23 episodes

Welcome to “An Interview with Melissa Llarena” the podcast for executives who go after what they want with curiosity, creativity, and courage.

Hi. I’m Melissa. I'm a career strategist. I want to help you shift YOUR focus from landing a job at a Fortune 500 company to finally figuring out how you can build YOUR own billion-dollar career. A billion-dollar career is one where you are in control of your destiny rather than one where an employer limits your career decisions. A career that let's you explore your potential -- fully.
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An Interview with Melissa Llarena Melissa Llarena

    • Careers
    • 4.8, 11 Ratings

Welcome to “An Interview with Melissa Llarena” the podcast for executives who go after what they want with curiosity, creativity, and courage.

Hi. I’m Melissa. I'm a career strategist. I want to help you shift YOUR focus from landing a job at a Fortune 500 company to finally figuring out how you can build YOUR own billion-dollar career. A billion-dollar career is one where you are in control of your destiny rather than one where an employer limits your career decisions. A career that let's you explore your potential -- fully.
Sounds good? Then press play...

    Ep 23 - Marina Shifrin, Comedy Writer, Author, and Viral Video Creator Talks About Thinking Ahead, Closure, and Celebrating Milestones

    Ep 23 - Marina Shifrin, Comedy Writer, Author, and Viral Video Creator Talks About Thinking Ahead, Closure, and Celebrating Milestones

    Marina Shifrin is a comedy writer who created an interpretive dance resignation video garnering millions of views. She has seen success throughout her professional career, including having worked on Talk Show the Game Show (TruTV), Problematic (Comedy Central), Comedy Central Presents: ClusterFest (duh, Comedy Central), Wizard School Dropout (Eko) and she has written on a handful of pilots you've never seen. Previously, Marina was an Emmy-award winning digital producer on @midnight (Comedy Central, again). That's her resume, but what got her on my radar was her book 30 Before 30.
    In this episode, we discuss Marina's book 30 Before 30, a collection of essays detailing thirty things she wanted to do before the age of thirty and ranging in scope from the simple (Ride A Bike Over the Brooklyn Bridge, Donate Hair) to the life-changing (Move to A Different Country, Become Famous). Each story shows readers that we don't all have it figured out, and that's okay, even if you are way over thirty. 
    Marina also offers insightful and useful advice on preparing to go viral and to handle closure and celebrate milestones in these pandemic times.

    Tune in to hear Marina’s thoughts pertaining to:
    A random reaction Marina received about her resignation video. (5:00) What to do if you don’t have closure in your life: write it for yourself. (10:00) Different industries were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and many don’t have a lot of closure in their careers because of the crisis, Marina offers some thoughtful advice. (12:05) A reminder to go back to what you’ve always wanted in your career amidst this time of uncertainty. (14:02) Comedy relief during times of stress and how we can all get some comedy relief. (16:00) The constant battle between Internet comedy vs. stand-up comedy and how the delivery of comedy may change in the near future. (17:00) Marina shares how to deliver a really good joke. (19:00) On embarrassment: In 5th grade, Marina decided to lose the emotion of feeling embarrassed. ( 23:00) How to handle internet trolls and fear you may have of editing your LinkedIn headlines, plus a hack to help you deal with trolls. (28:00) What inspired Marina to put together her 30 Before 30 list. (30:56) How to prepare to go viral and some of the things Marina did when planning, creating and releasing her viral video. (36:23) Why should they give themselves a ten years timespan to hit their professional stride and find their voice? (45:03) What’s on Marina’s list for her 30’s and beyond. (48:00) Marina shares a story about Donald Glover, NYU, and a USB drive with a script on it; and how that story inspires her to always be prepared. (59:00) Graduation Season in the U.S. is here, so I asked Marina this question because she is a child of immigrants: As a child of immigrants, what would you suggest to those who are set to graduate in 2020 or experiencing a major milestone, how can they celebrate their accomplishments in light of the pandemic?
    Check out the links below:
    Learn more about Marina Follow Marina on Instagram Watch her video: An Interpretive Dance For My Boss Set To Kanye West's, Gone which garnered millions of views Shop the book 30 Before 30 Check out Steve Aoki on Instagram

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Ep 22 - Melissa Joy Kong, Founder and CEO of Iceberg Content Marketing Agency Talks About Managing Expectations, Time Blocking Techniques, and Prioritizing What Matters

    Ep 22 - Melissa Joy Kong, Founder and CEO of Iceberg Content Marketing Agency Talks About Managing Expectations, Time Blocking Techniques, and Prioritizing What Matters

