How Your Past Informs Your Future | Vena Sterling

"Your tech stack, your marketing stack can pretty much reach anybody on the planet, if you really want to. But there's a huge difference between reaching them and engaging them." Peter Strohkorb, Episode 109

How can your past make you a better leader?

Vena Sterling, leadership coach and consultant at LRI, is here to share her wisdom on all things leadership.

Vena is a real estate investor, attorney, and leadership coach for women entrepreneurs in real estate who want to create wealth, legacy & freedom.

She believes that honoring your past, honoring yourself, and honoring others is the key to being an effective leader.

We also discuss:

  • What it really means to “know thyself”

  • The importance of mindfulness

  • The best apps & tools for your team

  • And more

Mentioned in this episode:


Vena Sterling: When you know yourself, when you know the gaps in your leadership, I think that gives you more space to accept others as they are and really champion them to become the best version of themselves as well.

Voiceover: You’re listening to the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast with professional speaker, coach and consultant Nicole Greer.

Nicole: Welcome everybody to the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast. My name is Nicole Greer, and they call me the vibrant coach. And we are on a mission to build that vibrant culture and I invite amazing, entertaining, beautiful people to be on my podcast. So what you need to do right now is go in there and subscribe and download this episode immediately. Because today on our show, we have Vena Sterling. he is a JD, ACC and is a leadership coach just like me, we’re gonna chat it up about coaching. 

She’s also a consultant at LRI, she’s gonna tell us what that’s all about. And she specializes in partnering with women entrepreneurs, and in particular, she’s going deeper into the niche, the niche of real estate. And she wants to work with those women in that area. Also with their teams, she’s all about creating a corporate culture that produces business results. And we all know that that is a vibrant culture. Welcome to the show, Vena. I’m so glad you’re here. 

Vena: Thank you. So excited to be here. Thank you so much for having me. 

Nicole: Yeah, it’s a delight. It’s a delight. Well, I am, my first question. My listeners know, we’re looking at leadership all the time, because we know everything rises and falls on leadership. And it’s up to that leader to, you know, lead by example, get that vibrant culture cooking. What do you what do you think about the word leadership? What’s your definition? 

Vena: Ah, such a good question. I think the answer could change from day to day. But usually, the constant for me is someone who knows themselves. So it’s know thyself is really, really key. And that’s, you know, as a leader, as a human being, I think we’re all working together and our shared humanity, that’s a big thing for me. So it’s about accepting the good, the bad, and the ugly about yourself, being very honest with yourself and with your team. And, of course, you know, always working to improve. But when you know yourself, when you know, the gaps in your leadership, I think that gives you more space to accept others as they are and really champion them to become the best version of themselves as well. 

Nicole: Yeah, absolutely. And what I’m hearing you say is like leaders, you need to go first. Right, like, so if the leader is looking in the mirror, and maybe even sharing with their team, here’s something I’ll work on in 2023, you know, that’s helpful. Yeah. I love what she just said. She said, you got to know thyself. Well, I’m curious. You’ve been, you know, coaching and consulting for a while. Tell me a little bit about how you’ve seen people figure out who they are. How do you know thyself? How do you figure that out?

Vena: I think the first key one of the indications, you know, is our emotions, our triggers. They actually ended up being our GPS system. So when I started out in my career, I practiced law originally, and then I went into corporate America. I did culture transformation and led teams. And it was a you know, they don’t teach you a lot of the stuff. In particular, when you make that shift to leading people, it’s just like, okay, you’ve been doing great as a, an individual contributor, so go for it, and lead teams. 

And I found myself with the same triggers. And in fact, usually when we acknowledge and honor, okay, there’s a trigger, and maybe you’re not at that point, sharing it with your team. But if you’re working with a coach or someone, you can start, you know, peeling back the layers and looking. And so, you know, I started to discover for myself on my personal journey, what were some of the triggers, and what were some of the things that were getting in my way. I grew up in New York City. I’m a Miami girl now, but grew up in New York City. 

