395: Myrna Soto’s Journey to Success: Empowering Women

Hear how Myrna Soto combined her great people skills with business experience to move up that corporate ladder.

Welcome to On the Brink with Andi Simon, where we delve deep into the minds of industry leaders who are shaping the future. In this episode, I’m thrilled to bring a remarkable individual who has managed to shape businesses blending her people skills with her high-tech wisdom. Please allow me to introduce you to Myrna Soto. Myrna thrived as a woman in IT, becoming a role model for women in IT. Myrna is Founder and CEO of Apogee Executive Advisors, an advisory firm providing strategic consulting the areas of Technology Risk, Cybersecurity, Technology Integrations, Digital Transformation, and Enterprise Risk Management.

How can women in IT thrive and succeed in Business? A little by chance and a lot of grit and hard work.

Myrna told me about meeting our coauthor, Edie Fraser in one of those serendipitous moments that we love to share. These encounters are so difficult for many people but so common and comfortable for Edie. Myrna was at an event on governance and was looking for a place to sit up front. She was a speaker at the event and wanted to be close to the stage. The only empty table had one person sitting there—of course, it was Edie Fraser.

They met and spoke, and next, Myrna was invited to be in our newest book, Women Mean Business: Over 500 Insights from Extraordinary Leaders to Spark Your Success. We all believe life has a path, and we keep showing up to find the next step. We talk to people, share our stories, and see our common purpose and passion.

Watch and listen to our conversation here:

Myrna Soto Podcast

How did Myrna Soto do it? Are there lessons you can learn to propel your own success in IT and Business?

As we share in our podcasts, Myrna is a living testament to the power of determination, resilience, and unwavering dedication. Myrna’s journey embodies the essence of climbing the corporate ladder, armed with her profound business acumen and her innate ability to foster effective communication and build formidable teams. She shares that her undergraduate training was in that soft stuff—psychology. She wasn’t sure where she was going, but psychology was fascinating. But as she entered business and realized that the momentum was in helping teams work well together, and that technology was at the core of what was coming next to transform business, Myrna pivoted and returned for her business degree.

What sets Myrna apart is her unique approach to business—a harmonious blend of strategic foresight, technical prowess, and a people-centric mindset. She understands that success isn’t merely about bottom lines and profit margins; it’s about empowering individuals, fostering innovation, and cultivating a culture of inclusivity and collaboration.

Success comes in caring for others, building diverse and inclusive teams, and championing efforts to break down barriers.

But Myrna’s influence extends far beyond the corporate world. A fervent advocate for diversity and inclusion, she’s championed initiatives aimed at breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for underrepresented groups. Her commitment to driving positive change is a beacon of hope for aspiring leaders from all walks of life.

But what’s most inspiring about Myrna is her unwavering belief in the power of mentorship and giving back. As she continues to ascend new heights of success, she’s made it her mission to pay it forward, guiding the next generation of leaders and imparting wisdom from years of invaluable experience.

Join us as we share Myrna Soto—a visionary leader, a passionate advocate, and a true beacon of wisdom in today’s ever-evolving business landscape. Get ready to be enlightened, empowered, and inspired as we uncover the secrets to success. Yes, it is hard work, but it is also the ability to pause, step back, and see what is happening to add your wisdom at the right moments.

Myrna Soto is featured in our new book, Women Mean Business: Over 500 Insights from Extraordinary Leaders to Spark Your Success

How to connect with Myrna

You can reach Myrna on LinkedIn or through her website ForgePointCap.com.

To learn more about this topic, we recommend these these:

Additional resources for you

Read the transcript of our podcast here 

Andi Simon:  Welcome to On the Brink, a fresh lens to take you and your business to new heights. Hi, I’m Andi Simon. I’m your host and your guide. And as I tell you, for each podcast, my job is to get you off the brink. What I’d like to do is help you see, feel and think in new ways so that you can stop getting stuck or stalled. And I tell you each time I meet with somebody and their story is shared, other people email me back and say that was so inspiring. We love to tell stories and unless you know others, you don’t have anyone who you can role model yourself after and you really don’t know how they got there and how it works. So today I have an extraordinary woman to share with you. Myrna is here with me now. Myrna has a chapter in our new book, Women Mean Business and I will show you her beautiful picture. She has given us some fantastic wisdom. Her book quote was, “I’ve made it my mantra never to be comfortable.” We’re going to talk about that because it’s very interesting. I’m constantly stretching my limits and reaching for what may be next. And if you’re listening, think through comfort or challenge. Are these opportunities or are they problems? Think about how to keep growing. I’ve had somebody on our podcast recently who said, life is like a movie set. When you’re at the great ending, do you have regrets or did you build the right movie and it’s all in your hands. So thank you Myrna for joining me.