    What would your future self say about your insecurities or fears? This week, Melissa Joy Kong, founder, and CEO of Iceberg Content Marketing joins me to discuss understanding the core of who you are, defining your wants and needs, and how to utilize time blocking techniques to prioritize what matters most in your life.   
    Melissa and I recorded this interview before the COVID-19 pandemic. I decided to share it during this moment of isolation and uncertainty. Why? Well, Melissa shares insights and wisdom that we can all use right now. We didn't realize at the time what would be coming nor how so many of us would be spending time isolated from others. It is with this context I want to share our conversation. Melissa revealed an exercise you can use right now, which will help you feel proud and accomplished during this pandemic. 
    Have a notebook next to you as you listen to today's conversation, you'll want to use it for self-reflection.
    Tune in to hear Melissa's thoughts pertaining to:
    Melissa Joy shares a book that captured her interest unexpectedly: Love Does by Bob Goff. She notes the infectiousness with which he lives his life and why she tends to ask herself “what Bob would do in this situation?”. (3:44) How to design your life experience and who you wish to become without letting others' expectations influence your ideas. (7:42) We discuss regret and excitement about life, explicitly asking yourself, "If I were doing things the same way in 15-years, what would you regret or be most proud of?" (11:06) Melissa shares this exercise: Write a letter to yourself, detailing what you would say about your life from your 80-year old self.  (13:20) What stories have I been telling about myself? What about my friends? What about society? (14:43) What it means to spend time alone, why it is not selfish and matters so much to your wellbeing. (15:53) The importance of reframing the way you view hard things, on taking the time to reflect whether it's hard or not...considering: what if this is the most natural thing in the world? (21:27) What's heavy that can be light? A guiding question to yourself. (22:31) Melissa's idea that life is very seasonal; some seasons are harsh, and others are sweet. (23:28) How and why looking at seasons in 90-day sprints makes life less overwhelming. (26:14) Melissa picked various themes from creators or those deeply rooted in their 'Why,' like Jesse Itzler, she shares some of them with us. (29:46) Regardless of how you plan your calendar, focus on what matters first. (33:46) The concept of time blocking moments of reflection, things of value to you, and the benefit of doing so. (38:48) Why it is essential to find talented people on your team who are already self-motivated and structure your own time. (49:43) I asked Melissa the following question: How do you teach your team how to manage multiple projects and become leaders? Additionally, how can one hire well and effectively motivate a virtual team? 
    Listen to hear Melissa's answer, which includes why it's not easy for people to all of a sudden start working remotely; it takes a whole different set of skills.
    Additional Links
    Follow Melissa on Instagram Connect with Melissa on LinkedIn Love Does by Bob Goff The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran

    • 55 min
    Ep 21 - Diane Bell, Award-winning Screenwriter and Director Talks Openly On Overcoming Obstacles, Embracing Your Creativity, And How to Stand Out

    Ep 21 - Diane Bell, Award-winning Screenwriter and Director Talks Openly On Overcoming Obstacles, Embracing Your Creativity, And How to Stand Out