I grew up in the Bronx, tough area. In addition, I had a parent at the time who struggled with addiction. So, you know, I had a lot of responsibility as a child, you know. Maybe some of the listeners can relate no matter what your story is, we had, you know, it’s like walking to school, having the key around our neck, you know, I think they call it latchkey kids, or whatever. And I was the oldest, the oldest of three girls and so when things went wrong, like I remember once my sister had the key, she’s swinging it around. It ends up on the roof of the house.

Nicole: You can’t make this stuff up. That’s classic. I love it.

Vena: You can’t. Yeah, my mother came had to leave work and come home. And I was always the one that got in trouble. So you know, it’s like when the key hits the roof, I found you know, those similar situations in the corporate world. I didn’t want to be responsible for the actions of other people. So I started to look back at some of those things and look at what are some of the, what some of the preconditioning I’m bringing to leadership. And then moving past those starting to heal. 

We, a lot of us have, you know, whether we want to call it trauma or wounds or different things, we get to focus on wellness and healing, so that we don’t get to stay in the same trigger after trigger, or even worse, pointing the finger out there to other people. Because, you know, you can get rid of someone and decide, okay, or part ways you don’t, it’s not a good fit. But inevitably, you know, life will give us another one of those people. So how do we meet them where they are and support them in, you know, getting to be the best version of themselves as we talked about? 

Nicole: Yeah, yeah. I love that. Okay, so the, how do you know yourself? First thing is to really take a hard look at your emotions. And I don’t want to put words in your mouth. But what I think Vena’s talking about is like, you know, getting some emotional intelligence in place.

Vena: Oh, yes. And a meditation practice works. 

Nicole: Everybody write that down.

Vena: I remember at work, I would close my door after I left the legal field, I worked in higher ed coaching law students, and I would close my door, enjoying a moment of silence, it felt weird. I mean, definitely, at that time, like nobody was doing that, you know, we weren’t talking about mindfulness and emotional intelligence, and things like that. But you know, my practice, I was at a university that had a mindfulness in the law program. Pretty amazing program. And I started my meditation practice there. So what builds from five minutes a day, ended up being longer and longer periods. I did a 10 day silent retreat. 

And I would say, now my practice, you know, as, as I grow, as, as you bring on more people, as you work on bigger things, you get to create whatever foundation you need for your well being. So now I’m at about an hour a day meditating, just so that I show up clear, I don’t bring any of my stuff. And then I have the space for other people’s stuff, because that’s what leadership is. A lot of folks, you know, I work with, they’re like, I don’t want to deal with people’s stuff. Well, listen, then you don’t want to be a leader.

Nicole: Yeah, so you just threw in a second definition. I don’t want it to slip by anybody. But you just said, you said space for other people’s stuff. All right. I’m writing this out, because it’s so good. Others people’s stuff is leadership. Like that’s the sentence you just threw out there. And I I couldn’t agree more. I love that. You know, and, and so also, folks, now we’ve got two keys to knowing thyself. One is knowing your triggers. And what we’re talking about there is the things that hijacks your amygdala or your lizard brain and puts you in a tizzy. That’s what my grandmother would say, don’t put yourself in a tizzy. 

And then, the second thing is this thing of meditating so that you can get clear so that you can be a leader and have space for other people’s stuff. Oh, my gosh, it’s so stinking good. All right. So alright, so there’s our definition of leadership. And as I said, in your bio, you have been working with women entrepreneurs for a long time. So first of all, fellows, don’t change the channel, because I know that you liked the ladies, so don’t change the channel. So what drew you to working with women entrepreneurs in particular? What drew you to that?

Vena: Yeah, yeah, that’s a good, that’s good. And I also work with men, but I ended up working with women, I would say, I don’t, you know, a big part of it is seeing that there are challenges that women face that men, they just don’t end up having. Whether it’s with you know, our upbringing, patriarchy. You know, I would work with women when I was coaching law students, and, you know, the men, the male students will come in and maybe have 50% of the requirements for a job and have nothing about like applying. It’s just like, I’m gonna apply, and I’m gonna see what happens. 

