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Michelle Dahl - The Female RoundtableⓇ

Updated: Mar 26, 2023

The Female RoundtableⓇ| Her Idea Collective (tm) l Performance Coach | Expert at Client Acquisition, Growth Strategies + Talent Pools | Coach for bank + credit union leaders improving ROI | Leadership Course Creator

The Female Roundtable is a transparent, supportive community, driven by real women sharing candid, impactful conversations, advising from experience, while also listening with an open mind. We support women with educational resources, a mentorship + sponsorship channel, personal development advisor, and performance coaching. We believe women can be the catalyst to refine their workspace with balance, intention, and proactive approach in designing their work.

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Ruhi Ladwa #GirlPowerUnleashed Podcast Guest - Michelle Dahl

Hello, welcome to the girl Power Unleashed podcast. Today I am here with a special guest, Michelle Dahl. Hi Michelle, thank you so much for being on this podcast.

Oh, it is my pleasure. I am very honored to be with you today.

To Start off, tell us about yourself and your journey so far.

I was in financial services and in the banking space for a little over 25 years, and started as a part-time teller and then worked my way. Through that journey and I ended up with my career as an executive in banking and worked with a lot of different teams during that time, I would say that I put myself through college as, A non-traditional student and then went to grad school. And finished graduate work at the age of 49 and went back to school. I am a continuous learner and try to do as much as I can to just stay on top of trends and things. A couple of years ago I transitioned, so I left corporate left banking and now I founded the female roundtable. We are an organization that work with women to help build and develop their leadership, and also to help them understand how to coach and build effective very high performing teams. We teach them different management principles. So, because in banking it is a very male dominated industry. And you know, women in high levels of leadership, mid and high levels leadership, there's just not many of them, which is unfortunate. And so we teach women how to have their own leadership style. It doesn't have to be emulated by different men that they are around. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but we want them to be comfortable with how they lead people and really understand how much more dynamic they can be when they can be themselves, when they do that. So that's what I do now, and absolutely love it.

That is great! What are the most interesting things you are working on right now and how will that empower women?

No, that's a great question. And so we've got several things for one thing, we partner with the National Breast Cancer Foundation, so women in health It's very, very important to us at the female roundtable. so we do work with them and volunteer work. I think that is extremely important around helping women now. And if anyone wants resources about that or how to volunteer and help if they'll go to the national Breast Cancer Foundation. They're actually here in Frisco and they're headquartered here, so that's one thing that we do that is very important to me. The other things that I'm working on and is that we put together women thought leaders that are around the country. So our community is actually global. We're in 15 different countries that women TuneIn to our panels each quarter. So we try to bring information to help women with their health and if they have their own businesses and then also their professional development. So right now we're actually launching tomorrow. It's a women in many series, so you know our money looks different for women. We live longer. Our earnings are different. The way we invest is different and since we are primarily the financial decision makers for most households across the country. It's a really important topic, so we have some fantastic guests over the next four weeks. To help women understand more about money, how to have confidence with it, how to plan. So those are just a couple of things that we have. We've got a lot coming up for next year. But those are some. Immediate things that we have that that we're working on to really empower women is to take ownership and, be able to take ownership of themselves. Take care of themselves, and Have good information that they can act upon.

What were some of the obstacles you had to overcome and any specific learnings from?

