Leaders don’t only strive for their goals: they have to live up to expectations, manage perceptions, and set an excellent example for the organization. Natalie Marie Ramirez, Finance Programs Lead at a major aerospace corporation, joins Dr. Santor Nishizaki as they discuss the challenges that leaders have to face daily. Ms. Ramirez shares how compassion, empathy, and empowering others can foster trust and confidence across all demographics in the workplace. Natalie also talks about how getting to know your team personally and what’s important to them can help you gain their respect and trust in your ability to lead. So if you are eyeing a promotion or just transitioned into a leadership role, you cannot miss this episode!
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Leading Others: How To Lead Others And Maintain Work-life Harmony With Natalie Marie Ramirez
Natalie is a Finance Program Lead at Raytheon Intelligence & Space. Natalie held a role as a Director of Business Analytics and Administration for an electric vehicle startup company. She has many years of management experience from large corporations and small businesses within the aerospace and automotive industries. She graduated with an MBA in Finance and Supply Chain Management. Let’s hear what Natalie has to say about leading others and work-life harmony.
Natalie, thank you so much for joining the show. We are so happy to have you here.
Thank you, Santor. Thanks for the invite.
Tell me your story. Tell me a little bit about how you got to where you are now because I know you’ve had quite a few twists and turns throughout your career. Let us hear more about you and your leadership journey too.
For me, pretty short, a very humble beginning living out here in SoCal. The first generation here, so both my parents came from Guatemala. In general, I’m looking to find my place in the world to try to find a way for me to help give back to those people that are trying to find their way to find a position, find a job, find a career, be motivated and conquer your dreams is what I hone on.
What did you do for college? Was it Cal Poly?
I went to Cal Poly Pomona and got my Bachelor’s degree. At the time, I was working full-time at Penske Automotive. They had a Mercedes-Benz dealership. It was such a great opportunity because they had a work reimbursement that they would do for schools. I was able to get some of my hours and then work. When I went from there, I had an opportunity to go and work and see what it was like in the corporate lifestyle. Like, “Do I want to go into sales or service,” and know the people that are coming in and buying these cars?
From there, I realized that I needed to go a little bit over and beyond and get a better education because the folks there, one of the things that they would always tell me like, “You need to go and finish up your Bachelor’s, go into your Master’s degree. That’s what’s going to set you apart from everybody else.” At that point was the 2008 recession.
There was nobody bringing in their cars to come and get them serviced or even to buy cars. At that point, they had a good way of handling the situation. They said, “Everybody is going to get a pay cut. Everybody needs their jobs. Instead of giving one tier of the folks working there a degradation in their pay, we are going to peanut butter spread it.” At the time, it was a good way to handle it because nobody could complain. Everybody was going to have to fend for themselves pretty much. I saw it as an opportunity to find another job.
At the time, I was looking for a little bit less hours but to try to do my MBA. That’s where I went to work for GPL because, at the time, they were working on curiosity. It was a great opportunity. For me, I was being able to be there and walk around. Remember, we went to clean rooms, and you can see it being built. I remember in the interview, and the individual there that I still remember his name said, “I picked your resume because I liked that you came from Mercedes-Benz. I know that you are going to be very professional and you are trying to do something better. I found your resume interesting but where you came from in particular to be much more interesting.”
From Mercedes to Mars Rover?
Yes. The theme went on as I went on in my education and with work. I stayed in automotive for a bit. I stayed in aerospace and space. The whole engineering of products and engineering in general technology. What interests me is, “How we can take concepts into design and production and how somebody’s vision inspires and they are able to have everything materialized.” To me, that’s ingenious, and I enjoy it.
You are in finance now in aerospace. Let me ask you this question. I know a lot of us have dealt with these as first-time leaders. The first time you transitioned into the leadership role, was it hard to deal or did you experience Imposter syndrome? How did you push your way through that?
That’s such an interesting topic in itself because the first time I held a leadership role was working at United Technologies, where you have a much bigger team, not just 3 or 5 people. You have twelve people, various age groups, and various parts in their careers, and you have to manage them all. You have to manage based on what they are looking for in their career or maybe what they are aspiring to in general. Everybody had their own approach. Some people were okay where they were and wanted to continue.