Myrna Soto: Thank you Andi, it’s a pleasure to be here with you today and to have a conversation about so many topics. And I love the way that you picked out that quote because that’s definitely something I want to talk about.

Andi Simon: Me too. Let me tell the listener about your beautiful resume. I’m going to pick my way through it because Myrna is going to tell you more about her own journey. She will make it come alive better than I can do. She serves on the boards of CMS Energy and Consumers Energy. And she’s on the board of Spirit Airlines and Popular Inc, which operates under the brand names of Banco Popular and Popular Bank. And she’s recognized as a governance and board leadership fellow by the National Association of Corp Directors. In addition to her public board service, Myrna serves on the board of Delina, a privately held cybersecurity technology provider, and on the board of Headspace Health, privately held on the Board of Vector, a privately held cybersecurity technology provider. You get the thread. She’s also had a marvelous career and I don’t know how you start. I’ll read the bottom and then we can move up. She served as corporate SVP and Global Chief Information Security Officer for Comcast, as well as SVP of technology, infrastructure, and was responsible for all security and technology risk.

We are in the middle of the fourth Industrial Revolution, How will women thrive in IT and in Business?

Myrna. The whole middle of your bio is wonderful. I’d like you to share your own journey with the audience. But for those who are watching and those who are listening, make it come alive for us. Because you’ve had a really interesting career. And today, in the middle of this fourth Industrial Revolution, it’s even more powerful and important than ever. Who is Myrna?

Myrna Soto: Thank you for the opportunity to share my story. When I answer the question, who is Myrna, I always start with sharing the fact that I am fortunate that I came from what I call a very humble beginning. There are many different courses in life, and my journey started with a very humble, blue collar, immigrant family. My parents are both Hispanic. My mother is from Puerto Rico and my father is from Cuba. And that matters because I will reference some of his experience and some of my parents’ experience and what motivated me to do some of the things that I’ve done in my career, but came from a very humble background. I had a blue collar, ethnic community in South Florida. I grew up in South Florida, went to college in South Florida, but then I spent the majority of my career away from South Florida, and that was out of sheer necessity for career progression and where the opportunities led me. But I’ve spent the greater part of the last 30 years, I often hate to say that number out loud, but for today, I’m very proud of that number, the last 30 years or so as a sea level executive, mainly in the technology sector, but for a variety of industries. I had the pleasure early in my career to work for a number of hospitality providers in the form of cruise lines. I had the opportunity to work for a phenomenal organization that still to this day I use the term we when I refer to them, and that is American Express. I was part of a number of teams and technology teams within American Express, and throughout my career I worked in a number of other industries. One would be in the insurance industry, work back again in the hospitality sector when I had an opportunity to join MGM Resorts in Las Vegas, Nevada, that Andi could be a whole podcast amongst itself. I had a great experience there at MGM resorts. And then my last executive role, as you mentioned, was at Comcast Corporation. I had a wonderful journey with Comcast Corporation. Although I was mainly in the technology sector throughout most of my career, I started my career as a business person first. That kind of led me into a number of incredible opportunities where, yes, I have the subject matter expertise around technology, but I’m always a business person first and always guide myself by that. And I have attributed that to much of the success that I’ve had in my career, where it wasn’t just technology for technology’s sake, but it was purposeful. And as you mentioned, we’re on the verge of this next industrial revolution in the form of how artificial intelligence is utilized and the generative nature of artificial intelligence.  I find myself, even today, having these types of business level conversations business centric. First, in many of the boardrooms that I serve in and many of the companies that I advise, but as far as my journey is concerned, I did have an incredible journey throughout the executive ranks. I felt really good about what I had accomplished, the teams that I have built, the legacies that I left behind in the companies that I worked for. And I was fortunate to start my journey in the boardroom while I was still an active executive at Comcast. And that opened up an enormous opportunity for me. I call it the next chapter of my career, which is what I’m living today in the form of being a corporate director for many publicly traded companies, to being a board member for privately held organizations that are on the growth path and that will have a desire to become publicly traded at some point in their journey, and then to be an advisor and a consultant to many executives, where I get to kind of glean my experience and have conversations with them.  I’m often called a coach, but I don’t necessarily use that term because I have a very strong appreciation for the coaching profession and know that it is a very unique skill. But I often will play coach when I can and where it’s appropriate.

