Business and Life Experience Lessons From Mom

Business and Life Experience Lessons From Mom

Doing CX Right podcast show on Spotify with host Stacy Sherman
Doing Customer Experience (CX) Right Podcast - Hosted by Stacy Sherman
Doing CX Right podcast show on iHeart Radio with host Stacy Sherman

In honor of my milestone 50th Doing CX Right podcast launch, I’m so excited to bring you an inspiring trendsetter. Meet my Mom Eileen. She’s one of the first women Options Traders on Wallstreet, a well-known Bridge and Backgammon player, and a true change agent by every definition of the word. She’s had to go ‘against gravity’ to achieve success and shares valuable leadership lessons to help you reach goals no matter what rejections and challenges come your way.

Show Topics Include:

  • Life growing up in the 1940 with parents who were ahead of their times
  • How women can thrive in business even when a minority in the room  
  • The importance of a support system, especially men in the workplace
  • Leadership advice. Hint: there’s plenty of room at the top
  • The bright side of rejection
  • Ways to gain confidence and a can-do mindset
  • Playing the game that has to be played to win
  • Advocating for what you need and turning a “no” response into “yes”
  • One key takeaway for improving experiences and having a more content life
  • Advice to younger 20-year-old self if you could go back in time
  • And more experience lessons from Mom

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If you like this, check out my article

“10 Leadership Lessons From Growing Up With A Wallstreet Mom”

Leadership Advice From My Wallstreet Mom- Eileen Brenner


About Stacy Sherman: Founder of Doing CX Right®‬

An award-winning certified marketing and customer experience (CX) corporate executive, speaker, author, and podcaster, known for DoingCXRight®. She created a Heart & Science™ framework that accelerates customer loyalty, referrals, and revenue, fueled by engaged employees and customer service representatives. Stacy’s been in the trenches improving experiences as a brand differentiator for 20+ years, working at companies of all sizes and industries, like Liveops, Schindler elevator, Verizon, Martha Steward Craft, AT&T++.   Stacy is on a mission to help people DOING, not just TALKING about CX, so real human connections & happiness exist. Continue reading bio >here.

Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Differences and CX Impacts

Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Differences and CX Impacts

Employee experiences impact customer experiences. It’s why there are a lot of conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. When employees feel valued and appreciated for showing up as their true selves, they deliver customer excellence even when their boss isn’t looking. They also help mold the company culture where employees choose to stay longer and tell others to join too.

A common debate is whether or not DE&I and belonging are the same? The answer is no. Pat Wadors, who is credited with creating the term DIBs (Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging) puts it thus: “D&I may capture your head, but belonging captures your heart.” I also love Anita Sand’s simple yet powerful definition.

DIVERSITY is a fact (the numbers are what they are), INCLUSION is a choice (you decide whether to include someone or not), but BELONGING is a feeling that can be enforced by a culture that you purposefully create.

To help drive more conversations and actions, happy to share a guest article as Dr. Anita Sands reveals eye-opening explanations.

The Meaning of Belonging

A Feeling You Never Forget

Every human can think of a moment when he or she felt they didn’t belong. It’s not a feeling you forget. Even as a kid, you develop ‘spidey-senses’ for it. Exclusion hurts and thinking of times when you didn’t fit in because of something you couldn’t control can teleport you right back into that sad, pit-in-your-stomach feeling.

Every single one of us has had those moments. Maybe you were bullied as a kid or always the last one to be picked for the sports team. Perhaps your moment was when you immigrated to a new country or joined a new company. Maybe you feel the need to play down or hide your religious beliefs, your accent, or your sexual orientation from your colleagues. Shaped by our own history, there are so many maybes and so many moments for each of us when, for whatever reason, we didn’t feel like we belonged.

The unrivaled power of belonging and the detrimental effects of not play out every day in our society. The recent tragedy in New Zealand is a painful example of what happens when some of our fellow humans are treated like they don’t belong, but also of the powerful and reinforcing messages that bind a community and country together when the resounding response to them is: Yes, you do.

The Liberating Power of Belonging

Think of that soul-destroying feeling of not belonging. Now imagine dealing with it every day at work.

Have you ever wondered if the colleagues who sit around you feel like they have to filter major parts of their personal identity out of their professional persona? If they check a part of their life at the door each day? How painful must it be to tolerate that sense of exclusion every day just to make a living? And yet it happens all the time.

For all our talk of diversity and inclusion (D&I), we often fail to recognize that just because someone is included in our organization, certainly doesn’t mean they feel they belong.

Organizations have worked hard to increase the diversity of their workforces and create inclusive cultures, and yet the results have been underwhelming. While D&I strategies are necessary for companies to perform at their best, they are far from sufficient. Unless the people in your organization truly feel they belong, regardless of how diverse they might be, you’ll never realize the full potential of the talent you’ve worked so hard to attract.

Belonging is a feeling and therefore a far more powerful force than any D&I strategy could ever be. It’s a fundamental human need, a word that translates across any language or culture, and a feeling that every human is wired to want.

The Smothering Effects of Not Belonging

When you settle for a workplace where you know in your heart you don’t belong, you lose your mojo. It hurts when you feel that only part of you fits in at work and when there’s a big difference between your “home self” and your “work self.”

