Pamela Austin: Finding Your True Calling

November 15, 2021
Up Your Creative Genius
Up Your Creative Genius
Pamela Austin: Finding Your True Calling
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Show Notes

Pamela Austin is the Vice President, Global Head of Communications & Public Affairs at Woven Planet Holdings*. Pamela has spent her 25-year communications career working at the intersection of technology and social impact. She uniquely blends deep subject matter expertise with analysis, creativity, and surprise that drives strong communications and thought leadership strategies. She is known as the catalyst that can build and reshape corporate images and reputations.

Pamela has a long track record of successfully creating impactful communications teams and programs that help companies make meaningful connections between internal and external stakeholders and influencers. Prior to joining Woven Planet in 2021, she held a variety of roles including corporate and executive communications as well as diversity and inclusion communications at Facebook guiding their messaging through a time of significant change. Pamela has also held senior communications roles at the intersection of technology and social impact at Microsoft Corporation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Salesforce and Samsung Electronics.

Pamela graduated from Howard University and is a board member at Internews.org and former advisor to the American Advertising Federation Mosaic Council. She is a huge foodie and feeds her passion by igniting the home cook in everyone.

“It really matters to me to have inclusiveness”

“Where we are at inclusiveness is that we have to have a different language. ”

“I was part of the crew that helped communicate to the world, what the internet was and the promise of the internet.”

“You are going to contribute where you can.”

“In the black community, we say you can get in where you fit in.”

“Make impact where you can, and then you know what, something else might come”

“Realize just how good you really are!”

Follow Pamela Austin on Instagram and Linkedin

https://www.instagram.com/bigthinkr2/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/pamelawaustin

Toyota Woven Planet

https://www.woven-planet.global/en

The Cruelty Is The Point by Adam Serwer

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/the-cruelty-is-the-point/572104/

Soul of America by Jon Meachem

https://www.amazon.com/Soul-America-Battle-Better-Angels/dp/0399589813

Follow Patti Dobrowolski – Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/upyourcreativegenius/

Linkedin

https://www.linkedin.com/in/patti-dobrowolski-532368/

Up Your Creative Genius

https://upyourcreativegenius.com/

Time Stamp

[1:37] Where did Pamela Austin grow up?

[4:41] From broadcast journalism and travelling to the Gates Foundation

[7:34] What it means to have inclusive communications

[8:29] Pivoting from broadcast journalism into corporate work

[10:38] From SunMicrosystems to Micorsoft, Facebook to Samsung

[14:10] Change management at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

[15:06] Toyota Woven Planet

[20:10] What it takes to pivot

[24:38] How CEOs can create more inclusive communications

[28:01] What is your morning rituals like?

[31:56] Two of Pam’s book recommendations

Patti Dobrowolski 0:03

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 Patty 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.

Patti Dobrowolski 0:39

Hey, everybody it’s Patti Dobrowolski with up your creative genius? O M G. Pam Austin is in the house. Oh my god, you guys. I mean, do you know how hard it was for me to get her in here? Number one, because she’s so freaking busy. And now you’re here. I love you so much. And I am so excited about what you’re going to tell people today. So hello, Pam, thank you so much for taking the time.

Pamela Austin 1:05

Oh, hello, Patti, my friend, my dear, dear friend, we go back so many years. I miss you. I’m still here in Seattle.

Patti Dobrowolski 1:13

I know it. I know it. I wish I was up there. But I’m not. I’m here in Texas. Lovely. Lovely.

Pamela Austin 1:20

I’m just so happy that you invited me into your podcast and to all your viewers and those who want to inspire to be better, to think bigger, to realize more through the way that your expertise delivers.

Patti Dobrowolski 1:37

Well, and this is really about you and your expertise. So I just want to say that they know a little bit about me, but I want them to know about you. So people that are listening. This is Pam Austin, we do go way back. But I’m going to have her tell her story to you like, where she came from, how she got into doing what she’s doing and what she’s doing now, whatever she could talk about, because we might still be in the secret silence around it. Because it’s so new. I’m super excited. But just Pam, tell people about you. Like where’d you come from? Where’d you grow up? Everything? Yeah, so

Pamela Austin 2:11

I grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, in a middle class humble home. With my two older sisters, my mom and my dad and stayed in Boston, lived in Boston. My parents were entrepreneurs and owned a dry cleaning business. And education was always front and center and education and civil rights to the things you know, in most black families. You had John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Jesus. Right.

