How to Make a Difference Through Transformational Leadership and Modern Mentoring

with special guest Lani Phillips

Quote from Lani Phillips from Patti Dobrowolski's podcast
Up Your Creative Genius
How to Make a Difference Through Transformational Leadership and Modern Mentoring

Lani Phillips is the Vice President, US Channel Sales Organization in Microsoft. Lani has spent her 20 over years working in transforming others and in charge of the digital transformation and all the co-selling with partners.

Lani was the 2020 Executive from linkage. Then she also got the global minded inclusive leader award, and she was on CRN the 2020 women in channel leading fearlessly in times of crisis. Furthermore, she started a live digital program, which is all about inspiring people with modern mentoring where she shares her wisdom globally to help people thrive in corporate spaces. She is always creating opportunities for women in the technology space.

Lani graduated from Naveen Jindal School of Management, UT Dallas and is the founder and board member at Women Executives Channel Advisory Board (WECAB) and a board member of Advisors (Diversity & Inclusion) at International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP).

Lani Phillips

Follow Lani Phillips on Twitter and Linkedin


1:00 Background of Lani Phillips

3:45 Her journey working in Microsoft

5:33 From traveller’s insurance company to the Microsoft

6:50 What led her to the Microsoft partner program?

8:56 Thriving part of corporate America

11:29 Her most pivotal moment in life

16:51 Lani’s lightbulb moment on getting out of playing small

23:45 Courage in admitting things that you do not know

24:46 Keeping her day balanced

27:37 Her tip of decompressing at the end of the day

31:15 Lani’s goal for modern mentoring

36:41 Getting out of the comfort zone

39:11 Pivoting in the digital world

Patti Dobrowolski 00:03

Hello superstars. Welcome to The Up Your Creative Genius podcast, where you will gain insight and tips to stomp on the accelerator and blast off to transform your business and your life. I’m your host Patti Dobrowolski. And if this is your first time tuning in, then strap in because this is serious rocket fuel. Each week I interview fellow creative geniuses to help you learn how easy it is to up your creative genius in any part of your life. Hey, everybody, it’s Patti Dobrowolski up your creative genius. And I am so excited today.

I have Lani Phillips here, you are going to love her. Now I just have to give you a bio on her because she’s got an extensive history that is needs to be called out. So first off, she’s a seasoned technology executive. I mean, we’re talking 20 plus years. And right now she’s the VP of us channel for Microsoft. Now, if you don’t know what that means, that means she’s in charge of the digital transformation and all the co-selling with partners.

She’s overseeing that whole program in Microsoft in that ecosystem. And we’re talking about $50 billion that she oversees in business. So you’re incredible for that number one, and then I got a couple of things I want to shout out because in 2020, she got a whole slew of awards, which she totally deserved. But I want to call out a couple of them for sure. She was the 2020 executive. She got that executive award for impact from linkage. Okay, that’s one.

Then she also got the global minded inclusive leader award, that’s two and then she was on CRN the 2020 women in channel leading fearlessly in times of crisis, and now we’re talking about her and all these incredible. And I was gonna say in powerful, they’re powerful women on that same, you know, just call out. And so she’s incredible. She’s founded a number of boards for women in technology, she is always creating opportunity for women in the technology space.

And recently, she started this live digital program, which is all about inspiring people with modern mentoring. And so with that she’s sharing her wisdom globally to help people thrive in corporate spaces. You have had some incredible heavy hitters on there. I have listened to every single one. Welcome to the show.

Lani Phillips 02:47

Thank you. I’m so excited to be here with you.

Patti Dobrowolski 02:51

Oh my gosh, now, you know, that is a lot of things that you’ve been doing. And I went back, okay, cuz this is how I am I have to kind of see what you’re about. So I went and watched some of your interviews, you know, at all the different Microsoft events, you know, to hear you and see you. And you’re so calm, cool and collected there. All right, we’re talking about 20 years. But that is a lot of experience that you have.

Lani Phillips 03:17

Yeah, it’s a long time.

Patti Dobrowolski 03:22

You know, I know it. I know it. So will you tell people from your perspective, I would love it. If you would tell them your story. Like how did you get here to be that VP of the US channel at Microsoft? Come on, that is a long steep climb. I know I work at Microsoft, so I know. So tell me, where did you start? And how did you get going in this direction in tech?

