care of myself. No pun intended, but it's my blueprint. Right? That's what I live by. It's this whole values, vulnerability, boundaries and self care. That's my algorithm for how to do this thing every day.
Stacy Mayer: You are good. But the other thing is I want everybody to also remember when we were talking about the idea of managing up and stuff, it's like so having this integrity, having these boundaries, having clear values does not mean that you can't meet the other person exactly where they are. Right. We don't just come in and bulldoze people with our values and be like, this is not right. And so you just had such an eloquent explanation of doing both. But it sounds like it's really rooted in in you and understanding you. And then that allows you to meet other people where they are.
Kim Blue: Exactly. If I'm not good with me, there's no way I can be good with you. Because I'm still dealing with my own crap. Yeah. And I have to deal with myself first. And ultimately, if I'm not dealing with myself, that's what gets projected in our relationship. And now I come to the table and cover the table and my stuff and my unresolved things. And there's no space there for you to put any of your stuff, which is what I'm coming to the table to help you work through in terms of my profession. And now. We don't have any place to go because there's no space for your stuff, because I haven't dealt with myself. So as long as I stay true to myself...And listen, I'm not saying I get it right every day. It's work. It is a commitment to myself. It is a journey. And I have to really be intentional around saying what is the space that I'm in? Simple things like asking for help. In order to create that space. OK, I have to be right. So my value is honesty, being honest with myself is I need to ask for help. Ok, that means I need to be vulnerable. But being vulnerable allows me to ask for that helps. And I can put a boundary in place to say this is what I need in order to get this done. And then that that's a form of self care. Vulnerability is a form of self care. And the boundary is the application through which you experience that self care. But you have to do that work and you have to be OK saying: 'this is what I need. And if I don't get what I need, how am I showing up in this?' Secure your own oxygen mask before helping others. If it is a metaphor to live one hundred percent. My oxygen is my values. I got to breathe before I can help somebody else. And if I'm not breathing, I am of no use to anybody around me.
Stacy Mayer: So speaking of helping somebody else, why do you personally feel motivated to have that voice at the table? Like I asked him, this isn't the end game for your career. I believe that there's more in store for you. And so, why why do you feel motivated to do more and to even continue to rise into higher levels of executive leadership?
Kim Blue: I know that I'm operating fully in my gifts. The things that I have been blessed to be able to do, the opportunities that I've been able to have have really put me in a position to operate in my values and operate authentically. I don't ever want to leave this place or to leave a role knowing that I kept everything that I had to myself. That is not who I am as a human. It's not what I believe we should do with our time while we're on this earth. And what we know is that it is fleeting at best. And so while I am here and you heard me say earlier, I am a human resource, that is literally what I am. And I bring all of my gifts to the table because ultimately the path that I leave for someone to follow me or to widen or to improve, that's all it is. Right. It is a path for you to now put your impact on it. So allow me to be the foundation on which you get to be great or be greater than what it is that I was or what I did. If the things that I did or the examples that I have or my shoulders, if I'm the giant upon whose shoulders you want to stand, let me be that, because that is the thing that lets me know that I've used my gifts and abilities. Our time on this earth is so short. I don't ever want to have a moment where I feel like I wasn't able to contribute in some way, if I have something to be able to give. That is what we're here for. We are here to be able to be kind. We are here to be able to share our gifts. And then we are here to ensure that this space is better than how we came into it. When my when my son grows up, I want him to know that mommy had an amazing impact. And I want him to feel that. And I want people who get to know him and say: 'I knew her, she did great things, and you should be proud of the work that she has done and the impact that she has laid because she's now lay the path for you to be able to go and you, your friends, whomever, to go and do great things or greater things than what she did. That's that's what it's all about for me.
Stacy Mayer: Allow me to be the foundation where you get to be great. Oh, that is the Post-it note that all of you should have on your on your computer. Like talk about motivation. And when you say it's not easy, that's also because you understand that you're a corporate athlete. Right. And you understand that that is just not something you don't just kind of roll out of bed and see what happens. Right. Like you're but the reward is also there because of that. Right. And the impact that you're able to make. And now I want to transition into thought leadership.
So you're here on this podcast. I know you've been at other podcast interviews, panel discussions. You're on boards. So what is actually going on? So I feel like you've got a day job, right?
Kim Blue: I do. I do.