They have been there for 10 or 15 years, and then you had those folks that were there for only three years, and they were eager beavers to try to move up within the organization. It can’t be a one size fits. I had to dig deep and also understand from an age generation, an educational perspective, how to talk to these folks. They had families. I didn’t have a family at the time. For me, it was my husband, my work, and my family. Not my child per se but my world was totally different.
I didn’t have as many responsibilities as I do now. I would say that Imposter syndrome is very real because you have this concept that everybody knows more than you. My solution to that was to keep reading, keep studying, and get more degrees. I ended up with two Master’s degrees because I need to make sure I qualify and check those boxes off.
I remember when we talked during our initial interview for the book. You are showing the people that you took over for the team. You talked a lot about how you put in that extra time to show your team also by leading by example with a ridiculous work ethic.
That was one of the ways you are able to one gain respect from the people around you, depending generationally, secondly, with some of the folks that are a little bit younger. They want to outwork you. I had the folks that I needed to put in X amount of hours to justify their credibility and also knowledge. I had to read or analyze better and head out more about the product better. I had the other folks that were you have to come up to speed so fast or do things fairly quickly and pretty savvy for them to think that you know what’s going on and you can keep up with them because to them, that’s what’s important.
It’s not so much what you know or what you can affect. It’s more of do they see you as somebody that they look up to. How do you gain the respect of those folks that are so young that they are very eager beavers? It’s not time. Sometimes it’s not a relationship. It’s to them, “What are they learning from you,” is probably more important.
You have been very successful in your career working within different industries. That is multiple industries. That’s very challenging to do. I know you’ve done different business functions like human resources and finance. Throughout the pandemic, how have you been able to deal with adversity? A lot of people have switched jobs, industries or even careers. If you could tell me a little bit about what type of adversity you’ve had to deal with and how you accomplish it during the pandemic or became it?
COVID has been something that was a total eye-opener and that’s like, “Duh.” To everybody, it was an eye-opener. Those of us were handling it in multiple ways. Some people are at home and are bored and sheltered. There was myself, which was eight and a half months pregnant at the time. On March 3rd, 2020, my daughter was born. On March 7th, when the California shutdown happened.Be effective and utilize your time correctly. Everything else will follow through. Click To Tweet
Unfortunately, on March 4th, a day after my daughter was born. She had to have emergency surgery, and it was a helicopter to Children’s Hospital, Orange County. They have one of the highest-tier NICU centers here on the West Coast. Thankfully, we are blessed that she was able to go into that hospital a couple of days before the shutdown happened.
I remember hearing that story before, and as a parent, that’s got to be challenging. Not only that, Natalie, dealing with that is its own life challenge but doing it during the pandemic when we had this COVID, we didn’t know what it was back then and going to hospitals. We had our second son in September 2020. I remember hearing, “Only one parent could be there at a time.” Luckily, mine was during the downturn. It was in between the surges. We were both allowed to be there but my son wasn’t allowed to be, my older one, during that time. How are you able to deal with that stress?
For one, I have, 1) The best husband and, 2) The best support system. Up until you encounter something like this, where the world has dramatically changed, and the one thing that you have been looking forward to sometimes happening your entire life is that there’s this big setback. You are dealing with this huge adversity. You either learn how to deal with it. It’s a fight-or-flight thing. We hit the fight button big time.
We were trying to take our toolset and manage the situation. The best thing was, as I mentioned, essentially, on March 4th, she was not even 24 hours old, and she had already had a three-hour surgery. Thankfully, she managed to pull through, and we met all the doctors, who were very nice people. They were amazing. The staff there was amazing.
You can imagine that three days later, I walked in with Sean and said, “We want to let you know. This is the last day that you guys can come in together.” What we didn’t know was that we were going to have to be in that NICU for almost 60 days. It means that one person would have to come in, and the other person would have to wait at home until we were ready to swap because they didn’t want anybody else within that.
It’s because of COVID.
It made sense at the time because there was a lot of uncertainty and nobody knew how it was being handled. You have 40 rooms with little bitty babies, and each one of them has its unique issue. You don’t know if it’s something super severe or something that your child or persevere with. Thankfully, now my child is going to be two years old, as you can imagine. She doesn’t run. She flies. We are super thrilled, parents.