Lani Phillips 03:45

Well, where I actually started was I actually decided that I really enjoy technology. So all through school, I just thought, you know what, I really had a knack for math, science and technology. And so I just decided that I wanted to be a part of helping to design the future. And so I actually started off as a systems engineer.

So when I joined Microsoft, that was my title. And when I joined, I felt like you know, talk about imposter syndrome and all that I went to work for a big technology company like Microsoft. I just felt like, Oh, my goodness, I’ll never be able to keep up the way they were innovating technology back then. So I actually did it for about three years at Microsoft and decided they were having more fun in sales. But I also recognize that it was tapping more into my strengths.

And for me, I could really do some of the hard sciences and I knew the technical stuff, but I really love the connection with people and to solve business problems. So I brought those two together, and the rest is history. I just kind of started going into sales. I had a lot success there. And then it kept going from there. A lot of great mentors and sponsors along the way.

Patti Dobrowolski 05:06

Oh, yeah. Well, I think you have to in that space, you know, in corporate America, it’s all about the networking. It’s all about the people and the relationships. So say something about that. So you went to school here in Dallas, didn’t you?

Lani Phillips 05:22

Yeah, University of Texas at Dallas. I did.

Patti Dobrowolski 05:24

I know. I love that. And so you ended up getting hired at Microsoft? Was that here? Or did you go to Seattle? Where were you? Where are you now?

Lani Phillips 05:33

So when I joined Microsoft, I was working for a insurance company at the time it was the St. Paul. The St. Paul Insurance Company, St. Paul fire and marine insurance company today is called Traveler’s Insurance.

Patti Dobrowolski 05:48


Lani Phillips 05:48

Because they bought that company. And I worked in it over there. And I managed all the IT training, I was out presenting some technology. And a guy who was a technologist, US, a systems engineer at Microsoft saw me present. He said, Have you ever considered a career at Microsoft? And I said, I would love to work for Microsoft. And he says, I think we need you over there. And he basically brought me in, and I had like, 12 interviews, and more interviews later, and I was living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. And they moved me to Houston, Texas for my first time at Microsoft. And that was 24 years.

Patti Dobrowolski 06:31

Wow, that is crazy. So 24 years at Microsoft. And so Wow, so you moved around? I know how Microsoft works, right? They just move you around within the organization. And then how did you end up in the partner program?

Lani Phillips 06:50

Well, the good news is, we’ve always been a company that’s been friendly with partners, we always we need them our bread and butter is our partners. Yeah. So I’ve always had jobs where there was no way we could be successful without partners. So I’ve always worked alongside our partners for many, many years. But what happened was, I actually took a job where I was the chief transformation officer for enterprise business.

And while in that job, I was really overseeing a huge shift we were making, we were driving a real cultural transformation around how we go to market as a sales organization. Yeah, while there, they asked me, Hey, you know what we need to make sure when we think about co-sell and partners, who would love to have you come and help us transform that part of our business as well. So that was kind of what brought me over here. And I’ve been here three years.

Patti Dobrowolski 07:45

Oh, wow. But part of what you did coming over there with this is what I read about and listened to you talk about was you started these forums, where you were really listening to the partners to see what was the next wave of the future. Right. So this to me just matches exactly what you’re doing now, with your monitored mentoring. This is really where you’re trying to take people is into this new mindset, where we’re looking at how can we include everybody in what it is that we’re doing? And how can you make sure that your voice is heard, because a lot of the people that you have, they’re they’re really leaders in their space, they’ve been doing amazing things in their communities, in companies.

And they’re you’re grabbing and gleaning from them all this fantastic information about how you survive in corporate America, because you really do you know, at first you survive, and then you thrive, when you figure out that thriving has everything to do with what what would you say? What is the thriving part of corporate America? Do you know? How do you make that happen?

Lani Phillips 08:56

I would say thriving in corporate America, it would be reliant on first and foremost, train yourself to show up as your authentic self and bringing your gifts to work every single day.

Patti Dobrowolski 09:08


Lani Phillips 09:08

I think two really kind of understand the winning formula to help you be successful. Right.

Patti Dobrowolski 09:14

The winning formula?