Andi Simon: You have opened my mind to so many things. This is why I said, a bio is cool, but it doesn’t really feel like anything. I’ve spoken about how to thrive in a male dominated world. How do women do it? And if you are comfortable starting there, I’ll give you a couple of things. How do we overcome that anticipation? The words we use create the worlds we live in. And I often coach people to think about not just what they’re saying, but what’s heard and how men and women speak differently, act differently. How do you appreciate that instead of fighting? what have you experienced? Is that a legitimate question to start our conversation?

Myrna Soto: Absolutely, absolutely a legitimate question.  And I will start to answer that with a little extra nugget around my journey that may make sense as I answer the question and provide some anecdotes. Throughout my career, as I mentioned, I’ve been a technology executive. However, my formal education was in psychology.

Andi Simon: So how did I know? I’m sorry to laugh and giggle. There’s a little bit of that coming through loud and clear.

Myrna Soto:  And the laughter is perfect because I know you’re gravitating to where I’m going to go with this is thatI started my formal educational career in psychology. I got my undergrad degree in psychology and actually went on and obtained a master’s degree in organizational and industrial psychology. And I have attributed that layer of understanding of the human psyche, understanding the motivations of individuals, how to include people, how to kind of galvanize around a mission to that educational process. And I have often had such really wonderful conversations with people that learned that about me and then ask me, well, how did you go from psychology major? And I actually did want to be a mental health therapist. That was my goal to become a technology leader and that’s a much longer story. But there are some inroads there that kind of gravitate back to your question. So when I think about my career, it may sound a little cliche-ish, but I found myself to be the only woman in the room more often than not in the technology arena. Add to that that I was not an engineer by former education. So being accepted in this ecosystem and in this world was not an easy thing. But I did use my humanistic abilities to connect with people and to make sure that people understood that I was bringing a perspective to the table that didn’t exist before, and that there was value in us kind of working together and understanding how the differences with how we’re approaching a problem could be solved. But, I will also attribute the fact that you quoted the comfort piece in the book and I also attribute this to my upbringing and where I came from, where my parents, who were both immigrants to the mainland, I’d say the mainland, because Puerto Rico is part of the United States.  And my mother is very proud that she was born a US citizen from the get go. but obviously was a transplant from the island into the mainland here in the United States. And that experience and raising a family came with a lot of challenges. So I grew up in an environment where there were struggles, but there was also tenacity and grit and the opportunity to say I want to do better for my family, and I want to do better for the future of our family. And when I found myself in these circles where I looked left, look right, and I’m like, I’m the only one. And add to that, now I have to even prove myself even more because they look at me and they say, you’re not an engineer. I use a lot of that learning to kind of just have this tenacious ability to not get knocked down and not allow arrogance or ego to get in the way, but to truly partner with people.  I won’t say that it was easy, but I think being able to articulate in a certain way is critically important. I mentor a number of young ladies in their early stages of their career, and they will say things to me I can’t get attention. I can’t get people to listen to me. And I often say to them, is it what you’re saying? Or is it how you are saying it? And we go through these role playing models and whatnot. And one of the biggest compliments that I got early in my career is someone that I work with, and this may date all of us a little bit, so in my career said to me,, Myrna, you are like E.F. Hutton. You speak to everyone.  I realized I’m like, well, why is that happening? Why are they listening? And I know exactly why I felt at the time I knew exactly why.