Patti Dobrowolski 2:38

That’s right. That’s right. I was in a white family. It was same for me too. Yeah.

Pamela Austin 2:43

Yeah. So I grew up in Boston. And as I’m older now, I look back on that beautiful city, particularly because yesterday was the Boston Marathon right now. I know. And I reflected on the Boston Marathon because we, the finish line is my favorite building. The first building off to the left, right that crosses over the finish line is a building to the left. That was my first PR job ever. And so it brought back as I was thinking about you and you know, engaging with you today. I thought about it. And we reflected on my past in Boston, so Boston, for those who have never been or those who have brushed through and breezed through. It’s a beautiful city. I owe everything to Boston in terms of my grit, my affability, my getting around my appreciation for diversity in different cultures. Yeah, cuz as a little girl, I went to one of the elite public schools called Girls Latin. Yeah. And I studied Latin there. And I see, I know how to, in fact, my sons actually followed in my footsteps and took Latin as well. But I went to Girls Latin, and there, the door was open to explore other ethnic communities. So I had friends from Chinatown, respectfully, back then it was called Chinatown, a Jewish community, the Italian community, the Irish community. And so that was my first foray into respect for inclusion, different experiences. And so that molded and shaped me and then from there, I went on to school at Howard University.

Patti Dobrowolski 4:13

Yes, he Oh, Howard. And your sons went there too

Pamela Austin 4:17

My sons went there though my baby son went to St. Johns, so Okay. All right. York City, in Queens actually. So I traveled to DC, I specialized in broadcast journalism. I did a couple of stints abroad, and oh my goodness, the lawn keepers decided.

Patti Dobrowolski 4:35

Don’t worry, it always happens. I’m surprised that dogs haven’t started barking on my end. So you’re good, keep going. Don’t worry.

Pamela Austin 4:41

So you know, so I was there in DC and working really hard in broadcast journalism, and international marketing. I was recommended for a student abroad program. I spent time at the University of Madrid in Spain. Oh, I got to travel all over Europe, including all the way south into northern tip of Africa. So I traveled on a boat. This is crazy, but I literally did this. I traveled on a boat across the Gibraltar. The first time I saw dolphins, wow, in Tangiers Morocco, found my way all the way through, down south to Fez. And so I’ve had just a wonderful experience. And again, all these wonderful moments that are serendipitous that ever happened to me in my life. One was in Morocco, I learned about, again, the importance of languages. Yeah, I met a little boy, 11 years old, six languages, he brought me around and led me into a mosque. And as a young Christian American Girl, I was not draped in the proper. Yeah, not. No, no. So I’ve had a wonderful career. I mean, a wonderful beginning. Yeah, I had a family that loved me, a family that endorsed me. They told me that education was the route, that we had to fight for civil rights, the importance of respecting people’s perspectives and different walks of life, and the importance of making sure that if we rise, we all rise, and so I’ve carried that throughout my whole career as a manager and now as a leader, Vice President of Communications, it really matters to me around inclusiveness, respect for EQ and experiences and so forth.

Patti Dobrowolski 6:23

I mean, you’re a big EQ person to like, you get down and dirty. You’d like to talk about stuff.

Pamela Austin 6:29

Yeah, I’m an ENTJ in the Myers Briggs

Patti Dobrowolski 6:34

There you go. There you go. I love it. The J part. I can’t relate to the judgment. On my end. That’s what makes us good at finishing and closing the deal.

Pamela Austin 6:44

Yeah, well, that comes roots, that comes directly from my roots in Boston, right? Yeah. Yeah.

Patti Dobrowolski 6:51

So then you went on to have a really successful career, like, I met you at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. But before that, you were at Microsoft, you know, you were a key comms person there.

Pamela Austin 7:04

Yeah. So it’s a little interesting. So I thought it was going to be in broadcast journalism. As a news reporter. I started out that way,

Patti Dobrowolski 7:10

Which is why you’re so smart about politics. So for anybody who’s listening, this is what I know about Pam. Like, if you aren’t caught up on what’s happening politically, don’t get in a conversation with her about it, because she’ll let you have it. You got to, you got to listen. And you got to know. And because that’s how you know, what’s right for you and what to fight for. Right. What to stand up for.

Pamela Austin 7:34

Yeah, you know, I’ve been focusing and reflecting on the power of as a communications expert, I’ve been focusing on and reflecting on inclusive communications. What does that look like?