    Diane Bell is an award-winning screenwriter and director, who growing up didn’t think that was possible. In this episode, she shares how she overcame personal and professional obstacles in order to become a screenwriter. She describes how affirmations helped her, what she learned about embracing creativity (and how you can embrace yours), as well as, talks about how to stand out from the crowd, especially if you are in a sea of like-minded professionals. Diane also leaves us with some insightful and profound thoughts and questions, like, “How far are you willing to go to make it happen?”
    Diane’s first feature, OBSELIDIA, premiered in Dramatic Competition at Sundance, where it won two awards, and went on to play at festivals around the world and be nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards. Her second film, BLEEDING HEART, a drama starring Jessica Biel and Zosia Mamet, premiered at Tribeca, and is widely available on Amazon Prime and Hulu. Diane’s most recent feature, OF DUST AND BONES, has also been featured in festivals.
    Diane started her career in film as a screenwriter (before that she was a philosophy student and a yoga teacher), and she has written numerous commissioned and optioned scripts, including two with renowned director John McTiernan (director of Die Hard and The Hunt for Red October).
    Diane has been lucky enough to be a participant in the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, as well as the Women in Film/Sundance mentorship program, from which she learned tons.In addition to writing and directing films, she is passionate about sharing her knowledge to empower and inspire other filmmakers. Diane loves helping others break through their obstacles and achieve their dreams. Since 2014 she has taught workshops on how to make a successful indie film, and is thrilled to share this material in her book. If making movies is your dream, don’t let anything stop you!
    Tune in to hear Diane’s thoughts pertaining to:
    How she went from thinking this was impossible to I am possible even in show business. (4:43) When Diane realized cinema could be a possible career path, her first interest in writing screenwriting, and the negative doubts she battled. (7:06) How yoga helped her build a new sense of self before becoming a filmmaker. (9:25) Diane shares her original Mickey Rourke idea and later how she decided to go to the Cannes Film Festival and sought out Mickey Rourke to give him her script. (11:31) A key question for all scriptwriters (and even professionals of all industries): How far are you willing to go to make it happen and invest? (16:42) Diane details the ups and downs of her first feature-length film. (16:51) What courage has to do with creativity and how our natural state is to be creative, not afraid. (19:08) Diane talks on the envious nature and criticism of artists’ work. (22:46) How to get to a place of feeling as though you and your work matters. (27:18) The affirmation that helped Diane get through writing her first screenplay. (28:47) The process of screenwriting, working through the first draft (aka the vomit draft), and how to know when you're done. (34:08) Diane talks about emotionalizing affirmations. (35:52) One of the many lessons she’s learned as a screenwriter, including, how the world receives her work is not in her control. (45:59) An insightful piece of advice for screenwriters and directors: make the movie, not for fame or for money, to make the movie you want to make. (56:08) I asked Diane: In this market of content overload, how do you make yourself stand out? This same idea is one I’m asked as a career coach to marketing professionals so I was curious if Diane had any insights that are transferable across our audiences. 
    Hear what Diane says to a marketer whom I coached and is interested in producing her own film and is hoping to stand out.
    Links
    Follow Diane on Instagram

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Ep. 20 - Paul Musho, Former GE Executive Turned Franchisee Talks About His Career Pivot, the Benefits of Cryotherapy, and Running a Small Business During a Global Pandemic

    Ep. 20 - Paul Musho, Former GE Executive Turned Franchisee Talks About His Career Pivot, the Benefits of Cryotherapy, and Running a Small Business During a Global Pandemic

    Meet Paul Musho. Paul was my client, a former GE executive who took a leap to become a franchisee, use his transferable skills, and grow his cryotherapy business. He had previously worked for thirty years in big corporate conglomerates, including Union Carbide, Krupp, Emerson, and GE. During this time, he did everything from engineering, sales, development, operations, and general management, and also during his tenure, I had the opportunity to coach Paul. When GE left New Jersey (NJ), USA in 2017, he decided to pivot and start his own business and use literally everything he had learned in his 30 years of work experience including its best-in-class practices and leadership methods!
    Paul started out as a client going to cryotherapy in 2015 to help with pain from working out and wanting to play as much golf as he could. Cryotherapy allowed him to do this as the pain was reduced after each workout and allowed him to play quicker after a workout. As a happy cryotherapy customer, he decided to make cryotherapy his first venture. 
    His ChillRx Cryotherapy Red Bank, NJ store is a self-funded franchise of the original Westfield, NJ, USA location. Since incorporating in 2017, Paul has used his entire background to open ChillRx Cryotherapy in November 2018.
    ChillRx Cryotherapy in Red Bank, NJ offers trusted noninvasive therapies to reduce pain, inflammation, and weight. Paul enjoys working with his clients and seeing how cryotherapy can help them do more each day. Paul has also hired an outstanding team in Red Bank to run the day to day operations: Maura, Nicolle, Jackie M, Bill, Kaitlyn, Isabelle, Alessia, and Jackie T are the best team in the Cryotherapy Business! 
    Paul has had many influencers in his life. His parents, Ted and Sally are the number one along with this wife Dorothy and son Jack. In his professional life, he credits several people including Jeffery Gitomer, Gary Vaynerchuk, Gisela Bellinello, Tom Giordano, Helen Evans, and Rick Dool who helped influence who he is today.
    Today Paul will talk about his love to build, operate, and grow businesses!
    Tune in to hear Paul’s thoughts pertaining to:
    How his personal services, small business reacted to government-required closures. (3:30) Paul’s thoughts on using a podcast as a small business owner. (6:27) Have you considered how to digitize your solutions? (8:34) What Paul’s small business is doing to stay afloat during this moment of hibernation? (8:34) The benefits of cryotherapy and its impact on your immune system. (11:24) How the novel coronavirus has affected people’s behavior when it comes to personal health. (13:21) Paul’s career journey from working in corporate to purchasing a franchise. (14:52) Some of the nuances between employee vs. entrepreneurial mindsets. (16:09) Paul explains how running a team for GE and for now himself differs (and is the same), plus how Paul used his joint ventures training at GE as a small business owner. (16:28) There were some skills Paul did not obtain during his corporate career, he explains what those skills were and how he got up to speed when he started his own service-based business. (22:45) How Paul used GE's best practices in small business and applying, “The Net Promoter Score.” (28:32) How to consistently exceed client expectations, yet let your team uniquely express themselves to build relationships. (32:14) Exiting a company when your identity is tied up in your title, how to think about this when you leave? (33:22) Paul explores how and why he chose to start a small business franchise, discusses the certainty of working for a huge company vs. venturing on his own path. (36:54) We talk about inertia for successful executives. (41:54) The idea that we can use this pandemic to pivot an existing business or even using this time to begin your side hustle. (47:05) Paul shares openly his thoughts on his son w