At that moment in time, it is the worst feeling in the world. My parents couldn’t come. His parents can come. You had some super excited grandparents that couldn’t even meet their grandchild for over 60 days, and even more so was that because of the uncertainty, my mom decided to quarantine. She did not see anybody for all those days because she wanted to make sure that she would spend time with the baby. Sean’s parents live out of state, and they weren’t able to see the baby until months later.
With all that going on, Natalie, I’m so happy that everything has worked out. As a dad, that’s so scary. How do you deal with work? What are your thoughts on that? As far as the leader goes, how did that whole thing go down for the company?
It was interesting. For one, I worked for a startup company at the time. The name is Proterra. I had a great relationship with our CFO and also with the VP of Finance. They are both amazing people. They texted me two days later after I had Juliet. They were excited because they were like, “How’s the baby?” I didn’t want to communicate. As a new parent, not being able to hold your child for the first time and your child being sent away in a helicopter, 1) I’m torn into pieces. 2) I would want to be focused on her. I want to be strong for her. I did tell my immediate supervisor at the time, and she’s a mom too. She told me, hands down, “Let me know how I can help you.”
The company had six weeks of leave of absence. I was able to get my full pay for those six weeks. At the time, we were working on further developing the company. We were working essentially on an IPO process for a couple of months, and everything is quarterly like, “We need to hit these goals,” because, at the end of the day, for any startup, that’s the goal.
After those six weeks that I was at the NICU, she said, “Everybody is working from home. I know that you are there and in the hospital.” She said, “If you want to try to knock some stuff out, feel free to do so. That way, we can make sure that you are getting your pay, and you don’t have to worry about that on top of everything else.” To me, that was huge flexibility in general that I was able to be able to work. Honestly, it kept my mind busy, which was important to me as well.
It sounds like to me the impact of leadership, of your company, your boss has your back when at the end of the day, at the end of our life, we are going to be more worried about our children and what we did during those times. Not how much more time we spend in the office. It’s good that the organization and your boss had your back.
Even until this day, I still reach out to them. That’s partly when you talk about COVID and those changes. If you are able to cultivate these relationships early on where people trust your work ethic. They know that you have the best interest in the company but you may be going through some pretty heavy times like turbulent times in your life. They know that’s a moment in time. In reality, we are going to get through it, and you are a very special individual for them. They will accommodate you but you have to be open. You have to show up and gain respect as well.
That’s amazing. Natalie, thank you so much for sharing that story. A lot of people who are going, maybe these leaders who are reading, would understand the impact that may have, and you never know what’s happening in someone’s personal life to be able to empathize.
What’s crazy is that it wasn’t me either. My husband managed to have a great relationship with his manager as well. Within a day, by talking to his manager, the manager reached out to their VP of HR. We were able to get her on our health insurance within a day, which is unheard of.
With large organizations, it took a while.
Those small little things that you would imagine wouldn’t make a difference. Honestly, we had less worry about certain things like, “We don’t have to worry about this. We don’t have to worry about that.” The people who supported us made it work. That’s what made it an incredible process. Even be able to digest the whole situation.
That’s the impact from a leadership perspective. Moving on a little bit, what was the first leadership challenge that you faced, and how did you solve it? I remember you talked about that in our book a little bit.
There were a couple of things. One of them was I had somebody that wasn’t too impressed when I got selected to be the manager. One could say maybe I was a female leader. One could say I was a little bit younger. Nevertheless, I still handled myself very well. UTC is a very large company that was able to prepare me very well for each situation. I had a mentor guiding me through. In particular, with this individual, there were a lot of apprehensions.Stay cool, calm, and collected. Click To Tweet
One of the things that I was successful at is they were dealing with home situations themselves and coming into the office. In particular, they had a sick relative and had to be home with that relative and help take care of them. They also had a child throughout that time. My philosophy has always been that it’s about being effective and utilizing your time correctly. Everything else follows through. It’s not sitting in your chair for eight hours, and you are going to make a difference. That’s ridiculous.
