Advancing Women in Senior Leadership to Drive Systemic Change
Buckle up for an inspiring episode of Elements of Community! In this episode, we chat with the powerhouse Alessandra Wall, a former clinical psychologist turned career coach and advocate for female leaders. Alessandra is on a mission to create a world where women have a seat at the table and their voices are heard loud
Get ready for an inspiring episode of Elements of Community! We’re chatting with Alessandra Wall, a leading career coach with a background in clinical psychology. Her mission is to support women in attaining senior leadership positions in their careers – and we can’t wait to hear what she has to say. Buckle up and tune in for a discussion that will leave you feeling motivated and empowered!
Alessandra emphasizes the importance of social capital, which refers to the benefits that individuals and organizations can derive from their social networks. It includes the resources, information, and connections that can be obtained through relationships and trust built within a network.
Building social capital is not just about having a large network but also nurturing relationships within it. Alessandra created an online community through Slack for her clients to connect with each other, share ideas, and create opportunities for one another. By creating a space for her clients to interact with each other, Alessandra was able to facilitate the building of relationships within her network and encourage collaboration and support among members.
In this community, Alessandra helps foster a sense of community and connection among members. She implemented several activities to promote engagement and relationship building, including weekly Monday Motivations and Friday Wins to encourage conversation, accountability calls to support members in their goals, and peer advisory calls to facilitate sharing and learning. A common language of “Common Heart” was developed to emphasize the importance of honesty, vulnerability, and care for others.
Through these activities, Alessandra’s clients were empowered to support each other in the pursuit of their goals. Members could leverage their social capital to help each other in small but meaningful ways, such as borrowing a cup of sugar or a loan of money from a trusted friend.
Overall, building social capital is an important aspect of building and maintaining a successful network. By nurturing relationships within one’s network and fostering a sense of community, individuals can leverage their social capital to obtain valuable resources and opportunities, while also providing support and help to others within their network.
Other subjects we covered on the show:
- We discussed how essential social capital is for humans to survive and thrive.
- Alessandra highlighted the importance of women building social capital with each other through mutual support and vulnerability, emphasizing the power of relationships in fostering personal growth and achievement.
- Lastly, Alessandra provided an interesting response to one of the curve ball questions—if you got to invite x many people to a dinner party, who are the three people you’d wanna sit down with?
AND MORE TOPICS COVERED IN THE FULL INTERVIEW!!! You can check that out and subscribe at https://pbp.li/eoc42.
If you want to know more about Alessandra Wall, you may reach out to her at:
- Website: https://www.noteworthyinc.co/
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dralessandrawall/
[00:00:00] Alessandra, I really appreciate that you’re here with me. For the audience, and by way of introduction, you and I have actually been friends for what, six years now?
That long, you’re aging us.
Yeah. Right. We’ve gone on some coffee dates, and some walks in several different parks and now we get to have a conversation about some of the things that we’ve had conversations about before.
Yeah, it’s exciting, right?
It is exciting. So that’s how and why I know you why don’t you tell the audience a little bit about why they care.
Fascinating. Why should you care about me? That’s a big question. So, by way of introduction, my name is Alessandra. I am by trade, a clinical psychologist, but I don’t do that anymore, although it’s still in me, right? It’s part of, I’m not.
never goes away.
No, because I became it. Because I am it.
But these days what I spend [00:01:00] my days doing is working very hard with extraordinary women to change their condition, their situation, so that they can change the lives and the situations of other women and men, and everything within that spectrum of gender and just make the world a better place. That’s why they should care. That’s why if you’re listening, that’s why you should care.
So women who need to change their situation so they can change the world.
I mean very specifically. And Lucas, you know this, right? I work with women at senior leadership levels and my goal is to help advance and elevate and accelerate their careers. Cuz I want them to be able to get to the top and once they get there, I want them to have the opportunity to speak and actually be heard, to act [00:02:00] and actually make impact and to help all of us rewrite the system so it works better for all of us.
I want that too.
I wrote a, you know this, you saw it. You’re one of the few people who commented on it. I wrote a LinkedIn post three years ago where I talked about the statistics of women in leadership positions and specifically in chief officer positions. And their powerful statistics in this post was sort of lambasting people for not paying attention to it.
So maybe that’s part of why people weren’t excited by it. Statistics, like, and I’ve seen you use them recently, statistics like women in CEO positions generate 30% more profit for their companies than other similar companies with not women.
Crazy, crazy powerful. Like, why would a board ever [00:03:00] want to anything else than exactly that?