Lani Phillips 09:15

I think it depends on the company. And it depends on the role that you have. But I think that is the quest we’re all after. Whenever you take a role inside the company, what does success look like? And has anyone actually achieved that success? And what was the formula they use to get there? Now to the earlier point you’re making, I’m a big fan of making sure that we all maintain a growth mindset. And always think about how you can make something better. I definitely have that tendency to want to transform things for the better. I also believe in having listening mechanisms where you can provide a platform. For people to have a voice, to help shape your thinking, because that will help you figure out where you have some common themes and problems you need to solve. And then you can pull together the right resources to help solve that problem. But in the whole world of trying to thrive in corporate America, it really is around freeing yourself to bring the very best of yourself to work, because so many people still hold back.

Patti Dobrowolski 10:27

Yeah, it’s really fear is a big thing. It’s a big thing. I think that part of what we always have to remind ourselves is that we’re here to bring our best selves, always. And that if we’re holding back in that environment, that’s not our best selves.

That’s our fearful self, right, you know, fear on one side, love on the other. And so if you can step into the place of love yourself enough that you can show up as you and know that whatever happens is going to happen right? Now, when you talk about this, I know that you had some really great mentors, you had to have. So tell me a little bit about, you know, who inspired you to be able to go into that environment and be successful? And then who do you, you know, count on now. So tell me a little bit about your history of mentorship? And then who do you aspire to be now and have relationships with now?

Lani Phillips 11:29

Sure. So would you allow me Patti to take a trip down memory lane, definitely talk about a moment where it was probably the most pivotal moment in my life that shaped who I am today.

Patti Dobrowolski 11:42


Lani Phillips 11:43

And I’m sharing it with you, because the more that I share my story, I have to I can’t ignore that because it did shake. And it’ll start off a little sad. But it’ll get, it’ll pick up. So I don’t want you to, don’t pull out the tissue. So I actually lost my mother at five years old. My mother was a school teacher, she was beloved. And when I say beloved, she was beloved. And cancer took her life. And she was so beloved, we had two funerals in two different states. So we actually at the first funeral, I have one younger sister, my 12 year old mind was just grief stricken, because that’s my mother there.

But when they give you time to talk about the deceased, a whole bunch of people stood up and lined up around the church, because they wanted a moment to get on the microphone. My 12 year old mind was like, I don’t want to have to go through this. I want to go home and grieve the loss of my mother, I don’t want to be at a funeral and allow people to talk about it. But each one of those individuals got up and talked about the impact she made on their life. I mean, it was one story after the next about how she challenged them, love them supported them.

But at 12 years old, I heard it, but I didn’t hear it. You know what I mean? Yeah, because I was sad. And I put a block on. And then I woke up one day, and I remembered just so you know, at her second funeral, same thing happened different group of people, this woman in 42 years of her life, literally touched the lives of every person that she encountered. And, and her funeral, they were talking about her life and the impacts.

So fast forward, what’s in me and I give my mother credit for that is the desire to serve, and the desire to make a difference in people’s lives. Now, as I was on my career journey, it took me a while to find my voice. And it was mentors that came along that really believed in me, and gave me that courage to be able to speak. But I think what happened through it all, is I think time, maturity, and finally just realizing I am not going to go through life, just playing small.

Yeah, I just want to show up as the best version of myself and a champion for all people. And you know what, some people are gonna like it, some people are not gonna like it, but that’s okay. I’m gonna let my life be an example. But then I think about when this is all said and done, the Microsoft and how long I work there is only going to be a funeral.

Patti Dobrowolski 14:50

Blood on the screen.

Lani Phillips 14:51

Blood on the screen., the rest is going to be about the interactions you have with people and the impact you’ve been able to make on people in the world. So I just shifted my energy. But yes, I had mentors that really spoke life into me, encouraged me when I was down. And I’ve had from men to women they all most didn’t even look like me. But you know what, though, the thing that I had, with my mentors, his most of the always focused on the victories, they never really talked about the feeling. Yeah. And that’s why I choose to focus on both with the platform I’m trying to create, because I think I would have learned more, had they been willing to share the mistakes?

Patti Dobrowolski 15:41

Well, yeah. Because when you look at where things aren’t going, well, then you get this opportunity to improve upon it, right? Yeah. But you know, I wonder too, like, you’re really a superstar in that space. And what’s true is, you you have this way of being in the room where people really pay attention when you speak, you know, I’ve been in those meetings with you, where you open your mouth, and everybody just boom, shuts down.