We are not a but to a tee. We need to be effective. We need to make sure that we are seeing those results. To me, that’s what mattered, and that’s all that really mattered. Putting that precedence with him meant a lot to him. Being able for him to be with his relative and go through that situation and his relative having surgery, and being close with them all made him appreciate his manager more.
You had to warm up to whatever situation somebody was going through. It was great that I had the opportunity to manage that team but it’s unfortunate that some people felt either I was unprepared or I was a female. I was the first female in many years to run that team and that organization. It was a very fair decision, and I felt confident. I had the toolset to be able to be effective within that company.
Going back to compassion and having empathy for that person, when I interviewed you for my book, I loved that story. Talking about how your leader did that for you helped to make life a little easier when it was difficult. I’m sure for that person who was on your team, that helped them get through whatever they are going through. I love that. It’s such a good leadership story.
The crazy part is that they ended up getting a PhD or going to school. Very gifted individual had a lot of potentials and continues to be successful. Again, a hiccup in life for a very short window of issues that you go through in life. It’s looking at the bigger picture that you want to continue to support your team and this individual for everything that they’ve done.
Natalie, too, listening is one of the key things to not saying, “They are attacking me because.” That’s where Imposter syndrome where can creep in, where it’s like, “They are attacking me because I’m young or this type of assumption.” Sometimes, it’s listening, and that may be on the surface what it was, for sure. Listening, though, and in my experience, and trying to understand where people are coming from. It’s like, “This is what you see.” A lot of that, I can’t do anything about my age but I can help be here for you and support you.
It’s doing what I can to support my team, and that’s what I was there to do.
Gen Z was born in 1995, approximately in 2012. In your own personal experience, what would you say would be their greatest strength? What advice would you give to folks who are hiring Gen Z or coming out of college and leading them?
A couple of things I thought Gen Z, in my perspective, was very agile, so very flexible. They were always embracing change. If you think about it, from their perspective, they have so many sources of information and technology. It’s never boring. For them, it’s never boring. It wasn’t how I was growing up, where you would read a book or have a computer until you were twelve. It wasn’t hit as much with all this technology and apps and sources of data. That has been their life since they probably had a cell phone. I couldn’t even use the internet on my cell phone because it was so expensive at the time. I was playing snake on it because that was the best game that there was.
That was a Nokia, right, Natalie?
Yes, that was the Nokia.
You are one of the cool people that had the Nokia. A lot of people got that phone because it was the only video game that you could play. I had the Motorola flip phone. The battery lasted about ten minutes.
When I think about some of their attributes, work-wise coming back to work, that interests them. All of this chaos and information overload, they soak it all in. What I did notice is that sometimes they get bored pretty fast or get tired of working in the same job for a year or two and just get tired of it. They want change. They want something else and something different. What I’ve realized, especially throughout my career, is that stability and boredom is the best thing ever.
It is the most amazing thing because if things are boring, there’s a system in place. There are procedures in place. Chaos is only good for a short time. If you are able to create stability in a place full of chaos, you immediately need to find a way where systems and processes are going to take that chaos. You are going to try to create it systematically.
Instability that’s the most important thing. All shareholders want linearity. They want to be able to forecast. They want stability. It’s plain and simple. They want to know exactly what they are going to get. Having all this chaos and information overload, I don’t think it’s the best thing along with having short-term results. I’m looking for more long-term results. Usually, that’s more or less my perspective.
I remember when we spoke about managing or leading up. Tell me more about what advice you would give. You’ve worked in such large organizations where you have to if you want to get any type of initiative pass. You don’t even have to be in a manager or leadership role but what advice would you give to someone who started off the career on how to lead up? Your answer was awesome. I remember in the book.
I usually try to go with the three Cs, Cool, Calm and Collected. Leading upwards, they have 5 to 10 seconds of attention span. They are dealing with so many issues left and right. Trying to manage the company. Trying to make sure that these bigger issues are being solved. In general, if you are able to be crisp and collected and summarize what the issue is or not what the issue, it’s the solution because that’s what they are looking for.
They don’t want another person to tell them, “Here’s an issue or more problems.” They want to know what is your genuine perspective and, how to fix it, and how can you go fix it. How can you go and help contribute? That has been some of the things that I’ve seen work in my past when you are, especially trying to make relationships with folks that are much higher in the pyramid than you are and help encourage them so they can see opportunity in you and your growth potential as well.