Wait, somebody’s gonna give me 30% more profit. That’s not a small number. Give me that.
People don’t like change. Nobody likes change. We like going on vacation. That’s not really change. It’s a temporary change of scenery. And if it’s too different, the vast majority of people will talk about how things aren’t the way they are at home. So, when you ask anyone, male, female, and again, everything in between, right?
Or everyone in between. To make a huge change where the individual personal benefit is not immediately visible. And in this case, when you’re telling somebody you know, it’s possible that if you bring someone else and they could do better than you.
You’re going to get a [00:04:00] lot of heel digging, even if in the long run things look much better, and that’s just human nature.
Yeah. It’s interesting that you tied that into vacation. You just have to laugh at that.
You should hear, I have an analogy about inclusion, and throwing a party, so we can throw that one in and it doesn’t have to do with dancing.
I mean, you’ve cued it up now. Don’t make me wait.
I was on another interview the other day and at the conclusion of the interview was being asked, you know, how important is inclusion? And they said, actually all of it, you know, DEI, and I said, you know, diversity is great, but diversity is like you throw a party and you bring all your friends into the room, except you have friends from very different groups.
And maybe you introduce them, but what’s going to happen eventually is your friends are gonna silo themselves off into these groups, these sub [00:05:00] communities of people who have commonalities. When you bring inclusion, what you do is you are taking the time to create an environment where people feel like they want to, like there’s enough safety in walking into another group.
And talking to one another and finding out about the commonalities between groups, not only within groups. And so that’s when you have a really fun. Like a party where all your friends actually get to know each other, not just show up at the same place. And it’s also, if you think of it in a dinner party context, it’s the dinner parties where you get the best debates around the table because different people come in with different perspectives.
They’re willing to argue those perspectives without fighting or arguing with one another. And everybody leaves just laughing, and [00:06:00] intellectually energized. That’s what inclusion is, right? It’s all good. It just makes for fun dinner parties.
Yeah, I’ve had those dinner parties. I’ve attended them and I’ve hosted them and yeah. Fun.
And you know how much work it takes to host them.
Right. That’s the job of the leadership of an organization. There’s a lot of intent that goes into hosting a party like that. You have to make sure you know everybody, that you understand what elements of somebody’s story can relate to somebody else’s, that you stop and make those introductions.
You can’t participate in the party as much because you have to watch the dynamics of the room. See who’s feeling uncomfortable. Go and check in on them. But the end result is so gratifying, even if you didn’t get to relax and laugh as much as your guests did.
Yeah. Okay. You ready for this?
Because this is exactly what you’re talking about. I went to one, [00:07:00] this was not my party. I went to one and the host reached out and said that sushi will be served. What hand do you eat sushi with?
Depending on what country you’re in, I can understand that question.
What hand do you eat sushi with? And I was like that, the level of attention to detail right there is exactly the kind of leadership that I want to see everywhere.
That is very considerate. It’s kind.
I just had sushi last night, so.
Hmm. Was it good?
It was delicious and I eat it with my right hand if anybody’s wondering.
Yeah, I’m a righty. I eat sushi with my left hand.
So we cannot sit next to each other at a table when eating sushi, unless actually you’re on my left side, and then we’re all good.
Mm-hmm. [00:08:00] Yep. It has to be a two person table or we have to be in the middle.
Yeah. Yeah, I was like that. I’m just, I was so tickled by that, that level of planning, that attention to detail that at the depth to which that person was attending to what was gonna make an amazing conversation, and what would interact with that conversation negatively.
Cause if we’re bumping elbows in a literal sense, that’s not fun.
No, it makes your table mate. What’s the fun in that?
Yeah. Tell me about your community.
I have, you know, as I wanna get the, like the pomegranate. I have an amazing community of women for, you know, a little bit about it, but for listeners who don’t, so they have a company called Noteworthy. And when I built my company, [00:09:00] it is designed, as I said earlier, to elevate women in STEM and finance.
And the idea is those women hold the power to how we work and how money it’s disseminated in our technology and our health, and to get them into positions of power so that they can us all. And initially I just wanted to walk in, do my job and walk out, and there are a couple hiccups to that. First is, I am a convert when it comes to believing in and understanding the power of social capital.
I had coaching business before this one, which was a total financial failure, just failure of a company. Great learning opportunity, and I’ve always said that part of the reason Noteworthy worked really well is because I did things like meeting people like you and reaching out. Like, well, you met on LinkedIn and you were so kind.