And it was because I was appealing to them. I was appealing to their interests. I was appealing to what it is that I could do to work with them to reach a common goal. And that sounds kind of lofty, but when you kind of drill down, it is exactly what made it work for me and has made it work throughout my entire career. Then I’ve also made it a point of building allies. So, I mentor a lot of young ladies that are early in their career. And I often say to them that although you may be in a male dominated field or you may find yourself where there are so many men in higher power positions, do not make them be adversarial. This is an opportunity to kind of reach across and build allies because my biggest sponsors throughout my career were men. And I attribute or I reflect on them, and I came to the realization that all of my key sponsors throughout my career that were men happened to have been fathers of daughters. And there’s something there. You know, I believe that they were in the business world, in the corporate arena. They kind of looked around and said, I got little girls. I want them to have a better opportunity. So it’s my time to make sure that that happens. And it starts with being an ally and sponsoring women in the workplace. S,o I hope that gives you a little bit of perspective of how my mind thinks about that.

Andi Simon: Well, I’m sitting here smiling because of a completely different answer than I ever had imagined. But you navigated rocky waters by realizing that it’s not about you. It’s about how do I help them in a fashion that they can hear you. Because often, and as you’re coaching these women, one of the messages that I’ve learned is how many times was I the only other first, in the C-suite? In my second book, I actually had a story in there about being at a board meeting that was an EVP of a bank to a board meeting. There were 49 men. We didn’t say anything. We listened carefully, and I wasn’t quite sure how you said something. Do I raise my hand? I mean, you had to learn the protocols., and there was no one to manage to help you. But  it’s interesting in reflection, though, because I was able to navigate my rocky waters by thinking about them and we, not I and me. And while I hear that often, we’ve learned a lot about conversational intelligence. The brain creates a whole lot of happy oxytocin when you talk about we and co-creating, and it creates a lot of nasty cortisol when you talk about I and me and so you don’t even know that. But when we do know that how you speak is more important than what you’ve said because I can’t hear you. And if you put the AI up too often. They have a roadblock and it’s all about her. And if it’s a woman on top of it who isn’t an engineer we will discount that.

How fast can we delete what you just said? But there’s chemistry to it. And I do think, as you understand it, and the neuroscientists are teaching us so much, all of a sudden it becomes a more understandable roadmap towards success. But it’s so interesting, as I’m listening to you, are there now more women in those boardrooms, C-suite, and are they changing the complexion of the conversation.

Myrna Soto: They are. So, the short answer is unequivocally yes. Are we at a representation level that I think that we will feel equitable and satisfied? Not yet, but we are making our way there, which is a wonderful thing. As I look back at how the composition looked like early in my career to where it is today and I’m fortunate to be a part of and I say be a part of and have contributed to influencing organizations to open up opportunities and open their mindset around who is selected, who is considered, who is supported, and things of that nature. So I do think it’s changing. It has changed and will continue to change. One of the things that I find very fascinating right now is in addition to the gender composition, is the multi-generational makeup of teams. And I think that’s a great opportunity to reflect on exactly what you just shared around how we communicate, how we are involved, and how we listen. I learned that through my psychology education, the power of listening. Many people that know me well personally, know  I’m a quick wit, right quick to respond. And one of the things that was really incredibly important for me to learn was to pause. Maybe you don’t need to just respond right away. Just listen and continue to listen and to be empathetic about what you’re hearing. And I find that is such a critically important skill right now because of the multigenerational workforce, multigenerational boardroom, multigenerational advisory committees, you name it.

I think it’s beautiful. I think it’s a beautiful thing where I can find myself with someone that is senior to me in age and experience and someone that is earlier in their career and we’re equally at the seat at the table, and we are peers. And to be able to kind of accept that as a peer relationship and continue to learn from one another, I think it’s a beautiful thing, but it requires each of these generations to come to the table with a very open mind. And I’m going to use the buzzword, inclusive type of perspective and not necessarily feel like I’ve been in this world for X number of years and I’ve done this and I’ve done that. That’s not the way to do it. And again, I’ll reflect back and and correlate your statement then the number of times that I am used. I’m often questioned when I say a question, they’ll hear me say this term and they’ll say, I don’t understand, Myrna.  What do you mean? So I will often talk about companies and teams. And I will still say we and they’re like, but you’re not part of that organization anymore. And I said, well, once part of a team, always part of a team. And I will use that term. We sometimes subconsciously it just happens naturally but it’s a very interesting dynamic that we have in front of us both generational gender composition. It’s just  mean.  I’m going to feed off of the positivity that we were talking about earlier. It’s just a wonderful time to be alive and to be associated with professionals and working with such a dynamic group of people.