And in my experience, of course, this isn’t all across the board, but in my experience, I would see the women doubting themselves. They might have like, 95% of the you know, requirements, and we’re talking about this 5% that we don’t have. So I think, you know, it’s a part of it is doubting ourselves having that confidence. And there’s just something about a sisterhood, you know, when we come together. I know, when I started practicing law, I thought I had to put on this black suit and, you know, be a professional and couldn’t show up. You know, of course, I’ve had many evolutions in that. 

But just being in our own skin, I think, also seeing other women, who are there where we want to be, and how do we emulate that, I think that’s important. So you might not see it in your organization. But by bringing women together, we can see what works. And a lot of my coaching also is not just in the workplace, because it’s, I think we have to let go of the notion that we’re going to check our life at the door, and then we’re gonna show up, we’re going to act as if we’re not having maybe problems with our teenager in school, right, and schools calling. Or a lot of my clients have aging parents, or other things, health issues and things going on. 

So a lot of times we talk about this bringing our authentic selves to work, and, but it’s very challenging to see where the line is. So I think that women we get to be together to learn from each other to support each other and defining what does what do what’s our authentic self, you know, how to maybe bring some of that femininity in without feeling like we have to conform. So that’s what it is for me. But of course, I also work with men and love the fellas.

Nicole: That’s right. That’s right. I just love working with anybody who wants to do better. You know, that’s, that’s what coaching is all about. It’s just people who are hungry for more. And, and I love what you said, though. I think that’s why I also oftentimes are drawn towards women and maybe even women, like a generation, you know, behind me, because, you know, I do want to instill that confidence in them and help them realize you’ve got things that are possible, and all you got to do is put strategies in place to make it probable.

Vena: Strategies and systems! I’m big on systems, my goodness, because, that’s, you know, a lot the lack of systems and structure a lot of times has us dealing with people stuff, because it’s not only the stuff or the fires that we got to put out. It’s what people do and where they go when there’s a fire, right, because like you said, they’re in their lizard brain, they’re like dealing with it. And so if you have systems, it really does work. And that’s no matter what size company you have, you know, I know, we’ve all had these experiences where maybe we want to do something with someone or purchase something. 

And then, you know, we’re going back and forth, like what time works for you and what time works for you. And I’m like, okay, everyone gets to have a Calendly link or Acuity or some kind of scheduling link. And then also, when you get that inquiry, do you have the system to say, here’s a link, you’re either going to get on the phone with me or one of my you know, someone on my team, we’re gonna find out what it is that you want to do. And, yeah, I think the systems are really key.

Nicole: And so I love what you’re talking about. So you mentioned one system, just connecting the dots. So she’s talking about having a calendaring, you know, appointment setting system. What other, and that will provide a vibrant culture. I mean, if I know I can get on your calendar, but I don’t have to get with you to get on your calendar, and then get with you again, that saves so much time and energy and creates productivity. Are there other systems that you put in place to help build a more vibrant culture? What other systems might you have?

Vena: I would say, with the calendar also having, always be thinking about what data can you collect? So with the calendaring software, you can put questions you know, whether you just want to know maybe what someone’s challenges are, or you know, what they’re thinking about in the upcoming year, what’s their main priority. So you always want to you want to use each system to its full capacity. So that’s what I would say with that in terms of the calendaring. Also the follow-through, right. So some of these systems have follow up questions or what’s next, right, so that you keep things moving. Secondly, I always suggest that people have Loom, which is that’s a good one. 

Nicole: It’s a project management type thing? 

Vena: No, Loom, actually, we’re gonna get to the project management. Loom is actually where you can record videos and send video versus email. Because it’s like the emails and you got all the, no, it’s just like look and sending and you can use it in so many different ways. If you go in, it could be an introduction video, it could be someone on your team. And we all know that when we are, we’re emailing, you can’t get the full richness of the conversation. So, especially now with virtual teams, you’re working away from each other, you can shoot each other a quick Loom, that’s really good. 