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Ep. 19 - Caitlyn Elf, Registered Dietitian and Mom, Shares How to Make Eating a Learning Experience Even Snacking in Isolation, Discusses Changing Careers From Marketing Into Nutrition, and How To Keep The Peace During Family Dinners

    Ep. 19 - Caitlyn Elf, Registered Dietitian and Mom, Shares How to Make Eating a Learning Experience Even Snacking in Isolation, Discusses Changing Careers From Marketing Into Nutrition, and How To Keep The Peace During Family Dinners

    Caitlyn Elf is a Registered Dietitian and working mom with a goal to take the stress out of mealtime. Because it is essential to think about how we can be healthy, even in uncertain times, I invited Cait to be a guest on my podcast. Cait shared some ways to make eating a learning experience and her philosophy about intuitive eating. She also talked about her career pivot from digital marketing to a nutritionist. When it comes to you and the next phase of your career, deciding what you want to do next and finding the courage to do so, well, those are the hard moments. But as you will hear, it took Cait three years to leap, but it is possible. 
    Caitlyn’s brand, Cait’s Plate, started way back in 2009 as a way for Cait to share her passion for wellness. When Cait began her blog, she was working in digital marketing in NYC, and while she loved being creative, she found herself more and more excited to work on her blog each day. It was then that Cait decided to leave her full-time job and pursue a degree in nutrition.
    Whether you need help getting tasty, satisfying meals on the table without a lot of effort, or are looking to follow a non-restrictive approach to wellness – Cait has you covered. She loves sharing easy meals and showing people the freedom found in listening to their bodies.
    Cait attended Boston University and received her Masters in Nutrition, participated in a Dietetic Internship, sat for (and passed!) the Registered Dietitian exam. Cait now runs Cait’s Plate full-time (or at least during the moments she has where she is not running after her crazy toddler and dog!
    Tune in to hear Cait’s thoughts pertaining to:
    How while working remotely we do have unlimited access to our fridges and pantries and how we can manage. (5:00) Understanding that food is fuel, Cait shares her philosophy of allowing your body to guide you and trusting signals. (8:00) Packaged foods, not being able to assess or hear our body signals, especially now as we are buying lots of packaged food. (13:01) Eating is a learning experience. (14:00) Find out how you can use this moment in isolation to change your behaviors. (15:00) Cait talks on how guilt has interrupted our ability to make our own decisions about food. (17:00) Find out what’s the difference between restaurant food vs. your homemade food, especially as we are experimenting given the closures abound. (18:00) How we can approach cooking as an experiment, and refrain from placing pressure on yourself to be a Michelin chef. (20:20) No immune-boosting smoothie is going to turn things around, but there are ways to boost your immune system, Cait explains how.  (22:00) Cait’s shares some advice regarding stress over finding high-quality ingredients and instead focuses on whether you are fueling yourself enough or not. (23:00) Let’s talk about sleep and why it is so hard to settle our minds. Some ways to help with sleep include: designating an area for rest, even during these work-from-home makeshift moments where beds are being used as desks. (24:00) Cait’s talks about her career journey from digital marketing and how she transitioned to becoming a nutritionist. (30:00) What thoughts held Cait back while she was contemplating nutrition yet still thriving in her marketing role. (33:09) She describes how she found out that nutrition was her true passion. (36:00) We can replenish our energies during homeschooling, job seeking, or working remotely during this trifecta of stress. (41:00) Families are eating together for the first time in years. Cait offers some ways to have a peaceful meal with each other even if there are differing dietary preferences. (42:00) I was so glad to have asked Cait this career change question that can help those who are contemplating whether your skills are transferable: In what ways have you leveraged your digital marketing skills to build Cait