And whatever they’re thinking or saying, so they all ears on you. And I think there’s a piece of it. That’s confidence that you talked about, right, that you had this confidence and built this confidence. The other thing that you’re talking about with this experience is that, and I love this is that you put that wall up on all of that good stuff about your mom, because you were 12.

And you couldn’t really take it all in because the grief was overwhelming. Then you said that at one point, then you crack through that piece of it. And you realize you weren’t gonna play small anymore? When did that happen? Was that something that happened in the last five years?

Lani Phillips 16:51

I would say probably happened in the last year. December. I didn’t put a timeframe on it. Yeah, just being more intentional about how I show up. You know what, when it happened, also, I realized that I had more years behind me than I did in front of me. And I said, What am I going to do with the time I have left?

And I also said, I’ve been heads down, working hard, chasing excellence, chasing the next big thing. And I still am driven by, but why? Who have I helped? What am I doing to help others, I just kind of woke up and said, You know what, I need to quit playing small and share more of my experiences. And I became an enormous champion for women. And I was just talking to my new EA about this, I do not like to see any woman disrespected. And I will immediately meet and challenge that.

Patti Dobrowolski 17:57

Me too. I was in the airport, the guy in front of me was given the woman behind the counter, uh, you know, she was taking too long to make us latte. And I said to him, hey, wait a minute, you cannot treat her that way. And he said, I can do whatever I want. And then he stormed off. And I thought, okay, and then I just turned to her and said, You don’t ever need to take that from anybody and just know that women, we got your back.

And so and that’s what’s true, we have to have each other’s back now, especially you’re in tech, you know, and there are so few women in tech, there just are because it’s taken over by this huge space. And we have to claim our place there. Because as we go into augmented reality, you know, and AI, we have to make sure our voices are represented, or everything that we see and experience in the world is going to be from the male perspective, which is not going to be a good thing.

Lani Phillips 18:56

Is not going to be a good thing. And I think the other thing that helps shift me is, there’s all of these micro aggressions and things you’ve experienced over the years that you’ve just grown accustomed to ignoring. And I think I also got to the point where I was just tired of being sick and tired. And said, The only way this is going to change is if I insist that its changed.

So that means I’ve got to show up, that means I’ve got to use my voice for good. That means I need to be willing to call things out in a respectful way. But yeah, so I’ve had to have those conversations around intent versus impact. Your intent may have been good, but let’s talk about the impact that it had on me and others.

Yeah, you’ve got to be willing to have those conversations in a way in which people can hear you. But I’ve just decided that with the time I have left, I’m going to make a difference with this platform that I’ve been given. And hopefully, open the door, extend a hand do whatever I can help as many people as possible.

Patti Dobrowolski 20:01

Well, and I would say just with your modern mentoring, you know, your live stream of that. It’s so engaging like you’ve had, you know, you had last week, we had Toni Townes Whitley there, right. She was so incredible. And she spoke to this microaggression and that she was sick of it, you know, and that she’d had it, right.

And I think that we have to be sick of it in order for it to change. And then we have to speak up about it in a respectful way. But this is what is a quote off your LinkedIn profile, which I love, and I want to read it because you say, as a champion for all people, I’m passionate about transformational leadership, and committed to empowering people in corporate America.

But here, transformational work is not transactional, but behavioral, it is behavioral, and and for so long. We’ve treated all the DNI stuff like its transaction, you know, it’s number of people, it’s number of its color people, but it’s not. And in order for us to shift, we have to understand really speak to that a little bit. So what this means?

Lani Phillips 21:10

Well, I can give you some examples, I think you’ve seen companies all over who really hyper focused on D, they say DNI, but they really hyper focus on the diversity piece. And so they actually get the numbers. So they bring in more women, they bring in more people of color. And they bring in people with many different backgrounds, and then they start counting. And then what happens is year over year, you start to see those numbers go up, but then they drop, they go up and they drop.

And what I started observing, and what I experienced personally, is you’re more concerned about getting me here and checking the box, you really haven’t invested the time in creating an environment where I feel like I’m seeing valued and heard. And I have a sense of belonging, and where I feel like that I can really grow my career here. And that’s inclusion.