Patti Dobrowolski 7:45

Yeah, what’s that mean?

Pamela Austin 7:47

Well, it’s formulating in my brain, but you know, me, I’m always like lightyears ahead. But what it means to me is, we have to be careful and sensitive about the language. How do we use language to communicate effectively, that is inclusive of those who are going to receive the message? Right, right. And it was in large part due to how the world is changing, you know, the whole racial justice movement? Yep. Where we are the inclusiveness of it, and the canceled culture and all that, that we’ve got to have a different language to me. But let me pause there. But jump back to. Yes, I met you at the Gates Foundation, when that was about 2008 ish area. timeframe.

Patti Dobrowolski 8:29

Before that, you were broadcast journalism. So you, you stretched off that track and went into corporate work, right?

Pamela Austin 8:36

Yeah. Because my dad, my dad, Fred. was a big wig at Digital Equipment Corporation. Okay. And so if anybody knows deep in technology, Digital Equipment Corporation was at that time, that disrupter to IBM. And so computers were big, huge mainframes that needed specialized rooms and different floors and special Oh, yeah, they were huge, huge. Well, digital came in and said, you don’t need all of that, throw all that away. Here are these things called mini computers? Yeah, there you go. And so I joined as a sales rep. And then from there, I crushed it in sales. And they said, you know, you’re really good at marketing. We got a job for you over here. So I ended up in the marketing organization, which led them to say, No, no, no, you’re really good at PR. Why don’t you get into that thing? And so I just said, yes, yes, yes. Because you know, growing up in Boston and a humble home, you know what, take those opportunities, just say yeah, just work hard and figure it out.

Patti Dobrowolski 9:36

So if so, if you’re listening, this is just your first tip from Pam. You know, to take the opportunity when it comes to you. Don’t be like second guessing it. You know, when the door opens, go, go through it because it really creates a massive amount of change. So you came in with one role then this role this role and you went every single time and learned what you needed to in order to be successful because you are so incredibly successful.

Pamela Austin 10:04

I mean, that’s true. Yeah, I think the interesting thing is, you know, to that point, I encourage women because I, you know, I have an affinity to women in corporate America. I learned that because of a boss, who was a man. He just reinforced it for me. Yes. That you know what? Never say no, you know, it’s not the fake it till you make it, but it isn’t. It isn’t. But what I believed in is that I can do it.

Patti Dobrowolski 10:27

Yeah. So you had the confidence to do it, whatever it was there, whatever door opened, even if I don’t know about it. Yeah, confidence and curiosity. Really, those are the two great things that go behind inclusion. Really, right, equity and inclusion. It’s all about confidence and curiosity, asking the questions that nobody else will ask and not being afraid to and then making sure that everybody’s voices are heard. Right?

Pamela Austin 10:53

That’s, right. that’s right.

Patti Dobrowolski 10:54

Fantastic. All right. So there you are in this corporate job, you’re doing PR.

Pamela Austin 10:58

So then I got an opportunity to come to California to one of the boutique PR agencies in California. And of course, I had my ex husband at the time, who was going to study at Berkeley, okay. And so I said, Okay, I’m going to continue doing this PR thing. And next thing I know, I’m servicing a client called Sun Microsystems. Yeah. Who was gonna launch a product called Java?

Patti Dobrowolski 11:24

Oh, it was one of the head. That is crazy.

Pamela Austin 11:27

And at the time, the internet was just being launched online, right?

Patti Dobrowolski 11:30

So yeah, that’s in what time?

Pamela Austin 11:35

1995 I was part of the crew that helped communicate to the world, what the internet was and the promise of the internet.

Patti Dobrowolski 11:45

Wow, that must have been incredible. Yeah. So visionary.

Pamela Austin 11:50

Yeah, it was because, you know, the Internet was recently it was called TCPIP. Yeah. So it was so technical, the protocol. Right. And so here I am a broadcast journalism major trying to explain this technical protocol. But what I was able to do is use, you know, the importance of communication and laymanship talking to people as if they’re at the barbecue at the picnic.

Patti Dobrowolski 12:17

That’s right. That’s right. Well, that’s true today, too, wouldn’t you say? Yeah, I mean, that’s really what it has to be – conversational. Otherwise, you don’t ever really bond. Otherwise, you’re way up way, way up in the clouds just sort of floating around.