The second I met you, you were so kind. It’s so [00:10:00] generous. You’re like, here, you should talk to this person. You should talk to this person. Anybody who doesn’t know Lucas, he’s a master connector. And this is great. This is my goal in life. Like on my, if I had a tombstone, which I won’t have, it would be, she connected a lot of people together.
She was a master connector, super. And so I talk about social capital with these women all the time, and I talk about the importance not just of having a bunch of people who join your networks, but actually getting to know those people. I talk about giving into the network, but I also talk about taking out of that network.
So pulling from it, which a lot of the women I work with struggle to do. They’re fine. Giving, giving, giving. You ask them anything. They will jump on a call. They will ask, they will sponsor, they will. If you tell them you need to leverage, and this is a word they hate, you need to leverage your relationships. They bak.
So I’m a convert on this idea of social capital and I, [00:11:00] no, it’s, I was gonna say, I do not believe, it’s not a belief, it’s factual. You cannot advance into senior leadership without a really strong network because you get to a point in your career where everybody has X many years of experience or the education or whatever.
So the differentiating factor is who knows you, who do you know? What do they know about you, and what opportunities are they going to give you access to? And then, you know, marriage can kick in, but it doesn’t always. So it’s a really long story.
Keep going. I’m in.
I found myself very often trying to connect my clients to, first of all, people in my network who I thought could help them or support them, people in my network whom I believed they could support, and then to each other.
And I realized that one of the easiest ways of doing that would be to gather them all together in a [00:12:00] digital space. So we chose Slack and I did not want to build a community. I know how much work goes into building at least an online community. It is not a challenge. I wanted to take on, I mean for me, my first exposure to online communities like Real Exposure was probably Meetup and it’s so easy to have a meetup with so many people who never show up anywhere cuz they don’t feel connected, and they don’t feel like they need to show each other the courtesy.
You talk about social contract, right? So, there’s a courtesy of saying, I’m not going to come, or the courtesy of coming because you are a member of a community. I didn’t want that. But here’s the thing, there was no other choice because these are extraordinary women and they deserved to be not just introduced to one another.
That’s a digital Rolodex. They deserved [00:13:00] to have a host, excuse our party analogy, come and take the time to help them understand what they had in common, so that first and foremost, they did not feel alone in their experiences. Secondarily, they would be willing to accept and to give each other help and support, and it took time.
I remember that one of the first things we did, I would talk to my amazing right-hand woman and I would talk to her and I’m like, nobody’s communicating on these channels. There’s no conversation. How do we get them? So we started trying to post ideas and Monday motivations and whatever that got us nothing.
So then the next step was Friday wins and I had to turn off Slack notifications, cuz on [00:14:00] Fridays what my women do is I go in and I give them a prompt and usually it’s like, Hey, it’s Friday. What are your wins channel? And the women will come and share big and small wins. And I had to teach them how to share small wins cuz otherwise they were only sharing big things and then not everybody was sharing and they get really excited.
And then one woman said, it’s so impressive that you all care, right? So that somebody will check on somebody else. Hey, you said you had this thing coming up. Did it actually happen? Did it go through? Right? When somebody posts a win, they’ll comment, oh my goodness. That’s great. But it’s not just those easy comments, it’s thoughtful Interaction.
And now we have it. We have from that. The next thing that I did that I didn’t wanna do initially is I launched accountability calls because I would have women who were former clients of mine who were still on this platform, [00:15:00] and just because I wasn’t working with them, right, they weren’t paid clients anymore, doesn’t mean they didn’t need help and support keeping up with the stuff we worked on.
And anybody who knows me knows I am not into the whole, like dump, just dump knowledge or dump information and then you figure it out. It doesn’t work. Especially with the kind of stuff I teach people, it doesn’t work. It’s too complex. So I started hosting free accountability calls once a month, and then those morphed into peer advisory calls.
Cuz what I realize is sometimes people would bring up questions and I’m like, I don’t know. I’ve never worked in the corporate world. I have worked for myself my whole career, but what I do have is a virtual room full of women and they can probably answer the question better than I can. So I threw it at them and now we have peer advisory calls twice a month.
And [00:16:00] so it’s been a lot of work and I will be honest, it went from a free offering to at the beginning of this year. It’s a paid community and it’s an incredible community and it takes a lot of work on everybody’s part, not just mine, them too, to make it work. And they’re amazing. They’re amazing.
Wow. You talked about a couple of different things in there. And I’ll come back to all of them cuz they’re all fascinating to me. One thing I didn’t hear a mention of was any version of common language. So.
Language. A common language is a language of heart.
Ooh, I want more of that.
