THE SURFING CORPORATE PODCAST
Aileen and Glenda talk with veteran corporate survivors who share relatable, hilarious, and sometimes horrifying real-life stories about working in corporate. We get real about the struggles the've faced and surfing strategies they've learned along the way to stay afloat in the sometimes savage corporate currents.
Part 2 – S.O.S Why Burnout is Increasing and Why Leaders Don’t Seem to Notice
November 21, 2022
For part 2 of our conversation about burnout with Dr. Kim Hollingdale, we discuss how corporate America has historically rewarded behaviors that lead to burnout, and how leaders today can shift that mentality without sacrificing commitment and quality work from their employees. An unexpectedly entertaining episode despite the seriousness of the subject!
S.O.S. Why Burnout is Increasing and Why Leaders Don’t Seem to Notice – Part 1
November 16, 2022
Everyone is talking about burnout these days, and although it’s not a new concept, it certainly has gained exponential fame and recognition in the past few years ––like Zendaya or Harry Styles.
Corporate America has thrived for decades on cultures that reward behaviors that lead to burnout, so how do we shift this mentality?
To tackle this timely topic, we invited Dr. Kim Hollingdale, an executive psychotherapist and performance coach who helps people experiencing burnout find their love for work again. That description could make her sound warm and fuzzy, but no ––Dr. Hollingdale is a Brit with a wonderful dry sense of humor who also exudes cool Phoebe Waller-Bridge vibes. Kim worked in corporate for almost a decade (before studying clinical psychology), so she understands the burnout phenomenon on a personal level as well.
Together we discuss how to detect an onset of burnout, what to do if you’re experiencing it, and what leadership’s role is in preventing, detecting, and mitigating burnout.
Building a Strong Culture in Hybrid & Remote Work Environments (Not Easy-Peasy, But Doable)
November 2, 2022
When Covid hit, having to adapt from in-person dynamics to being fully remote from one day to the next put corporate citizens to the test in countless ways. But as hard as this process was, it was also an opportunity for leaders to throw default practices outside the window and question what could be done in a new and better way.
The new normal seems to be hybrid for most companies (at least for now), and this means that it’s no longer enough to keep up with new processes and efficiencies, but now, leaders must also figure out how to create strong bonds between their employees who will not share a physical space together full-time. Is it possible to build true camaraderie under those circumstances? Beyond just team building, how can leaders inspire and bring out the best in their teams (and themselves) in a post-Covid remote/hybrid environment?
For this episode, we speak with Rebecca Stone, SVP Cisco, Customer Solutions and CMO Cisco, Meraki. Rebecca was appointed to her senior leadership role and tasked with rebuilding a team just three months before Covid hit. When she accepted the challenge, she had no idea what she’d be up against.
Rebecca is one of those rare senior leaders who truly keeps it real: she avoids corporate jargon, she’s fine sharing stories about things that she’s tried and did not get right, and she’s honest about her non-impressive averageness when it comes to being a runner.
Performance Reviews – How to Nail Those Tricky Bastards
October 26, 2022
Performance reviews are usually not employees’ favorite part of their corporate jobs (and that’s putting it mildly). Going through this process can be tough on both employees and team leaders, and the experience can leave people feeling disappointed and frustrated. However, if it’s done well, the performance review process can really benefit both the employee and the team (what a concept!).
On today’s episode (which originally aired in season one), we speak with Christine Coppola, a true rock star VP of Human Resources for a major media company, who shares candid and straightforward advice on how to tackle the dreaded performance review process from both an employee and manager point of view.
What Makes Bosses Awesome – What the Research and Employees Say
October 19, 2022
Being a great boss is not easy; it’s a delicate act of balancing abilities such as
• Being incredibly inspiring, but at the same time highly down to Earth and approachable.
• Having this special demeanor that says, “I’m understanding and humane, yet I’ll hold your ass accountable if you take advantage of that.”
• Being a good listener who at the same time won’t be easily manipulated
• Caring deeply about the people on your team, but also caring about hitting KPI’s and delivering results for the organization
• Having the ability to pull your team through a crisis (many times at the cost of you sobbing in the bathroom and questioning your life choices)
Again, NOT EASY. And given that October 16th was National Boss Day, we’ve prepared this special episode where we share research about the 9 key behaviors that make bosses awesome. Listen and find out how many of these apply to you or to your boss.
Layoffs – Part 2: How To Move Forward If You Were On the Hit list and How to Handle Survivors Guilt If You Weren’t
October 12, 2022
Did you know that 40% of Americans have been laid off or terminated from a job at least once in their careers, and 28% of Americans have been laid off in the past two years alone?