Pamela Austin 12:33

Yeah, you know, I’ll make my career journey short, because I get to the real stuff. Because my journey has been just amazing to me. If you asked this young African American woman from Dorchester, Massachusetts, from Roxbury, Massachusetts, in the communities of Boston that she would catapult into Microsoft, yes, fast forward to 2003. Yep. And there, I was responsible for helping to drive and shape the corporate brand. Yes, at a time when Microsoft similarly to my former company, Facebook, is going through this transformational change in terms of clarity, and redefining who we are, what our purpose is. And so I got into the branding team. And from branding team, I was responsible for helping employees understand the shift that we were making away from how we were showing up to our customers, or partners, which at the time was a little rough, you know,

Patti Dobrowolski 13:33

Yeah, it was it wasn’t going very well.

Pamela Austin 13:36

No, it wasn’t. And I know. We were shifting the gears towards your potential is our passion. Your passion is our passion. Whatever you try to do, we’re trying to help you.

Patti Dobrowolski 13:47

Okay, that’s right. That’s right. And actually, what’s true is that’s the through line for Microsoft. That’s what they’ve always been wanting to do. And now they’re just broadening it right? So that it really feels more inclusive, that your business like you could be a co seller, you could be a whatever. Right? Yeah, it’s really amazing. So you were there at that part? And that’s when you formed a relationship with Bill right, Bill Gates.

Pamela Austin 14:10

I formed a relationship with Mitch Matthews and Larry Cohen, who, Mitch Matthews was our chief marketing officer at the time. And Larry Cohen was my direct, direct boss, Head of Communications and Public Affairs, who’s now still with Bill over at Bill’s endeavors in Seattle. But I moved and really worked on trying to educate employees of what this now means. So it was a change management effort.

Patti Dobrowolski 14:37

Yes. And that’s actually That’s right. And I would say that’s what’s true about you over time, is that you’ve always been about communicating about change, what this means to us as an employee, what it means to me as a consumer in the marketplace, how all these things matter. And so you know, fast forward Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and then you went down to Samsung, and then you were at Facebook. And where are you now?

Pamela Austin 15:06

I’m now at Woven Planet, which is a subsidiary of the Toyota Motor Corporation. Yeah. And I mean, it’s the coolest job ever.

Patti Dobrowolski 15:16

I can imagine. And what’s true is you’ve been in the fire at all of these companies at some point, like you had to prep the leaders to go in front of the press, and speak articulately about what it was and guide them. And so what did you call on in yourself to know what to say to them? Because I’m curious about that. Like, what did you call on? How did you get yourself ready and get them ready to go?

Pamela Austin 15:46

Yeah. So Patti, I’m gonna give you a shameless plug. Because I remember when I was trying to make my next jump as to what I really wanted to, like, what am I really, really good at? Yeah. And because of our work and our deep relationship and work at the Gates Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the change management work that we did there? Yes, yes. You know, we became fast friends. But I also saw that I needed you. I needed whatever that expertise that you were given to others that you’re giving it still to this day, I had to really get to understand what is my real true value add? Yeah, how can I show up in a very differentiated way? That is me, yeah, that will add value to either an executives presence, or the business priorities or advancing the mission and the vision of a company. And through the work that we did, and I’ll never forget it in Ballard in your,

Patti Dobrowolski 16:43

In our little studio, that red floored studio down there? Yes, yeah. Down there.

Pamela Austin 16:49

Yeah. But it was fun. It was warm, because you were really trying to help me. You were reinforcing to me, you’ve got a skill, you’ve got some magic, we just need to pull it out and figure out where to put it and place it. Yeah. And so because of that work, I was able to harness that across the Gates Foundation even more with an invitation to do executive communication and corporate communication support at Salesforce.

Patti Dobrowolski 17:15

Oh, Salesforce, I totally forgot. Yeah, Salesforce.

Pamela Austin 17:19

And then I perfected it again, on a global, truly global international platform with what Samsung is, as you know, a conglomerate of 350,000 people around the world. It was after an accident that was trying to charge the future of Samsung, the next generation of Samsung. And then now here I am. And then I flipped over to Facebook to do something very similarly. Yeah. And now currently, I’m at Toyota, Woven Planet, what Woven Planet is really about helping the world think about the future of how we will move, not only just people, but information and goods. Okay. And the spirit of Toyota, as I’m learning. And it validates why I’m there, is because, again, the automotive industry is at an inflection point. Yes, it is. They know that they’re going to have to change.