Well, okay. If the common language is the way in which we all get each other,
I would say one might think that in a community of women executives, a common language is corporate speak or is, but that’s not what it is. Yes. We [00:17:00] are talking about negotiations and raises and frustrations and leadership woes.
Right. And some of the women I’m working with are looking for new jobs or promotions. Some are exactly where they wanna be. It’s just about being the best leader you can be or having the most positive impact you can have. Where you see the community really thrive is when women stop worrying about.
This is gonna sound like a real world pre segment when you stop worrying about this and you start doing that, but when they stop worrying about how they’ll be perceived, and then they start just being really honest about where they are. So I had one member of our community, I knew this story about her, but it wasn’t mine to share, really admit to the community that she had worked herself to the hospital once. Right.
She’s just [00:18:00] working so much work overtime to the point where she passed out. And got up from passing out and wanted to like go on to make dinner for her kids and her family was like, no, we’re taking you to the hospital. And she spent weeks in the hospital. She had exhausted herself working and the fact that she’s kind of right back there, she’s not in the hospital yet, but the pace is there.
So it’s not just telling the story of like, look where I was and I’ve risen from there and whatever. It’s like, and I’m kind of right back there. So that level of honesty. It’s about getting honest to the point where, and they’re still very polite with each other, where they can start really disagreeing.
I’m waiting for that, but we’re a young community. It’s a year and a half of my efforts at this point in bringing them together. Give them three or four or five years and then I think we can have some healthy debating, which would be really good.
[00:19:00] Yeah. Amazing. You keep going back to common heart, which is awesome. So let’s talk about that. Just queuing it up. Common heart is showing up, sharing, caring. Sharing the care, receiving the care, and doing the work that you do inside the community and for the community with honor and pride and with love for the person who’s going to receive that work.
So that’s what Common Heart is. Reminder to the listeners, and you’ve been dancing on Common Heart with more or less every piece of your description, which I love cuz that’s the glue that holds together the community.
I, how do you say this? I believe that that’s the way I show up in the world in general. Yeah. I’m imperfect and I certainly, it’s not always, and I have my bitter misanthropic moments and selfish ones too. And I embrace all of it for [00:20:00] crying out loud. I’m mom. I get to be selfish. And I still feel like I’m a kid in many ways. Like I like to wonder and marvel at the world, which is hilarious cause I’m also really cynical about the world and about humanity in general. Which is, maybe it’s a balancing act where I can maintain that cynicism and at the same time, or because that cynicism in there, is there, it forces me to look at, yeah, where’s the wonder?
Where’s the beauty? Right. And I come into conversations like that. My women have seen me cry. It is so, I believe for any women who are listening to this who’ve gotten in trouble at work for crying, it’s a branding issue. So I have branded the fact that I am incapable, incapable of making a heartfelt speech without blubbering.
I’m not talking about sniffling, [00:21:00] blubbering.
Like tears streaming, mascara running.
Like tear streaming, can’t catch myself. I have branded that as something people want.
Because I’m that person, A, I really care. And B, I will tell it like it is. And that’s something you should want. And these women have seen me when we moved from an open community to a private community.
What I have is I have levels. So I have all my former and existing members have access to like a couple levels for free.
Because the power of the community is there, I don’t wanna lose it. And then there’s certain things that have become part of the paid community, which meant that I was gonna be saying goodbye to a number of members who I’d seen regularly on these peer advisory calls.
I balled, it balled my eyes out and could not [00:22:00] catch myself up.
I think because like the hostess at the party, you set the tone. Then these women come in and they follow suit in their own ways, right? That level of what’s the word, vulnerability. Everybody has a different threshold. I’m very open with stuff, so it’s easy for me to be vulnerable. It’s easier for me to be vulnerable.
It’s never easy. Whereas somebody else who might feel like they have to protect themselves a lot, what vulnerability will look like to them might not register for some people, but they bring it in. And when we’re willing to be vulnerable with one another, like when people see that. That’s when you create trust.
That’s when you create bonds. My women talk to each other outside of calls. Women who are in the group will support other ones. Women who are more [00:23:00] senior will mentor younger ones. They will position each other. I say my women. The women of Noteworthy, right? This community of extraordinary women, we lift while climbing.
That’s the goal.
Yeah, we all do actually, that’s standard human right.
Is it always though? I think some people close the door, they smack it in their face. They’re like, I’m climbing. I don’t want you. Like some people are kicking the people on the ladder below them or greasing a rung or two. They don’t want the person to fall off, but let’s make it a little bit more difficult.
There’s that cynicism.