For this second part of our layoff special, we discuss what the experts suggest you do to better cope with being let go and how to successfully move on to your next professional chapter. While things may seem quite gloomy at the time (and you might find yourself binging heart-wrenching Adele and Radiohead playlists), there is light at the end of the tunnel. We also tackle what happens to the employees that don’t get cut –– those employees considered “the lucky ones,” who are left picking up the pieces of downsizing. We all know that with a layoff, we lose people we admire and respect: colleagues, work BFFs, mentors, (and sometimes even bosses), yet many times we’re expected to turn the page immediately, take on additional work, and be grateful we still have a job.
Meanwhile, managers don’t have it easy either: they’re in charge of corporate cheerleading, doing their best to motivate and reassure a team that is emotionally distressed, sad, and anxious about the future.
The emotional aftermath of a layoff affects everyone, so the more all the involved parties know about how to best cope with this difficult situation, the better prepared we are for a positive outcome.
LAYOFFS: When Your Company Says the Dreaded, “It’s not You, It’s Me” (Part 1 of 2)
September 21, 2022
Have you ever been laid off? Or have you had an awesome coworker get laid off? Or perhaps YOU were the one that had to lay employees off. If you haven’t experienced ANY of these scenarios, consider yourself lucky, because unless you live under a rock, you’re probably aware that layoffs are happening across multiple industries right now. UGH.
It’s an extremely difficult experience for companies, for leaders, and, especially, for the employees actually being laid off. For this episode, we tackle the layoff topic head-on: share real stories from our listeners, we talk about how you can read signs that personnel cuts are coming, and we discuss how can you be prepared both emotionally and financially to face a layoff.
The Secret to Handling “Difficult” People at Work (When Yoga, Meditation, and CBD Aren’t Enough)
September 14, 2022
In every office, there’s at least one person who intentionally makes everything more difficult than necessary; people who thrive on conflict, stir up drama, and exude negative vibes. They could be a colleague, a client, or even your boss. *Cue Law & Order SVU’s DUN DUN effect*
A big part of being successful in a corporate job is having the skill set to handle these challenging personalities. For this episode of the Surfing Corporate podcast, we talk about the 5 most common difficult work personalities based on the findings by Dr. Judith Orloff, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA, and we give advice on how to best handle each one of them.
Our is guest Richard Borjas, a veteran media executive and Emmy-award winning producer, who’s currently President/CEO of his own production company, Bormont Enterprises. Richard has worked in media for over 25 years, having been VP of production and programming at NBCUniversal responsible for overseeing some of their daytime shows; producer and showrunner for hit unscripted shows like Telemundo’s The Voice and Big Brother, as well as shows for Roku, Facebook Watch, YouTube, and Univision, among others. Richard has had to deal with the egos of celebrities (and their managers, and family members), as well as senior levels executives, and he shares real-life experiences about handling.
How to Enjoy LinkedIn by Not Being an Insufferable Narcissist
September 7, 2022
LinkedIn is the world’s most popular professional social network where its community shares important ideas about work. It’s also a platform where some professionals feel the constant need to let others know they’ve been promoted, that they’re connected to very powerful and influential people, and that they’re “thrilled for this amazing opportunity to ___________ (insert corporate phrase).”
But today’s guest does NONE OF THIS. Dave Smith is a Software Development manager at Amazon who decided to not interact on LinkedIn in a non-traditional way. He purposefully disrupts that status quo with bizarre posts, comments or memes, that spark joy for his followers.
Rejoining Corporate after a Long Hiatus (Thoughts and Prayers Appreciated)
July 20, 2022
Picture this: you’re the young and trendy person at the office, enjoying the start of your career and taking on all sorts of challenges, but you decide to put your career on pause to raise a family. Flash-forward ten years, and you decide to re-enter the workforce only to discover that everything has radically changed–from corporate jargon, tech and productivity app to the fact that you now feel like you’re the dinosaur in the room. Pretty brutal.
That’s what happened to this episode’s guest, Rachael Lubarsky, a funny and talented copywriter whose work has been featured in some of today’s top digital media parenting brands, “Scary Mommy” and “The Dad.”
It’s hard enough to feel like you have to prove your worth at a corporate job, but how do you navigate being the oldest (and, by default, being perceived as the most experienced person in the room), while at the same time, feeling a complete lack of confidence because of it? What does it feel like to report to people that are so much younger than you are? And people really have unicorn-themed parties at an office?
Fill out our listener survey for a chance to win an epic Surfing Corporate swag bag! —> https://form.jotform.com/221787196861166
The Brutal Truth About Using Brutal Honesty at Work
July 13, 2022
Have you ever been brutally honest with a coworker or an employee? Or do you tend to sugarcoat difficult conversations like a Starbucks Triple Caramel Frappuccino with whipped cream and sprinkles? For today’s episode we tackle the concepts of brutal honesty, radical transparency, and radical candor. We do a deep dive into what they really mean, where they came from, which leaders implement them “correctly”, and what type of outcome they lead to.