Andi Simon: As long as you can be reflective. That’s right. I worked with one company and they were having a very difficult time because the elders had one set of values and were working really hard for their pension, and the younger ones wanted a 9 to 5 job. And thank you very much. I’m not worried about my pension and the poor guys in the middle. Mostly guys had to translate to keep the place whole so that they had enough people doing enough work. And it was most interesting because these were as if they were Greeks and Romans and they didn’t realize that they had such different life experiences, values and behaviors that they had to come across the bridge or they couldn’t ever build together something that would actually stand up for the future. Only working 9 to 5 wasn’t ever going to work. You had to build something different. It was very interesting. So your board doesn’t realize that they each come with a different set of values and hearing their stories are different. And so each time you hear someone, you can’t process it because you have no context. And from your psychological background, add a little neuroscience, you realize that these are complicated, joyful times. If you can sit and watch and not find yourself spinning trying to figure out who’s on first.

But it is important because that’s where change is coming and if we can’t respect each other and find a common objective or goal, we’ll never build it. I am interested if I can shift the conversation just a little bit. Someone sent me a wonderful Southwest tape that Amy Webb had done about the fourth Industrial Revolution. And I had to give a talk on the future. Someone has said my podcast is among the top 20 futurist podcasts. I didn’t know I was a futurist, but I do know that if we can’t see the future and prepare for it, you can’t live today very well. And there’s a bit of literature emerging about the impact of all of this new technology and not just AI on particularly women in the workplace, as if we are aliens to the technology. And I say that laughingly, but that’s the kind of tone in the articles. What’s all this technology going to mean for women? Are they going to lose jobs or are they going to have to change? And then on the other side, they’re so smart they’ll be leading us.  It’s really hypothetical. But do you have a perspective being a woman and without an engineering degree who’s thrived in cyber technology and AI. Your perspective will be most appreciated.

“I think that there’s an interesting conundrum that we have when we think about some of the perceptions of this revolution and the inferences about women. And it is for me, it clearly points to the softer skills being eliminated.”

Myrna Soto: Well. Thank you for the opportunity to share. I think that there’s an interesting conundrum that we have when we think about some of the perceptions of this revolution and the inferences about women. And it is for me, it clearly points to the softer skills being eliminated. Although my educational process started with the softer skills as I continued my career in technology, I obviously place a significant amount of effort and got a second, graduate degree that happened to be a technical degree so that I could have credibility and work in the technical environment. And really, the merging of these two things, I think, was just magical, at least for me personally. So when I think about this revolution, the same should happen, right? It is not the elimination of any one type of worker or any gender specific worker, but it’s how this new era of being able to use these technologies to guide our decision making process with facts and data? How does technology now provide us with a greater level of perspective and context to make better decisions, or to guide ourselves to different problems and solutions, solutions to problems and things of that nature? My perspective is that a lot of people are very fearful of what may come, and I am much more of an optimist. I believe that when we think about the multiple industrial revolutions that mankind has seen, if we go back to the early revolutions, we’d say, the first industrial revolution was manufacturing and factories changing the factory floor and how things were processed. And I’m sure I was not alive then, but at that time, the horror was, oh my God, jobs will be eliminated and what will we be needed for? And we have proven time and time again that we will evolve. And I think that this is another one of those moments in time that we will evolve. We will not be eliminated, but that we will grow. And they will have an opportunity to use this technology in a much more enriched way to guide, assist. Will it require us to upskill certain workforces? Absolutely. Every single one of these revolutions have required us to either retool certain roles and upskill our capabilities. And I personally think that’s a phenomenal thing. And it’s a very positive thing. The one caveat would be that we have to be very mindful of how we use the technology. We have to be very mindful of how the data collection, the quality of the data that will be used for contextual decision generation and things of that nature is incredibly important up to and including to make sure that it doesn’t create biases against groups. It doesn’t create biases against different types of individuals and different scenarios. I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine that’s in the insurance industry, and we talked at great lengths about the potential that biases could be weaponized against individuals who have medical conditions and claims management as an example. So we’ve been really mindful about the ethical use of these technologies and to set the stage for combating misinformation for data quality, because the outcomes could be detrimental.