Making sure to have data readily available to back up whatever you recommend.
Facts. As part of your summarization, finding a solution is coming back to fact-finding. Like, “What did you find that is important, and how can we fix it?” If you don’t have an idea how to fix it, maybe you can at least say that this is the information you’ve found, and you want to meet with some folks and try to find a way to discuss the situation. 1) Knowing the facts, and then 2) Even trying to get the ball rolling to find a way to find a solution.Learn how to speak up. Click To Tweet
That’s the type of momentum that everybody is looking for. Nobody wants to sit here and say, “Santor, I have this issue. Here’s a tissue for your issue.” There are so many issues but where is the solution or do you have an idea? Where are the facts to support your idea or the facts to find the solution? Those are things. Especially myself, I look forward to it all the time.
Would you say that if someone is looking for these facts to support your solution and looking at historical data helps the folks? I don’t know how it was with you when you first started. For me, I don’t even know where to look when you first start your career in an office.
Facts, if you are in finance or even in sales, in the supply chain. Anything that has an MRP or ERP system, You are always going to have facts. You are always going to find data to support some of the information that’s happened in the past. That doesn’t always mean that’s a roadmap for the future. What you can at least find is collectively what occurred in the past, and then build your foundation from there. You are building your little bricks of the truth of what you know about the company or what you know about your product line or what you know occurred and built from there. Moments of time creating a hypothesis on your sample of what you are looking for.
To me, hearing you talk, it sounds like your leadership style is empathetic. How would you describe your leadership style?
I had a conversation with one of my coworkers about this. What they said is that I’m more of an effective leader, and that’s what I’m looking for. In summary, they said I’m looking more for being informative and effective. If you have deliverables or deadlines, my assumption is that those are going to get turned in on time and delivered on time. If there’s a project that you are working on and the topic comes up, and you know the information, by all means, speak up.
Have a sense of ownership. That’s what I mean about being effective within the organization. If you own this piece or this tiny little sliver of this pie. I want you to speak up and be effective, and I’m here to support you because you are the one that’s going to know all the facts about the situation. Everybody is depending on you to be able to be confident enough about what you do and your data and about the situation that you would be able to speak up.
It sounds like empowering people to be effective. Being there as a leader, do you feel like a lot of your job is to help eliminate roadblocks for people to be effective?
Yes, and also, sometimes, folks want to know information, very high level. Maybe how does this impact me as a business, and maybe we are looking at it too in the weeds. That support system to try to see this at a bigger picture but also, I want to teach people that as well. That’s partly what I’m here to do. I take great pride that there are folks that are working on my team and people who want to recruit them for their team. In my opinion, that means that I’m doing my job. I’m continuing to cultivate these leaders and these effective people within the organization that people want to go steal from my team. To me, that’s a good problem to have. That’s not a bad problem.
Natalie, I’ve heard that the best leaders are the ones who create more leaders. We are in this Great Resignation now, which is interesting looking at what the drivers are. What advice would you give to organizations to help retain their employees during a Great Resignation? What advice would you give to employees during the Great Resignation?
One thing is I was trying to look for some of the data to support this. I know there’s a lot of data out there. I was going through the data analysis perspective but some of what I realized was there were a lot of people that had been at their jobs for a very long time. That’s all they know. Their perspective is that the grass is greener on the other side. They don’t know what’s out there. They don’t know either companies or jobs, and maybe they were too scared to ask for those changes or ask for that momentum or ask in general.
I’ve realized that sometimes that has to do with your relationship with your manager and with the folks that I’ve always worked with and helped support. As a working Manager myself, I always want to know about my team like, “How are you doing? Santor, how are you feeling?” as a person. It’s not just about, is this project finished or did you complete this on time.
Sometimes that is not what people are looking for. Sometimes they are looking to try to make their place in the world to try to leave their footprint in this world. They are trying to figure that out as well. If you are able to support them, to me, that’s very important. Also, it promotes red flags. If, Santor, you are telling me like, “My job is boring. I have been doing this for 2 or 3 years. I don’t find this very interesting or do you have more projects?”