Low tech is WhatsApp or Slack, something that gets out of the emails, right. So you can have channels. I’ve worked with people who use Slack for employee resource groups, virtual employee resource groups. You could have a channel in Slack, that’s for parents. I, when I was in cultural transformation, a big part of my work was creating employee resource groups that help create culture. So there’s a lot of technology that might be for one thing, for example, Slack, but we can use it in so many ways to create a vibrant culture. 

The other thing that comes to mind is a CRM, you know, a customer relationship manager or client relationship manager where you can automate things. When people come into your world, you can create like a three email sequence that either tells them about your product, or who to go to for support. Many times when we think about a vibrant culture, we’re like we first started talking about we don’t think about ourselves as the leader, we think about our team and our employees. 

Another overlooked group is clients. Like how do we onboard the clients into our culture. And that’s where that email scheduling software, it could be, you know, MailChimp, or whatever people want to use. I use Keep, which is Infusionsoft and, you know, it lets your clients come into your culture and see who you are. And it’s automated. Because we’ve got, like, so much going on, right, and you can have an email sequence that then leads to a call with someone on your team to go deeper or whatever. 

So it really is, for me, it starts with getting to know the entrepreneur I’m working with. I use an assessment that I love called wealth dynamics, and it tells an entrepreneur, what type of entrepreneur they are. So you can get clear on what’s the stuff you should be working on, and what’s the stuff you shouldn’t be working on. Which is, you know, really critical. And with LRI, we are a group of consultants, been around for 40 years. So we use a host of assessments, we have our own assessments. 

Nicole: Okay, tell us what LRI stands for. 

Vena: Yeah, it’s Leadership Research Institute. So we’re a team of consultants. We each have our own specialty. We work with a lot of large organizations, with leadership, with women in leadership, I just happen to focus on women entrepreneurs, and in particular in real estate. But we have an assessment called the restore assessment, and it really helps you look at how charged is your battery? And how much and how big is your battery? And how much charge do you have for yourself and for others, because, you know, without as we said, we come back to self without knowing some of that stuff is really challenging.

Nicole: Right. Okay. So hello, everybody. I don’t know if you’re on your treadmill, driving in the car, don’t get in a wreck while you’re listening to this, because she just downloaded a bunch of goodies. And so one of the things that she was talking about is to have a vibrant culture, you got to have a system. She’s like a lack of systems is a big problem. So she shared with us calendaring, using all the functions of that calendaring, looking at Loom, shooting videos back and forth within your culture instead of a, you know, an email, another email. And then she said, what about using WhatsApp? Did I get it right?

Vena: WhatsApp is just like if you don’t want to go and invest in Slack, even having a social channel on WhatsApp for your team where for the holidays, you can send pictures and it’s just it’s adding, it’s taking a multi-dimensional approach basically for ways to connect with yourself, connect with yourself through the meditation and those things. Connect with your team and how to connect with clients in a meaningful way.

Nicole: Yeah, and I love your idea about using slack to create resource groups within your organization. So people who have commonality can come together around something other than what the P&L looks like, and of course, having a CRM and email management program like MailChimp, or Keep. And then she talked about two assessments. So write these down. Wells dynamics and restore.

Vena: Wealth. Wealth dynamics. Wealth.

Nicole: I beg your pardon. All right. That’s why we double-check these things. Not confused. Alright, wealth dynamics, and then the restore assessment. See how your energy is, which relates back to what we talked about, at the very beginning, where you got to know thyself, all right, really great stuff. Well, I know you’re making like a little shift, you’re gonna go into the niche, the niche, and go a little bit deeper in real estate. So we have our Bronx gal, she packs up her, her car and drives down to Miami with all her stuff. And so what triggered, back to triggers, what triggered you to go a little deeper with the real estate? I’m sure there’s some folks who are in real estate listening in.

Vena: Yeah, sure, I’ll share that. But before we move on, I did want to add one other thing with the automated emails, that’s a good thing to use for prospective clients, current clients, as well as your team. With automating some of those emails that your team gets when they come on board. A lot of times we do that onboarding, we hand them all these papers, or send them a ton of files. And that’s it. Or maybe there’s a little welcome, you know, mixer or something like that. 

