Author Archives: Ben

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Why CPTC Certification?

Category:CPTC,Staying Current,STC

What value does a CPTC certification have for you? Listen to my interview with Estelle Hicks-Bennett for an in-depth discussion.


Are you a seasoned technical communicator? Are you changing careers into technical communication? Are you a university student?

Career Changers

Let’s talk about what certification can mean for people transitioning from another career into technical communication. I began working as a technical communicator, but my background was in liberal arts. I had been pursuing a doctoral degree in history but did not finish. Although I could communicate technical information appropriately for different audiences, I had no credential that proved I had the knowledge to work in technical communication. When I started work at RIT, I took coursework and received an Advanced Certificate in Technical Information design.

In my current cohort of students preparing for the CPTC™ exam, several of them are transitioning into technical communication and want the CPTC™ certification for the same reason I sought out coursework. They want to prove both to themselves and to others that they have the knowledge to work successfully as a technical communicator. Certification is a tangible achievement that carries value both personally and in the workplace.

RIT CPTC Promo image


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RIT CPTC Class promo photo

RIT CPTC Exam Preparation Class Beginning June 2021

Category:Schedule,Staying Current,STC,techcomm

CPTC Exam Prep Class

Please join me for an eight-session weekly virtual training course for the STC Certified Professional Technical Communicator (CPTC) Foundation exam offered through the Rochester Institute of Technology. 7-8:30 PM Thursday evenings from 3 June to 22 July, 2021.
Register today for the June 2021 prep class on Zoom through RIT

In this eight-session weekly class for certification, we will prepare you for the CPTC Foundation exam. Participants will learn the Nine Core Competency Areas for Technical Communicators that are evaluated by the Certified Professional Technical Communicator (CPTC) Foundation Exam.

  • Project Planning
  • Project Analysis
  • Content Development
  • Organizational Design
  • Written Communication
  • Visual Communication
  • Reviewing and Editing
  • Content Management
  • Production and Delivery

The class facilitator, Ben Woelk, CISSP, CPTC is an accredited CPTC trainer. RIT is an Approved Training Organization.

Please note that the class does not include the exam fee nor provide time to take the exam. The online exam can be booked directly through APMG at, and is proctored remotely. The exam fee is currently ~$300 for STC members, ~$595 for non-members. Attendees have one year to take the exam after purchasing it from APMG. Information about STC membership is at

Registration Costs:

  • Current RIT student $300 (through 5/15), $350 late registration
  • RIT, Faculty, Staff, or Alumni $500 (Indicate program and graduation year) (through 5/15), $700 late registration
  • Spectrum 2021 conference attendee $500 (through 5/15), $700 late registration
  • No RIT Affiliation $700 (through 5/15), $1000 late registration

Registration costs do not include Eventbrite ticketing fees.

Additional details:

Although not required for the training class, we strongly recommend you study the body of knowledge for the exam, Richard Johnson-Sheehan, Technical Communication Today. Either the 5th or 6th edition is suitable. You can purchase or rent the book through Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Registrants will also receive an invitation to an online CPTC study group hosted on Slack.

For more information please contact Ben Woelk at for more information. This CPTC foundation exam preparatory class is being offered by the Rochester Institute of Technology in conjunction with the STC Rochester Spectrum Conference.

Register today for the June 2021 prep class on Zoom through RIT

Course Reviews

Great course!

Excellent style and put us at ease. Really gave us very useful test taking advice and prep.

One of the best instructors ever. Able to hold my sleepy-ADD mind for a day and a half on a weekend while making me retain info. Kudos!

Ben did a fantastic job running this class! He made it clear from the start that this class complements, does not replace, the text. But I feel I have a better understanding of what to expect on the exam.

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Victoria Lioznyansky Headshot

Episode 34: Victoria Lioznyansky–Public Speaking for Introverts

Category:introversion,Introverted Leadership,introverts,Podcast

Episode 034 Show Notes: Victoria Lioznyansky


Victoria Lioznyansky and Ben Woelk discuss public speaking for introverts and the secret to being a great presenter.

Victoria Lioznyansky Headshot

Key concepts

  • Public speaking for introverts
  • Secrets to being a good presenter
  • Introvert strengths and presentations
  • Brilliant Speakers Academy


As introverts, we have a lot of strengths, a lot of strengths. And if we use those strengths correctly, we can be a lot better public speakers than extroverts.

Instead of letting those thoughts run through your head, you immediately change those as you know, pattern interrupt, and immediately think, what can I do for my audience?

When you are passionate about your topic, you can’t help but make your audience passionate about it because passion is contagious.

it’s an ability to engage with the audience, to see the audience, to understand the audience, to want to make a difference for the audience that builds the empathy, that it enables you to convey the passion.

Resources or Products Mentioned in this Episode



Ben: Welcome back, Victoria. I’m looking forward to talking about public speaking in introverts, which many people think is an oxymoron in many ways, or just such an impossible, insurmountable hurdle of really an un–unnatural sounds really wrong, but a not natural, I’m sorry, but a not natural area for introverts! So talk to me about this public speaking for introverts and coaching. I know my path. You’ve shared a little bit about your path in the previous segment, but hear from you about this. I’m excited about it.

Victoria: Yes, you are so right about people not really thinking that being an introvert leads to being a great public speaker. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. What I hear quite a lot is that famous mental block. I am an introvert. That’s why I cannot be a public speaker and I think for the most part it comes from people who know introverts, but who still don’t quite understand what the introvert is. A lot of people confuse introversion with shyness. Granted, a lot of introverts are shy, but it’s not really what defines an introvert, right? What defines an introvert is how we drain our energy and how we recharge our energy, and a lot of introverts are not shy, but we would not like being the center of attention, which of course leads us to think, “Well, I don’t like to be in the spotlight, then I probably shouldn’t be a public speaker, and it is a mental block and it is a wrong mental block and you need to shift your perspective on this.

Victoria: A lot of people are saying, I am not good enough. I’m not articulate enough, I’m not interesting enough. I’m not smart enough. I don’t have enough to share. And that’s why I should not be a public speaker. But this is nothing but an illusion. As introverts, we have a lot of strengths, a lot of strengths. And if we use those strengths correctly, we can be a lot better public speakers than extroverts. And that’s the truth. And there are a lot of introverts who are amazing public speakers who are actors, or are singers. Did you know about Elvis Presley?

[bctt tweet=”As introverts, we have a lot of strengths, a lot of strengths. And if we use those strengths correctly, we can be a lot better public speakers than extroverts.” username=”hopeintrovert”]

Ben: Yeah. I received your newsletter today. You referenced having gone to Graceland, sharing that about Elvis. And I’m actually not surprised because I did know that he was reticent to be in public. But it is something that people are always surprised to hear, that great actors are introverts, and sometimes the powerful presence that you see on stage, when you talk to them individually, there’s a disconnect. Yeah, it’s an interesting thing.