That’s the type of dialogue that would be a way for me to know that you may be considering something outside or maybe you are not very happy. Having that open relationship and not being scared to have those conversations is one of the first things. Not feeling that if I tell somebody something, that means that I don’t want my job anymore. That’s not what that means. It means that you want more out of your career, and you think that you can do more. That’s a good situation to be in but how is the company helping to support you?
Another thing too, Natalie, is being proactive because I know a lot of people think, “They should know that.” How would we know? How many things do we have? No one is looking over your shoulder to say, “Is everything okay? This is what you are doing.” Having an environment of trust where you can say that. For some people, if you say that might be like, “Maybe it’s time for you to go,” because they are not experienced leaders.
Also, we are dealing with COVID again. My body language, usually you are with people sometimes longer than you are with your spouses. You go into these meetings or you are passing by somebody in a cubicle and having to work with them or an office. You can read somebody’s body language, and we don’t have that luxury anymore. I can’t go and read Santor’s body language or he’s having a rough day.
I can’t say, “Santor, how do you feel? Is there something I can help you with?” I have to guess from thousands of miles away, and that’s pretty unfair too. I see COVID as a way for you to learn how to speak up. Sometimes people say, “If I speak up, maybe they are going to say that I’m speaking out of context.” You have to channel your communication correctly, where you are not trying to be offensive. You are not trying to say that you want to leave. You have to communicate more effectively that maybe you want to be more challenged in what you are doing.
Natalie, that wouldn’t be okay to do that on a team’s message, right?
No instant messages for these types of topics. This is a little bit of a face-to-face camera on type of teams meeting or Zoom.
I totally agree. There are still people that don’t want to use their cameras. They were like, “I don’t feel comfortable on a camera,” but that is the only other thing we have to see facial expressions.You have to channel your communication correctly where you're not trying to be offensive. Click To Tweet
That we know they are out there. That leads me to my next question, which is about the future of work of where we are going to be. Is it going to be fully remote, hybrid or in-person? This is your own opinion. What are your thoughts here?
My thoughts are that we’ve shown that we can be very effective working remotely. I don’t want to bleed that to say everybody but 80/20. Twenty percent of the people are doing 80% of the work. The idea there is that you know your A-players. You know people that are more effective, so we are constantly going to be in this flux was more remote but we also want FaceTime. There’s going to be this partnership where maybe we will have some office time.
Maybe 1 or 2 days a week at the very most but, for the most part, we are always going to be remote. There is no reason to sit in traffic for an hour and a half in either direction and say, “That that’s okay.” That’s not okay anymore. Unless there’s something important that you need to be there. I had much rather spend that extra time working on things that I need to do.
Even with a family because if you are there an hour and a half. It’s funny, I was thinking about this. We are LA people for anyone who’s outside of Los Angeles. You are spending an hour and a half each way, so that’s three hours a day. You are still going to probably have to work the same amount of hours unless you boot up the laptop after the kid goes to sleep, which a lot of us do. That’s three hours you can spend with your family, working out. That could be so many different things you can do. Now, in-person of collaboration, like you said, being able to see people. I don’t know if that will ever go away or if it should go away.
I don’t think so. As human beings, we were designed to work with people face to face. There is a time and place where people need to be alone, focused, and not distracted. What remote working has shown is that people can have that at home and be effective. The last company I worked at, Proterra, was able to go on IPO during COVID. If you can’t tell me that’s effective, that is insane to think of that.
A company was successful in going IPO and doing very well. You had everybody remote. Very few people were in the office except folks that were actual direct labor, that was working on the product, and it eliminated numerous cases of COVID and the spread of COVID, which was important. I don’t think that’s going away. I was able to maximize my time. I ran the LA marathon in November 2021.
I was able to focus my time on that instead of being on the freeway for three hours. It was a good way for me to decompress, get focused on the day, and utilize my time wisely. It promotes a healthy work-life balance.
Those three hours could be doing something like that. Having more goals or you could say hobbies, as being new parents, it’s hard to have a hobby.