And that’s the piece that I think a lot of people are missing. And when you think about the statement, you may know, diversity is not transactional, but it is relational. You’ve got to build a true connection and relationship with people to understand what’s important to them. And it means you have to meet them where they are at, yeah, understand what support looks like for them, and then demonstrate some compassion and move into action to connect them to resources and things that they need to help them be successful.

Patti Dobrowolski 22:28

Yeah, yeah. I think that this piece about connecting them to the resources that they need, like, I think there are so many assumptions made out there from one perspective about what people need. So if we just get this person in place, and they can support everyone that comes in. No, really what we need to do is to begin to open our ears and ask questions, and be willing to fumble around in there, you know, you got to get dirty in there and make mistakes in order for you to learn and grow.

And I think now, you know, the interesting thing about everything that’s happened in the the whole environment out there, I think that part of what we have to do is realize. And I think I’ve realized this as I get older, you know, I know so much less than I think I know, you know, before I thought I knew so much and now I’ve realized, no, I really do. What do I understand about love? And what do I understand about compassion? And what do I understand about listening? And people from around the world? How can I really be in a listening space? And I think that’s part of it. You know, you have to ask questions, listen more, and do your own homework. Like don’t expect people to do the homework for you. Right? Come on.

Lani Phillips 23:45

That’s powerful. That’s powerful right there. Because it’s true. You’ve got to take responsibility for your own learning journey, too. Yeah. And part of that learning journey is being vulnerable enough to admit you don’t know, and to ask questions, and to do your research and to learn, and I’m with you. I think every day I’m given another day to live. I feel like it’s another opportunity to learn something new to try anything and it’s changing so quickly to right?

Patti Dobrowolski 24:15

Right, right, every day around change. Well tell me what is a day in the life of Lani Phillips, what is your day look like? You know, before we got into the podcast, you asked me what my day look like, I’m curious, what does your day look like? Are you just meeting to meeting to meeting? What do you do in terms of your own personal rituals, so that people can understand what it takes to be able to be responsive to listen to be able to pivot when you need to? What do you do in your day to keep yourself balanced?

Lani Phillips 24:46

Well, I’ll talk about the day because that’s different every day. But I will tell you that my mornings and the reason why I say my mornings are sacred is because it sets the tone. And I’ve learned that I’ve got to build it time to make sure that I honor that space of myself. And what do I do? Well, a lot of people chuckle, but there’s a few things I do, the first thing I do is I usually have a spiritual practice that when I rise, I usually spend some time in a space of gratitude.

And just really thinking about the things that I’m grateful for. I do tend to get up every day, and make sure that I do something that inspires me. So I listen to a podcast or listen to music, whatever I’m in the mood for, I listen to an audible, I may read something that I enjoy a book that always have to do something that lifts my spirits. It’s just something that I just look forward to, even when I’m traveling, and I’ve been on the road the last couple weeks, I actually do it even when I’m on the road.

I do believe in that. That mindfulness space where you do the deep breathing, I have found that I have to find a way to quiet the noise in my head. Just quiet the noise of everything I have to do and just sit is. Yeah. And it’s amazing how much clarity you get when you’re done with I also a big planner for the day, what are the three to five things that I must get accomplished?

Now, this might surprise you. That’s one other thing that people are surprised by. But every day, I say what’s going to be my intention for the day. And who’s the one person that I want to touch to see if I can make a difference in their life every single day.

Patti Dobrowolski 26:37

Now I see how you pull that through your genetic encoding from your mom. Wow.

Lani Phillips 26:43

I love it too. And it always makes them smile. If they don’t I get as much from it as they do. But for me, it’s just my way of, again, planting seeds of just goodness out there and hopes of it coming back my way now was the day starts girl, let me tell you, I go from meeting to meeting to meeting to meeting. And you know, we’re in this virtual world today actually had three presentations. And, you know, even the best laid plans I even had one of them had a complete lack. Right and build presentation. I’m like.

Patti Dobrowolski 27:19

I’ve had that happen before. Like I’ve been the keynote speaker and then the dogs start barking, like crazily for the Amazon truck that’s pulled up, right. So you know, there’s all that stuff. Wow. Okay. And then what do you do to decompress at the end of your day? How do you do that?