Well, you just have to be realistic. I do not believe that people are fundamentally good or bad. I believe people are fundamentally selfish, and I don’t think of that word in a negative way. I genuinely, you and I have had this conversation before. I believe that humans will do what they think is right for them, and for the most part, [00:24:00] in good times and often in bad times.
The best thing for us is to build community. It’s to work together. It’s to support each other. It’s to create positive engagement. And so we’re driven to that. But I mean, I love, I love all things apocalypse. I love all things zombie apocalypse. If you bring that in, it’s even better.
And if you push people far enough, even the best people will do terrible things.
Right, and I think ultimately they’ll come back to building community and building communities with one another because we’re interdependent.
Hmm. It’d be interesting to look at that outside of the model of infinite individualism that we’ve built here in the US.
True. I am really working [00:25:00] off of the context that I’ve grown up in. I was in the Middle East the first seven years of my life, but I can’t really, I was too young and I was in primarily western communities for the parts of that, that I can remember.
Mm-hmm. Yeah, obviously, those of you who listen to this show often know that I do not subscribe to the model of infinite individualism. For me, community and individual have to be, they have to be balanced always for us to be effectively human. So I matter and my community matters always together.
I mean, I fundamentally agree, that’s what will take us further as a species on so many levels, not just survival. [00:26:00] I just don’t know that it’s always observed. It’s really interesting. My mother went to Japan a few years ago. And so I grew up, my mother was born and raised in France. She’s a first generation French of Italian descent.
I grew up in France right outside of Paris. My mother now lives in Paris Proper, which is where she was born and raised. And so she went to Japan and she was shocked by how clean even Tokyo was, right? She’s like, Japan is so clean, but Tokyo is spotless. People walk around with their own bags.
There are no public trash cans because nobody deposits trash for anybody else to pick up. And coming back to Paris, she was shocked by how dirty Paris felt and looked, and as a Parisian, you know, that she was born in 1938, so, or 1939. Think of a little girl who’s been walking around Paris as a five year old, because we did things like that by then.
Back then, probably for the betterment of all humanity [00:27:00] to give a little bit of independence and autonomy. She was ashamed, and she tried to find a group that was doing the same thing in Paris, a community, and she found a community of Japanese expats who do that in Paris and walk around. So she’ll do that periodically with them.
But it’s that, thinking about that is that difference between infinite individualism, like France’s is still infinite individualism, right? So people just throw their crap around. The tourists who come in, throw their crap around. But in Japan where that culture, that mentality, that ethos isn’t there, at least for the most part.
In good times, we’re seeing that you have to see what a zombie apocalypse would look like in Japan.
Now I’m curious.
You know, I’m curious.
We should both call our Hollywood contacts and suggest.
Well, can we base it off of understanding? It’s a completely different culture, completely different country, but [00:28:00] the Korean movies on post-apocalyptic. But it looks kind of wild there too. There’s a lot of pushing people out of windows. Did you ever watch any of those?
I have not.
Netflix has done such a good job actually, of bringing foreign films to the American viewer. With subtitles, everybody’s forced to read, which is great.
Mm-hmm. I have no problem reading. Reading works.
So, there were a few, I wish I could remember the ones, but there were a few streaming on Netflix, which we watched in Korean. With the kids instead of watching it dubbed, so.
You kicked off our relationship with a book.
Oh, which one was it?
For the love of men.
Oh, that is a great book.
Yeah, we connected on LinkedIn. We had a quick phone call. It was a phone call, not a Zoom meeting. Because you know, back then Zoom wasn’t a thing.
Not used the way it was. I was using it for coaching, but I [00:29:00] was not, not for everything. Yeah.
Yeah. And immediately after that, you reached back out and said, give me your address. I’m gonna send you a book. And you did.
I love books.
And, I still have it.
Yeah, I have several, I mean in the background here. And then there’s another bookcase here and that one, and most of my books are digital, but there are still several books that are just hand me downs, like can I show one?
This one is one of my go-to ones.
It’s called Good Guys and it’s about being a better male ally for women in the workplace and I love it because they talk about being a better male ally for women at home.
So that’s when I send around a lot. It’s a great book and I think books are a fantastic way of listening to somebody and figuring out how you can add value.
Yeah. I had a really amazing conversation with a woman who I’ll probably end up [00:30:00] seeing this weekend actually about allyship. And part of the conversation was that, that even men who actively seek to be good allies have no idea how to do it. And, it’s two-sided. Women who actively need and seek male allies don’t know how to ask for it.
