EP 314: Discovering Who You Want To Become With Modern Leaders Co-Founder Melissa Emler

Dec 22, 2020 | Growth, Mindset & Identity, Podcast

Tara McMullin is a writer, podcaster, and producer who explores what it takes to navigate the 21st-century economy with your humanity intact. Click here to support this work.

In This Episode:

  • How Modern Learners Chief Learning Office, Melissa Emler, grew to meet the challenge her business faced leading thousands of educators through adapting to online learning
  • Why she continues to work her day job—and how it serves her as a business owner and leader
  • The 3-part framework she used to lead her community through the frantic pace of change this year
  • Why she’s prioritizing difficult conversations about systemic oppression and racial injustice in education

There’s a little cartoon that I’ve seen pop up again and again over the years.

A caterpillar and a butterfly sit at a cafe table, each with glasses of wine.

The caterpillar says, “You’ve changed.”

And the butterfly replies, “We’re supposed to.”

“You’ve changed” is often wielded as negative feedback. And sure, I guess there are times when people change for the worse. But more often, “you’ve changed” means something more like, “You’re not playing small like me anymore.”

No matter how much you know you’re supposed to change, no matter how much you want to change and grow—leaving people and their expectations behind can hurt. But this is the process we’re called into as business owners over and over again.

This week, we’re wrapping up our series on leading ourselves by taking a closer look at who we’re becoming—and how we’re changing—to lead ourselves into the future.

If you haven’t heard the other episodes in this series, I highly recommend making to time to do so! The first episode was with Emily Thompson from Being Boss and Almanac Supply Co—and we talked about how she used a “full body yes” to make a big decision.

The second episode was with coach & strategist Valerie Black about how she surfed the ebbs & flows this year as the pandemic rocked her business and her ego.

Last week’s conversation was with Alethea Fitzpatrick about how she’s led herself & Co-Creating Inclusion, her DEI consultancy, by focusing what she can control and letting go of what she can’t.

Today, we’re talking to Melissa Emler, who leads a community of educators & administrators over at Modern Learners.

As you might guess from the name of her company, Missy has been through the wringer this year! The pandemic brought an intense urgency to the work she’s been doing and the change she’s been trying to create in education for years. Suddenly, schools all over the world knew they needed a new approach to learning.

But that wasn’t the only thing creating twists & turns for Missy this year.

In this conversation, you’ll hear how Missy balances leading her company with working in the “lab” of a day job, the 3-part framework she’s used to lead educators through big change, and how she created space for conversation about injustice and systemic racism in education.

Plus, you’ll hear how Missy uses a key question about change and figuring out who we want to become to meet the moment to lead herself and others.

Now, let’s find out What Works for Melissa Emler!

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