Oct 24, 2023 | Podcast, Your Business

How to Get Promoted and Paid Well as an Ambitious Empath with Chris Donohoe

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About the episode:

I’m delighted to have Chris Donohoe on the podcast today. Chris is someone who has supported me through the ups and downs of business, even though our coaching styles and expertise are completely different. Chris is an Executive Coach with 14 years of experience helping people and organizations navigate difficult times. He’s coached 100+ individuals and worked for 20+ Fortune 1000 companies and he is on a mission to help people find peace in the fast lane. In our conversation, we talk about how heart-centered leaders can thrive in the corporate environment, how to confidently charge your worth as an ambitious empath, and meaningful ways to network. Chris has taught me a lot about this and I can’t wait for you to jump in and hear what he has to say! 


Topics discussed:

  • How Chris founded his business and what his business looks like as coach and a consultant
  • The importance of knowing business life cycles and why Chris puts this at the center of all of his client work
  • The approach that Chris takes to client enrollment and how he has found a lot of success in this area of business
  • How to take a concept, an idea unknowing of what you are deserving, or capable or worthy of, and embodying it
  • Focusing on the relationship with your boss and your accomplishments in order to sell yourself as an ambitious empath
  • How the heart-centered leader in corporate can thrive and how the rules differ
  • Signs to look for to know if you’re in the wrong work environment
  • How to give yourself a pay raise and/or approach this conversation with your boss or during interviews
  • Helpful means to maintain networks, get into new networks, and stand out


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Click here for a raw, unedited transcript of this episode


Catherine A. Wood  00:02

Hey, Chris, welcome to the podcast.


Chris Donohoe  00:05

Hello. Thanks for having me.


Catherine A. Wood  00:08

So we were just chit chatting before we hit record. And I feel like this conversation may feel a little different than some of the episodes I’ve recorded recently because you and I have had a lot of relationship over the past couple of years, we were in a advanced coaching seminar together for a year. And we’ve supported one another, like intimately through some of the ups and the downs in our businesses and relationships. And and today, we’re going to talk about something that I relate to you as an expert in, and I’ve never had the privilege of hearing kind of your background from this lunch. So I’m personally super excited. And I have some people in my life who are kind of in the conversation I want to have with you today like in their own lives. So I’m selfishly like excited to ask all the questions that I want them to have answers to. So by way of context, for today’s conversation, this is more for me than for our listeners, not joking. Um, but I would love I would love for you to share a little bit about about your story and how you got to be where you are in your business.


Chris Donohoe  01:24

Okay, I’ll give you kind of like a, I’m gonna give it a little bit of a more professional, less personal lens, I think that level sets nicely for this conversation. So I graduated college in 2009. And I did Teach for America. So I taught fourth grade English as a second language, which was still to this day, the best, the hardest education I ever got, and the best education I ever got. And then from there, I was able to move into a corporate role at Scholastic and software product marketing. And so I had this very people centric education focus for the first two years then I went into more of a corporate roles still focusing on education, but just now we’re like, really in like, you know, how do you create software? How do you create products? How do you launch them onto the market. And then from Scholastic, I moved to two different management consulting firms like very, like a very small boutique consulting firm. And it was the perfect combination, where the education background and then some of like that initial business training made me perfect for what I like to call like the softer side of business. So aligning leaders visioning strategy at the highest level, a lot of change management, helping senior leaders navigate change transformation. And then after five years, in that world working in the consulting world, I was like, what if, instead of doing this service for this company, what if I did it for myself? Could I actually get the business? Could I actually make this successful? I had some early indicators that it was it was possible. And I really hated my not my job, I hated my boss at the time. And so I took the leap in 2017, and said, I’m going to try to make this work, I’m going to give myself six months to start my own company, start my own consulting firm, I had been working with a coach Kaylin McDonough for about a year, about six months before I made the decision. And then she supported me through the transition to start my own company. And in 2017, I launched my company. And then now it’s 2023. So however many years that is, it immediately kind of took off. And, and then about six months into having my company open, I was like, I really want to offer coaching as a service. Because coaching was the thing that unlocked for me how to actually do it, and to be able to hold myself to be able to do it. And to feel good in the process, because I could have really hated the process. So I got certified, I did accomplishment coaching and then I started taking on clients in 2018. And then I’ve just had a really great coaching plus consulting business for the last six years or so. And I don’t know what questions you’re gonna ask, but I’m happy to share that how I did it. What my practical logistical, any and all of it.