Victoria: It’s an interesting thing and I think what we need to do as introverts is we need to focus on our strengths. A lot of our strengths may be even perceived as weaknesses, but they are strengths. One of those strengths, which is completely funny and makes no sense, but I’ll still say it, one of those strengths is us not liking to be the center of attention. And that makes no sense whatsoever. But let me explain, because we as introverts don’t like to be the center of attention. What we naturally do and do really well is shift the focus from ourselves to other people, right? If you think of having a conversation with a stranger, and I don’t know how you do it, but I always, and it’s intuitive, I don’t even think about it. If I’m having the conversation with a stranger, I immediately want to shift the focus from me.

Victoria: I don’t want to talk about myself. And I shifted the focus to that as a person. How do we do that? We ask questions. We try to make it all about them as a person, because then we don’t have to speak as much. We can just focus on them as a person and do what we do best, you know, reflect, ask questions and so on. So we as introverts, are actually very good at shifting the focus from ourselves to the other person. So the question is how is it going to help us with public speaking? When you are on stage, if you are afraid of public speaking, as most people are, if you’re afraid of speaking on stage, on camera, on podcasts. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter. The medium doesn’t matter. If you afraid to speak in front of an audience, it’s usually because of one reason.

Victoria: You are focusing on yourself and your fear and you can’t help it. You know, if you are afraid, you can’t help not to think about your fear as you stand in the end. I know I’ve experienced it many, many times. Growing up, you’ll stand there looking at the audience, just pure horror, you know, shaken and sweaty and scared. And you can’t think of anything other than I am terrified. I don’t want to be here. And when those thoughts are in your mind, you keep on focusing on them. You may start talking and you give a presentation, but you keep on thinking in the back of your mind. The whole time, “They judging me, they’re thinking I’m a fraud. The thinking, I’m not good enough at this. They don’t like how I look, so don’t like how I sound.” And so we keep on focusing on ourselves this whole time, never truly connecting to our audience.

Victoria: And so what we need to do, and again, as introverts, we know how to do it. What we need to do is when we are in front of any audience, in any medium, we need to shift the focus off of us to our audience. So instead of standing there thinking, “What is my audience thinking of me right now as a judging me, are they critiquing me as I think and I’m not good enough, they probably already discovered that I’m a fraud.” Instead of letting those thoughts run through your head, you immediately change those as you know, pattern interrupt, and immediately think, what can I do for my audience? How do I want to make my audience feel? And when you truly love what you’re talking about, when you truly love your audience, this mindset shift is actually a lot easier than you think because as soon as you think about your audience, not in a way it’s an enemy that judges me, but it’s these other people whom I can help, who I can give something.

[bctt tweet=”Instead of letting those thoughts run through your head, you immediately change those as you know, pattern interrupt, and immediately think, what can I do for my audience?” username=”hopeintrovert”]

Victoria: Then everything changes. You shift the focus off of you to your audience and you start talking and all of a sudden all of your focus is, am I making sense? Am I giving them enough? Can I  give them more? What else can I give them? How can I make this experience even better, even more impactful, even more transformational for my audience? As you think in that, your brain cannot simultaneously think the thought of, “I’m not good enough, I’m scared,” because we only can focus on one thing at a time. And if you focus on your audience, you won’t be thinking about your fear, and if you’re not thinking about your fear, your physical symptoms, like those symptoms that you experienced, like you know your heart pounds and you’re sweaty, they begin to go away as well. And that’s an amazing, amazing experience.

Victoria: And I know then you feel it. I’m sure every time you record a podcast you, no matter how you feel before the podcast, and I’m not making any assumption, just saying, you know, no matter how you feel, as soon as you start talking to your audience, your first thought is, how can I make this episode the most beneficial for my listeners? You’ll focus in only on your listeners and not on how do I sound or what do they think of me? Right? And when you make this shift, everything changes. And I think this is really a key, the key to overcome your fear of public speaking. It’s shifting the focus so you,

Ben: Yes, it definitely makes sense, because I know for myself, when I’m speaking, I’m really engaging the audience. I’m trying to engage the audience because I want a substantive dialogue with the audience. When I speak at conferences and things, and I’m wondering about that you haven’t touched on, when talking to other introverts, a lot of what gives them the comfort level to get up in front of people in general is feeling like they know the subject well enough also. And we didn’t touch on that. And I know that you’re not saying…

Victoria: I know that yes, that that’s important too. It’s just not what we’ve talked about yet.

Ben: But, I know for me, the more comfortable I am with the subject, the more I can focus on the audience. I think it’s the way I would put it as opposed to being concerned about, “Oh my gosh, they’re going to figure out I’m an impostor,” or they’re going to ask questions I’m not going to be able to answer, which of course they’re going to ask questions, I’m not going to be able to answer. That just always happens. But in general there is that subject matter preparation part too. How does that play in?

Victoria: This absolutely plays a part. However, and the reason why I didn’t want to start was that is because even those who are well prepared and they know a lot of things about their subject matter, they still go in front of the audience feeling like an impostor, which is crazy, right? I mean we know a lot of people, both you and I, who are subject matter experts who are prepared with the presentation, but they go in front of an audience and they freeze, which makes absolutely no sense and that’s why I didn’t want to start with that, because I think what you need the first mindset shift you need to make is the one that I described is that you need to start thinking in terms of it’s not about me, it’s about my audience. It’s not about me seeing the potential of getting challenged. I can give the student absolutely, absolutely.

Victoria: But of course being an expert, let me use a better term knowing your subject because being an expert is so overused and truly who is an expert, you know, is there is always somebody who knows more, right? How can you call somebody an expert when there is always somebody better? So none of us are experts, but we do know our subject matter and we are ahead of our audience. Even if you are only three steps ahead of your audience, you know your subject matter better than your audience. But it’s not about knowing or it’s not only about knowing and being prepared. What I teach my students in my program, it’s that it’s also about truly falling in love with your topic. You may be given a presentation on something that you know in and out, or you give,maybe giving the presentation on something that you have a peripheral knowledge, but somebody asks you to present on it.

Victoria: It makes no difference in the way you how great your presentation could be. What makes a difference is that you completely and totally fall in love with what you’re presenting about. And when you are passionate about your topic, you can’t help but make your audience passionate about it because passion is contagious. When you are preparing for something that you’re passionate about and that you love, you prepare differently. You don’t just go and say, “Okay, well here’s my outline, I’m done.” No, you’re thinking of, “My goodness. There’s so much I can tell them. There is this cool story I can share.” There is this joke, there is this anecdote that you know, my experience with this particular topic. You begin to wrap that topic in the layers and layers of stories that will make your audience understand, relate to this topic, and just will make you a better speaker on this topic.

[bctt tweet=”When you are passionate about your topic, you can’t help but make your audience passionate about it because passion is contagious.” username=”hopeintrovert”]

Victoria: So it’s extremely important to not just know what you’re talking about, but actually love it. Like fall in love. Was it fall in love? Was it like, you know how some people, you probably have friends like that, they like something? I don’t know, fishermen or computer games and they can talk about it nonstop and they have, so they may not care about fishing, but the way they make it sound is so much fun because they wrap it in stories. And so this is what we need to do with what was our topic, was what we know you fall in love with. It’s the point where you are very passionate, that transfers that passion.