Stacy Mayer: Let's talk about this other impact that you're looking to make and really grow in your own thought leadership.
Kim Blue: I have been fortunate enough to have been invited to serve on some really great boards that cover a lot of different areas of interest and passion for me, one of which is around diversity and inclusion in the HR space. One that is a little bit of a passion around technology and health and wellness that are all my foundation's. It ultimately connects back to the experience that people are going to have, and for me, those are all places where I get to show up and bring my experience. I get to be a human resource. One of the things that I love is helping people identify what success is. And a very, very amazing friend of mine wrote this beautiful definition of success. And in it she talks about being more than a resource. She talks about being the plug without the need for reciprocity. Right. Those are all things that I relate to. She says, you know, be remembered because you were genuinely interested and not just interesting. That's it. I am fascinated by the 'why'. People's 'why'. What their motivation is. And so this gives me an opportunity outside of my day job to connect with the community. It can be so easy in our daily life to just sort of be tunnel vision. You go in, you do your work, you send your emails, you're on your Zoom calls, and then you transition to your home life, whatever that may look like for you.
And there's a whole world out there that still needs care and feeding in a particular way. And so you can extend your gifts to that and put yourself in a position to help better whatever their passion is. Then again, you are showing up and giving your gifts in a way, and I don't want to hold on to any of that. So the thought leadership there also allows me to expand my network. And it's some learning from me. Remember, I don't have all the answers. I do a lot of reading and I spend a lot of time watching other people. But it's also great exposure for me to say: 'Well, what are the people thinking about? Interested in? How are they motivated? What's important to them? What's on their minds?' Because I do it for one singular organization. So this allows me to stay connected in a way that gives me that human connection that I need outside of my day job, so to speak. So I find great value in my board roles and the opportunity to just give back in that way. It's just amazing, right? Amazing for me to do it. And it's very much speaks to my values of integrity, which is if I tell you I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it. And that gives me the space to really live better.
Stacy Mayer: So any final words of wisdom for a corporate leader that's looking to transition into executive leadership? You've given us so much today. I just want to check in there.
Kim Blue: Yes. So I think final thoughts are going to be you always bet on yourself. You are able to operate in a growth mindset. And that's what I mean when I say bet on yourself. You don't have to go off of the words or the feedback that anybody gave you. It's beneficial to ensure that you've got knowledge about where you are, where you need to improve or things to think about. But you should always bet on yourself because you are your best choice, period. As long as you choose you, people are going to see you've done the work, you've done the investment, and you can never go wrong choosing yourself. So always choose yourself and always know that your value is your value. And you know what that word is and you know what it is you're going to bring to the table. So when you are in the position to be able to step into whatever your next role is or to step into that fear, your joy is just on the other side of that. So always choose you. Never a wrong choice. You can never go wrong betting on yourself. I did. I bet on myself. Every single career move that I've made from ESPN to Microsoft, from Microsoft to Zoom and wherever I will go either in Zoom or outside of Zoom. But I am betting on Kim because that is a sure thing and it's never going to let me down.
Stacy Mayer: Oh, I love it. Kim, thank you so, so much for being here today. So how can we find you if we want to connect with you? What's the best way?
Kim Blue: Please feel free to find me on LinkedIn. I am I am becoming quickly an open networker. I think I'm going to add the lion thing to my profile that says that I'm a LinkedIn Open Network because I also believe in connecting people. I don't have to have the answers, but I do know that my network is one of my superpowers, right along with my input, my intuition and my belief in myself. So connect with me on LinkedIn and we can take it from there.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah, that's Kim Blue. And I will also link to her LinkedIn profile in the show notes as well.
Kim, thank you again so much for being here. This information is so valuable and so inspiring to many, many. And I really appreciate you taking the time.
Kim Blue: Thank you so much for having me. This was a wonderful conversation.
About Your Host
Hi! I'm Stacy Mayer, a Certified Executive Coach and Promotion Strategist on a mission to bring more diversity to the leadership table by getting 1000 underrepresented corporate managers promoted into senior executive positions each year worldwide.
I help undervalued executives scale to the C-Suite using repositioning strategies that build your confidence and visibility, so you can earn the recognition and support you need from key stakeholders while embodying your unique leadership style.
My podcast “Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer” tackles topics like executive communication, getting more respect in the workplace from challenging bosses and team members, and avoiding the common mistakes that sabotage career advancement.
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