Catherine A. Wood  04:39

Well, I’m just curious. I mean, even for contextual perspective, like at this point, what percent of your business is coaching versus what percent is consulting?


Chris Donohoe  04:50

I would say it’s pretty. It’s probably 60% of my revenue comes from consulting and 40% of the revenue comes from coaching. But like I said, only 5% of my time goes to coaching and probably 25% or less goes to consulting.


Catherine A. Wood  05:05

Yeah, totally. I mean, I think that makes sense, right? Like, I think, as coaches we are, we’re so clear on how the skill set of coaching can support the success in any realm of business. And I love I love how you share the beginning of your story, because something I always appreciate in these business books that I that, you know, I love reading. Just how much of business success starts with knowing the basics of marketing and sales techniques, like so many of my favorite books, like when these authors share their stories, they, they like, did sales like, like cold calling is their first job out of college? Because it helped them develop that skill set?


Chris Donohoe  05:56

Yeah, 100%. And I think of it too, as success in business is really about understanding full life cycles, like what is the full lifecycle look like for any singular thing, like whether it’s like finding a client, landing a client, servicing a client and then saying goodbye to the client? Like, there’s a whole process there? The same thing is true for literally anything in business. So I’m always kind of thinking like, what is the end to end lifecycle that I’m inside of right now? And what is my part in that cycle?


Catherine A. Wood  06:35

How do you think understanding where you are in your own business lifecycle has supported your journey?


Chris Donohoe  06:43

Oh, I would have gone absolutely insane if I didn’t know. Because I put so much pressure, I have historically put a lot of pressure on myself to grow quickly. And to always be growing and to hold myself to standards that are really not fair to myself for where I am in my career. So I’m 36. I’m entering the what I call the beginning of the middle of my career. And I think the first six years in business, I operated like I was late stage career, I was like, You should operate like 57. And you have global experience, you know, leading everything that ever happened. And so when I zoom out, and I’m like, Okay, where am I in, like, the overall lifecycle of my career, I’m like, Oh, we’re going into the beginning of the middle. So I should be doing all of the things that happen at this stage, which are growing, growing, my skill set, like now’s the time to really be like, I am more of an expert, talk about being the expert, showcase the expertise, give it away for free, start being like that initial thought leader, you know, not the person who’s 50, and on a stage speaking, but somebody who’s, you know, at that natural stage of evolution, where it’s time to start putting ideas out there.


Catherine A. Wood  08:02

I mean, I really appreciate that framing, because, you know, like, you we use different language, right? Like with your management consultant background, you use this language of the lifecycle of business. And I think about it more through like an empathic lens, which has me look at it through like the seasonality of business, you know, and like, but it’s same concepts, different words, different energies of the words, but exact same concepts. And I’m curious, like, the stages so what do you say are the different stages in the lifecycle


Chris Donohoe  08:37

of have a business? Interesting, I you know, what, I’ll make it less about my business and more about, like a career because I feel like that’s could be more maybe useful. I feel like there’s like foundation setting, which is when you’re just and I relate to foundation setting, as sometimes you really, that is the time to push, it’s the time when if you’re trying to make a big move, whether it’s get switched careers, make more money, try something that you’ve never tried or get really exceptionally good at something. I relate to the foundation setting as kind of that younger energy, if you will, of like, pour into it, invest into it, show up for it every day, generate the results, build the credibility, start to really feel that you you know what you’re doing master the skill, the language, the way of being around it. And then I think what’s great about foundations is once they’re set, you can always rely on it. I mean, unless there’s an earthquake and you have to go back and redo the foundation of your house or something. But in general, it’s like that time to build what everything else is going to get created on top of. And then from the foundation I think It starts to be like, Okay, how do we actually start to you find a steady state, it’s like foundation to then steady state, where you’ve mastered it and you’re and you can you can deliver it, you can sell it, you can keep something going. And then the stage where I’m at now is kind of like, okay, well, what does it look like to actually expand from here? So in business terms, I think of it like scaling, people talk about scaling. And, and that’s also a different skill set. Because now you’re thinking, Okay, how do I reach more people? How do I take what I already know how to do and package it in a new way where I can have more impact or even have more income. And then I don’t know what the final stages, it’s probably like sunsetting, which is like, I’m thinking like, you know, like thinking about your retirement and just kind of like, you know, being the old, wise person. But I’m not in that stage yet. So I’ll report back.