Lani Phillips 27:37

So actually, believe it or not, I don’t spend as much time catching all the program. So I try it. And first of all, I’m married, and I have a son. And so my husband James and my son, Brian, and I used to try to love on them for a few minutes. But we’ve been together so long through this pandemic, you know, they might have about 15 to 20 minutes for me, and then I moved on to something else. So I just try to love on them. And then I just go back to my zone, my zone is follow up from the day and look at my list, see what have I accomplished the things I set out to accomplish? I started thinking about what is it I need to follow up on and I try to get to it here lately.

Since we’ve all been in digital overload though, I’ve really been struggling with the volume of email, and how what kind of new rhythms can I put in place to get to them all? Because I literally checked, I’m getting anywhere from 100 to 110 pieces of mail a day. That’s a lot.

Patti Dobrowolski 28:37

That’s terrible. Yeah, that’s terrible. And to have to respond to all that. Well, and I think to in your role, there’s some things that you really have to respond to. So you get or you get red, yellow, green on that, you know, you can color code them and tell people.

Lani Phillips 28:55

There’s you tried to but I’m still, you know, because it’s dead, the volume has grown because everybody’s resorted to email or communication. But I do try to have that quiet time away from the technology too. Because I do need to be able to decompress and get the required amount of risk. I am at that point now where I need anywhere seven, eight hours.

Patti Dobrowolski 29:17

Wow. And you are you getting that I am so now when I get seven, seven and a half.

Lani Phillips 29:22

Seven. seven. Yeah, I can get seven. I can get seven, love to get eight. I don’t need 10 That feels like it’s a little too much. But I am grateful for my sleep. It does. It does a world of makes a world of a difference for me.

Patti Dobrowolski 29:39

I’ve been using my sleep to solve problems. This my new thing I actually I’ve done it for a long time. But I take that into my dream state so that I get an answer in the morning when I get up. So I’ll write it on a three by five card I’ll put it under my pillow. And then when I get up first thing, whatever the dream is about then I write that down so that I can see it, unpackage you know, because the, you know, your dream sensor will get in there and it scrambles everything because it doesn’t want you to know truth.

But that’s when all that really quiet time in the morning, you know, allows your creative genius to unravel and set the tone. So I love that. So you, you get up, you got your ritual of gratitude, and then you set your plan for what you’re going to do you do something that inspires you that you get into the rhythm of the day, whatever that is. And I hope that in the middle of that you’re doing some jumping jacks and stuff like that.

Lani Phillips 30:31

You know what that is? You need the exercise part, let’s just say, America, gym, I am not perfect. That is something I have not been as consistent with. And I in every day, I’m trying to get what they say 1% better.

Patti Dobrowolski 30:47

That’s right. It’s 1%. Well, and then I got hired by swift to do some work with them. And they’re an indoor cycling thing. So I had to ride to take pictures of the landscape in the digital space. So I knew what it looked like. So I could draw it. So I was like, Okay, well, now I got to ride up Mountain Vaughn, too. And that and then I made it halfway up. I’m like, forget it. I’m going back down now.

Lani Phillips 31:14

I love it.

Patti Dobrowolski 31:15

So you know, you got to marry business with pleasure. And with workout, you know, make your meetings a walking meeting, get on your phone.

Lani Phillips 31:21

We do active meetings, we do active meetings. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that. But yes, no PowerPoints, and you just do something physically, you know, to get your heart rate go. And we’ve done that as a team. And that’s been fun. Of course, now starting to weather is starting to change. So we’re gonna have to do it indoors.

Patti Dobrowolski 31:37

But that’s because you’re in Chicago. So be chilly there. Now tell me. So tell me a little more about your goal for modern mentoring. What is it the vision that you have for that? What do you see? And what’s the impact that that’s having that you’re experiencing? I’m seeing your numbers go up in the view.

Lani Phillips 31:56

Yes, they are going up. So you know, so funny, the reason I started modern mentoring, is because during the pandemic, there were more requests for people don’t want one on one mentoring. And I just didn’t have any more hours. So I had to come up with another solution. And in my sleep, it was like, okay, you’ve got this oddness with social media that you got to get over, right. But you have this dead strong desire to help. Yeah, why don’t we try to use the technology to scale mentoring. That’s really where it all came from. And then I was like, Oh, that’s very modern, so called Modern mentor. And I found the one wrote a book on it. And I was like, whatever.