But if you start to think, okay, what are the things they’re going to need at what particular time, you can automate it all. You can put it in, you know, the software, and review it, of course, from time to time, but it just makes life a lot easier. You know, one of my values is freedom and ease. And that made me think of that, because when you said I drove down to Miami from the Bronx, I actually shipped everything. Shipped my car. I got on a plane with little bag in a bathing suit. I love like the freedom. 

Nicole: She said I’m headed to the beach. 

Vena: Yeah, because another, you know, one of the things and this will lead into your question, but we’re taught, like, we have to work so hard, you know. I do a lot of money mindset work. And we grew up, you know, just like, with swinging the key, I grew up hearing money doesn’t grow on trees, and it’s hard to come by. 

So a big part of knowing ourselves is, you know, what are some of those ingrained thoughts that we have? And then we ended up picking the most difficult path possible, you know. I ended up practicing law it was, you know, it was a lot of work, and it doesn’t. I remember actually, and this to answer your question about real estate. So there I was starting out, you know, as a new lawyer, I’d already I’ve started out big law, I do commercial real estate in New York. And I knew, it’d be a lot of hard work. 

But I remember, one night, we had a closing and our client was buying, you know, maybe we did building shopping centers, office buildings. And we all had on our black suits, long conference table with all the documents, and the buyers, our clients, no, they I think I don’t remember if our clients were the buyers or sellers. I just know, they walked in with sweatsuits and sneakers on okay, and signed the papers and left.

Nicole: For the million million million million million million dollar property.

Vena: Right! I remember thinking, wow. And I mean, we worked on some big deals. I remember working on the Chrysler Building, you know.

Nicole: And you had your feet in those little, those little black high heels in your toes had been pinching for about 12 hours now.

Vena: Hello, hello. The toes were singing, okay, what is going on here? So I remember looking at that role, like, you know what, that would be really cool. And a lot of lawyers who are on the legal side, they end up wanting to be on the business side. And same thing in, you know, whatever your role is, maybe you look at another role and you’re thinking, oh, that would be a better fit. So I ended up going to work for a developer. So I wanted to go on the business side. 

And I just never found the right space where I felt like, again, like I had mentors, it really was in the organization I was in and then that environment, commercial real estate in particular was like a guy’s world. So I just told myself, maybe I don’t fit in here. And you know, again, I share that I went into corporate culture and all that stuff. But this year with 2023 with where the economy is going, maybe partly because of my mindset and my meditation, but I’ve decided I really want to focus more on real estate. 

And when I you know this past few months in 2022 when I wasn’t working, I was looking at property and I was learning how to underwrite deals and how to evaluate deals and you know, like really brushing off my real estate background that I have locked away. And I that’s what I encourage all entrepreneurs or leaders to do. If there’s something that’s pulling you away from what you’re doing, or if you’re like, you know, whether, like I talked to a lot of women business owners and work with them, and they’ve turned their business into a job. 

So they have this thing that one day they want to do it. And so I started looking at, I’m a big proponent of having it all. So I’m looking at well what would having it all look like here. So that I don’t have to feel as if this is keeping me away from the real estate. And so I just started to get more immersed in the real estate market and meeting other women investors. And so I’m narrowing my focus now to women entrepreneurs who are in real estate, whether they’re investors. Some of them are brokers or realtors who have been servicing the real estate industry, but never saw themselves as true investors or leaders in their industry. 

And we’re still gonna, you know, I still focus on the systems and how to have it be a business and not a job. But the focus of my business is shifting towards where my personal focus is. And I believe that instead of the work life balance, if we move towards integration, then it will be happier leaders, our team will be happier. And most of the really successful companies have pivoted and shifted, when it makes sense. So that’s what, how this came about.

Nicole: Yeah, and I love what she’s saying. Because she’s saying that, like real estate is calling her. And so you know, not to use too woowoo of a word. I’m kind of hearing. 