    • 58 min
    Ep. 18 - David Roberts, New York Times Best-Selling Illustrator, Talks About Imagination, Following Our Children’s Lead, and the Importance of Constructive Feedback

    Ep. 18 - David Roberts, New York Times Best-Selling Illustrator, Talks About Imagination, Following Our Children’s Lead, and the Importance of Constructive Feedback

    David Roberts is a multi-award-winning and New York Times best-selling illustrator who has earned great acclaim for his distinctive style. While the world comes together to fight a global pandemic, schools have closed, and the public activities that we are used to experiencing with our children are all off-limits. David joined me to share his insightful thoughts about how to interact with our children during this odd time in our lives. He offered this wonderful piece of advice too: allow your children to lead you with their imagination, and pick up on the points they are giving you about the world and about life. David also shared how he uses thoughtful and constructive feedback in his work, his love of fashion, and the art of storytelling through his illustrations.
    David was born in Liverpool and studied fashion design at university in Manchester. After graduating, he worked as a milliner and a fashion illustrator but always felt his true calling was in children’s books. David finally realized his dream when his first book was published in 1998, and since then he has collaborated with some of Britain’s finest children’s authors, including Julia Donaldson, Sally Gardner, Philip Ardagh, Jacqueline Wilson, and Andrea Beaty. He is also the creator of the popular Dirty Bertie books (Stripes/Little Tiger Press). His previous work includes collaborations with his sister Lynn on retellings of several classic fairy stories.  Their book Little Red was shortlisted for the 2005 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal. 
    In 2006 he won the Nestlé Children’s Book Prize Gold Award for his line drawings in Mouse Noses on Toast (Faber & Faber). Tinder written by Sally Gardner was shortlisted for both the CILIP Kate Greenaway and Carnegie Medals in 2015. He lives in London with his partner. 
    Tune in to hear David’s thoughts pertaining to:
    A reminder to adults and parents: It’s okay to face the oddness of this situation and to not expect too much of ourselves. (5:08)  How to re-introduce characters in a kid's book to our children other ways and allow them to bring their imagination to life. (6:00) How to encourage imagination and creativity: Take, for example, Rosie from the book, Rosie Revere Engineer:  Ask your child what you think you’d like to invite Rosie to do. It’s about making a space in your life to craft an environment your child wants to explore. (8:03) Feeling as if you have to be everything to your kids right now, so why not play with creativity. (9:00) David shares one of his earliest memories of his grandmother and toilet paper rolls. (11:21) We discuss the moments that shaped us, for David it was during his childhood, when he was diagnosed with dyslexia and how his school teachers celebrated his drawings. (13:30) Listen to David’s career journey from his youth to art college. (16:20) David shares how he began his career as a milliner in Hong Kong, how he stepped away from that part of his life and pivoted to a career in illustration. He talks openly about the process of illustrating a book and how it can be extremely isolating. (19:49) Do children’s books have hidden messages for the parents? Listen to find out David’s thoughts. (44:00) Sofia Valdez, Future Prez, the clerk’s tiny toe and other ways illustrators keep stories fresh for parents. (53:00) We talk about the mention of Sade (the singer and songwriter) in Sofia’s book and how David created his own plot through imagery and hero-worshipping. (01:00:00) David’s tips for parents during this pandemic. (1:04:00) David offers a tip on how you can find your favorite illustrators on Instagram to participate in drawalongs during this pandemic. (1:06:00) A key question I ask David is: Tell us about how you handle constructive feedback? How do you let it roll off your shoulders (or incorporate it to improve your output)?
    Additional Links:
    Follow David

    • 1 hr 12 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
11 Ratings

11 Ratings

You s t I n k ,

Great insights on business, career and life!

I've been enjoying listening to these conversations from entrepreneurs and professionals from all walks of life. Everyone interviewed has had such an interesting background and career path, and Melissa does a great job of asking questions so there's always a big take-away. Excited to hear more!

Bptel79 ,

Refreshing

Melissa did a great job in asking the questions people want to hear answers to. I especially liked how she picked their brain which lead to stories about how they reached their desired goals. Thus leading to refreshing, candid and insightful interviews.

MasterofPointsandMiles ,

Where Informative Meets Intelligence

Candid advice, interesting stories, and poignant questions designed to help YOU land your dream job. It leaves me craving more!

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