Catherine A. Wood  11:01

I love that you’re, I love that you are talking about the three stages and that you’re in the third because I a couple years ago, I wrote a series of blogs on the stages of entrepreneurship through my lens. And there were three startup established and scaling. And it was all into like an intuitive, like exploration of what they look like and what the growth edges look like, at each level. We’ll include those in the show notes, in case anyone’s interested but well, let’s shift gears because I, I really want to chat with you about about promotions, getting promotions, like getting the best offer, you can, enrolling people and what you have to offer. And honestly, Chris, you, you are like one of the most perfect people to talk about this topic with because I think, and I’m sure I’ve shared this with you before, but I think one of your super gifts is that you are just an enrollment Maven that you really presents people to possibility that they don’t see for themselves in a way that supports people in owning it. Like in really owning and embodying their strengths and their gifts, like I’ve experienced this work with you, personally. And I imagine, I don’t know if you can hear my dad, my dog barking in the background. Okay. I’m sure she’s agreeing with me here. But I imagine this in part contributes to some of your success in helping people get the best offer. But you tell me


Chris Donohoe  12:42

Oh, yes, I am going to talk very unfiltered. I’m not going to talk like a coach. I’m gonna just talk like you’re getting me at happy hour. So I remember distinctly when I entered corporate America having a major realization, because my whole life, I was super hard working straight, a student did everything, quote, unquote, the right way. And then I entered corporate America and I was watching how promotions worked. And I was watching who made a lot of money. I was also super nosy. I would ask people what people’s salaries were. I remember once an executive assistant told me what a Senior Vice President was making that she reported to because she had the information. And I was like, You are kidding me. And so first realization I had, and I watched this at my job, and I watched it with people I would meet in the world was that making a lot of money and getting promoted have absolutely nothing to do with being smart, or being really good at your job. It is like on related. And so the biggest mistake that people make is that they try to work hard and do a good job and be really smart and excellent. And they still don’t get promoted. And it’s because that literally is not the actual thing that matters. The thing that matters is perception. How are other people perceiving you? Do they see you as the person who should be taking the steps up the ladder? When they look down into the organization? Do they see you as the future leader? And so this question of enrolling people in their strengths and who they actually are is literally the most important piece to a promotion. Because if you know, oh, that person over there is actually a totally regular person. They they’re not doing anything special. They’re not a genius. They are not a NASA scientist. And they’re climbing quickly then the question becomes why not me? And if you can tap into I deserve this of course I should have this. I have what it takes I am this person then it becomes so much easier to actually make the steps up the ladder.


Catherine A. Wood  14:59

So Let’s, let’s set some foundation here. So, enrollment is something that I talk about a lot in the podcast. And for our listeners who don’t know what it is like, what does it mean to you?


Chris Donohoe  15:14

I experience enrollment as it just, it is like a so obvious thing, like when you’re in enrolled in something, it is so obvious that you want it or that you’re going to go after it because it’s like a no brainer. It’s like, of course, I’m enrolled in winning a free car, of course, I’m enrolled in someone handing me $700 For no reason. Like, it’s like that quality of things that are a no brainer. And then the idea for me is that you can actually embody and generate that quality for yourself. So you can be that, of course, this is a no brainer, this is this is so it’s the it’s the experience of this is so obvious, right? Like, the obvious thing that should happen is me or what I’m saying, or it’s that kind of feeling. That’s how I experienced it.


Catherine A. Wood  16:10

Yeah, you use the word embodiment. And I think that’s such a good word for it. Because for me, it’s like the idea that we get enrolled in the possibility of something for ourselves or for someone else. And then as we shift our relationship to that thing that we’re enrolled in, and we take it from being an intellectually based idea or concept, to a heart centered possibility for us, we shift our relationship to our own willingness to be and do what it takes to achieve the thing that we are enrolled in.


Chris Donohoe  16:46

Yes, it’s like you, wouldn’t you, you wouldn’t even consider not doing it, because it’s part of like, how you’re seeing yourself and the world.


Catherine A. Wood  16:58

Yeah. And we both keep putting our hands on our hearts, right? Because that’s exactly what it is. It’s like we literally, it’s like the natural expression of what we deserve and who we are. And what’s next for us. Like, it’s, it’s literally not an idea. It’s, it’s a it’s a thing, like it’s a becoming, it’s a being


Chris Donohoe  17:16



Catherine A. Wood  17:18

Okay, so when, you know, when our listeners are trying to enroll their bosses or their mentors or champions in why them like, how can they actually do it? Like, how do they actually take a concept, an idea unknowing of what they are deserving, or capable or worthy of, to embody it?


Chris Donohoe  17:44

I’m gonna indirectly answer your question.