Patti Dobrowolski 18:15

Right?

Pamela Austin 18:16

Because not only the consumers are asking them to change, the climate is begging them to change. Yep. And Akio Toyoda, who is the chairman of Toyota, realizes that he knows that through the power of technology, we’ll have a different mode of moving people. Yeah. And do it in a responsible safe, yeah, way. And that it can be available to everyone, right? And then they take it a next step further, which is why I’m just like, so in love right now with my job. And then they take it a next step further, in order for us to create these cool new vehicles, whether it’s electrical hydrogen based, or where the next evolution of totally fully autonomous driving vehicles will go.

Patti Dobrowolski 19:03

Can’t wait.

Pamela Austin 19:03

You have to have a city, you have to have a city. Yeah, you have to have an infrastructure that can support that. Yeah. So Toyota has Woven City which is planning the living, it is the living laboratory to kind of test out the technologies for what countries around the world and governments around the world will have to ultimately contend with because the more and more these vehicles transform, you’re going to charging stations are for today may not be charging stations tomorrow.

Patti Dobrowolski 19:32

Yeah. Let’s hope not. Let’s hope not. Yeah. That’s why that’s super exciting, Pam. That is unbelievable. Now, all right. So this is what you’re doing and you’re like crushing it there. I know you are because that’s what you do. But tell us like you pivoted from this place to that place, this place to that place, and most of the people that listen in here are interested in how to pivot. They’re mostly looking for how you know, because most of us hate change. We don’t like it. Yeah, 98% of us are not interested in changing. Even if we have a life threatening illness, we just want to stay the same. And we keep smoking, whatever we’re going to do. And I know you, you have pivoted, and pivoted. So tell me, what do you rely on to pivot?

Pamela Austin 20:21

Yes, that’s a very good question. I rely on again, it goes back to courage, and curiosity. And, you know, in many of the interviews that I’ve had, and this is hopefully I’m speaking to somebody out there who can relate to this, when I get calls from folks on LinkedIn, or headhunters or VCs that will call me and say, hey, I want you to do this gig. Can you do it? It really requires they go, why do you move so often, like you went from here to here to here to here? And the only response I could give back is, because people like you keep calling me. Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. You keep calling me with an opportunity. Yeah, that somehow the universe really realizes that that should be my next thought, or to consider it. And so when these offers come, I’ve passed up a lot, yet when the right one comes. And when I look and reflect on my career journey, all of them were at pivotal moments in time. And I felt at that time, I could really add value in some way. Like, take my tour of duty at Facebook, I really felt and this was interesting, because a lot of people ask like, why do you go in there? Yeah, oh, no. And I said, I really think that I can use my skill set to move the ball just a little bit down the field. That’s right. And I learned that understanding of moving the ball at inches down the field, I learned that from Bill and Melinda at the Gates Foundation, you know, many of the companies and the technologies that I’m working with are on, are long, intractable, futuristic visions. And technologies where you want to be able to, you know, to contribute where you can, in the black community, we say you can get in where you fit in. Right? That’s right, make impact where you can, and then who knows what something else might come from it?

Patti Dobrowolski 22:16

That’s right. And I think this is key too, so you’re talking about the pivot is that an opportunity opens, people will offer opportunities to you all the time. Everybody, this is what’s true, and you sometimes are not paying attention. So you got to, one, you got to pay attention to, you have to realize that, you know, I get called all the time from companies that would I work for them all the time, probably not. But I realized, okay, this is a window, I could go in there and have an impact in that company by what I say or do or how I can help them in some way. And I’m not just talking about helping them with their vision and strategy, because I do a lot of that. I’m talking about helping them with their consciousness, you know, you’re talking about being really understanding that the universe operates for the good of the whole. And sometimes they’re operating for the good of themselves. And our job is to help them see how important their employees are, what their strategies are, that they’ve got to consider everybody. And if they’re in my case, I often walk in, it’s an all white board. And I’m like, I don’t see a single person of color or a woman there. What are you doing? Why are you doing this? Because this is not going to serve anybody but you. And I want to you know, for me, I want to live in a world that I grew up in, you know, I grew up in LA, right. So we were part of the first busing, you know, my mother’s best friend was black. So let’s just talk about this is the reality that I come from. So to move into a place or into a culture, a world where this is finally, you know, we’re talking about it, and people are actually making the shift. And if you’re still not making the shift, that’s not good on you. So I would say shame on you. Because now is the time more than ever to really make a change and pivot in your consciousness. See what you don’t know about somebody else who looks different than you or acts differently than you or comes from a different place. You know, like your whole upbringing is all about that Pam, and my view and so we may have two different perspectives, but it is key and essential that it’s forefront for everything that we do. We watch what we say, we watch what we do so that we are including other people, as many people as we can.