Vena: I love woowoo.

Nicole: I do too. And so it’s kind of calling her, you know, come over here, work over here, you know, and, you know, the thing about your past too is like, some people don’t think they can revisit their past. And I also kind of heard like, you know, I tried on some things, but then I revisited this part, you know, that I realized it’s got some juice for me. It somehow inspirits me. Wants me to do something in that area. So that’s, that’s absolutely fantastic. Yeah. So curious. Why Miami?

Vena: Oh, yeah. Well, I actually want to add to something you shared. You got such a good reflection, it makes me like, it makes me think of something else. It’s, you know, it’s calling and when we look at our past, a lot of times, you know, like, I thought, oh, that was that. I used to say like, in a past life, I did commercial real estate law. But when I look back, and I’ve created like, some of that internal space, with my practice, my personal practices, I can see it all made sense. 

Like, it would not have worked for me to go straight from practicing law into investing because a lot of times people do it as a solo operation, which then it becomes a job and then you’re burnt out. And you know, your family’s wondering where you are. So having, you know, made my rounds on my journey through human resources through culture transformation, I’m now starting this endeavor, from the beginning with a team. Like not doing it solo, you know, creating an acquisitions team. And then and going on that path. 

So I would encourage anyone listening, to go back and revisit some of those dreams, or those things that you tried, and then you thought, oh, it’s not for me. Sometimes it really is putting space for ourselves in our calendar, whether it’s the little walks or the meditation, and you create that opening for some of those dreams to resurface or for some of those new things to, you know, become visible to you. So that’s what I wanted to add.

Nicole: I love that addition. And then when you’re talking, you went back to the key. And so like, that’s so hilarious, and so poignant, really, that your story is about a key to a door on a piece of real estate. I mean, you know what I mean.

Vena: Oh my goodness. That’s so good. You are brilliant, Nicole.

Nicole: You could even see that and, you know, and you know, what’s really weird is I had a gentleman here today, a colleague of mine, we’re dreaming up this whole thing this morning. And he said, oh, I was a latchkey kid and I said, me too. And now you’re telling me a latchkey kid. So the other thing I would invite people to do is like look at the labels, you know that they give themselves because you know what latchkey kids are? Resourceful, get her done, figure it out, independent, super confident. 

I mean, that’s what all latchkey does. It builds all this, you know, at the time, like, should mama be there to greet me? Well, she just can’t because somebody’s got to pay the rent. Okay. So, you know, it’s all good that we’ve learned all these skills from a very, very young age. So maybe also take a look at your past to see how capable you are. Because like, the guy at the table, Vena today, I know Nicole Greer is a capable, capable woman. And it’s because we had these experiences that are so fantastic.

Vena: I love it. And then Miami. It’s another thing, which is freedom and ease. I was so cold in New York. I mean, every winter, it was like, this is so miserable. It just felt like inhumane to me. And I started getting more active, I started playing more tennis. I play, I started playing golf, and all of my leisure activities and things I like to do, they would just get put on hold in the winter. 

And so I would come down, of course, working hard at a firm come down to Miami, but it just felt like more and more home. I’d hang out in South Beach. And at the time, real estate was booming in South Florida. So I felt like, why am I going home? You know, why am I going back to New York. So it is about listening to that call. A lot of times we will shut it down before we even go there. But every time I stayed a little longer than I started working with real estate brokers, and then the question was, well, okay, if I were to live here, where would I live? 

You know, sometimes we can have that soft entry into giving ourselves permission to dream and to do something that might seem a little bit crazy, because everyone in real estate that I work with, said what are you doing? Like, are you crazy, like you’re going to Miami? Like what are you going to do down there, retire?

Nicole: You’re like no, there’s young people there too. It’s a big misnomer about everybody else is older, right?