Catherine A. Wood  17:48

It’s great, no less.


Chris Donohoe  17:51

And it’s great because our styles of coaching are so different. So I love this, because here’s something that I see happen a lot. People enter into an organization. And my perspective on companies, organizations, hierarchies, in general, because these are hierarchies like it is, if you think of a corporation as a giant pyramid, there are fewer and fewer spots, the higher up you go. And the pyramid itself is designed to keep more people at the bottom than people at the top. And so what I see happen is that a really empathetic, kind, intelligent, hardworking person, let’s say it’s a woman, because I’m guessing that that’s mainly your audience, let’s just say that, let’s say a woman enters into this structure. And she’s doing a phenomenal job. And she’s in a system that’s actually not designed to say, yes, you’re great, come on up and lead. She’s in a system that’s kind of designed to protect the system. And so what I see happen is that people will start to really self doubt, and really start to think they’re not as good or that they don’t have what it takes or that there’s something that they lack or that’s missing. And in reality, it’s just a lot of times not even about them or what they’re bringing, it might just be that the system itself is a totally different game that you have to learn how to play. And one other really hard part of that is that promotions in general, it is pretty much dependent on two people, your boss and your boss’s boss. If those two people have said, You are the one out of the 50 that we think is gonna get it or the one out of the 10 or the three out of the 15 you truly have to be well liked, well respected and tapped by those two people in order to move up. If you’re not if for some arbitrary reason, they don’t like you. They see you they have a weird bias. They see you in a smaller capacity. than what you are, then the promotion is simply not going to happen. And you could work at it all day long, it’s not going to shift because it’s totally someone else’s fixed mindset. I say all of that, because to answer your question, the key is Don’t mistake other people’s experience or a view or their with the feedback that they might even be giving you as who you actually are, or how you’re showing up. Because you might be doing a phenomenal job, it’s just not getting seen. So what I often will see, especially with women that they are truly being and doing most of the things that need to be to be bead and done, and they’re just not in the right channel. And so rather than soul search, or try to drum up a new way of being or or transform yourself to get something, sometimes the best answer is see it in yourself, because it’s probably immediately there, and then find the right channel where someone else is gonna see it. And you too.


Catherine A. Wood  21:07

I love that answer. So, I mean, one of the things I’m hearing is we’re so often practiced in making it a me problem, rather than a us or them problem. So I hear like, rather than, you know, jumping to the, this is about me, like really acknowledge the system that you’re operating in, and assess whether you need to change the system rather than change yourself. Yeah. And I’m also hearing kind of this piece around like, really check in about the quality of your relationship with your boss and your boss’s boss, which actually, I wanted to share something because I wonder, I’m curious about your thoughts on this. So a colleague of mine, who’s former corporate turned coach, she was sharing, she was reflecting on LinkedIn, and a post a couple weeks ago about like, all the things that if she were to go back to corporate, which she would never do, like, what she would do differently. And she said that every status, she would have, first of all, to have no status meetings, but every check in meeting that you’d have with her boss, she would bring a list of accomplishments, to share in every single meeting with her boss about all that she was accomplishment, accomplishing, and doing and achieving. And I, I loved that, right? Because I think we so often start with what’s not working, what we need to improve on, like what we want our boss to tell us we need to work on, versus like, really starting with the wins, starting with the progress and the ground taken. And this, it feels like it really dovetails nicely in with what you’re sharing about focusing on the really the quality of your relationship with your boss and selling yourself.


Chris Donohoe  22:54

Yes, this is such a strategy. So I apologize. I know, you probably don’t want me sharing strategies. But here, here are some like literal strategies like how I communicate inside of corporate environments. I am often thinking, What impression do I want people to have about the work that’s being done? Because? And the answer is always I want them to have a positive one, but also be realistic about the challenges. So I as a communication style will often just start sentences with what’s so incredible about what we’re doing right now is or the thing that I noticed that’s working is


Catherine A. Wood  23:33

or because this is so your marketing background?


Chris Donohoe  23:37

Yeah. Yeah, it is. It’s a tactic. It’s a strategy. And I think it’s, I do want to go back to, I really believe what I’m saying, right? Like, I’m not lying, I believe like, because I also know research has shown that success often comes from you need a certain ratio of like positive to negative communication inside of a team, in order for people to feel empowered and moving forward. And so as someone who does naturally see possibility, I’m often saying, we have so much great momentum. This week, we did this in this and what’s next is, but it’s just it’s like everything kind of is getting funneled through a we can do this. I’m the one look at look at the momentum we have. It’s that I guess it is a way of being it’s not so much a strategy. It really is a way of thinking.