Ben: It’s building empathy with your audience also because, and that comes back to the whole, it’s for your eyes, it’s about your audience. It’s not about you in that sense. I know some of the work I’ve been doing recently, in a fairly recent podcast, is with Megan Mack, who’s a professional improv coach, and just talking, and who’s also an introvert and talking about the role of learning the improvisation part. But the key part of Improv is the, “Yes, and?”, and that is the part about it being about your audience and about what you’re doing for them. Rather than, I just know this information, I’m going to present this information. So I think the passion–I mean you’re talking about communicating passion to inspiring the audience is the same thing as getting them passionate about it. But I think it’s that ability and I’m agreeing with you. I think it’s an ability to engage with the audience, to see the audience, to understand the audience, to want to make a difference for the audience that builds the empathy, that it enables you to convey the passion. Does that make sense? Yeah.

[bctt tweet=”It’s an ability to engage with the audience, to see the audience, to understand the audience, to want to make a difference for the audience that builds the empathy, that it enables you to convey the passion.” username=”hopeintrovert”]

Victoria: Yeah. Right. Absolutely. And that actually was a part, and that’s a huge part of shifting the focus away from you to your audiencem and focusing on your audience is when it becomes all about them, it becomes all for them. And you overlap this through your focus on your audience and you’re passionate about what you’re talking about, about the topic of your presentation. And when those two things overlap, your audience really, really gets a lot out of it. I think it may sound the same as, “Oh, they’re just getting information,” but it’s not, they’re no longer just getting information. It’s not about just giving some information. It’s about a lot of other things. It’s about the audience’s journey. It’s about the audience feeling something by the end of your talk, by the end of your presentation that they didn’t feel in the beginning.

Ben: It’s funny, because I feel like we are using all these terms that people would never believe the introverts would use, are think about when they’re up there presenting, because we’re talking about passion or talking about engagement with the audience, not pulling back from the audience. We’re talking about building empathy. We’re talking about falling in love with the subject and communicating with it, because that passion and that love for the subject communicates it better. It’s just really funny because if I were on the outside and I’m going to listen to and hear about how introverts become public speakers, I don’t know that as an outsider, as a non speaker, I understand where you are with this completely because I’m engaged in it too. But I do wonder how surprising this would be for some people to hear.

Victoria: I think it’s very surprising for a lot of people, but I think it’s also–I believe this about public speaking. It’s not about tips and tricks and do this, say that, Because I believe that public speaking is all about those mindset shifts that we discussed. And as an introvert, there are several things here that you know you’re good at but you don’t think it’s applicable. One of them we have talked about is shifting the focus from you to your audience. And the second thing that’s I think is also very interesting for introverts is how we don’t like to talk in group in a group setting in general, right? We would always prefer to speak one-on-one and have this meaningful conversation with one person. And really they get to know that one person versus speaking, just lightly speaking to a group of people with a group of people.

Victoria: And again, it may seem like an oxymoron because, “But we are introverts and we don’t like to speak to a group of people.” And how is that our strength? Well, it actually is a strength that we can speak one-on-one really well and we can apply it to public speaking. And this is how you do it. If that works when you are on stage, it’s not really a, you know, for a podcast or video, but when you’re physically on stage or physically in front of several people and you’re looking at those people, the first thought that particularly when you’re an introvert, you’re like, “Well, I just don’t want to be there. I don’t want to look at all of them. It’s overwhelming. I’m beginning to feel anxiety.” So what you need to do is apply your one-on-one skills, those from that environment, and the way you do it is you begin speaking one-on-one to one person in the audience.

Victoria: You literally make eye contact with one random person in the audience and you speak to that one person completely one-on-one. Yes, nobody else exists. You’re not looking at anybody else. You’ll speak in one-on-one to that one person for just a few seconds, maybe five seconds. And then you shift your gaze to a different person in the audience. And now you speak to that person one-on-one for a few seconds. And what that does is you never ever look at that whole group of people. You never feel overwhelmed because you always only speak in one-on-one to one person at a time. And that makes a huge, huge difference for introverts because we do like one-on-one. We are good at it and as long as we just adjust our mindset that I’m speaking for a few minutes, for a few seconds, just to this one person, nobody else exists. It truly feels like a one-on-one conversation, because as you are making that eye contact, that person is actually giving you back nonverbal feedback. You know they may be smiling back at you, maybe nodding their head as they agree. Maybe they give you some sort of a feedback like a new regular one-on-one conversation. And so it feels natural. It feels very doable and you continue shifting your gaze. You continue doing this one-on-one with different people in the audience and that gets rid of loads of pressure. Yeah, that sounds really good and it works.

Ben: Yeah. And it absolutely jibes with my experience too. And also with how, when I was initially speaking, how I was so overwhelmed with the idea of speaking in front of an audience at all, that it impacts everything obviously.

Ben: So you’ve built this into a coaching business. What are you doing with the business part of this and I’m just interested in where, who is your clientele? How big is your business? What are you trying to do with your business? And big is the wrong thing, because I’m not looking for how many followers can I get on a podcast necessarily either. It’s how can I make a difference for people. So yeah. Talk a little bit, if you would, talk a little bit more about your business.

Victoria: Sure. Well, currently I have followers and clients actually all around the world. It’s amazing what internet has done for us, right? When I opened my first business in Colorado a couple of decades ago, I only had clients in Colorado, right there in Denver. And now I have clients in Canada, in the US, in Australia, in New Zealand, in Nigeria. I mean it’s pretty unbelievable how small the world feels right now. But what I’m doing with my business is I teach my students primarily through my Brilliant Speakers Academy. So that’s my main vehicle. I don’t really do a whole bunch of one-on-one coaching, because it’s just, I just don’t have enough time for that. And so all of the one-on-one coaching actually does happen inside of my freelance business Academy where I do one-on-one and group coaching.

Victoria: So that’s what my business is all about. I created the signature program where I packaged everything, absolutely everything, that has made a difference in my life and helped me transform from being scared to being very comfortable and not just being comfortable but enjoying it. And I packaged all of it inside of my frameworks and inside of my program. It’s not just only about how to overcome your fear, it’s called overcome your fear in a very holistic sense. It’s all some mindset shifts that you need to make. Also daily routines that you need to have. There are so many things, so many things that you can do to make the change permanent, because we’re not talking about appearing confident on stage, on camera, on a podcast. It’s not about appearing confident. It’s actually about truly feeling confident and there is a difference. And I want my students to not just fake it till you make it, which I absolutely don’t agree with.

Victoria: I believe that you need to make the change on the inside. You need to learn how to feel confident and then you never ever fear public speaking again. It never ever makes you uncomfortable again. And so we talk about all of this in my program. I teach students my framework on how to craft a compelling talk and it’s all based on stories and feeling confident. We talk about how to prepare, thoroughly prepare because that’s extremely important. And you mentioned that you touched on it, how being well-prepared helps you feel confident. It’s not the first thing to make you feel confident, but it’s definitely one of the things to make you feel confident in front of an audience.