Patti Dobrowolski 32:38


Lani Phillips 32:41

To me, I guess I didn’t read that book. So I was trying to figure out a scale it. But here’s what happened. And I ended up really, it was just a project. And then I was seeing that it was really helping people and they were getting so much fun. And I was getting these emails and voicemails, trying to encourage me to keep going. And now I feel like I’m really doing something that may turn into a movement, and I hope more people start to do it. So my vision now is one to just continue to bring the collective wisdom. This is not about money.

This is about we can learn something from each other. And let’s have a conversation about just some of the unique challenges people face when they’re in corporate spaces. And let’s be willing to share what’s worked. Let’s also share what didn’t work. And let’s do it in a format. That’s just a few tips that you can go in and take what applies to you.

And so my vision is for this to be a platform that continues to grow. Yes, I’ve been approached about making it a real service, right, and moving it to technology where we can actually have a full platform behind it. I’ve had people raise their hand and say, let’s do that. I’ve been asked to turn it into a talk show. I think I’m up to about a dozen times that’s come up. They want to see me do a read table talk concept. I’m like be and Bill it.

I am a team of one, I have two volunteers and that’s it. And the volunteers only helped me during the when I’m trying to brainstorm what to do. And they helped me with the captions part of the interview and pull up those captions. And so I’ve got a I have so many people now that are leaning in. Hey, Lani, this is something special. I want to see you do it more, though. I think what I’ll do is I’ll just bring together a small group of people, and then we’ll figure out how to scale this thing even more.

Patti Dobrowolski 34:45

But here’s the thing, you know, I listen to different podcasts and I listened to people doing interviews and what I love about what you’ve done is first you did it just you and then you were mentoring people in the conversation while you were getting your feet wet. I mean, really what I loved about it was you were really transparent about you didn’t understand what was happening, the technology was. And like that, right?

And then you started to have people on with you. And then like, now I see oh, you see, now she’s hitting her stride. Because I think for me, having you here is amazing. And the conversation that you get to have when you have somebody one on one is really incredible. And what you’ve added to that is questions from the audience, right? So that they can ask you anything, and your guest anything. And I think that is really valuable.

So I would encourage you to, I would like to see what your read table would be like I would, I think it would, might be something around the scariest moments, you know, like things that have really gone awry, or the really hard conversations that we have with, right. That’s what we need in in the corporate setting, is a lot of that to break through. But what I will say and I want to call this out for the listeners is so she had this idea about it, and then she put it into practice, she knew it was her Achilles heel, it wasn’t something she wanted to do to get online and look at how fantastic she is. And you ought to see all the headshots she has.

They’re incredible. And I hope that you put them in your Instagram feed and that you get somebody who can because they’re amazing. And what’s true is that, so then she scaled that as she went, and this is how you really begin to pivot into and lean into the things that you think are calling you, but you’re not sure you’re capable of doing them. Right.

Lani Phillips 36:41

Absolutely. That’s exactly what it was. And I always have is leaning into my discomfort, but I was really reaching for the desire to help so many more people. And I had to get comfortable with this medium that I was still you know, there’s digital native and the digital adapter. I’m more of a digital adapter, because I didn’t grow up on all of this technology, right social technology. So it was something that I just had to get comfortable with.

But I knew I had a heart to serve. And I had a heart to share my story. And I had a heart to get other people’s stories out there. But to your point, if I didn’t move it to a bigger platform, the thing people want is they want that interaction with me. So I think we’ll see where it goes. This is what I told the last person I said it to me, I said, I surrender, whatever is supposed to happen will happen. Here’s what I will commit to you, I’ll keep doing it. And eventually, the resources and all this together, and we’ll figure it out. So we can scale it even more

Patti Dobrowolski 37:46

well, and so and even listen to that. So this is a tip to for all of you that are listening, you know, you can make the greatest plans in the world. And you can also learn to surrender to what is and what will happen, it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to do the work to figure out the technology, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to pull together the team to give you the ideas, or that you’re going to have to stay up late and figure out what you need to know or get someone to teach you what you need to know in order to move forward.