Mm-hmm. And sometimes women suck as allies themselves, right? All of it. It’s a couple things, I created a, so I’m having word finding difficulties recently and I wanna tell people what it’s about. Can I tell people what it’s about?
It’s a complete derail, but it’s important. So, I’m 45 going on 46, but I’m probably premenopausal. And for anybody who thinks that menopause is just like getting hot flashes, haven’t had those yet, or, you know, not being regular for your period. It’s like word finding. I have word fog, which sucks. It’ll go away eventually. [00:31:00] But that is, I have slept perfectly. I went to the gym this morning.
I’m all caffeinated. This is what’s going on. So, this and I’m so young, I wanna talk about it cause it’s like a taboo topic.
Let’s do that. So for people who don’t know your body is a whole bunch of interconnected, but not directly connected parts that all need to work really, really well together in unison, in order for you to show up in the world the way you do.
And we use a lot of different communication tools inside our body, just like you would inside a well run, efficient corporation.
A lot of communication tools, not just one. Many people think about the nerves as a communication tool, and it is. There are other communication tools that our body uses and it uses them very, very well that are very different from the nerves. The nerves are for very specific types of communication. Just like in a corporation, there are other communication tools for other types of communication. Hormones are a communication tool.
They go to different parts of your body and give them instructions. It’s kind of like kicking off a project when you start changing the hormones, and this is true at any time in your life. But especially at menopause, when you start changing the way that hormones are used inside the body, it also changes the way that the body responds to everything.
Yep. So when I can’t find my words, that’s what’s going on. And, it’s a really interesting shift. Coming back to what I was saying, I think the word I was looking for was curriculum. I created a curriculum for male allies for male allyship to deliver to organizations, and one of, it’s a five-part curriculum, and one of the pieces is how to address pushback to being a male ally.
Right. So when you’re saying men don’t always know how to do this for talking about community, I’m gonna bring it back. It’s very easy to bring all of this back to community. [00:33:00] When you decide to support the needs of a separate community and you make yourself an outlier in your own community by doing it, it’s not enough to have the tools to know how to support the other community.
You have to be given the tools and the skills to stand out as an outlier without losing your membership to your existing community, because then you’re an exile. And being an exile is terrible. So a lot of what we do is like, how do you respond to people who want to kind of dismiss it by calling it woke cism.
Right. Or make fun of you or say, aren’t you taking this too far? And that’s a whole different skillset.
Mm. Well done. Let’s talk about that from a human perspective. One of the reasons that public speaking is one of the top five fears for all [00:34:00] people, and it’s true, it is, is because the result of a failure of public speaking, which isn’t true today, but this is actually genetically coded into us.
The result of a failure of public speaking could be something like, and for those of you who are religious, you’re gonna jump into this word real quick. It could be something like being excommunicated. Now we have a word for that, that’s not excommunication. We have a word for that. It’s called ostracization to be ostracized, kicked out of your community and as a human. I have, me personally, I have started this conversation of Maslow did not understand humans as well as we all think he did. As a human, our basic need, our level one, absolute basic need is not actually food, water, and shelter. Because as a human, we can’t have those things without community.
So, our basic level one need is [00:35:00] actually community first, so that we can have food, water, shelter, security otherwise we can’t have those. And Ostracization being kicked out of our community is a death sentence, and it’s genetically coded and there’s no overcoming that. Hmm.
I love that you mentioned that, cuz that’s what I talk about when I present, when I talk on social capital, and I try to get people to understand how important social capital is. I’ll define social capital in a minute for people who don’t know the term itself. I love, this is where I leverage my background as a psychologist.
I love bringing things back to how the human brain works, and I’m like, this isn’t a function of social media. It’s not a function of being networked. This goes back to human evolution. Humans don’t survive without a pack. We just don’t. We need a community. [00:36:00] If you think of all of us, our origins as coming out of a pregnant mother. And if that pregnant mother does not have community during her pregnancy, there comes a point where her ability to feed herself or to take care of herself
is massively limited, certainly while she’s giving birth.
So giving birth is the most dangerous thing a woman can do. A human female can do in her lifetime. We do a lot of things right now to reduce infant mortality, but prior to that, it was the most dangerous thing, right? That a rate of women dying in childbirth was huge, and so to not have a community that can protect you from predators, from dehydration, from medical complications, without the community, she dies.
If the mother dies and there isn’t a community, the baby dies. The baby without the mom, [00:37:00] dies. Right. And it is, it’s program, millennia of evolution, has programmed our response to other human beings and our need to build community. So even smiling. When I smile and you smile, we secrete dopamine. We secrete serotonin.