Ben: So there is some introductory training available?

Victoria: So I do have for absolutely free trainings that you can go and access right now and you can get it at and I think you will get a lot out though it between today’s podcast and the training.

Ben: I started asking my  guests if there’s one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

Victoria: One of the things that people are usually surprised by, is that my life revolves around fencing and fencing. I mean like Olympic sport–not that we do fences around the house–around fencing. Both of my kids fence. My oldest son has been fencing for seven years. And the shift in the way we live our life because of that has been so profound and huge. It’s mind blowing for me because we literally shape our life around fencing and fencing competitions and traveling nationally and internationally for my oldest son’s competitions. And making plans, future plans, around when Olympic games are happening in and stuff like this. So it’s very much crazy and unusual. And when people find that out, they are surprised. And in fact, not only my kids fence, but I’ve been–I’ve started fencing myself as well. I took a little break but I’m going back.

Ben: Any last thoughts you’d want to share with the audience

Victoria: Yes. I want you to truly believe that as an introvert you are capable of absolutely everything. We have so many gifts. We have so many special talents and anyone–particularly about public speaking, anyone can learn to become a great speaker. It doesn’t matter if you are an introvert. It doesn’t matter if you failed before. Really failed in front of an audience before. It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe, you know everything doesn’t matter if you have imposed that syndrome, it doesn’t matter. Even if English isn’t your first language, it doesn’t matter. Anyone can become a great public speaker with the right training, the right practice. I really want you to believe in yourself and not.

Ben: Okay. Well, great, Victoria, it’s been a great conversation. I’m looking forward to sharing it with our listeners.

Victoria: Thank you so much, Ben. It’s been a pleasure.



Brilliant Speakers Academy screenshot


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Victoria Lioznyansky Headshot

Episode 033: Victoria Lioznyansky–Introverts and Starting a Business

Category:introversion,Introverted Leadership,introverts,Leadership,Lessons Learned,Podcast

Episode 033 Show Notes: Victoria Lioznyansky


Victoria Lioznyansky and Ben Woelk discuss starting a small business as an introvert, discussing her experiences with Nutty Scientists of Houston and the Brilliant Speakers Academy.

Victoria Lioznyansky Headshot

Key concepts

  • Building a business takes passion, skill, and discipline
  • Introverts can be good at consultative sales
  • STEAM or STEM-A is a great way to marry science and the arts.


I had this full blown transformation from being somebody very much afraid and not wanting to be in front of a microphone ever to somebody who truly enjoys being in front of an audience. All of this while still being an introvert and not being the center of attention in any way or form.

Introverts have this one big strength–to focus and reflect, to look inside ourselves and really think things through.

On building a business–look inside yourself and decide if there is something that you are so passionate about, that you believe in so much, that you will be willing to take a risk for because building the business is always a risk

Resources or Products Mentioned in this Episode



Ben: Joining us today is Victoria Lioznyansky. Victoria teaches introverted entrepreneurs and business professionals how to overcome their fear of public speaking and become confident, compelling, captivating speakers. After moving to the U. S. Two decades ago with limited English, Victoria overcame her crippling fear of public speaking to build several businesses, teach in a variety of industries, and speak in front of small and large audiences. She appeared on Fox News and has been featured in numerous publications including CBS, Houston and BizWest media, talking on her experiences going from scared to sought after speaker. Victoria created the Brilliant Speakers Academy, an online public speaking coaching program for introverts. She also owns Nutty Scientists of Houston, a passion project about inspiring kids to fall in love with science. Victoria holds a Master of Science in Computer Science and is currently completing a Master of Arts degree in Communications and Media Technologies. She lives in Houston with her husband and two sons. You can contact Victoria at

Ben: Can you tell us about your business and your background? You have a couple of businesses. Why don’t you talk about those and talk to us about what your workplace is like.

Victoria: Yes, I am in this unique position where I do have two businesses that are as different as you can imagine. One of them is Nutty Scientists of Houston, which is a franchise that I’ve owned for the last six or seven years. And this business is really all about inspiring kids to fall in love with science. I’m not as much hands on in it as I was in the beginning, but it’s still business that takes pretty much probably half of my time. And I have a physical space, so it is a local brick and mortar business where we go to schools all over Houston to do enrichment programs. And also we have all kinds of programs in our space right here in Houston. So that’s one of my businesses. And my second business is public speaking coach and I coach students. I created the Brilliant Speakers Academy program and I work with my audience from all over the world, teaching them how to become a better public speaker, specifically focusing on introverts and how we as introverts can overcome our fear of public speaking.

Ben: That’s fascinating. It almost feels more of a calling type thing. I know that my passion about Hope for the Introvert and speaking and mentoring introverted leaders is really born out of a desire to make a difference for them. What has driven you to pursue this introverted public speaking coaching path?

Victoria: You know, Ben, this is such a good question and you’re so right. It is a passion-driven business. I obviously have been an introvert all of my life. I am as introverted as you can imagine and I’ve been terrified–absolutely terrified of public speaking growing up. And I had a lot of traumatic experiences and I was able to overcome my fear of public speaking. I was able to go in front of audiences of any size and not just be this confident, competent speaker, but actually enjoy it and transform, impact, and bring joy, educate, inspire my audiences. So I had this full blown transformation from being somebody very much afraid and not wanting to be in front of a microphone ever to somebody who truly enjoys being in front of an audience. All of this while still being an introvert and not being the center of attention in any way or form.

Victoria: And a lot of people come up to me after I do train,–I speak somewhere, they come up to me and they say, “Oh, you are so wonderful. You are this natural speaker.” And that made me think, if somebody like myself who was really bad at this, who was really scared, really didn’t want to do it, is able to go through this full transformation and have people believe that I’m a natural at this, then everybody else can do it too. And so my Brilliant Speakers Academy program was born out of this desire to share my experience, my systems, my framework, and teach everybody else how to go from being really, really, really scared and uncomfortable through actually loving being in front of an audience and being good at it.

Ben:Yeah, it’s a very, very cool thing. And I know our next episode we’ll spend more time talking about what you actually do as a public speaking coach, I know my own speaking path, how nervous and now absolutely terrible I think I probably was when I initially started speaking, but it’s become so habitual now or much more natural where I have become used to being in front of larger groups. I’ve had conversations with a friend and she talks about how you see people at one point in time and you assume that they always have been like that. I look back at that in terms of leadership. I look back at that in terms of public speaking ability or wherever I am on that path at this point in time. But I know that people who heard me 10 years ago probably would be surprised that that’s me speaking today.

Ben: I know there were many opportunities that I turned down, found someone else to speak because I didn’t want to be in front of a large group. But it’s kind of amazing how that has moved forward over the years. Since we’re going to spend a good chunk of our next episode talking about that aspect of your business, and it sounds like it’s going to be all ingrained with your whole life travel–life journey, I guess would be a better term for it. What’s the passion for the science part of things because that is very different? It still sounds like a very exciting thing to be doing to be going into different schools. What led you into that? I feel like we’re going down two totally different paths, but I know they’re going to intertwine again. So what led you into that?