Catherine A. Wood  24:28

Well, I love I love that example. It doesn’t feel strategic, It honestly feels like an absolute expression of who you are and how you show up in your life. So I’m totally not not judging one iota and in reality, like when I started my podcast last year, there was one other podcast host who i i loved, actually, I’m happy to share. It’s the ambitious introvert and when I first started listening to her episodes, like I was always hearing her languaging she’s a marketer. Bye bye aground and it hurts. She does the exact same thing that you’re talking about. She’s like, I’m thrilled to have this guest on the show. I’m so excited for this. You know, it’s just like, I was like, every week, like, are you really excited every week? And, and it’s true like it. While it sounded just like jargon in the beginning with time, like, I could feel that she was actually just being genuine. Like, she actually believed it. And it made me. I mean, it made me hooked on her show. But it also


Chris Donohoe  25:30

it works. Yes, it does. And it’s what’s hard too. And this, this is, I’ve learned this with age. At the beginning of a career, when you’re really the person doing most of the doing on the ground, it is so much harder to communicate that way, because things are getting dumped on you and you’re seeing all of the problems. So much easier to communicate that way, when you’re not directly responsible for the decisions or the work that’s getting created through a conversation. And so if you can, if you can stomach it early on to one of the pitfalls that I went through early on was, I could just see all of the problems, all of the breakdowns, all of the issues inside of the organizations I was working with. And it bothered me so much, and I didn’t stay silent about it. And sometimes sometimes I needed to vocalize. And other times, I was probably oversharing and overwhelming people above me who had a lot on your plate and didn’t actually have the capacity to change anything about what I was saying, especially in a large organization, you would think, Oh, you’re a senior vice president, you have 400 people reporting to you, you’re the one and actually know that senior vice president reports to a president who has a division of 2000 under them. And then that President reports up to somebody else who has 15,000 people under them. And so the ability to make changes at scale, or to systemically address challenges inside of organizations, I had to let go of the expectation that I or the people I was directly working with could change those things. In the immediate term. The big changes we often want to see are three five year transformational initiatives. And it’s an ongoing long term conversation, and it may never happen. So if your priority is a promotion, or even just being happy at work, and being able to be there, there, I experienced it as a letting go over some of my expectation of what I thought people should, you know, in quotes be doing above me that they weren’t doing at the time.


Catherine A. Wood  27:50

That’s so brilliantly put, I mean, you know, most of our audience is listening now likely identifies as ambitious and driven. And like you and I, and I think we’re so skilled in seeing what’s not working, because it is such a super skill in our success, right, like being able to solve problems and be solution oriented. And I’m hearing from you that, that you have to reorient your communication so you don’t start there. And I’m also hearing this through the lens of like feedback, like how do we share feedback? Like I, I’m curious, your thoughts on this, like I noticed for me, like I have a had a real personal transformation in my relationship to feedback when giving it and receiving it. When I stopped starting with what’s not working. And I began starting with what’s working? And what what I like more of?


Chris Donohoe  28:51

Yes, yes. The feedback thing, I mean, I just think of it in terms of we’re all in a game. Like, if you’re in a working in an investment game bank, that’s one game, working at a nonprofit, that’s a different game, working at a large media company, totally different game. And at an investment bank, being an empathetic leader who leads with you could probably do some of what you just said, and it would be like nice to be like, Oh, nice. Okay, good. Yeah. And you could also be so ruthless, and that is part of the rules of the game. They’re nasty to each other. I’ve seen it happen. It’s not a great environment for empathetic, heart centered leader. It’s just not typically, there are exceptions, but typically it is a totally different game. The magic happens when you do what you just said, which is like lead from the heart. Start with like the positive say what you want to see more of, and you’re in the right game. where people are gonna be like that lands, then you’re in a totally different channel. It’s like, the wind is at your back, you’re being yourself, and it’s gonna be seen and rewarded. And people will reciprocate and notice and be grateful.


Catherine A. Wood  30:14

So how can the heart centered leader in corporate or business thrive? And how do the rules of the game differ?


Chris Donohoe  30:25

Oh, baby, I think not all organizations are alike. I think sometimes people are like, Ooh, big, bad corporate, in my experience, I’ve worked with over 20, fortune 1000 companies, and they’re all so different. Every one of them has a different culture. And I think the most important thing is finding the culture that is a real fit for you. Some people can naturally they don’t need as much empathetic and you know nourishment. I need a lot of it. Some people they know.


