December 1, 2016, DT Zen
Heather Wilde brings a passion for innovation, technology and service, as well as experience with government agencies, corporations and startups, to her role at ROCeteer (Roceteer.com). Her impressive and wide-ranging educational background includes the University of Alabama, St. John’s College and Cambridge University. Professionally, she has programmed micro-controllers for the Navy, worked on NASA projects, designed online games for major developers and run HR departments companies large and small, among other ventures. She enjoys being able to share her observations on business and provide insight on what it really takes to become a success.
Q. You work with a lot of executives and professionals. What makes a leader?
It all comes down to focus. Leadership can exist anywhere, whether you’re a manager, a CEO, a parent or even just an everyday employee. But the main trait that defines leadership is the ability to focus the people around you to complete the tasks at hand using whatever methods are available. To that end, they need to have a clear vision and purpose and they need to communicate clearly and effectively.
Q. Do you use a specific process for coaching entrepreneurs that differs from non-entrepreneurs?
My process is the same no matter who I am coaching, because I focus on the human being. I find that while people may have different issues they wish to address, the methods apply to everyone.
Q. Define what transformational coaching means and give us an example of what that process might look like in a one-on-one session with you.
Coaching, in general, is an outcome-oriented practice that allows clients to become accountable to things within their lives to achieve results. Transformational coaching enables them to go deeper and identify their motivations and behaviors, enabling them to change their perspectives and behaviors to ones that serve them better and empower them to reach their highest potential.
What this looks like in a session will consist of me asking some questions to get you thinking, then giving you the time to think and reflect. Sometimes it is me pointing out things that you may not realize you are saying or doing and challenging you to confront that behavior.
Q. Performance coaching is big right now. Do you focus more on results or the process? Or does it vary per individual?
This entirely depends on the individual. Some people will be drawn to me because they want to achieve specific results and they believe that I’m the person that can get them there. Other people are drawn to me specifically because they don’t know what results they want and they like that I have a process that will get them results. It’s a nice mix.
Q. Mentorship has played an important part of your life and I know you also make time to mentor others. How would you suggest people reach out to take the first step in finding a mentor?
I believe that mentorship is something you should be doing every day in every way you can. Everyone has something to teach. If you don’t have time to volunteer, go on a message board like Quora and answer questions or record a video on YouTube.
If you find someone that you learned something from, thank them for giving you that knowledge and tell them how it helped you. They’ll appreciate it. If you want to have a one-on-one relationship with someone that’s a great way to start.
Q. As a keynote speaker you often get asked to speak about women in tech. What are some of your favorite topics in tech to speak about?
I am a huge fan of talking about implicit and explicit bias, especially how it relates to programming. People don’t often stop to think about how computers and software are programmed to do whatever the code tells them to do, and that initially comes from the humans who created the code. If the majority of code is being written by men, then all of our computers have the same implicit cultural and gender biases built in to them. If we want to put all people on equal footing, we need to have more women and other cultures in the tech sector writing the code.
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Q. You spend a lot of time “plugged in” to your computer. Do you have any non-techie creative outlets?
I have always been a firm believer that without the arts there would be no innovation. To that end I am constantly creating, and one of my favorite methods to do so is with food. I collect obscure kitchen gadgets so that I can make anything that I might imagine.
Q. Entrepreneurs and executives have high-stress jobs. They are on 24/7. What are some of the tips you have for entrepreneurs and executives to wisely manage their time?
This is something that seems simple, but is overlooked: Priority means one. When everything starts to pull you left and right, remember that you need to pick the most important thing and focus on that. Keep focused on that until you finish it and you’ll be amazed at how much more efficient you’ll be.
Also pay attention to your “why.” Why are you doing what you’re doing? If you don’t keep that front and center you’ll start to lose motivation. I recommend writing it down, putting it on a Post-it, changing your phone screen to it, getting a keychain that reminds you. Have this everywhere you will be at different touchpoints of the day.
Q. Holidays can be tough for business executives, entrepreneurs and other folks who spend most of their time working. What types of common issues arise when you are coaching your business clients during the holidays?
There are a few common issues that arise around the holidays and they are mostly centered around two things: money and time.
When you are an entrepreneur, all too often you become cost conscious and can start to feel guilty to spend any money—on yourself, your family, whomever—stemming from those lean periods when you have little to none in your business. The holidays can be extremely draining as you see other people spending money you may not be in a position to spend.
As for time, entrepreneurs often spend many hours working on their companies and leave very little for their families and friends. At the holidays, they may feel pressure to continue working while also getting pressure from friends and family to be with them. This can lead to guilt and other negative emotions.
Q. I know you’re a foodie. I’ve been in your kitchen and even it is high-tech. Can you give us some holiday gift ideas for the kitchen?
The two things that I absolutely cannot live without at the holidays are my Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Compressor and my Breville Immersion Blender. These two high-tech gadgets allow me to do very different but important things:
With the Smart Scoop I can make multiple flavors of ice creams, sorbets and gelatos quickly and easily. These are always a hit not just at the holiday but year round, as my friends and family appreciate the variety and the fresh ingredients.
The Immersion Blender is great. It’s a stick wand with multiple attachments and it’s way more powerful than the old-fashioned beaters. I can use it to stir or blend whatever I’m making, right in the pot or bowl, and it cleans really easily so I can go from one thing to the next.
Christina Aldan is a TEDx speaker and entrepreninja whose company, LG Designs, offers small and micro businesses brand consulting and creative content for everyday media. Learn more about her at ChristinaAldan.com