Victoria: I am a mom. I have two kids right now who are 13 and nine. And when I started my business, my kids were very, very little. I’ve been an entrepreneur pretty much most of my adult life. I’m actually building my fourth business right now. So I’ve had several businesses and my background is in IT. It’s actually not science, it’s Informational Technologies. And my first business was developing websites and building software. But as my career progressed, I found myself working in the educational environment. I was actually managing all of the software development for Harris County Department of Education. And so I found myself as a mom and at the same time working in the education field and I was looking to start a new business. I was looking to invest my time and energy into something that would make me not just happy and fulfilled, but also challenged.

Victoria: And at the same time I wanted something that will be interesting for my kids as well. And so, as all of those things came together, I had an idea to start–build the franchise. It is a franchise that I purchased and I built it from scratch. And right now, the Nutty Scientists of Houston franchise is the number one franchise in the United States among all of the Nutty Scientists franchises. So I built it from zero to be number one. And it definitely was, and still is a passion project as everybody knows. Even if you’re not in education, even if you don’t know anything about science, everybody understands, everybody knows how important sciences for the kids, because a lot of kids go through school not truly understanding science and being interested in it because it’s so theoretical. A lot of times in a lot of schools where schools don’t have time to time or money to invest in the hands on and really inspiring kids it’s all about tests as everybody knows.

Victoria: And a lot of kids just don’t like it. Because nobody ever made them interested in it. And it’s very, very important I think for the next generation to truly believe that science is exciting. And this is what my business is all about. It’s inspiring kids to fall in love with science. It’s not making them all scientists, of course not. But it’s showing them that science is not just about tests and the boring information that they may be getting from school and that’s why they don’t like it. Science could be really exciting and could be really a way to change the world and their future. And so in our little way by doing enrichment classes, by doing camps, by doing science birthday parties, I feel like we are contributing to that cause.

Ben: Yeah, that’s really awesome. I’m at the Rochester Institute of Technology and there’s been such a focus on–there’s always been a focus on STEM disciplines here. But there seems to be–obviously there’s a much larger focus in society in general in the U. S. Especially around the STEM disciplines. One thing that’s interesting that RIT is doing. Our current president is–I don’t know if he’s groundbreaking here, but he’s leading the path here–is making sure there’s also an Arts component with that as well, so that it’s not just the–it may be the same side of the brain actually, but it’s not just around the science things. But it’s also the number of students we have who come in who have passions in acting, in the art,s and music and making sure that they have outlets for that and opportunities as well. So I am interested, and my apologies because I didn’t ask you this ahead of time at all, What are your thoughts around the STEM disciplines, science and still involving the arts?

Victoria: It’s so funny that you ask that because just this summer we had a couple of camps that instead of STEM camps we called STEAM camps–A for art. And we literally combined arts and science. We had a bicycle with–what I forgot to mention is that my business primarily deals with ages four through 12. So we work with younger kids and our camps. We actually partnered with an arts company and we had the camp where with it some science, and every day kids were doing art. And then we had another camp where we partnered with a drama company where we did science and combined it with performance. So that camp was really groundbreaking in a way that nobody in the community has ever done that. Where for half the camp kids we’re doing science experiments and learning about science.

Victoria: And then for the second half of the camp they were acting out, writing the script, creating all the sets, and incorporating science and science experiments that they learned earlier from us into their performance. And they combined both in the performance for the parents. So that camp was a huge hit and kids absolutely loved it ,because they were able to not just purely focus on science, and it’s all fun but also integrated with something else that’s very exciting and makes it a lot more applicable and a lot more fun for them. So I thought incorporating science into drama and adding an art component to that as well, is really an interesting way to go for the kids who are interested in both science and art.

Ben: Yeah, that’s amazing. I’m also looking at another thing that’s been sweeping–I wouldn’t say society, but a lot of the professions over the last couple of years, has to do with the use of Story to communicate information. And this sounds like such a clear example of how–you can really influence things both ways with it, but how to communicate science through story in a sense. And even science being part of the story that you’re presenting.

Victoria: Right, right. And that’s actually how we run our enrichment classes. The class may have a theme of, I don’t know, sharks. The whole class was about sharks and we don’t just go like, “Well, sharks do this; sharks do that.” Right? We make it–we actually weave a story into this, and this is how sharks are born and this is what happens. And their parents do this and little sharks get abandoned and lalala! I mean there is a whole bunch of information that you can just present as information, or you can create stories out of it and then incorporate science experiments. And then by the end of the class, kids get a really full picture of that one topic that we’re trying to cover.

Ben: Yeah, that’s a very, very cool thing. So the thing that I think that really makes it funny is the Houston Astros have the song about Baby Shark, Right?

Victoria: I have to let you in a secret. I am not a baseball fan, or a sports fan for that matter.

Ben: No, no. I just remember seeing something about it. And the Baby Shark thing rings true because we have a grandson who absolutely loves all of the Baby Shark thing. So that’s why I’m laughing. It’s just funny that it would– it’s Houston. It’s just a funny thing, but I think it just shows how much some of this just kind of permeates through culture at different levels. So you’ve been a serial entrepreneur, I guess is one way to look at it. And you’re not the first guest that I’ve had who’s built a string of businesses and who’s an introvert. How did being an introvert affect how you’ve been an entrepreneur?

Victoria: I think as an introvert or as introverts, we have this one big strength, and that strength is the ability to focus and reflect, ability to look inside ourselves and really think things through. I really think that introverts do make some of the best entrepreneurs because as we love to focus, as we love to think, as we love to reflect, we are able to truly shape our business in the best way possible. And also mentally prepare for unexpected, you know, for any struggles we may have, for any challenges we may have. I think as introverts, it’s a strength and most of the introverts or pretty much all of the introverts have it. And I think the misconception is that extroverts make better business people because they tend to like to be the center of attention, right? That they like to be in the spotlight. I like to go out there and interact, but the reality is as much as we don’t like to go out there, when we do, we truly nail it. And I think it’s also our ability to have really meaningful conversations whenever we meet with somebody.

[bctt tweet=”Introverts have this one big strength–to focus and reflect, to look inside ourselves and really think things through. @victorialtweets” username=”hopeintrovert”]

Victoria: Even when you are doing a sales presentation, as an entrepreneur, you are constantly selling, right? Even when you’re doing a sales presentation, as an introvert, you really focus on the needs and on the benefits to your client. You take the focus off of you and put it on your client and they’re going to talk a lot more about it. When we speak about public speaking, speaking in public, I think as introverts, this is really our strength is to be able to truly have a meaningful conversation with another person and make it about the other person. And that makes sales a lot easier for introverts. And this could be not something that other people talk about, but actually a consultancy.

Ben: Yeah, I think in the aspect of consultative sales? Absolutely. I think many of us think about sales as just the numbers game, the cold calling thing of it, which is a piece of it, which I’m not sure anyone really enjoys that piece, but the consultative part and the whole introvert strength you’re talking about about this ability to engage and listen to the other person and not necessarily be racing ahead thinking, “What am I going to say next?” Or you know, “What am I going to say?” And that ability to listen is really important. It’s a bit challenging when we’re doing this podcast because I am thinking, “What’s the next thing that I’m going to talk about” But I think that introvert strength of being able to listen and reflect back is really key in engaging and really building customers and clients and relationships in general.