We secrete narrow peptides seeing somebody smile. And this is why I know it sucks. As a woman, when you’re told smile more. And if you’re told smile more by somebody who’s walking down the street who hasn’t had a conversation with you, I give you full permission to speak your mind and don’t be polite about it.
But in general, there is a lot of evolutionary and social and psychological benefits to smiling more because it builds trust. It makes you more memorable. It makes seeing you more rewarding. It triggers neuropeptides in your system so you feel calmer, but it also triggers that in other people’s brains so they feel calmer seeing you.[00:38:00]
And that is evolution. The smile is an evolved response to indicate, I’m friend, you are a friend. Let’s come together and I’m not gonna hurt you.
Cool. It’s not just babies and mothers. We all experience the world through the perception that we have of what we grew up in, where meat comes from the grocery store and within the assumption that meat comes from the grocery store. When somebody hands you a rifle and says you can go hunt for yourself, you’re good now.
Now, it doesn’t occur to you the challenges that come with that. The fact is, even with a rifle, if I don’t know where the prey is, there’s a reasonable chance I starve to death before I find something to eat.
If I don’t know how to properly butcher the food that I want to eat, if I don’t know how to cook it like us without community [00:39:00] in every piece of our life, and it’s still true, even today, I don’t generate the electricity that I’m using for this phone call right now.
Us without community, we don’t work. We, we are not a tiger animal. We are a predator animal, but we are not a tiger. We don’t work in the world alone.
Agree. I have nothing else to add to that. It’s a statement that stands on its own.
I did say I was gonna define social capital, so I’m gonna do that.
Let’s do that
So social capital is the sum total. This is my definition is the sum total of all potential opportunities that arise from the trust and the relationships that you have built within your network.
It’s opportunity. So the stronger the network you have, not necessarily, the bigger, the stronger, the more trust, the more real [00:40:00] relationships you have, the more social capital you have. And anybody who’s thinks that social capital is just a business thing, the next time you run out of an egg or you need 10 bucks from somebody, you ask yourself whether you’re going to get that off of a stranger on the street.
A neighbor three doors down who kind of knows you or a neighbor you have a good relationship with, or a best friend, right? The closer, the more trust you have established with somebody, the more likely they are to help you when you need something, whether it’s you know, 10 bucks or you know, that cup of sugar or an introduction to somebody to find a job or an opportunity for a board seat or shelter when the zombies come.
Yeah, and it’s not just proximity. So unlike you, I have been in corporate.
I had a cube mate. That the way that you phrased that is beautiful. My cube mate would never have loaned me [00:41:00] $10 cuz I didn’t spend time. I sat with him for over three years. I didn’t spend time building a relationship with him.
Now, there were people that I worked with while I was in corporate that would’ve loaned me that $10 or given me an egg or a cup of sugar. But my cube mate was not one of them. It was not just proximity.
Right. It’s quality of relationship.
Which is why it’s so important to invest time in getting to know people, cuz then you can have the best dinner parties. Cause you can introduce everybody properly and they don’t need to be big dinner parties. Even bringing five people who don’t know each other around a table.
And I chose that number on purpose. Even bringing those five people, just because they all know you, doesn’t mean they know each other or feel comfortable with each other, but you can leverage everything you know about them to build an incredible experience and have a wonderful party, and then you’ve just leveraged the social capital of your network to have something [00:42:00] really positive and nice in your life.
Yeah, absolutely, amazing. How does it actually show up building social capital inside of the women of Noteworthy?
Can I ask you to define the question a little bit more? Please Use it in a sentence.
They’re engaging with each other.
Some of them are in the process of building real meaningful relationships. That they wouldn’t have otherwise if they weren’t part of the women of Noteworthy. How does that show up in terms of creating additional engagement and leveraging that engagement and bringing more people together and creating new opportunities?
Thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to do that. First of all, it’ll show up. Simply like A is the first place is simply by being there for one another. So when somebody’s willing to share an issue or be vulnerable about [00:43:00] something. There’s enough trust built in the community that if somebody else has experienced that or is experiencing that, they’re willing to admit, you know, I’m right there with you.
That might seem small to some people. It is huge feeling. Going back to being ostracized, feeling alone, feeling isolated is the worst thing. There is literally research that shows that that idea like misery Loves Company is true. When we are experiencing something difficult or challenging, when we experience it in the company of somebody else, we literally perceive it physically and mentally is less challenging. That’s why working out at the gym in groups is so much easier than working out alone in my garage.
The other way in which we’ve seen it, it will be things like somebody’s interviewing for a job or needs help with negotiation strategies. Again, I have a ton of theoretical knowledge or practical knowledge based on the experience I’ve had with the women I’m coaching.