Catherine A. Wood  31:06

So wait, so let’s just pause there, because now this is the second time you’re making this point around the systemic conversation. So how do you assess if it’s like, how do you know if it’s the wrong system, the wrong organization? Like what should we be listening or looking for?


Chris Donohoe  31:26

Are you a straight A student who all of a sudden is getting bad feedback, you’re in the wrong environment? Like, are you typically the person that everyone goes to all in your life, but for whatever reason, like you’re getting like nasty, nasty emails, or like, you fear your boss or like, you’re in the wrong environment, it’s just totally a bad fit. And you might be being gaslit and bullied. And you just don’t even know. And you think this is what normal life is? And it’s like, no, no, no, no, no. If you have a lot of evidence, if you’re a mother, and you’re great with your kids, and you’re managing your husband and your kids, and you’re lighting up the vacation, we used to have a whole life where you did all these things, like, you’re not the problem. And if you’re getting if you’re finding resistance, it’s probably because you’re in the wrong channel.


Catherine A. Wood  32:17

That’s brilliant. I love that you responded that way that, that lands so deeply over here, when want to like, take that little clip and send it to some people in my life. So um, so let’s shift gears, because the reason I was so excited to have you on the show today, is, you have shared so many success stories with me since meeting you about all these clients who you’ve supported them in negotiating like 30 $50,000 increases, like all these amazing testimonials about how you’ve supported your clients and in really enrolling others and what their deserve fully deserving of or maybe not even deserving of, but like, what they can get.


Chris Donohoe  33:11

Like, it’s what, that’s a great point, I actually don’t even think of it as a deserving question. And literally, what will the market pay for something go get the top amount? And why not? You? So anarchist through your approach? Okay. Number one, give yourself a promotion, how do you give yourself a promotion to get more money, you leave your current job, there is no better way to get a promotion than to leave where you’re at go somewhere else and take on equal, maybe less responsibility, maybe more responsibility, but you can get so much money by jumping. And what I find with a lot of like, loyal, hardworking people is that they fear leaving, because they don’t know where they’re gonna step into. And, and there’s a lot of outdated notions around how long you need to be at a company. My opinion, and my experience has been, if you’ve ever been at a company for two years or more, at least one time on your resume, you can just jump every year until you’re at the salary that you want. Because you’re inside of organizations, the likelihood that you’re going to get promoted within a year is pretty low. But let’s say you know, or you sense that you’re capable of more, you just have to leave again. And so, you know, I and there’s a million reasons why people don’t want to leave but my first thing is if if you are if you suspect that you’re underpaid, if you’re 32 and went to Georgetown University and studied international relations and hope this kind of sounds like you a little bit behind me. Profile, I’m making


Catherine A. Wood  34:55

money. You know, Georgetown was my dream school. I wanted to go to their foreign service school. So you’re right on point with you, me.


Chris Donohoe  35:03

Let me change it. You’re 32, you went to American University, you’re making like $110,000 a year. And you’re like, I am you’re overworked and you’re like, how are these people making? 200,000? What are they doing, or maybe you’re making 150, or whatever it is, or at. The number one thing is like, get out of that setting and go give yourself a $40,000 pay increase, and probably a title, bump. You just have to be able to leave the thing you’re at and do it. That’s my first biggest tip for most people, because trying to do it internally is so much harder than just leaving. Okay, keep going


Catherine A. Wood  35:49

with you.


Chris Donohoe  35:51

Love it. Other Other tips would be you kind of have to you I would get nosy, like what do you suspect other people are making in your organization? Start asking, like, Do it nicely, do it like, you know, there’s ways of doing this. But get nosy and see what you can find out about what other people are making. And don’t use Glassdoor as your as your bar. My experience has been that Glassdoor skews lower. For top talent. If you suspect that your top talent again, you’re that straight A student, you’re high performing, you’re used to being at the top of the class, see if you can find out am I at the top of the class right now. And if you’re not, you’ll know you’re being underpaid. And you could probably that’s if you if you do find out that is one way you can actually get more money. If you find out that a co worker with the same title is making 25 or $30,000 more than you, you can raise it as a concern. However, oftentimes, salary and title stuff, the organization is so designed to explain why you are different from that person, and it doesn’t work. So find out what you can figure out if you think you’re underpaid. Be open to leaving the open to leaving every year if you have to, until you get to the place where you want to be. And just keep reminding yourself, if that find the dumbest person that you know, that’s up above you and be like, That person is making $380,000 a year to oversee this team. And I’m looking at them and I’m like, they are not all that. If they can get there, then why not you? And then you just go get it.


