mel with mic lea interviewI have met countless celebrities throughout my career but my recent interview for with Mel Robbins, legal analyst and regular contributor to CNN, was one of the most fascinating. Mel Robbins is also a popular public speaker, author and radio host. Mel lives in Sherborn Massachusetts with her husband, Christopher, and their two children.

It isn’t often that I get to speak with someone so passionate and articulate. Mel shared a great deal of information about everything from politics to kids.

Here is my interview:

SmartFem: What was it like to go from attorney to life and business coach?

Mel Robbins: I practiced as a public defender and later I went into litigation and I hated it. When I went on maternity leave in 1999 I ended up in the tech start up arena. I worked at two start ups until meeting a professor from MIT who forever changed my life. She had just created a coaching company and trained me to be a coach. I launched my coaching business in 2003 and stayed in it till about 2008. I had great clients such as Johnson and Johnson as well as Bank of America. There was then an article written about me and the business and suddenly I was thrown in to the media. I became an on air commentator. I think that they liked that I have an interesting point of view as I have a background in legal, business and coaching. I don’t think I have a political ideology; I just come from a human policy point of view.

Lea article mel with business ownerSmartFem:  Why do you think people and companies are risk adverse?

Mel Robbins: From a very basic level. Self-doubt, uncertainty, fears and over thinking what we do.  The cue is that you hold back. The cue gets imbedded in your brand and you must train your brain to believe and replace those negative thoughts.

The reason it happens in work settings is simple, leadership; if you ignore your employees’ suggestions, don’t allow them to raise concerns or constructive criticism you prevent innovation and eventually people will quit trying.

If companies change their culture and how leaders conduct meetings and give everyone equal playtime and praise, you increase employee satisfaction, innovation and your company’s bottom line.

Teams with superstars generally suck as they don’t collaborate. With the right leadership, companies can give their employees freedom and personal brand insight in corporate culture.

cute business women SmartFem:  Why do you think women are still trailing behind when it comes to leadership roles in industry?

Mel Robbins:  Frozen middle layer. People at the director level associate old habits. Men tend to enter the workforce with sponsors several levels higher. Women tend to have mentors only one rung higher. The shift is happening but it is going to take time.

SmartFem:  Mel, can we talk about politics for a moment? It seems that women are under attack by the GOP these days can you share your thoughts?

Mel Robbins: I don’t believe that all of the GOP are attacking women it just seems to be that the extremists get more playtime and they are the ones on the ballot. I know of several Republicans who are very sympathetic to the plight of women and Mitt Romney is one of them.

SmartFem:  You call Donald Trump a disruptor, what good, if any, has he done for the Republican Party?

Mel Robbins: He is not evolving and he is tearing things apart. The Republican establishment has horrible policies and opinions on women that are grounded in religious philosophy. They need to separate the conservative physical from the social policy. Do we want to have policies from the 1800’s and be controlled by the Super PACs? People hate politicians and they hate Washington right now. Donald Trump has recognized that and used it to his advantage.

SmartFem: Ok Mel last question… Can a woman really have it all? How do you juggle success in the market place and still maintain strong ties to family?

Mel Robbins: Yes you can, you can’t have it all at once. You can do it all, just understand that whatever it is you are doing you must be present. I love what I do, it makes a huge difference. I manage it, I make sure that I share my successes with my family and thank them for allowing me to do what I love. If you really love what you do and make your kids understand why you love it and thank them for allowing you to do it, it makes it manageable. Having your kids and your spouse understand that your work is important but your time with women having it allyour family is just as important. I have coffee and breakfast with my kids every morning and never look at my phone. I am present with my kids before they go to school. We also share a high/low comment with each other at the end of each day. My high point for work is, “Thank you guys for allowing me to do what I love!”

I really loved my conversation with Mel Robbins but I was also glad that two of SmartFem’s staff members, Ashton and Jessica, were also able to see her. They both were so thrilled and couldn’t stop talking about her! Mel Robbins really has a way of motivating people!