Pamela Austin 24:38

Yeah, I actually think you know, again, I’ve been reflecting in inclusive communications and what all it’s saying is to CEOs like, again, I’m an expert in executive communications and leadership communications. I am a steward of learning constantly in influencer marketing and social presence and Digital Communications, engagement, I actually believe that. And being inclusive in the way that you communicate, really is speaking about the soul of a company, and what are the principles and guiding principles and the values that you really live by. And here’s the shift. So where we are now and I tell people, it’s a true story. I said, look it in my next job, thanks to Patti, again, for helping me think it through over the three steps, the three steps and a little bridge that I got across on my path and where I know I want to be what I want to be happy. And it is important that we think about really how and what it is that you can really contribute to. And where I am today is really trying to help not change corporations, but really try to understand who they are, what they are. And then how can I help?

Patti Dobrowolski 25:57

Right? Well, and I think this comes back to really like you’re a faith based person, that’s what’s true. And so you understand that service is what life is about. Right? You’re here to serve, and in whatever way that you can. And so if you can serve, you know, people don’t understand that there is a soul of the company, it is its own thing. And it’s shaped by the people that are there, the leadership that’s there, and you can influence and shift things by what you speak about, and how you present them. And you can inspire people to get on board with a vision of the future. And you can even inspire it in my case, you know, inspire people who are, you know, have been, all their friends were laid off and they were left, those are the situations where I often was called in to talk to people about change.

Pamela Austin 26:52

Yeah, that was a tough time, Patti. And, you know, I have been so blessed to not have been, like, totally flat on my back. But I have gone through a layoff. I’ve been let go, if you’ve been in this game, as long as I have, you’re gonna have one or two of those. And this is where it always comes back to what is Pamela’s secret sauce? Well, I’m an active listener, right? I learned how to listen more. That was a journey. I remember a senior executive at the Gates Foundation, who almost did not allow me to get to the job that I got.

Patti Dobrowolski 27:25

I was gonna say, Who shall not be named.

Pamela Austin 27:30

But they said to me, it was one of those pieces of advice. You don’t listen. Well. Yeah. So I went on a journey of okay, let me take that into consideration. So to those that are out there who want to pivot and want to just take that next big leap? One is faith. Like, there’s a card that I have in my house right now it says, realize just how good you really are. Yeah. And then to leap and the net will appear. No doubt, right. No doubt. And then just you know, what? Perfect your skill set. Yeah, as much as you can.

Patti Dobrowolski 28:01

Yes. And ask for feedback. I mean, this is the other thing and ask for help, too. Yeah. That’s right. I love that. Well, that I love talking to you. I could talk to you all day, but I don’t have all day. But it’s unbelievable to hear from you and speak to you. Now I want to know, you know, people want to get inside your day, right? You’re a VP of comms. So tell me like in your day, what’s your morning ritual? What do you do? What’s your morning ritual? People want to know, like, what do you do?

Pamela Austin 28:31

Okay? Okay. So, again, yes. You said, I’m very spiritual oriented, provided that the universe allows me to wake up. When I do, I preserve time to really meditate. Yeah. And by meditation, it means I wake up normally around 5:45 and just sit quietly in that space, and try not to bring in oh, what I got to do today or, but I just tried to just be quiet. And then from there, I collect my thoughts. And then I do either a four mile run, or a three mile two and a half mile walk, come back, refresh. And I love coffee. But, but before I have coffee, I’ve committed to having 16 ounces of lemon water, right?

Patti Dobrowolski 29:20

That’s right, because it’s good for you. That’s right, going out.

Pamela Austin 29:23

And then I get into, okay, what is it the three things that I want to accomplish today?