But the truth is, is that in the end, you have to surrender it up and let the universe open the door for you. Because you can’t see what’s out there, you might have painted the you know, and I’m big on painting a picture of the future. But you don’t know everything that’s going to happen in the future. So that’s why I say start with how you will feel at the end of the change that you’re in or how you feel when you are reaching. You know, so many people through this, whether it’s a bunch of teams out there doing and you’re helping them and giving some tips on how to do it or whatever it is right.

But that you surrender it up, I know, tell me just a few tips for people that are listening in about how they can pivot and grow themselves in in the modern world anything that you would just share any additional points because you shared so much already.

Lani Phillips 39:11

You know, pivot in this more digital world? You know, I would tell you, first and foremost is you’ve got to pay attention to the changes that are happening in front of us. Let me give you an example. Right now, when you think about how do I stay up on things.

One of the areas that I recognize that is not going away anytime soon, is being able to work in this hybrid. And we all know this pandemic has gone on longer. It’s at different stages, no matter where you live in the world. And I got to figure out how do I drive engagement within my organization? And how do I have deeper connection. I came across a lady by the name of Erica Diwan who actually wrote a book on digital body.

And I had an opportunity to hear speak. And the thing that opened me up was the fact that we all have digital technology, this digital world, but how do we create trust and connection? And how far reaching it is? Because we all think it’s through email, or we think it’s through video.

But it’s all in how you send an email that greeting how you connect, how are you demonstrating empathy. So it’s forcing me to have to really sit back and really reevaluate. What does it mean to connect, I think someone who wants to pivot, based on everything I said, you do have to pay attention to where things are evolving and changing, and invest the time and just getting smarter about it.

Like you said, the older I get, I realized, I don’t know a lot of stuff and a lot to learn, because things are changing right before our very eyes. So I would encourage you to pay attention, look where you see trends going, and then figure out what you need to go learn. And then I’m going to learn a lot about digital body language. Thanks, Erica. But then what I’ll do is I’ll adapt, because I’ll have my own set of experiences, right?

Patti Dobrowolski 41:15


Lani Phillips 41:15

And then I will figure out what works best for me. And then what am I going to want to do? Pay it forward?

Patti Dobrowolski 41:22

That’s right, you’re gonna want to show us how they can do it. I love to share what other people I’m so I’m like, so excited.

Lani Phillips 41:29

But I think for people who want to transform, I think, first of all, just see where the trends are going. You got I also tell people take inventory of yourself, you know, what are your strengths? What are those towering strengths you have? What are those gifts that no one can do better than you? And then what are those areas?

Patti Dobrowolski 41:50


Lani Phillips 41:51

some of that stuff, you can just let go of and surround yourself with people that have strengths in that area. But I really do believe that once we get clear on the things that are our special gifts, if you invest in those where they’ll become towering strengths, and you’ll be able to live that be how you earn a living. That’ll be how you live your life and share with others.

Patti Dobrowolski 42:13

And then you become your legend. Which is really, that’s it. That’s it in a nutshell, really, you got to pay attention to trends, you got to really put your attention on your strengths. And know that you know, the thing about the world is there’s only one you bring that you bring what you have, and then do this thing that Lani is talking about, which is be in service to all of life in that space, help and impact people day by day, it’ll small things add up to big change in the world.

So you got to be the change. You really do. And I love you so much. I just think you’re incredible. And I think that people are going to go crazy over this podcast and all the tips that you dropped and your stories are so moving. Thank you so much for spending time with us. And I just can’t wait to see what else you’re up to. So everybody, please follow, you know, modern mentoring with Lani Phillips. You can find that on LinkedIn, but she’s on YouTube with it and she does a live broadcast every week. You are incredible. Thank you so much for being here.

Lani Phillips 43:27

Thank you so much for having me. I love you and I appreciate you for having me on.

Patti Dobrowolski 43:32

Yeah, it was fantastic. Okay, everybody, you know what we say you know, go out and make it a great day for other people and know that you’re loved in the universe. There’s only one you let’s do this. Until next time, Up Your Creative Genius. And that’s a wrap. Thanks so much for listening today. Be sure to DM me on Instagram your feedback or takeaways from today’s episode on Up Your Creative Genius. Then join me next week for more rocket fuel. Remember, you are the superstar of your universe and the world needs what you have to bring. So get busy. Get out and up your creative genius. And no matter where you are in the universe, here’s some big love from yours truly Patti Dobrowolski, and the up your creative genius podcast. That’s a wrap.

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