Navigating Today’s Tricky MultiGenerational Workplace
July 6, 2022
For the first time in history, four generations -Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Zers- are co-working together and making things more complicated, they are navigating an unprecedented post-pandemic work and workplace experience. Spoiler alert: it’s not easy. Each one of these generations is very different, with very particular needs, motivations, triggers, and sensitivities.
For this episode, we decided to have a panel so we can hear directly from representatives of these generations where they stand, what are the greatest misconceptions about them, and why Gen Xers are the absolute best (no biases here at all).
We had the privilege of speaking with two impressive professionals, each representing his respective generation. For the Gen Zers, we interviewed a truly inspiring up-and-coming media industry professional, Jesse L Kearse IV, Sports Manager of Creative Partnerships @NBCUniversal. Representing the millennials, we spoke with an accomplished real estate executive, Gio Lago, who at 33 years, is the SVP of Operations at Precedent Management.
We hope you find this discussion as enlightening and entertaining as we did.
How Choosing the Least Obvious Path Led Her to Become a Global Chief People Officer
June 29, 2022
What happens when instead of planning a career path, you’re open to saying yes to opportunities that could sound slightly insane to others? This mind-set is what led our guest, Cristina Espejo, to leave the comfort of her hometown in Madrid, Spain, and accept work offers in Taiwan and Angola at a very young age. These uncommon choices (for a young recent college graduate) plus Cristina’s fearless attitude led her from being a sales and marketing professional, to her discover her true passion: Human Resources. Today Cristina is a Chief People Officer, but more importantly, she’s one of those HR executives who deeply cares about employees’ well-being and growth (something that is not always the case). In this episode, she talks about fascinating cultural challenges she faced in during her career, she shares insights about how to grow your career, and explains why HR gets a worse rep than it probably deserves.
Season 2 Trailer – Surfing Corporate
June 3, 2022
We’re back! Surfing Corporate returns for its second season June 8th.
Why Humor at Work Should be Taken Very Seriously
June 22, 2022
Despite the standard acceptable corporate behaviors (being proper, polite, serious), recent studies conclude that using humor at work leads to more engagement, productivity, and trust. Glenda and Aileen dive into the research and provide examples of why using humor and embracing levity at work can help you in your career. Our guest is a senior director of operations who started her career as an intern at MTV, and despite climbing up the corporate ladder, has maintained her dark sense of humor and used it to bond with her team and her bosses.
The Rise of Impostor Syndrome: A Villain Lurking in the Shadows? Or a Badass SuperPower?
June 15, 2022
Research shows that 70% of people experience impostor syndrome at some point in their lives. We talk about its negative consequences, but also, how having impostor syndrome can actually help you if you know how to channel it properly. Our guest is Kira Copperman, a board-certified executive coach and keynote speaker who has built quite the expertise on this topic. Her clients include major corporations such as The New York Times, CBS, American Express, Viacom, ING Americas, AIG, Citigroup and Skadden Arps.
Does Your Team Have Psychological Safety? Unpacking This Hot Corporate Concept
June 8, 2022
We talk with Dr. Stav Fainshmidt (professor of Strategy and Business at the College of Business of FIU) about the hot topic of psychological safety at work, and how we can take action to make our work environments a space where we can give our honest opinions without fear of retaliation.
What You Need to Know About Burnout
April 25, 2022
Aileen and Glenda talk about the upcoming Season 2 of Surfing Corporate, and they share an episode from the podcast “She Knows The Way,” with Lara Dalch about the hot topic of burnout.
Performance Reviews Part 2 – How to Nail These Tricky Bastards (Season 1 Finale)
December 8, 2021
For the Season Finale of Surfing Corporate, we talk with Christine, an HR Vice President with 15 years of experience who worked 8 years at Yale and is currently at a global media company in the area of Corporate Functions. Christine gives the best actionable advice we’ve ever heard about how to tackle performance reviews if you’re a manager and/or an employee.
Performance Reviews – Powered by Satan
December 1, 2021
Aileen and Glenda tackle the dreaded topic of performance reviews in a way that is –– against all odds–– interesting and entertaining. Their research shines a light on HOW and WHY performance reviews were created in the first place, how they’ve evolved since then, and where they’re headed now in this weird COVID era. Don’t miss this episode that can be a definite icebreaker for your next awkward meeting.
You can dive deeper into the article we discussed during this episode by clicking on this link:
How to Handle Corporate Politics Without Losing Your Soul (Entirely)
November 17, 2021
Office politics are the unwritten rules that determine who gets what, when, and how–and who the hell doesn’t. Deciphering these unwritten rules of corporate politics isn’t easy, but the fact is, there’s no way around them. To better your chances at long-term corporate survival, you have to learn how to play the game.