Andi Simon: Well, you know, in anthropology 101 way back when I was an undergraduate, I vividly remember the professor saying, out of context, data does not exist. And I vividly remember it because I sat there, and I thought about it. So there really isn’t anything. It’s in context. It has a meaning, like your boardroom with multiple generations. Those same words being spoken have different meanings in the different minds of the people there. That’s not a whole lot different than AI generating something with data, just like the minds in the room, interpreting it in a particular fashion. I am in love with ChatGPT and I have a minor ability to use it. I’m learning a great deal, but even Shutterstock, where I buy my pictures has an AI function, and I asked it to create me something for a talk I’m giving. And it was the most beautiful picture, and I bought it the same way I would buy it If a photographer had made it. And then on LinkedIn, everything I write can be rewritten using AI. So then my copywriter is having a fit., and I said, no, you’re going to have to read. Well, it doesn’t sound like you. I said, does that matter to anybody? The things that you think are important may not be. What may matter is that they have some information from an anthropologist, whether I wrote it or I got it from AI, and we edited it, or we added a dimension to it. And there’s tremendous stuff coming out that a whole population of people who now write or draw or do photography may find themselves having to rethink themselves. It could be really very creative but don’t assume that what you’ve always done for the last 20 years, in fact, what’s coming for the next 20 years, it’s not going to happen and be excited about it. You wrote one thing here: comfort is death. And you also said, never settle. I couldn’t tell you how excited I was as I read your wisdom.  I’m right there with you because life is too interesting. You know, and what technology is opening, I don’t care if it’s blockchain or 3D printing, Russia has a 3D printer that’ll print a house in a day. What does that mean for contractors? Right?

Myrna Soto: Yeah, I think, I love the way that you put a wrapper on this topic because it does kind of gravitate to the fact that we should be striving for constant learning. We should be striving for a very healthy degree of change. I say healthy because the pace of change will depend on the multitude of circumstances. But I think that’s where if we were stagnant and we just kind of just stayed in our status, whatever that is, that may be comfortable because we’re not pressured, we’re not stretched. And that’s where I get my little comfort level from, as I have questioned myself on many occasions throughout my entire life and to say, well, if this class was simple for me, if it was easy for me to finish, so I gotta look for something more challenging. If this role in my professional career, if I feel that I have mastered and I wake up and I can do this with my eyes closed, well, that’s not good. What else can I do? What else can I add? What else can I do? And whether it was by design or not, I feel that when I’ve had those opportunities to do that and people then notice and say, why are you doing that? I now have an opportunity to influence how somebody else is thinking about where they are, what they’re doing.

You opened up today saying, sometimes we feel stuck. Sometimes, we feel that we’re in a certain spot and we kind of don’t know how to get out of it. And I often think reinvention. Reinvention is just the lifeline of our prosperity and fulfillment. And I often do this in air quotes when people ask me about my career journey and I say, well, I retired from my corporate career. And those who know me well say that there is nothing about my life that reads retirement. And I mentioned in the book that for me, retirement is retirement. Like rewiring my mind of what it is I’m going to do. So, when it comes to technology, we need to embrace it. We need to understand it. We also need to be influential on how it’s utilized when it’s utilized. But we shouldn’t fear it as long as we can create.

Andi Simon:  Excuse me? As long as we can create something.

An ecosystem that keeps the integrity and the ethical use in check. I think it’s going to be a wonderful thing.

Andi Simon: It’s interesting. Yesterday we did a presentation to Noblest, a tech company and government and other work, and one of the women said, how would you advise me? I’m a tech person and I would like to go and explore other fields. And I had lots of thoughts that went through my head. I said, well, you started to tell me this story that you’re a tech person that immediately defined you. And how many other persons are you besides that, and what fields would you like to explore because it’s all in your hands and it isn’t anyone coming to you and saying you should now discover human resources or music or anything else. Remember, you’re making your own movie up. What’s in your story? Because to your point, my husband and I both retired about 35 years ago. You know, if retirement is doing what you love to do, he grew several businesses.  He’s a serial entrepreneur, and I’ve been in business for 23 years, enjoying every moment of it. And I don’t know what I would retire to because I’d end up doing it again and the complexity of it is exactly what I love because I don’t know where it’s going. But to this woman with a definition of herself in tech, I thought was interesting in the context of our conversation today, because you never were a tech woman, were you?

