As I wrote in a previous blog, in the summer of 2017, I took a huge leap and left the corporate world. I was looking for a new challenge, and more importantly, a way to make a broader impact. Technology and marketing have always been important to me, but I am most happy when helping the next generation of leaders grow and succeed, and have long been an ardent advocate for gender and racial equality in the workplace.
I knew what I wanted to do, I just didn’t know how best to do it. While speaking at an MBA event at The Johnson School of Cornell University (my alma matter) in September, I had my a-ha moment. As I was sharing my career journey with the students, I was reminded of the impact executive coaching has had on me personally and professionally.
Back in 2011 when I was a marketing director at Microsoft, a mentor connected me with an executive coach named Mary Utley, thinking she could be helpful for my career. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was curious and always eager to learn and try new things. In hindsight, this was perhaps one of the most crucial development decisions I’ve ever made for myself and I was very appreciative of my manager’s support in my development growth. First and foremost, Mary helped me become a better leader, which is critical not only for me, but for my team, colleagues and the companies I worked for.
Mary soon became my most trusted advisor and confidant and I have been working with her ever since. Our 1-on-1 sessions and various development assessments allowed me to crystalize my career goals and recognize how they connect with my personal values, and the values of the organizations I was working for. Mary helped me identify the blind spots that were holding me back, the strengths I already possessed (but hadn’t maximized the potential), and she gave me gentle nudges when it was time to take bigger risks. I strengthened the confidence needed to lead authentically and effectively. I could see the evolution of my leadership and communication styles through the years-starting with a small team and as my career progressed, leading teams of hundreds, then thousand, to drive business transformations and deliver results.
As an Asian-American woman, I realize that my ascension to the C-Suite is rare, and that shouldn’t be the case. In 2017, women accounted for 21% of the C-Suite, with only 3% being women of color. I was fortunate enough to have my coach in my corner. How could these numbers shift in our favor if more female leaders were given the opportunity to work with an executive coach and accelerate their professional success? Sure, having a coach doesn’t guarantee success. Reaching your career north star means lots of hard work and taking risks, but having a strong support system and someone to troubleshoot with makes a significant difference.
Enter Tenshey, Inc.
Tenshey is pronounced as “ten-she”, which means “angels” in Japanese. I credit much of my success to the coaches, mentors and sponsors that gave me the wings to reach for my dreams. Combining my personal experience as a C-suite executive with an impressive team of executive coaches, it is my hope that Tenshey will empower and transform the lives of female executives and leadership teams, creating a more inclusive corporate landscape.
Our transformational coaches have worked with executives at fortune 500, global companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, Cartier, Deutsche Bank, SAP, T-Mobile and Citigroup, as well as small to medium businesses and startups. I’ve handpicked each coach not only because of their stellar background and experiences, but also our shared passion for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. I believe in their ability to transform lives and accelerate professional success.
Tenshey offers a variety of programs for female leaders and executives and customizable leadership team workshops. We can also help design women leadership programs tailored for your organization. With customized assessments, strategy planning and coaching sessions, Tenshey coaches take a holistic approach to helping clients identify their goals, strengths and weaknesses and map a clear path to success.
The past few months have been exciting, challenging, educational and fulfilling. While reaching gender equality in the workplace may still be many years away, making the impossible possible has always been my ethos and I believe Tenshey can make an honest impact.
Since my last blog post, I have received lots of messages and words of encouragement from people across the world. Many of you have asked how you can help. If you or your organization are looking to advance gender diversity where executive coaching can be a component, or if you know someone who can benefit from coaching, please tell them about Tenshey.
How has executive coaching impacted your life? What would you look for in an executive coaching program? What are the challenges you face in today’s corporate culture? I’d love to hear from you!