That's a really great question and I would say and not to skip it, but you know, sometimes it is just the obstacles. I would tell you that a lot of bias I had to overcome was working different working styles and there was some bullying I had to endure and try to overcome that. You know that happens also in a corporate setting, and so being able to deal with that and learn how to work with people and again, still be true to yourself. Continue to learn and grow. Be effective in your positions, but then be able to work with other people even though you have these different scenarios that are happening. I think for me to overcome them is to just to be aware is that sometimes these things happen, being able to recognize when it happens and then really looking at what are the things that I can do that helps really mitigate the situation, and because you know you might have need to go to a supervisor. It may be someone you need to talk to an HR. It may be other things- you've got resources within a company or an organization to go to that would actually be able to help. So for me you know, being aware that you have those things, learning how to speak up for yourself really and recognize when these things are happening and to let the person know that's not ok or how that's making you feel, but you know voicing that for yourself is very important. So I think it taught me early on to just have a lot of confidence in my work. I had a very successful career. I climbed the ladder very quickly and it was just important to be not only aware, but important to not let it deter you to somehow take responsibility when those things those things happen, so obstacles can happen in a lot of different- a lot of different frame frameworks. I think the other one I would say that there were sometimes that I was considered for a promotion and then did not receive it and it would wait or it would go to another person. And so I think, you know, sometimes working through those obstacles we want our career or those next steps to happen at certain pace. And when they don't, then sometimes folks take that as an obstacle that's very difficult to overcome. And for me I would just lean into what else do I need to learn? Who else can help me to mentor me? Do I have the right sponsors in the organization that that really understand me? That can help me be more visible as well, and then what do I need to do in terms of how I'm performing against my goals, how prepared I am to support the team so you know, again, continuing to look inward on what else I could do to further my cause because I was very set on being able to work with what I want to work. With a lot of people. I wanted to help a lot of people through our banking products and services. A lot of- clients, and so I was very motivated to get to different stages in my career and so sometimes these obstacles they deter you or it can possibly set you back and you just have got to have confidence that sometimes this is the normal course. Recognize it. Trust yourself, use your resources and you'll be able to work through absolutely anything that comes your way.

What's your secret to success? Are there a few key qualities that helped you attain success?

Yeah, you know, success is very- that's a very intangible type of thing. A lot of people define that in different ways. I would say success for me was important in the people that I had an opportunity to work with- that they were doing well. They were very satisfied in their jobs. They were doing meaningful work. They were passionate about it, about it, so that was success. You know, we always were well ahead of our numbers. We always performed very well, but I think it's just making sure you're taking care of your people because I was always very aware that the people on my teams also had families and that they were taken care of. And I did everything that I possibly could to make sure the teams had a lot of success and that they're very motivated by their work and they did well. They had a lot of job security so they could take care of that. I think some of the pieces for me that we're very important and I had to learn it early on is to have a lot of resiliency because things are going to happen. As I mentioned, you might have certain obstacles that happen in the workplace. You might have some delays where you feel like your career should be going faster than it should, or you're just uncertain on what do you want to do. In my career, I thought I wanted to do this and I don't know if I really like it. So how do I make this transition and so resiliency to me is probably the biggest piece of that. As when you have that and you understand ok, things are going to happen and I just have to stay focused on what actions I own and what I take that will help. And I believe having a plan and a goal. I am a planner so I always knew directionally kind of where I wanted to be and that helped because. I have had a lot of colleagues that their careers zigzagged, but really didn't move forward. And I always knew I wanted to go forward. I also took ownership of my own development, So if there was anything I could do to learn if there was someone that was doing well that I could learn from it. To reach out, even if I didn't know them and so I would source my own mentors and to help me, learn and adapt and figure things out and they were very willing to. To donate their time to me, that I certainly pay that forward and do that as well now, but those three things are really critical to success.

What would you tell girls who want to become the next generation of leaders?

Yes, goodness that is a really good question so couple things for me would be. Have really audacious goals and have a goal. Have something that you really want to do and don't be intimidated if you don't know the path directly to how to get there. Just have a goal in mind and listen to yourself. What are you really passionate about? What is meaningful to you? Because when you are operating in in that mentality. It's something that you're going to really enjoy doing, so I think that the goal piece is very important. Having a belief in yourself, even as I said, even if you haven't accomplished things yet, even if you're looking at something and it seems very intimidating, but just believing in yourself and figuring out what are those first steps to take. I think. It's just very important to find your voice. Find your voice and don't be afraid to speak up. Don't be afraid to share ideas. Don't be afraid to have an opinion, those are all so important and sometimes you can get very muted in an corporate environment because sometimes we do that to ourselves if we don't feel comfortable so when you feel like you you aren't getting enough visibility. Then speak up. Find people to surround yourself with, that are invested in your success. Learn as much as you can. And I think again, having that goal and continuing to working toward that is going to be some critical pieces.

Well, thank you so much, Michelle, for being on my podcast. I'm sure our listeners have learned something valuable, and I really appreciate you taking the time.

You are so welcome. Thanks for having me.

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