Victoria: Absolutely. And of course we’re not talking about–today’s conversation is not about sales at all, but I just have to mention that if you, as as you said, if you are an introvert, really use that strength and make every sales call or sales meeting into a consultative sales call, you’re going to have so much success. And I speak from my own experience, because unfortunately I still do some sales calls, some cold calling, which as you said, nobody likes, I’m not looking forward to it and I outsource as much as I can, but I’ve still done a good share of them. And I built my business because I was able to take every single cold call and make it about them, make it about benefiting the client that I’m calling versus, “Let me sell you on my stuff.” And I think it’s very, very important. And I think as introverts we are equipped with dealing with this, and we just should use it more and train ourselves to use this strength more. Listen and reflect back and focus on the other person.

Ben: Yeah, I think that’s really great. I’ve worked as a consultant and it’s always been about providing solutions, but it’s not providing solutions that I’m coming in with packaged solutions. It’s understanding and really doing that analysis of what does the client or what does the customer need and building a solution that meets that. And I do think that the analytical abilities I think can transcend whether it’s introvert or extrovert, but I do think it’s that ability to stay engaged in the conversation and to build a relationship and build the trust that is really, really important in this.

Victoria: Yes. Absolutely.

Ben: Do you have some recommendations for introverts who would want to become–we’ll break this into this two-part bifurcation here–do you have recommendations for introverts who are interested in building businesses? And I don’t mean in the numbers game, but more, I guess you feel like they want to do something on their own. They don’t want to necessarily just have a job with a company or something. They’ve got a passion for something. They have a belief in something. What recommendations would you have for an individual who wants to explore their own path and maybe that path is being an entrepreneur?

Victoria: I definitely thought about it a lot in the last couple of decades. Because of being a serial entrepreneur and also being in the corporate world from time to time, and as somebody who really doesn’t like to be in the corporate world and working for somebody. As somebody who was clearly born to be an entrepreneur, I had to give it a lot of thought of not only do I want to start my own business because the answer was always yes, but also what do I want to do? And so as advice to anybody who feels restless in their workspace, who feels that they’re wasting their life. Maybe because I know I had those thoughts when I was in the corporate, that I’m wasting my life, that I am asleep and I need to wake up and do something that I’m passionate about. I think my biggest advice is to look inside yourself and decide if there is something that you are so passionate about, that you believe in so much, that you will be willing to take a risk for because building the business is always a risk and I’m not saying that, “Oh, I’m so passionate about this or that I’m going to quit my job tomorrow because Victoria said you need to be a risk taker.”

[bctt tweet=”Look inside yourself and decide if there is something that you are so passionate about, that you believe in so much, that you will be willing to take a risk for because building the business is always a risk. @victorialtweets” username=”hopeintrovert”]

Victoria: No, you can be a careful risk-taker. You can stay in your job for awhile until you build your business to the extent where you can quit your job. Because that’s exactly what I did. I had already purchased the Nutty Scientists franchise, but was still working full time. I knew that I can’t leave my job and start the business from scratch, because obviously when you’re starting a brand new business, you’re not making any money for the first little while. I wanted to jump into the business and start making money from day one and the only way to do that was to build a foundation for that business while still working. So for anybody who feels a little restless and they feel like, “Okay, I want to start the business,” what I recommend is to start a business. Do not do anything crazy. Stay at your job, start a business. The little steps become really organized about your time.

Victoria: What I did when I had already purchased Nike scientist, but I still was at my job: Every lunch hour I would go to my car. I would sit in my car and would be making sales calls, cold calling, sales calls for my business, trying to set up things three, four, five months down the road, so that I could eventually quit my job. And so when I did leave my job, and I did that, I did that during lunch hour, every single lunch hour for real, for months I was doing that. Evenings, weekends, you have to find something that you are truly passionate about or it’s not going to work. It’s not going to hold you. It has to be something you can’t live without. But once you do all of this work and you feel that you are ready, then you can quit your job. So when I quit my job, I was literally making money from day one in my business because I prepared all of the foundation. I did all the sales that I needed. I went into my business full time and then I never looked back.

Victoria: I think there are two things here: you need to find something that you really passionate about, but you also want to find something that you’re really good at. And a lot of times what people do is they take their work skills and use them for their new business. So it’s kind of like an intersection of what you’re good at or maybe not doing good but great at. Or it’s maybe something that you don’t even realize you’re so good at. But everybody tells you, “My goodness you’re so great that this, “and you’re like, “Isn’t everybody great at this?” People would come to me with public speaking and saying, “You’re a natural.” And that’s when I got that idea that, “Wow, I’m not the natural,” but to people I do look natural now, which means I can teach this because I know how I did this. I can teach it. So you look inside yourself and again as an introvert we’ll love to reflect, we’ll love the inside of our head. So going inside your head, turn everything off and look and see what are you great at, what you think you are good at, but everybody else thinks you’re amazing. And what you’re passionate about.

Ben: Yeah, that’s it. That’s the other thing. That’s what I’m really hearing from you. People are passionate about things. People may be good at things, but they have to build the foundation. And there’s a lot of discipline involved in terms of finding that time outside of your normal work time to be able to build these things or to do these side hustles, I guess is the more popular term now, initially. And maybe those grow into something.

Victoria: Right, right. And if you do it for a little while and after a few months you realize, you know what? Nah, I really love the security of my job. Well it’s okay then you just stay at your job, but most likely, you will realize that I–you’re going to feel it. It’s going to be totally like an intuition, that feeling that I am on the right path. I am doing what I was meant to be doing and then after taking and after building the foundation, after doing everything that you need to do, after preparing both financially and logistically, you will be able to step into the life of an entrepreneur and not everybody wants it. Not everybody can do it. But until you try, you won’t know.

Ben: It sounds like wise counsel on how to do things.

Ben: Thanks Victoria. This has been a really fun conversation and I love your passion and also the ability to couple that discipline with that passion. I think that’s a really key part of this. So I’m really looking forward to our next segment where we’re going to talk about public speaking and introverts, which many people just think that makes absolutely no sense. But let’s see how that goes. It’ll be a fun segment.



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Eeshita Grover headshot

Episode 032: Eeshita Grover–Leveraging Introvert Strengths

Category:introversion,Introverted Leadership,introverts,Leadership,Lessons Learned,Podcast

Episode 032 Show Notes: Eeshita Grover


Eeshita Grover and Ben Woelk discuss leveraging your introvert strengths in the workplace as a manager and to advance in your career.

Eeshita Grover headshot

Key concepts

  • Introverts have a heightened sense of empathy
  • Introverts are analytical and process information internally, and often longer
  • Introverts can appear to be detached
  • Introverts are often self aware
  • Introverts are independent
  • Self knowledge and independence help you grow in your careers
  • Managing up can be challenging for an introvert


Introverts have a heightened sense of empathy that takes us a step further in building those relationships that we are typically shy of.

