This is our 12th Client Spotlight, where we share interesting facts and stories about our entrepreneurial clients. Be sure to check out our previous spotlight and learn about Annie Schuessler, The Therapist’s Business Coach, who talks about the power of small groups, the future of therapy, and a 19th century female entrepreneur.
It has been a pleasure to support our client Stacy Mayer with the legal aspects of her Authentic Leadership coaching business that helps women executives, emerging leaders, entrepreneurs, and small business owners who need help reclaiming their power. Stacy describes her ideal work setting, her passion for improv, and powerful memories of a journey to India, among other insights.
What’s the weirdest or most surprising skill you possess?
I am a comedic improviser. I love it. Creating a character and making stuff up in front of an audience is one of my favorite things to do. It’s the best. I like it better than having a script. I started dabbling in improv during college. I was a theatre major at The University of Michigan and we had a teacher that used improv as a warm up. After college, I moved to Chicago, essentially the birthplace of improv. I quickly discovered that improvisation was not just for warm up exercises but could be entertainment on its own. I was hooked. I went on to found Manhattan Comedy Collective in New York. Now that I have two little children under two years old, I don’t have as much time to perform and I miss it. But I do make up songs with my daughter, so I guess it never really goes away.
What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?
I moved to California a little over five years ago. I had been working at hedge fund in New York and I requested a job transfer to Palo Alto. The Palo Alto office was small and they weren’t sure if I would get approval for the transfer. But I made the decision that even if the transfer didn’t work out I still wanted to move. So I quit my job in October 2011 not knowing what was next for me. After being here two weeks, I started to get scared. My ego began creeping in to say, “You know you really should be working. You can’t just sit around the house all day. Get a job!” In my heart I knew I was fine. I had plenty of savings. I didn’t just binge Netflix all day. I was writing, exploring my new city, taking yoga and making friends. But my ego was loud and powerful. So I got a holiday gig at Macy’s. What???!!! It was a terrible idea and I consider it to be the worse job I ever had. Why, because I took it out of a place of fear. The pay was barely anything after taxes. I couldn’t travel to see my family for the holidays. I wasn’t writing or doing yoga. It was beyond a bad idea.
Then over Thanksgiving I got the call from the hedge fund. My transfer had been approved. I could begin working in January. I quit my Macy’s job on the spot and enjoyed my remaining month of freedom. I look back on that time and wish that I had trusted myself more. I wish I could have just enjoyed not knowing. Or at least felt comfortable with the uncertainty. I use that job as a reminder when my “should be doing more” ego creeps in and I try to say instead, “what if what I am doing right now is totally enough?”
If you could have coffee with any business person (dead or alive), whom would you pick?
Without a doubt, Tony Robbins. Besides having a knack for getting to the root of your issues in a second, he just has such a powerful contagious presence. I think I couldn’t help but be inspired by him. I would have to make sure that my mom could join us too. My husband had the chance to see him live at Dreamforce 2016 and my mom and I were so jealous. My husband doesn’t even like him, so why should he get the chance to see him live before we did? My mom confessed that she had been listening to his talks since the late 90s. How cool is that? It turns out that it was a good thing that my husband got to see him because he surprisingly enjoyed it. And even came home saying, “That was not so bad.” So yeah, coffee with Tony Robbins. That would be cool.
Describe your favorite setting for work: home, traditional office, coworking, coffee shop, or something else … and why?
Being an entrepreneur is tough. I think it’s ironic that to be the type of person who wants to start your own business, you generally have to be pretty outgoing. Usually you like people. And often you want to make a difference in the world. But in reality, it can be super isolating especially at first. I spend most weeks working in isolation at home on my computer. That is where I spend most of my time but it’s definitely not my ideal. My ideal setting would be coworking. If I could craft the perfect day, it would be to do yoga or meditation in the morning and then meet up with a group of powerful women and create programs.
We would brainstorm and then write, brainstorm and write, brainstorm and write. And then we would actually do the work, have coaching calls, speaking engagements and group workshops. But that’s not usually how I spend my days (yet!). One way that I have been able to begin connecting with others is virtually. I joined a writing and meditation group online. We meet in a Zoom chat room to meditate and write on our own. I know it sounds silly but even having the chat room open in the background while I work, really does help me feel more connected.
Outside the U.S., what country or culture inspires you the most?
India for sure. After working at the hedge fund for almost eight years, I decided to take the plunge and really quit. I didn’t have another job lined up but this time I didn’t feel as scared. When I put in my six weeks notice, I told my boss I was quitting to travel to India. I bought a one-way ticket and off I went. It was an absolutely incredible heart opening experience. I felt like I had been there in another life. Everything about it felt at home, the people, the colors and the chaos. It was all perfect. I loved it so much, I didn’t want to come back to the U.S. but something was telling me after 3 months that it was time to leave. So I bought a return ticket and headed home, knowing that I would return soon. Just one short week after being back in San Francisco, I started dating my now husband. And only three and half years later we have two beautiful children together. That trip to India literally changed the course of my life. I haven’t been able to make it back as soon as I thought I would, but I think about and pay tribute to that magical journey often.
About Stacy: Stacy Mayer is an authentic leadership coach and facilitator coaching executives to develop a clear, authentic direction toward their leadership goals. This allows them to not only operate at their highest potential but also to lead others in a way that inspires and encourages creativity, loyalty and ultimately forming a stronger alliance to company culture and reducing turnover. She received her coaching training through the Executive Coaching College and facilitates workshops in Emotional Intelligence 2.0, StrengthsFinder, Mindfulness and MBTI. In addition to working with clients through Stacy Mayer Consulting, she collaborates as a coach and facilitator with Platinum Exchange women’s leadership program. You can find Stacy on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.