I just finished listening to the interview with Ingrid for the third time! There are so many key points in here that I find it hard to leave anything out! To start, Ingrid Lindberg is the founding owner of Chief Customer Consulting. She is the first person to hold the title of CXO, or Chief Customer Experience Officer. From the early age of 14, Ingrid began working full-time at a salon; she soon worked her way into retail, and then retail management at the age of 17. Leveraging her customer service experience, she took advantage of opportunities to catapult into the world of customer experience, which was really just becoming a thing when she got into it.
I hope all humans listen to this episode. There is so much to learn. Starting with how we raise our children… *if we decide to have them. Ingrid’s parents allowed her access to many people and places at a young age. They allowed her to be present and have a voice no matter her age or level of understanding. This gave way to confidence and the belief that
“Your voice matters. Raise it. Own it. Use it.”
I believe that this courage and curiosity is decided at such a young age, which means we must be intentional in our parenting to make room for nurturing this confidence! I think this gives Ingrid the ability to stand firm in who she is and not conform.
“I was 20 years younger than any of my peers, at best. I didn’t fit the mold at all. I have not been very good at packaging myself into one of those female execs who disappears. I don’t do that… I’ve not played a lot of those roles that female executives have, where they either try to conform to that boys club or frankly just try to disappear as a human…. ”
She also faced adversity being raised in a single parent home and had to help provide for her family. I have a similar story where my mother was a teacher and had to go back to school to get a nursing degree to be able to care for her 4 children. This also fueled me to get a degree where I could take care of myself no matter what… I think this goes into many career choices, and the silver lining is that we can change, grow, or start a new challenge at any time of our lives.
I love how Ingrid combines her work and her degree in sociology to follow her passion of learning more about people. Like me, she finds humans so interesting and set out to study them. I know this passion is why she was so successful in customer service. Jumping into leadership at an early age, she was faced with many uncomfortable moments where she is lucky to have been given an early understanding of how much her voice mattered.
I am so thankful for Ingrid and how she speaks her truth. She worked very hard to build a successful career, and this gives her the freedom to overcome many fears we face as leaders in male-dominated fields…”There’s so much fear that drives silence.”
I think freedom gives her the strength to stand up in situations like this one:
“I don’t know how to do things like say, ‘Oh Joe, that’s a brilliant idea. Thank you so much for coming up with it.’ I say things like, ‘Joe, I’m sorry you felt like you had to restate something I said 20 minutes ago. Would you like me to be clearer next time?’ ”
May we all strive for this level of bravery. Especially when it comes to the ownership of our ideas. If we don’t standup for ourselves, we will lose out.
For this next part, I am thankful for Ingrid giving us the opportunity to discuss this. I can remember having dinner with colleagues and it being assumed that I would be dismissed after dinner as the men would move venues and continue to network… It was like something out of the Titanic movie where “she talks of the men retiring to brandy and cigars”. I, like Ingrid, will not be “dismissed.” The next few quotes may shock some, but I can assure you this is the world we live in. If you are around top leaders, you will be put in these uncomfortable settings and you will have to decide how to manage it.
Like Lynn told us, you will need to be prepared to know your boundaries… This will be different for all of us, but know you have the right to sit at the table if you choose to. You also have the right not to…
“Corporate America has been built around the support of the fraternity, from the places where “deals are done” to the business that is done over brown liquor and cigars. The fraternity was built to help men get from one stage to another is one that seems impenetrable for women… Fraternities have built a certain kind of toxic business environment of insiders and exclusion. I questioned the assumption that I should try to join.”
“When I was managing a team of all men who would invite me to lunches, but would never take me to Friday night happy hour… so I followed them once. And walked straight into the strip club that was three and a half blocks from work. And sat down with them and said, “hey, I’m a part of this team and if I have to sit here to remind you I’m a part of this team, then I’ll sit here to remind you that I’m a part of this team.”
This reminds me of a conversation I had recently that started with the question, ‘How do you decide who to hang out with at business events?’ The response was “ I am very particular about who I go out with. I have to trust them completely”. I believe this is where women need to invest their time growing their network. We need to have the same “I’ve got your back or I’ll protect you” peer group that the men in our network have… It’s worth studying. I am not saying we all need to start meeting in the red light district, but we should continue to meet and grow in trusting each other.
We can continue this conversation around building trust in a peer group – let me know if you’ll be at any upcoming events and we’ll see if we can Connect with Purpose!
On to the next episode…