“I never was a tech woman. I think I was a business leader that happened to be in tech.”

Myrna Soto: You know, I never was a tech woman. I think I was a business leader that happened to be in tech.  The individual that asked you that question, I’m sure that you provided some insights and you kind of geared them to think differently about how they were even posing the question because it isn’t very reflective on how we view and project.  I’ve had engineers, female engineers, brilliant engineers, you know, basically to say, look, you know, I’m good at this.

Myrna Soto: I don’t really enjoy it and what would you recommend for me to do? And I often start with where are your interests. And as simple as what is your interest and being able to kind of take interest and then equate them and correlate them to potential business roles that they could take their interest, their energy, their motivation. And, by the way, that engineering experience, fold that into being able to create an opportunity. I had a woman I was speaking to today, and she asked me a very specific question about her progression. And I said to her, one of the things that you have in front of you for her in particular, is you work in an incredible organization that will allow you to create a role. Very powerful. This is your moment to create a role that will be fulfilling to you and then will add value to your organization. And it was like fireworks went off, the wheels started turning, and I could tell that she was like, I didn’t even realize it under her nose. So I think that’s another thing that we often go back to for comfort and challenges. We often have trouble kind of seeing what’s in front of us.

Andi Simon: Well, I think that you and I could talk a lot about a lot of things, but I also think that we’ve probably shared enough about Myrna Soto to our audience. Let’s do a wrap up  because whether they’re viewing or listening, when they’re working out or cooking in the kitchen, half an hour is a lot of time to think about all the things that we’ve been talking about. I’d like to leave them with one or 2 or 3 things that you think are important for them to remember. They often remember the ending better than the beginning. 1 or 2 things you think would be important to share with them, like don’t forget or take action on something you want to share.

Myrna Soto: I’d love to. I’d love to mention that I’m a firm believer that progression is not always linear. It’s really, really important for us to value the experiences and the things that we can do and contribute that don’t necessarily have those traditional linear paths and not ignore them because they’re there. Those opportunities come to us at times and sometimes we create them. So please pay attention to that and really, really take advantage of them. Then the other piece is that I think it’s truly important, don’t forget the fact that where you started doesn’t necessarily mean this is where you need to be. There’s reinvention that happens, both at our own hand and sometimes to us that we need to embrace. And I think that evolving and changing is just such a healthy attribute to embrace.

Andi Simon: I think this has been such fun. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy meeting people, women, but men as well, who embrace the things I love, which is uncertainty and complexity and curiosity and life is so today even more so than we both started out without clear destinations, but lots of stops along the way somewhere. That’s really cool. You made a point, and I don’t want to lose it. We often talk about life work balance, but this is about work life choices. And I want to just emphasize to the audience of the listeners. People ask me about how you blend life and work? And I said, I don’t know what you’re talking about. You just do it. You know, you figure out it’s another part of complex life. Life is complicated and nobody’s telling you how to do it. So think about a pretty good story about how you want to do it and make it happen. Try and control your story because that’s what you’re going to live. That mind has a great story. It does exactly what it thinks you want to do, be happy or be sad. It’s all up to you. And this is how you can wake up every day with a smile, listen to Myrna and really embrace this journey we’re on. It’s going to be great wherever we’re going. And however, thank you so much for being with me today.

Myrna Soto: Thank you Andi, I really appreciate the time. Really appreciate listeners listening in. And this was an absolute pleasure.

Andi Simon: Thank you. Now I’m going to thank the listeners who come. You lifted us to be the top 5% of podcasts globally. But I enjoy getting all kinds of emails from across the globe, Philippines and Australia and wherever you are, and send us people who you would like to hear from. And I must always tell you that I enjoy doing this. Our books are all available. Women Mean Business is on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, your local bookseller. The wisdom in there. I’ve had people who have yellow marked the book. I said, Mark the book. It’s changing the way I’m running my business. Did you run your business? Another one said, I’m planning 2024 by reading the book. I said, how I never wrote three books. This is the first, that it comes alive in the hearts and minds of the reader. Thanks to you, Myrna. So thank you for being part of it.And for all of you, remember, as an anthropologist, we take observations, turn them into innovations. You can do the same. You could be an amateur anthropologist and have a great time. Goodbye now. Have a great day.

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