But other than establishing [00:44:00] my own price point and fighting for it, when I’m doing consulting or speaking or I haven’t done a ton of negotiations. The women in my community have, they will jump on calls with each other after, and coach each other through these calls. They will, somebody will say she’s looking for an opportunity or a job, and they will connect each other with those opportunities or jobs.
They will meet. We have one of our members, we have a few members in London. And so one of our members just went to London with her son. She lives in DC and they connected. They went out and grabbed a drink, right? They will make the time. This Christmas, we had somebody coming in from Cleveland and she was going to be here in San Diego, and those of us who are San Diego based, we all got together.
We went to go grab a drink, she’d just gotten a promotion. We celebrated her promotion together. It’s this idea of like coming together and when possible helping each other. And if help [00:45:00] isn’t needed, just being there for one another, we care. And that is a big, to me, that matters.
As much as all the other things to genuinely care about somebody else’s welfare.
Yeah, that’s common heart.
Hmm. That’s why I love them so much. I’m gonna start gushing again, but that is, they are, they’re. They know this cuz I tell them often and I’m gonna get teary-eyed if I go into it. So I tell them often how amazing I think they are. Damn it.
It is okay. It’s just, I, you know, we’ll turn it off.
But I never tire of it. It’s a little bit like with my children. I never tire of telling my children how much I love them and I actually never tire of telling noteworthy women how much I love them. Sometimes I wonder if they think it’s as sincere as it is because I say it so much.
They know you.
Really, it really is.[00:46:00]
They know you.
Yeah. Amazing. I love it. I like to wrap up my interviews with three questions.
The first one is for people who are as inspired by you as I have been the whole time I’ve known you. Where can they find you?
Two places. I have a website, which is NoteworthyInc.co, and it’s a good place to go. The best place is actually LinkedIn. And it’s at Dr. Alessandra Wall, one L two S’s. LinkedIn is probably the best place cause I stay up to date. I post often. I check daily. There’s a community on there as well and I try to engage with them.
Yeah. The people who know me probably have seen me repost some of your content.
Cool. Second question. This is a curve ball. It’s one my audience has gotten used to [00:47:00] enjoying. If there was any one question you wish I had asked you but haven’t, what would it be?
Only if you don’t ask it to me after, oh my goodness. Okay. There are two that came to mind. I’m gonna tell you the one, it’s too much work to answer, so I’m just gonna say it now. What kind of community do you want for yourself?
Right? Because a lot of this is talking about building communities for others, and it’s not that clearly we don’t like get something from that, but is it different than the community we build for others?
And then the one I always hate, which is if you had, if you got to invite x many people to a dinner party, who are the three people you’d wanna sit down with? I hate that question.
I don’t know. It depends. Because the answer is, it depends given on where I’m at in my life.
And it’s rarely anybody that anybody else would know.
Like, I don’t need to sit [00:48:00] around a table with
Winston Church O and
Actually, you know, Jesus. And I don’t know who else, Obama.
I mean, you could with Obama.
I could, but my, like my grandfather would be really cool. Right now there’s some, my husband’s grandfather who was a Chinese warlord. I want to hear about that. Like, but that might change like a week from now it would be different.
I want to go to that dinner party.
I want Lucas around my table, you know?
Yeah. Well, thank you.
I want to go to the dinner party with your husband’s grandfather.
He, yeah, he has an interesting life. His grandmother, the woman though his wife was even more fascinating cuz when he got assassinated, she fled China with like gold sewed up in her thing. She commandeered an airplane, went off to Japan. Like that is a woman I wish I had known. She was a big gambler. A big drinker like.
I wanna know that woman. [00:49:00] Unfortunately, by the time I was really in the family, she had already died, so.
I agree. I want to know her too. That sounds like an awesome woman to know.
Wow. Cool. You got it.
Awesome. Thank you. Thank you so much for this, for the conversation, for the friendship, for the time, and for the thoughtfulness.
The thoughtfulness in the questions is really important, so thank you.
I appreciate you.
It is reciprocated.
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Lucas is the host of Elements of Community. He is a community growth strategist and works with mega companies like The Pokemon Company to help build and foster community. This podcast is Lucas' way of giving back what he has learned about the magic of building and growing community.
Join Our Inner Circle
Like what you hear on the podcast? We have more secret recordings from every guest. We keep the microphone rolling after the podcast is done and get our guest to spill the beans on the best tactics for growing their communities profitably. You don't wanna miss this.