Because introverts are more analytical and absorb information on an ongoing basis, that’s the reason why we don’t express while in the moment. Expression comes to us–it might come 48 hours late–but it does come to us.

Introvert are inherently blessed with being very self aware. They know what their own blind spots are. They know exactly what their pitfalls are. In that regard, I think introverts are very realistic.

Introverts enjoy a sense of independence. They have the ability to enjoy their own company. They really thrive on ‘Okay, right now I need to be myself, but in the morning when I’m at work, I am going to be with my team.’

The more conscious you are of yourself and the more independence you develop in your approach, the better you’re going to emerge as a leader.

The most challenging aspect of of being an introvert and management is managing up.

Educate your management, educate the people who are your peers about what you’re doing. That goes a long way in communicating value for introverts.

In teaching you just never know when you’re going to make an impact on someone’s life. When you’re able to make that impact or touch someone’s life in a positive way, you’ve won the battle of life.

Resources or Products Mentioned in this Episode



Ben: Hi Eeshita. It’s great to have you back on the program. I’m looking forward to continuing our discussion today. We had been talking about the challenge it is to really step out of our comfort zone for a lot of us in a lot of ways, and especially when we’re going into—networking’s not exactly the right word for it–but rather than a presenting environment, which I agree with you at this point in my life, I have no problem standing up in front of people and talking. But the difference in terms of actually going into an environment where you’re networking, it’s a little bit different challenge.

Ben: Now you’re married and have a son, correct?

Eeshita: That’s correct.

Ben: I’m married and have two kids. Is the rest of your family introverts? Extroverts? For me I was surrounded by extroverts. I was the only introvert. My wife, my son, my daughter–all extroverts.

Eeshita: We had three of us in the family and I think it’s safe to say I’m in the middle. My husband is even more an introvert as compared to me. And my son is actually quite an extrovert. So I am right in the middle and I tend to adjust to whatever needs there might be in the moment. So yes, it’s quite interesting, because when my son was younger, I remember I’d get home after work and he’d want to play and he’d want to–actually middle school was a time when they still want to talk and have a conversation with me. And I’d be so tired. And it’s funny because it’s not physical labor. It’s not like I’m lifting big huge rocks all day or something like that. It’s just that mentally, you’re exhausted and you just need to recuperate, and he would be, “Oh Mom. This happened and that happened and I met so and so.” And I’m like, “Okay. Can you please just give me 20 minutes? I need to just chill and then we can resume this conversation.” But there were so many times when that would happen.

Ben: Yeah. There’s very much for me like having to have that little bit of space so I can transition into whatever the other environments are like. So I definitely get that part of it too. But it’s funny.

Eeshita: Yeah. It’s actually interesting because I’m sure you know this. As introverts we have a higher sense of empathy. We have a higher sense of understanding the other person’s perspective, and that’s what would happen with me. And this happens with my friends even today. I understand and I anticipate that this is what they’re looking for from me. And because I understand and I anticipate, there are times when I will comply. I will do what I’m expected to do. I’m not trying to make it sound like I’m doing anyone any favors. But you do want to–you know, there’s that sense of, “Hey, I can do this for you,” kind of thing. I think introverts do have that sense that they have a heightened sense of empathy in comparison. And I think that takes us a step further in terms of building those relationships that we are typically shy of. My friends who I’ve known for 15-20 years, until today they say this about me, “You can come across so cold and unattached,. But once people start to talk to you, there is that other side of you.”

[bctt tweet=”Introverts have a heightened sense of empathy that takes us a step further inbuilding those relationships that we are typically shy of.” username=”hopeintrovert”]

Ben: Yeah, I think so. It sounds like there’s a whole lot going on inside, which has been my experience as well. But on the outside you can’t necessarily tell–at least for me–whether I was thinking at all. That’s definitely been a challenge over the years. You mentioned the empathy thing. One of the things I’ve found is a challenge, and this gets back to a little bit about what your friends describe as you being detached while your mind may be spinning like crazy, thinking about all sorts of different things. One of the things I find I have impatience with is in terms of being so used to processing things internally and sitting with someone who’s processing things externally. I find that to be a challenge. I don’t know how that is for you.

Eeshita:  In my presentation from Lavacon, I’d used the quote, “Quiet people have the loudest minds,” and I personally think that that’s very true because I pretty much go all day, and now given my job, of course I’m talking quite a bit and I’m speaking quite a bit. But there have been times when I’ve been sitting in day-long meetings or I go out for dinner with my friends, and there’s a group of five or six of us, and I’m the quietest person in the group and everyone’s chatting away, and two days later I’ll call up one of my friends and say, “Hey, you made a comment about X, Y, Z, and this is really what I think about it.” And oftentimes my friends are like, “What? That conversation happened like five days ago, why are you still thinking about it?”

Eeshita: So it’s true, we are usually absorbing a lot of what’s going on around us, whether it’s conversations, whether it’s mannerisms, whether it’s the color of someone’s shirt. I mean, there are things that will stay in my head sometimes for good reason. And sometimes they’re just there. And I think it’s a result of–yes, I observe. Yes, I am mentally very very present as compared to anyone who might seem they are because they’re talking or they’re engaged in a conversation. But really, I think there are things that I will retain in my mind, even facts about situations. And in all honesty, they’ve served me well because I can go back I don’t always have to rely on my notes. It’s funny because I remember from memory that this happened. This was the reason why it happened. And that’s why I think because we are more analytic, because we absorb a lot of information on an ongoing basis, that’s the reason why we don’t express while in the moment and expression comes to us–it might come 48 hours late, but it does come to us. So yeah, that’s another aspect to being an introvert is that you’re processing information all the time. Somethings going on in that head and you just have to, like I said, give me that 20 minutes to just be okay with I’m ready to take on more. That’s how I would put it.

[bctt tweet=”Because introverts are more analytical and absorb information on an ongoing basis, that’s the reason why we don’t express while in the moment. Expression comes to us–it might come 48 hours late–but it does come to us.” username=”hopeintrovert”]

Ben: It’s definitely a challenge. And it’s interesting. I like to think that I have a better answer when I’ve thought about things for that long, but I’m not sure that that’s necessarily the case. Though I would like to think that.

Ben: We’ve had several members of that Introverted Leadership Slack community who are moving into management type positions, and they’re introverts and some of them are not feeling very comfortable with that change. What recommendations would you have for them as an introvert who’s a manager of really quite a few people in the workplace?

Eeshita: If I was to hone in on a couple of skills that an introvert has, is inherently blessed with, I think they’re very self aware. So they know what their own blind spots are. They know exactly what their pitfalls are. In that regard, I think they’re very realistic. That’s number one. Really being realistic helps you connect much better with people because there’s no question of introverts will really build themselves up. They will rarely try to sound like, “Oh, I’m everything and I have the answer to everything.” Even though, like I said, they are keen observers. They know a lot more than what shows on the surface. So from that perspective, I think introverts are able to connect better with people because of them being so self aware, because they know who they are. That’s number one.