In this episode of Surfing Corporate, we talk with Frank Sutera, a veteran corporate surfer who began as a producer in Hollywood and then landed a corporate job as Executive Director for Sony Pictures Television International Networks. We tackle the topic of corporate politics, including the ever important politics of meetings, and we dissect the good, the bad, and the ugly of it all.
Pivoting From the Corporate Path – How Joel Willis Went From Praised IT Leader, Editor in Chief of THE DAD
November 10, 2021
Joel Willis is the Editor in Chief of “The Dad”, one of the biggest digital parenting brands in the US, with over 15M followers across its social media platforms. But Joel actually started his career with a corporate job as an IT leader at one of the most high-profile, top tier Fortune 500 companies in the world. Despite a true passion for Excel and spreadsheets (yes, that’s a thing for some people), he decided that the corporate life he had carefully created for himself was no longer what he wanted, so he crafted a 5-year escape plan into a world of creativity and comedy.
We talk with Joel about his corporate career and how it helped push him to where he is today, and he shares some insightful and hilarious advice based on his own professional journey.
Chief Operating Officer: The Role That Makes Sh*t Happen
November 3, 2021
Operating Officers) are critical to a company’s success since they’re the ones who typically are in charge of executing the CEO’s vision and strategy. But what does that really mean? And what does it take to be successful in that role? In this episode, we talk with Heide Werthamer, the COO of a technology services company, who tells us what it’s really like operating a multi-million-dollar business, her candid perspective on being a female COO (about 77% of COOs are male,) and why she LOVES being a COO, even though her career as one started out in the most unexpected of ways: with a death in the office.
Corporate Horror Stories
October 27, 2021
In the spirit of Halloween, this episode is all about corporate horror stories, when things take an unexpected turn and go very, VERY wrong. We’ve all been there, either as the main protagonist of a horrible/ embarrassing event, or as a witness to one. For this episode, fellow corporate surfers share their tales of workplace horror that will make you cringe, laugh, and hopefully feel better about anything appalling that you’ve been through.
A Corporate Marriage Story (Not Starring Scarlett Johansson or Adam Driver, But Just as Dramatic)
October 20, 2021
Sometimes you can be a stellar corporate employee and prove your worth over and over a long period of time, yet, things may still not work out how you’d hoped they would. Long-term relationships can be fulfilling, challenging, character-building or heartbreaking. But the undisputed truth is that they’ll make you learn a lot about yourself.
Our guest, Maria Aleandra Rodriguez, former senior director of marketing for a TV network, has lived through it all after spending 15 years climbing up the corporate ladder within the same company. She opens up about the good, and the not-so-good of her time in corporate, and talks about how the unexpected end of her career as she knew it changed her professional and personal life.
Top 8 Toxic Bosses
October 13, 2021
It’s no surprise to anyone that there are many different types of bosses. Some of them love being nurturing mentors, others are more of the tough-love type, and a few of them might even be full-blown sociopaths. In honor of National Boss Day, we’ve created a special episode where we deep dive into Surfing Corporate’s Top 8 Toxic Bosses, and offer survival strategies for to those who work each one of them. After their 20+ years of working in corporate, Aileen and Glenda open up to share their own pearls of wisdom and bits of trauma to help you succeed—or at least laugh—with whatever type of boss you happen to have.
Opening The HR Black Box
September 30, 2021
Human Resources is the one department that EVERY SINGLE employee interacts with. There’s no escaping HR (and they have no way to escape the employees either). For Episode 3, we speak with Jennifer Mohammed, a Human Resources Director, and ask what it’s like being an HR person, what goes on behind the curtains, and we dive into some of the delicate questions people want to know but are afraid to ask.
The Delicate Art of Corporate Communications
September 30, 2021 at 12:00 AM
Corporate Communications professionals are critical to the success of a corporation. They are responsible for crafting those smoothly written memos and press releases that make a company and its leaders look better than they really are (like a beautifying Instagram filter). They also handle the employee-facing communications. In this episode, we talk with Michelle Alban, Vice President of Communications and Global Impact for a global media company, and she doesn’t hold back on the strategies she’s implemented and how they’ve worked out.
Being Authentic at Work: Good Luck with That Sh*t
September 17, 2021 at 2:44 PM
Surfing Corporate shines an honest light on the everyday hardships of the corporate world, through a relatable and entertaining lens. In our first episode, we tackle the topic of “authenticity at the workplace.” It seems like authenticity is the new “hype” word these days. It’s suddenly become one of many company’s core values –– it appears in big graphic letters on the company’s orientation video; it’s highlighted in all of the fancy corporate decks; CEOs love to throw the word “AUTHENTIC” around at staff meetings, and HR tells any potential candidate how important it is for their employees to be authentic. But it seems like the more people talk about the importance of being authentic, the less authentic it becomes. We talk with a Senior Vice President of marketing in the media industry, who landed in corporate by chance. She’s a college dropout who considers that, in her case, being authentic worked to her advantage.