I’ve stuck with reading as being one and running as being the other one. We try to maintain that healthy lifestyle because taking care of a little one during COVID where it’s you, your husband, and 1 or 2 grandparents. At the time, it was not like you can take them to a babysitter, to preschool or daycare because those things weren’t around for a year.
One other question is, being a newer parent, how have you been able to be productive as well? Our children are pretty close in age, my second one. I forgot, Natalie. It’s a six-year gap between both of my boys. Obviously, so much work. How were you able to continue you and your husband to stay productive with not as much help?
For one, it’s time-blocking. You don’t have time to scroll on Instagram anymore. A lot of my social media disappeared from my phone because I can’t get distracted. Plain and simple. It’s 5 minutes, 10 minutes here and there where I can get focused time. Also, utilizing time wisely. Before, I used to sleep in or sleep when I needed to wake up, drive to work, and I had time to go and do my work.
Even though you had meetings, now I have meetings during Zoom but I don’t have water cooler conversations. I can’t go out with friends to have lunch. A lot of these things create time and opportunities for an extra time where you can work more effectively. Social media, in general, is almost eliminated. We don’t binge on Netflix and stuff like that. We don’t have time. There’s no time for that.
Three is utilizing babysitting and time more effectively. We usually rotate. Grandparents come over and also set the schedule like planning out your day from the very beginning. Me and my husband will play hot potato. I will say, “I’m going to go for a run early in the morning.” He’s like, “I’m going to the gym at 9:00.” We are constantly chipping away and trying to plan our day more effectively.
Those little things are what make a difference like preparation. Again, going back to boring. You have a routine schedule that creates that stability. The baby is happy. Everyone is happy because everybody knows what’s going on. There are no surprises. That constant routine is so important to the family structure.
Similar to here with kids. Sometimes it’s hard to predict but at least if you have a routine and schedule in place, it helps allow you to flex a little bit too. That’s awesome. My last question, Natalie, is, what advice would you give to someone who got promoted or even yourself when you were promoted?
I’m a big believer in that 30, 60, and 90-day plan. There’s a book out there that I don’t have the name of it now but probably I will send it to you, Santor. It goes through the steps for 30, 60, and 90 days like, “What are you planning on achieving throughout those times?” Holistically speaking, what wise in the house, digging deeper into the organization and realizing your conclusion on the third month, essentially.
In general, planning out and also documenting the items that you are working on. What I mean by that is those eureka moments or moments where everything is piecing themselves together. Documenting those things or also documenting the small changes that you are planning on doing to be more effective because we oftentimes go into these new jobs, and we have so many ideas. We have many things that we want to pour into.
However, you can’t necessarily walk in with guns blazing. You are not going to drop a firecracker in and change everything. It has to be structured. It has to be seamless. It has to be natural. Being able to document your ideas of what you see, opportunities for advancement, and opportunities for improvements, and then slowly start to weave those things into your own organization. Eventually, see if they naturally can get woven into the entire organization.
Those are the small little things that I have been working on myself in general. When you start integrating this into your own team and being able to start to grow it out of your own organization into your own business unit into the holistic way of looking at the company, those are places where you are making an impact.
I love that and also celebrating those small wins. We did that, and I’m able to show that.
At position now, they have things like finance Olympics. When I first joined, I was a little, “Finance Olympics. I never would’ve thought,” but to be honest, they are fun. Everybody is happy and enjoys them. They do them once a month. It’s games and learning about everybody. Those small little things, you wouldn’t be surprised but you learn a lot about the people around you.
Within people in the team, it’s not like one’s calculating net present value.
No. It’s very random games in general. I thought that it was cool how they’ve created a very team environment. It was something so simple, some games.
Natalie, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day to give this advice for the first time to emerging leaders. I look forward to having you back and continuing to follow your leadership journey.
Thank you so much, Santor. It has been great to watch you aspire as well to be a new leader and your book and your show. You are making big things happen.
Thank you so much, Natalie. I appreciate that. A happy early birthday to your daughter.
Thank you so much.
About Natalie Marie Ramirez
A business and product development professional with the expertise to drive business growth by analyzing the competitive landscape within key target markets. Ability to successfully define and drive the business plan and strategy. Capitalize and penetrate into new markets through an intricate mix of research, strategic planning, and competitive intelligence.