[bctt tweet=”Introvert are inherently blessed with being very self aware. They know what their own blind spots are. They know exactly what their pitfalls are. In that regard, I think introverts are very realistic.” username=”hopeintrovert”]

Eeshita: I think the other aspect to this is the sense of independence introverts enjoy. They have that ability to enjoy their own company. So they really thrive on that option that, “Okay, right now I need to be myself, but in the morning when I’m at work, I am going to be with my team.”So let me use this quiet time to prepare for the time that I have to be with my team.” I think that that has helped me a lot. I am an early riser so I end up waking up early. The 30-40 minutes that I get in the morning before my day starts are the most valuable for me, because that is where I collect my thoughts. I know what I’m willing to do, or at least to have a blueprint of what I need to pursue that day. There could be a few action items from the previous day that still need to be finished. So there’s those two things that I think really help leaders–really helping management, because the more conscious you are of yourself and the more independence you develop in your approach, the better you’re going to emerge as a leader.

[bctt tweet=”Introverts enjoy a sense of independence. They have the ability to enjoy their own company. They really thrive on ‘Okay, right now I need to be myself, but in the morning when I’m at work, I am going to be with my team.'” username=”hopeintrovert”]

[bctt tweet=”The more conscious you are of yourself and the more independence you develop in your approach, the better you’re going to emerge as a leader.” username=”hopeintrovert”]

Ben: That makes a lot of sense. What do you find most challenging being an introvert and being a manager of the group?

Eeshita: I think the most challenging aspect of of being an introvert and management is managing up. So you must be very aware of that. Managing up is–you really have to go and put yourself out there, and put your team out there. Talk about, but basically advertise yourself. You know you have to. You really need that marketer’s hat on your head where you’re like, “I’m doing this, I’m involved with that. They’re going to save you so many millions of dollars.” You know, all of those you have, and you have to be up on the buzzwords. So managing up is a challenge. I’m still learning.

[bctt tweet=”The most challenging aspect of of being an introvert and management is managing up.” username=”hopeintrovert”]

Ben: Yeah. I find that a challenge also. And it’s not something–it takes time to learn how to do that. Obviously with individuals especially. Do you find that you’re more willing to advocate for your team than for yourself?

Eeshita: 100%. I have no problem going to battle for my team. I have no problem going in and voicing my support or even being supportive for them under any circumstance. But you ask me to do the same thing for myself and I’ll go hide in a corner.

Ben: Yeah. I’m glad I’m not alone in that. Not that it helps in a lot of situations. But like you said, you are now a director of marketing. So you are the managing to get promoted up the ladder despite being an introvert. How do you communicate your successes and things to your management then? How do you help them understand who you are and what you would like to do and why they should consider you for a promotion for instance?

Eeshita: The technique that has worked for me is building one-on-one relationships. Learning–first of all of course–know who the key stakeholders are. That’s important. And as introverts we tend to find that out in our own way. Figuring out who the stakeholders are, figuring out who the decision makers are and obviously your immediate managers is going to be instrumental in terms of your growth. And going back to the point I made earlier is that, building those one-on-one relationships have helped me quite a bit. I’m thinking about this a little bit more. I think having a one-on-one conversation, absolutely no problem.

Eeshita: And that is why I bring up one-on-one relationships is because step out for lunch, meet for a 30 minute chat. Educate your management, educate the people who are your peers in terms of what you’re doing. And I think that goes a long way. You don’t always have to be in a 50-person setting to tell your management chain about what you’re doing. You can achieve those results in one-on-one chats as well, or sending out some sort of communication to your manager. If you haven’t chatted with them for a while, send out an email and say, “Hey, haven’t had a chance to sit down with you. But I wanted to give you a quick update.” Whether you do it on a weekly basis, whether you do it on a monthly basis. As you grow in the management chain, you’re going to be reporting to people who have bigger and bigger portfolios or far more responsibilities then you have, of course. And you have to figure out how to make an impact or how to communicate with them or how to keep that communication channel open with them. So that they are hearing from you and you’re hearing from them.

[bctt tweet=”Educate your management, educate the people who are your peers about what you’re doing. That goes a long way in communicating value for introverts.” username=”hopeintrovert”]

Ben: Yeah. So what thing I’m hearing with that, and I think it’s a challenge for many introverts especially, is that you do have to communicate your value. You do have to tell people what you’re working on. And you cannot rely on them to just know. I mean, even if you’re stuck on something and you’re going to need management help, you absolutely have to communicate it.

Eeshita: Absolutely. I mean there are times when there’s a budget situation or there’s a project-related situation and even though 90-95% of the time you are managing things yourself, but also at the same time, there are going to be situations bigger than you that you are going to need some handholding. You’re going to need someone to help you navigate through the waters when it comes to those situations. You want to already have that camaraderie with your management or with your peers that they can help you and you can rely on them to help.

Ben: Awesome. Any other recommendations for introverts in the workplace?

Eeshita: One of the things that I did mention before is that build a group of people you trust, those two or three relationships where you can rely on them no matter what the situation. It’ll be hard to start out with, but you will know who you can trust and who you can rely on. And I really do think that having that small–even though it’s a small support system, I think it takes you a long way. You need that as introverts, a little bit of boost from people, that goes a long way.

Ben: Absolutely. I totally agree with you there. I know in my workplace it’s a small group of people and we don’t get together as a group. But individually, at least once a month, and just having that time for conversation, especially since they’re not necessarily in the same workplace–maybe they are–but they’re certainly not doing the same job. It provides an opportunity for an outside perspective on things, and in some ways a sanity check. But also I think it’s just important to be able to have people to share your burdens with.

Eeshita: Absolutely, absolutely!

Ben: So one last question, what is one thing about you that people would be surprised to learn?

Eeshita: Well let’s see. The one thing about me is that I love is my true passion lies in teaching and that is one thing and I would go back to teaching in a heartbeat. That’s how I look at it. And I think a lot of people who have seen my career in high tech, they find it surprising, but really that’s my true love.

Ben: And honestly, I’m in a very high tech workplace. I am in Higher Ed, so it makes a little bit easier. But I thoroughly enjoy the teaching piece of it and working with students and trying, in some ways, yeah, it sounds trite, but trying to build our future in a sense and being there and helping students understand what they need to do to succeed as well.

Eeshita: Yes. And I think what impresses me so much about teaching is the fact that you just never know when you’re actually going to make an impact on someone’s life. And you’re able to make that impact or touch someone’s life in a positive way, I think. You’ve won it. You’ve won the battle of life.

[bctt tweet=”In teaching you just never know when you’re going to make an impact on someone’s life. When you’re able to make that impact or touch someone’s life in a positive way, you’ve won the battle of life.” username=”hopeintrovert”]

Ben: Awesome. Thank you Eeshita for your time. It’s been a great conversation. I’m glad we finally got to have it. We’ve been talking about that for a really long time.

Eeshita: I truly appreciate the opportunity, Ben. It’s been a pleasure. And I have enjoyed doing this podcast with you.



Why Introverts Make Successful Leaders, Lavacon 2017


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