Patti Dobrowolski 29:28

Okay, you do a little goal setting. Yep,

Pamela Austin 29:31

I do a goal setting I say, okay, all right. What are the things I know I have to do today? Versus what I really think I want to do today. Okay, that are still important. And then I go into my emails and then I start to kind of glance, I don’t go deep. I just glance and then I come back in and reflect on, okay, my day is going to look like this. What can I bring to the table that’s going to add value, and then where can I make the most impact to help others, whether it’s people on my team, whether it’s the engineering leader of the product areas, or even my cohorts and colleagues in Japan,

Patti Dobrowolski 30:10

Yeah, that’s how I that’s like, that’s like a full meal right there. I just want to say, I love that, like, you know, the coffee isn’t even started then, and you’re already eating a full meal. And then now you’re going to digest it with a little cup of coffee. I love that. That is fantastic. And even in that there are so many tips about how to move yourself forward, in your career or in your life or in your understanding of yourself. I love these things that you’ve shared, about being good, get good at listening, and to find something that you connect with to serve through that, you know, then think about your team every day, and all of the things that you could do for them to make them better. And, and also, you know, have fun because like you’re the consummate chef. So I just want to say, and then just follow her on Instagram and see what she’s having for dinner. Because the dinner is really like, it’s probably simmering in that brain along with everything else. You’re thinking about what I could I eat later on too, that would be delicious.

Pamela Austin 31:11

Yeah, the whole, the whole foodie experience for me is really, that’s another form of meditation. Yeah, because there’s something about sous chef and because my son is in the business of restaurant business, but when you’re cutting vegetables and you like, again, my passion is African American, Asian fusion, because I realized in my travels and living in Seoul, Korea for a while and living in Helsinki, Finland, and Madrid, right, food is so important to drive relationships. But the way that they take skill in delivering and chopping the ingredients, just, I mean, again, so food is my meditative state, where I actually do some of the most creative thinking,

Patti Dobrowolski 31:56

Yes, I bet, I bet. Well, and I would just say that I have eaten your food it is incredible. And remember that. I know it’s so but here’s the thing, I just want to say to you that, to me, you’re like a meteorite, you know, you like boom, you blast off into something. So what’s true is then you land on something, and then you roll around for a while, and then you do whatever you can to plant, you know, something that grows and then boom, you’re off to another thing, and you’re doing something there. And what’s amazing about you is over the years, you’ve gotten better and better and better at articulating what it is that people need to do and need to say, and so I thank you for that. Because I think you’ve showed me that too. You’re always giving me tips. Whenever you are sharing something, I just am always like all ears whenever I’m in Seattle, and I can have coffee with you and sit down. I love you so much. And I thank you so much for the time that you spent today with us. And there’s one last question I have, which is what are you reading? What do you think we should be reading?

Pamela Austin 33:06

Well, it’s gonna be a little political. Oh, really big surprise. So I’m a big fan of The Atlantic. Okay. And now I’m going back to my journalistic roots. We are hard pressed for really good journalism. It’s out there, but it’s overshadowed by deeply entrenched sides. Yeah. And we’re in our own bubbles, where it’s self reinforcing what we want to know and what we believe is, and so I love The Atlantic because they’re like a think tank for me. But I’m reading Adams Serwer’s book of Cruelty Is The Point. And it’s a reflection on the Trump years and what we just experienced the last past four years.

Patti Dobrowolski 33:49

I can’t wait. All right.

Pamela Austin 33:51

Give it one more. All right. I’m reading Soul of America. Soul of America. By Jon Meacham.

Patti Dobrowolski 33:58

Fantastic book, Soul of America. Totally love that. I know and love that book. Yeah, it was fantastic. I love it. All right. I love you, Pam Austin, I can’t wait to see what you’re cooking up next, in your kitchen and out in the world. I thank you for taking time. If you want to know more about Pam, what she’s up to, there will be a big bio in the show notes. And also you can follow her on Instagram. You okay with them following you on Instagram. Her Instagram handle

Pamela Austin 34:26

is that @bigthinkr2

Patti Dobrowolski 34:28

@bigthinkr2 to follow her. She’ll give you her opinion on both Twitter and Instagram. So I know that for a fact. I love you, Pam, thank you so much. Just go on and everybody listening. Just, you know, whatever you’re doing, go find a way to up your creative genius. Thanks again. Thanks again for listening. Thanks again for being here, Pam.

Pamela Austin 34:51

Thank you Patti and thank you to all those that are listening.

Patti Dobrowolski 34:53

Yeah, all right. Have a great day. Thanks so much. 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 Up Your Creative Genius podcast. That’s a wrap.

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