Vena: This was almost 20 years ago. So I heard it all. But I just started saying, okay, what if I did? Where would I live? And then when I found my area where I wanted to live, you know? Like there’s something inside of you. Yeah, that just lights up. That’s like, yes, yes, yes. So I’ve never looked back. When I look at sometimes I’ll travel to places that are cold. You know, I haven’t been skiing since I moved to Miami. But when I look at like the TV, and it was like Campbell’s Soup commercials, I’m like, oh, right. It’s winter. Okay, I gotta remind myself. In Miami, I love it. And, like, we went to Bogota for the new year. And so everything’s close. The Caribbean, South America. I just love it. And I definitely get to practice my Spanish here.

Nicole: Okay. All right. Fantastic. Fantastic. All right. Well, I love everything that you shared with us today. And let’s, let’s just, let’s just recap here. You know, the biggest thing that Vena’s share with us is, you know, leadership is knowing thyself. So you got to sit quietly, turn the mirror inward, figure out your triggers, and then she threw in this little nugget of genius. And once you do that, then you have the space for other people’s stuff, which is really true leadership. 

And then she went on to share a lot of systems so put it on rewind, you know, stick your finger on the phone and backtrack, get the list of systems you need to put in place. And then finally, she’s been sharing with us that it’s so important to kind of follow the call. You know, pay attention to the to your past look at the things that you know, light you up from within, which you know, is exactly what we’re talking about with being vibrant. That’s what we’re talking about.

Vena: So you just give me a good one. I want to add if I can. It is honoring your past, right, the good, the bad, the ugly and not thinking oh this shouldn’t have happened, that shouldn’t have happened. Really getting to honoring your past, honoring yourself and honoring others. That’s another little definition. I’m so glad you asked me that. What is leadership? So thank you so much. You’ve been amazing. 

Nicole: Well, you’ve been amazing. Well, you know, here’s the thing. These podcasts have to end, although I wish I was in Miami. We’d go sit out on your, you know down in Florida you know what they have. They don’t have a screened-in porch. They don’t have a backyard. They have a lanai. That’s how it rolls in Florida. So I wish we could go on your lanai, but we can’t. Alright, so I know my listeners are like wait, wait, wait, she’s awesome. Don’t stop. Give us one more nugget, Vena Sterling. What little nugget would you leave us with to kind of push us into 2023 with the right mindset. What would you tell us to leave us in a great place?

Vena: I would say lead by example and illuminate the path for others. You know, a lot of times we try to preach and teach and we’re not necessarily doing it right. We talk about balance, but we’re like, you know, at the office 24/7. So that’s what I would leave everyone with. To lead by example, to make time in your schedule this year, to really put something in the calendar for yourself. The things that light you up. Like I’m now working with a Spanish tutor every day, I’m like, my Spanish is getting better and better. And then when you lead by example, you know, don’t allow others just look at you and try to figure out what you’re doing, but illuminate the path so that they can follow.

Nicole: Yeah, a little mentoring, a little coaching, a little conversation always does the mind, heart and soul a little good. All right. So if we want to ge, this is how we talked in Concord, North Carolina, not quite as exciting or sexy as Miami but in Concord, North Carolina, what we say is how do we get up with you, Vena Sterling? How would we get up with you if we want to get up with you?

Vena: Yes, well, you can look me up on our website. It’s Stands again for Leadership Research Institute, so and also on Instagram, The Vena Sterling and I’m definitely getting more and more active on social media, so we can connect there, you can send me a message jump in the DMs.

Nicole: That’s right. Well, I got up with her on So she’s sitting over there in the LinkedIn too. And it’s not a picture of her in her black suit with her pinchy-toed black two-inch, you know, Calvin Klein shoes on. She got rid of those. She’s wearing her diva flip-flops or something. Okay. All right. It’s been great to be with you, Vena. Thank you so much for being on the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast. Please go and like this episode, and then subscribe. We appreciate you so much out there. Everybody have a vibrant day.

Vena: Bye. Thank you.

Voiceover: Ready to build your vibrant culture? Bring Nicole Greer to speak to your leadership team, conference or organization to help them with her strategies, systems and smarts to increase clarity, accountability, energy and results. Your organization will get lit from within. Email And be sure to check out Nicole’s TEDx talk at

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