Morning Keynote: Mastering Your Mojo


Jory Des Jardins, BlogHer
Lila Ibrahim, Kleiner Perkins
Monica Mehta, small business and finance expert
Mary Dent of Silicon Valley Bank
Sandra Miley, VP Corporate Marketing at Vocera

Kate Johnston of Ernst and Young, speaks of an Entrepreneurial Winning Women program. Helps women rapidly scale with education, networking, clients, partners. Ongoing so once you are in, you are in for life. After going through program women increase their revenue by 50% year over year. I encourage you to visit me in the booth.

Jory: You start a business because you are passionate about something then -- On My God, I'm not doing anything about this company. I haven't written a blog post and I work for a blogging company. How do we find our Mojo? How do we start a company when we may have lost it?

Lila Ibrahim: This conversation of mojo came up with Lisa. About 3 years ago I made a significant transition from China back to U.S. I gave birth to twin girls and changed careers. After 18 years at Intel. Had been actively recruited. I was an intrapreneur and... I lost my Mojo. I sat down with a friend in Palo Alto and a friend said you're not yourself. I had been hired into a role for certain skills. I started thinking about how will I get my Mojo back. It was at a March BlogHer event a year ago
and I thought..."I'm getting it back." It is easy to get off kilter. And find your networks. I can tell you now everybody recognized the change.

Jory: Is going from operator to a role you're not made for what did it?

Lila: I had this vision, this dream and it would take a lot of hard work. I went from being an operator, 8 jobs in 4 different countries. I felt like I had worked so hard I had to figure out how to reestablish my credibility. There is a sense of entitlement. You realize wait a minute I'm 20 steps ahead of everyone else. If you don't surround yourself by people who care about you.

Jory: What would you recommend how you would know when you are in jeopardy. What was obvious.

Lila: When you are building a new life you forget how to take care of yourself. I think you have to be self aware. I don't meditate but I hear just taking that time to focus what's all around you. You are capable of pioneering something new. Hopefully you have a friend of relative who won't be mad at you and help you focus on yourself.

Jory: There are shifts in roles, how do you navigate, how do you rethink who you are?

Sandra: That's a great question. It starts with a tremendous amount of self awareness. Great leaders, whenever they are present, they are present. You don't know what's going on in their head. Jimmy Carter was self aware. When you are thinking about these transitions in life. What are you passionate, what do you excel at. I like to be creative. You need to surround yourself with the most talented people around you. My friends, we hold up that lens to each other. I was going through my own career transition. I was off my path, how did I get here. You make a series of compromises. A friend said you should be in a tech company, you talk about health care. When somebody can hold up a lens and tell you what separates you from everyone else. You gotta be persistent as hell. Don't take it lightly. You surround yourself with people who can keep you in the game. I would talk to a friend hiking up at the dish and talk about what to focus on. People who give you honest feedback. Over time it will work out. It's the difference of being good and being great.

Jory: Fake it till you make it?

Sandra: That's a great short term solution. When you've had a bad day, you have to inspire a team. Say, I'm just going to do this for the next hour, the next day. You're giving powerful energy out. End of the day you feel better and it got you through the day.

Jory: You're in transition. How was that?

Sandra: I've made transitions in life for the wrong reasons. I was successful in making a lot of individuals very wealthy. I realized I got into an industry I wasn't passionate about. Mon-Fri was a slog. I was looking for inspiration. Went to a lot of TED meetings. My dear friend said what are you doing, you should be in another industry. Started following others on Twitter. Found out who the leaders and players are for a different industry. Today I am fortunate, just joined Vocera as head of Marketing, top IPO in Mobile and Health Technology. It's a hot, hot awesome company which is literally saving lives because of technology. At the end of the day I'm doing something that matters, that's where I get my Mojo.

Jory: Turning to Mary about transitions.

Mary: I work for a bank and I'd always worked for smaller days. It was shocking to me to realize the divide between who I thought I was. It was a painful time, compounded that I had taken on a new role as General Council. It carries a lot of weight. Then I moved into an operation role. Others didn't see the value. At the end of the year I got a lot of feedback. It wasn't me. Close friend said you gotta own this stuff, it IS you. If you want a different reality you have to change and understand how you are creating it. Thought they were wrong and I was right. I took difficult relationships and turned them around. I hate to be a senior level person it gets in my way. I'm pretty gentle, collaborative, focused. Don't understand when people see me as dominant and pushy. I
talk fast. The places I'm less grounded I overcompensate and come on too strong. My sweet spot is where it all works really easily.

Jory: So many Entrepreneurs have vision. They are not always good at growing companies. At what stage do you need to address other people who you brought in. Any insight you have, especially for Silicon Valley Bank. How do you keep them inspired?

