The CLUB
An incubator of women leaders

Member Spotlight - Jeanel Carlson

Name: Jeanel Carlson

Job / Title: Director, Strategic Relationships


Company: Decker Communications

Industry: Communications consulting, coaching and training.

Q: From your perspective, what are the most important trends that will take place in your industry in the next 10 years?

Jeanel:Whether influencing a client toward your business or persuading your spouse to take out the trash, effective communication is a critical aspect of our personal and professional lives. And, that trend will not change over the next decade. As technology becomes even more pervasive, the need for personal connection and communication will require more diligent focus for people to be effective and thrive in business. At Decker Communications, we train, coach and consult with business leaders and teams to make them more influential and effective. This quote from presidential speechwriter, James Humes, sums it up for me: “The art of communications is the language of leadership.”

Q: What have been the hallmarks of your success?

Jeanel:Typical of many Americans, I’ve been hard on myself throughout my career. Perhaps feeling that I should be more successful – like not being at the top of the corporate ladder makes a person less. A hallmark of my current success has been to look at the big picture of what I really want out of life - what I truly value. Like many, joy, happiness, health and positive relationships are most important for me. Two years ago, I transitioned out of marketing and communications and I found a career in client relations with Decker Communications. My new path allows me to feel happy every day because of the impactful work I do with my clients and team. I’m grateful to have been able throw out my personal limiting beliefs, align to what is important in life, and work with amazing, like-minded people. Additionally, finding a community like the CLUB has been another key hallmark of my success. Positive relationships are critical for both personal and professional growth. The CLUB is unique that it provides a supportive space for women in leadership, not only through skill development, but through opportunities to truly connect and build long-lasting relationships.

Q: If you can share one piece of advice that you know now about navigating your career, what would that be?

Jeanel:Stay on top of your development. Your manager or company will only focus on what you request. Companies do have resources for your development. In fact, many companies arrange coaches and consultants for key people and roles. I was quite ignorant in my career - not really demanding or taking charge of my development. If I had to do it over, in my early leadership role, I would have asked for a communications coach instead of going it alone with little internal support.

Q: What are some areas that you feel you can improve on at this stage of your career?

Jeanel:At this stage of my career I find lots of ways to improve - from having a clear point of view to showing confidence and leadership presence. After all, I work with communications leaders who coach and consult with top management at major technology companies, finance, healthcare and more. This team gives me encouraging feedback and makes me better every day!

Q: What are the hallmark traits of a great leader that you have observed in your career?

Jeanel:Great leaders care about each team member personally - not a common theme in many corporate environments. If you want to keep people and build loyalty, you must authentically care and build trust. My advice: Learn about your team personally. Make it a safe environment for them to give feedback. Build trust by being trustworthy – have their backs, break down barriers, fight for them if needed.

Q: What are ways that you have balanced career, personal, and other interests?

Jeanel: I’m a health and wellness addict! I’ve found the best way to balance all aspects of life is to take care of your body and mind. Hitting the gym with a good sweat, stretching with yoga and finding peace with meditation help me sleep better, avoid illness, work more productively and act kinder toward others.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that is a fun fact.

Jeanel:In December 2015, my honey and I moved across country from Atlanta to San Francisco with three pets in tow. We hit winter storm Goliath, a blizzard all the way down in El Paso, Texas. Dodged a semi-truck, a ditch and an incredibly stupid cop who pulled us over in the middle of a blizzard! Arrived to San Francisco unscathed and so happy we made the transition. We have only one life and we strive to life it to the fullest!

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