Catherine A. Wood  37:42

So we get to a place where we’re willing to leave. And we’re in salary negotiations. And they ask us how much we want? How like, you know, if you’re new to this game, if you don’t if you’re not practiced in jumping every year, like how do you decide the number? And how do you? Like, how do you own it?


Chris Donohoe  38:11

I love this, just memorize the script. Here’s the script. Are you ready? With a real strategy? There is a belief under it like i i believe deeply and you get to believe deeply to that if there is an upper pay range for a role, you get to have it. Why? Because it’s available. If it’s available, you get to have it. It’s like a milkshake. It’s on the menu, you can order it if you want. So I always tell people, because they’re going to start asking when you get through the interview process. A lot of states now they it’s mandated that they’ll give you a range of like, so for this role we’re targeting between 140 and $180,000 a year based on experience, how does that sound for you? And then immediately the word these words are going to come out of your mouth listener, you’re gonna say some version of that sounds like the right that sounds like the right range. And given my background and expertise in this area, I would anticipate being at the upper end of that range. Silence do not continue speaking. Thank you so much for your time, this has been great. I can feel that I sense that I’m a great fit for this organization. It’s exactly where I’m at in my career. So I look forward to hearing from you more. But now they know Oh, this is our upper end candidate. And why do they know because you told them they don’t know why if you’re good or bad, but you probably know that you’re pretty good. So just say the upper number always.


Catherine A. Wood  39:51

And do you do you settle there? Like what if you actually think you’re worth a lot more than the upper range?


Chris Donohoe  39:58

That’s tricky because uh Um, this is where entrepreneurship and corporate America differ as an entrepreneur, the upper limit is infinite. In corporate things are actually banded, defined. And this happens, nonprofits too, it’s the same for the most part larger organizations. If you think you’re worth more than the role is probably not the right role. And just to get put some numbers to it, my experience has been that like, once you start getting into like a base compensation around 200, to 230, or $40,000, like you’re now in like, the upper limit of what like standard corporate is going to, is going to kind of say is like a base salary. And it starts getting harder to get more money. So at that, like 200 to 240 base salary Mark, I would expect, like, very big bonuses, depending on what industry are in. So you could be doubling that through a bonus or through long term incentive. So that’s, that’s another level lever, you can start playing with, like, let’s say there’s a role. They’re saying it’s 190. But maybe the incentive package is really great, then you might you might start considering that like, oh, okay, well, it’s 190. And I’m my target bonus is 50%. And I’m gonna get an additional 50,000 and long term compensation that pays out three years from now that could double like, you can start playing with the numbers. But I do think it gets harder at like that Vice President like, once you’re an executive officer. That’s kind of like the the next big barrier is like getting into that 240 range ish. And so if you think to answer your question, if you think that you’re worth more than that, 181 10 191 75, then you probably need to be an executive officer, and you got to start figuring out how am I going to get an executive officer role somewhere? And then you got to really think through the resume, how you’re talking about yourself how you’re framing your experience, because that’s really the that’s the next big jump is into that range?


Catherine A. Wood  42:13

Well, I think that I mean, I love all of this. And I think it kind of brings the question around networking, because it feels like as entrepreneurs and certainly incorporate, like, as you ascend the levels, you know, it’s so much more about who you know, and how you’re willing and able to leverage relationships than simply putting a cold foot in the door. So I’m curious what, like what in your experience are helpful means to maintain networks, get into new networks, and stand out.