Mary: I decided to step down as General Council. Younger people don't have a voice in shaping public policy. I want to figure this out. We are going to spend next few months figuring it all out. How do you move from a larger organization to someone who has to own the entire question. How exciting and invigorating to think can I find clients, can I generate revenues. You surround yourself with people who can tell yourself the truth. It's never too early to understand and hear other people because your vision is only compelling when you connect with other people. If you don't understand what investors are should figure out where
you're relevant. If you're not listening to whether it's working for're not going to do it by yourself.

Jory: Monica's book the Entrepreneurial Instinct. Traits. Can you identify some of the traits of an entrepreneur? What are some ways to build?

Monica Mehta the author who wrote Entrepreneurial Instinct: A study came out of Cambridge on what makes Entrepreneurs? Took managers and wired them to MRI scans. Two groups managers and entrepreneurs. Both groups answered questions well, but the Entrepreneurs took riskier bets. Entrepreneurs have a chemical reward when they take risks. The entrepreneurs overwhelming score high in adaptability. Entrepreneurs take risks. It has a formula. A bias to action and adaptability. My parents are Entrepreneurs. As I started exploring this topic I found how our brain impacts our ability to take risks. I was obsessed to be learning about this information. I had my daughter and it helped me get my Mojo back. I had to find a completely new career and without any kind of plan moved to the U.S. My Mom said (to my Dad) why don't you get a job. My parents got into real estate and became very wealthy in 30 years. They came to the U.S. and had to make their own opportunities. We were good little Asian kids who got good grades and went to Ivy league schools. You need to get your business degree. I jumped through every hoop, checked off every box. On paper I should be Richard Branson. (laughter) The truth is a lot of the Entrepreneurs we celebrate don't follow the formula or the right path. Science says it has a lot to do with how your brain is wired. Some people don't need any training they just know how to do it. People who can't sit still. When that kind of person has an adaptive personality...this who impulse plus adaptive equals risk taker. You can take a test to see which kind you are. You can see how adaptable you are. As I started to understand how risk taking works, I need to not worry about calculating everything and then I found the Mojo was back!

Jory: I highly recommend the book!


--"I'm Allie, what was the book? I just want to acknowledge some words from yesterday and this morning, saying "yes" to things. There's a book called When I Say No I Feel Guilty. How do you say yes to the universe?"

Sandra: That's a great question. The single most detriment to success is lack of focus. I see it everyday. Companies want to be all this stuff. You have limited resources and you can't be successful being everything. You have to be very clear about where you are going. You gotta be passionate about it. You have to say Yes. There is a personality trait that is risk averse. I challenge those individuals to flip it around. I never want to hear no. Find a solution. There is no no. Find a way to say yes.

Jory: What would you recommend to someone who has to navigate a corporate structure. You've got to do something, how do you do that?

Lila: I started out in the late 90's. What I found was when I look back is I was always true to myself. I lost my Mojo when I tried to be someone I wasn't. If someone asked me if something needed to be done. I remember in my last role someone at an Intel event said how did you get to where you are when you are so nice? When people know what you're capable of and you're pleasant to work with and you are open to whatever comes your way. People say I know you are getting some things done. I think the big thing is people generally like to help other people who get things done. Don't be afraid to ask for help don't forget to be thankful and appreciative.
Don't forget to take advice. Those are the things. You wouldn't be an Entrepreneur if you weren't open to new things. Enjoy what you are doing.

Jory: How did it go when you didn't have the job you thought you had?

Lila: When I lost my Mojo I went into John's office. I said John, I am not cut from the same cloth as an investor. I'm not interested in sourcing new companies. I'm more interested in how do we build the companies once we've invested. So he said, let's figure out how to evolve the role. So I'm coaching Entrepreneurs and working with them. He said you are good at managing strategic partnerships. He actually took what I had to say and built on it. He said, you now have enough rope go see what you can make. That's why I love what I do today. I built off of my strength.

Jory: Were you happy or scared?

Lila: Yes.

Jory: It's that easy.

Question: Janine. I have a body of work of educational content. Want to get it to a wide audience. I was wondering if panel could speak to challenges of becoming an Entrepreneur. I need to keep my focus on the work and not over-focus on the business. I'm becoming an Entrepreneur just to make money, it's the mission.

Monica: The critical advise is the road to success is not a straight line it's a squiggly line. We have a hard time directing ourselves when we are in a stressful environment. For 85% of people, loss aversion is stronger than gaining something. How do you keep yourself motivated when you face stressful. Most people address loss by being analytical. But those processes make you demotivated from taking action. When you have to make risky bets, make some quick research and then just move forward. The road will turn and twist but you will adapt. You need to reframe how you look at risk. Chug through it and have a safety net at home.

Sandra: Once you can get really clear about what you need to do then talk to everybody you meet. Ask somebody, you'll be surprised. They will want to help you. It's critical for you to say, how can I help you in return. Thinking you're in it alone inhibits your growth. And reciprocate and say thank you and close the loop and let them know you will help them.

Mary: Be honest with yourself and think things through. Don't feel like you have to do it alone. Which parts do you want to do and which you don't want to do give to someone else.

Jory: We're out of time, thank you everybody.