Chris Donohoe  42:53

Love this. I’m like, kind of old school with this one. Because the, I think the best thing you can start doing is practicing telling people what your intention is. So let’s say you do want to be an executive officer, like a vice president, a managing director, or above, depending on the industry, the titles differ. But you’re at that senior level, you’re at the senior level right before the big money payout. The first thing is tap into make a list of 20 people over your career who have like really been in your corner. Sometimes they’re unexpected people, it might be like that woman that you interacted with every three months down the hall. But you always had nice chit chat, she left the company and now she’s somewhere else. And you can see that she’s in a good role. She’s the one to reach out to. It might not be your former boss, it might not be the obvious actors. It’s often like these people who were in your orbit and like do and you see that they now have made a nice move, somehow talk to them and be like, hey, like, and beige be direct, I would say like, you know, I’m, I’m finding that I’m in a bottleneck position, like, getting to that next level is just, it’s it’s not looking probable for the next six years, potentially. So I’m looking to make moves, and I’m ready to take on that responsibility. Like, I’m not done in my career. It’s that same kind of like, I’m still in this, like, I still want to do this. Like, this is where I want to go. Oh, and I want to have balance and be with my kids. You get to share all of it. You get to have the whole story. And then they know and you’re going to have that conversation 20 times you might have it 50 times. And then when you’re out in the world and you go to a women’s networking event, or you go to whatever event you’re at the bar, there’s a conference. It’s the same story over and over again. You’re just telling it you’re enrolling, you’re handing people the script of where you see yourself going And then one day, there’s going to be a roll that open somewhere. And because all of these people have the script about you, and what you’re looking to do and how much you’re ready to take on, and how, oh my god, she’s exactly what we need. We need someone that has longevity and life left in their career, but they have the experience and the gravitas. Oh my God, I know who that is. We just I talked to her four months ago. And now you’re you’re in.


Catherine A. Wood  45:23

I love that you’re sharing this point. And I’m laughing over here, because I have experienced this with you multiple times. We’re also multiple times you have reached out wanting to connect. And you’ve also been transparent from the get go around a program that you’re launching that you want to know if I know anyone interested in the program, you’ve done it multiple times. And your former coach used to do it with me as well. And it there’s something incredibly refreshing about it. Like the directness, like, ah, Chris wants to connect, oh, I can’t wait to connect. And he wants me to think about who I know, in my life who would be a fit for this, like, okay, got it. But there’s no like secret agenda. There’s no trying to take advantage. Like there’s just a transparency that is incredibly refreshing, and non presumptuous. And I think particularly for my audience, like, this is such an important point, because we need to be more practiced at asking for help, and allowing other people to support us in achieving our visions. And often when you’ve made those requests of me, I’ve been like, why am I do this? Like, I love this? And there is that initial like, Okay, well, let me think about what I can ask to. But in reality, like, that’s not the lesson, the lesson is that I need to practice the same thing.


Chris Donohoe  46:51

I, first of all, I don’t remember ever doing that with us. And so I but I’m so glad I did good job. I will also say this, I only am really direct with people who I know can hold it. So like, I’m not going to like the most cheapest sheepish person in my network being like a, Hey, I’m launching a program. Do you know anyone? Like no, I’m like, I’m gonna be like, This person needs to be held in a very different way. I’m really doing it with like other leaders. It’s like people who like I hold you as like, I know you can handle this, like, this is this is it. And to your point, I’m totally unattached. I’m just clear on where I’m trying to go. And I’m like, Someone’s probably going to open some doors here. I just don’t know who it’s going to be.


Catherine A. Wood  47:41

I really love that. It’s brilliant. It’s so important for my audience, I really hope that they take this with them. Is there anything I haven’t asked you that I should have?


Chris Donohoe  47:57

No, I think no, I think we covered it. I feel really good.


Catherine A. Wood  48:04

Yeah, it was such an impactful conversation I it just feels like a conversation that’s so relevant for my audience, because I think we are so practiced in being of service and being kind and empathic and prioritizing others agendas and needs over our own. And when we prioritize our bottom line, it supports everyone’s bottom line. So I really appreciate just all the wisdom and the tips and the industry level expertise in supporting and supporting this community and like and getting what they can in service of supporting everyone else because we totally do. Thank you for today. Such a pleasure.


Chris Donohoe  48:57

You’re so welcome. Thank you Kat. I really appreciate it.


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Exploring Sensitive Leadership with Nina Khoo

On this week’s episode of the Prosperous Empath®, we’ll explore how to effectively lead as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), mitigate challenges, and work with your strengths. I’m thrilled to sit down with Nina Khoo, a Sensitive Leadership Coach and a Master NLP Coach who helps HSPs understand and embrace their unique wiring so they can become confident and empathetic leaders. It’s common for Highly Sensitive People to believe that they’re not capable of effective leadership and struggle with overwhelm, perfectionism, and second-guessing. Nina and I uncover how our greatest strengths can sometimes be the traits we feel most self-conscious about and pose a central question: How does a Highly Sensitive Person protect their gifts as a leader? As an empath and an HSP, your brain is physiologically wired to take more information in and process it more deeply, which can be an incredibly powerful leadership skill. Yet, it can also lead to overwhelm and self-criticism. Through our conversation, you’ll learn how to approach leadership in a more sensitive, empathetic, and compassionate way so you can own your gifts and make a bigger difference in the world  

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