In order to better fit-in, people will try as best they can to conform to the dominant culture. If that means downplaying a part of themselves, that’s what they’ll do — a phenomenon known as covering or masking.

Research shows that people mask to a far greater degree at work than we ever imagined. A Deloitte study of more than 3,000 people found that 61% of people cover at work on at least one dimension. More so if they are black (79%) or gay (83%).

Covering is exhausting. Feeling like you consistently have to “be someone else” to be a ‘cultural-fit’ is akin to being smothered from the inside out.

For those in leadership roles, the pressures intensify, resulting in inconsistency. Some days, you can adhere more to the way you think the company wants you to behave; others, you show up more as your authentic self. That variability becomes confusing and tiresome for your team.

On the other hand, when organizations succeed in creating a culture of belonging, the upsides are enormous — higher employee engagement scores, an enhanced talent brand, lower attrition, fewer sick days, improved productivity, better communication, and teams that fire on all cylinders in terms of innovation and collaboration.

Few companies would say no to any of that.

Belonging — The Gateway to Innovation

For businesses today, being innovative isn’t a nice-to-have; it’s a fundamental imperative. Diverse perspectives, new ideas, creativity, and risk-taking are the superpowers every company is trying to build. And yet, few have realized that their kryptonite is having employees who don’t feel they belong.

Closely linked to a culture of belonging is the notion of psychological safety — the belief that you’re not at risk of embarrassment or rejection; that if you make a well-intentioned mistake, you won’t be criticized.

In a culture where people feel psychologically safe they’ll feel confident enough to put an idea on the table and know that if it doesn’t win out, it wasn’t because of anything innately to do with them. Belonging creates the trust that’s needed for people to share their best thinking and put their craziest — and, perhaps, least popular — ideas on the table.

Not belonging renders people silent. After working so hard to recruit great employees, it’s a shame to think that any of their talent or ingenuity remains untapped merely because they don’t feel safe enough to speak up. Worse still, when employees don’t trust that they can express dissenting opinions without being punished, they’ll only say what management wants to hear.

Belonging has the power to liberate ideas. Think of it as the gateway through which your employees have to pass in order to bring 100% of themselves to the job. Opening that gateway unleashes their creativity and tells them it’s safe to take risks — the critical pre-requisites for innovation and change.

Belonging by design

Environments with high psychological safety are those that can genuinely harness diverse perspectives because people aren’t worried about picking and choosing their words or protecting themselves. Instead, they can focus on the team’s goals, not shying away from direct or even confrontational conversations, including with senior colleagues.

According to Pat Wadors, to create a culture of belonging, teams, and managers should reflect on three questions:

  1. How does your organization celebrate differences?

You can ask your employees about moments they felt they belonged and moments they didn’t. One of the world’s largest asset management firms undertook this exercise in preparation for a leadership offsite. They recorded employees, in their own voices, and then had the firm’s leadership team listen back in the dark, allowing them to truly hear and internalize their colleagues’ sentiments. The result was a breakthrough conversation where most senior executives shared their own stories and decided to make belonging a core element of their culture going forward.

Asking team members to share their stories of origin is also a powerful way to create moments of belonging. As a manager, it’s also important to tell your story. Give people permission to celebrate their uniqueness. Team leaders create belonging cultures by modeling openness and fallibility themselves. By talking about their own vulnerabilities and mistakes, managers encourage others to do the same, helping to mitigate any self-censorship.

Moving your organization toward a culture of belonging isn’t a straight or easy path to take. This stuff is messy but what matters is that leaders are transparent about their own learnings and sincere in their intent. Even a shared awareness of the difference between somebody being “included” versus feeling they “belong” is a step in the right direction.

What’s almost guaranteed is that organizations on this journey are going to feel like things get worse before they get better. It can be a hard balance to strike — to create cultures where people belong but also in which they can be unique.

Along the way, people will feel uncomfortable, and mistakes will be made. But that’s okay. It’s important to view that as progress; it’s to be expected when you move beyond a cerebral approach to diversity and inclusion to a place that captures people’s hearts.

As with all progress, it’s never perfect, but the end result will be worth: An organization where people feel they belong and, better yet, the chance for you to work and belong there, too.

Dr. Anita Sands is an independent board director, international public speaker and creator of the #wisdomcards series. She writes and comments regularly on issues relating to boards, technology, and diversity & inclusion. Find out more about her at or follow her @dranitasands.

Taking Control Over Your Career

Taking Control Over Your Career

Are you thriving in your career or feeling stuck?

Lauren Hering, CEO of IMPACT Group, one of the largest woman-owned career and leadership development companies globally, and I dive deep into topics to help people earn their worth by doing work they love.  

During the interview, I answer a variety of thought-provoking questions and share insights to benefit others in their career. Topics include:

  • My professional journey including the good, challenges, and learnings.
  • Key takeaways from the Women in Leadership program sponsored by Schindler Elevator Corporation that positively impacted my life and career.
  • How and why I accepted a customer experience leadership role and making my mark in a historically male-dominated company.
  • What my mother taught me as one of the first women on the trading floor on Wallstreet, and a tremendous role model.
  • Why my passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion and how that ties into the customer experience.  
  • How building a personal brand is important for self-confidence and overall success.  Where to begin and ways to scale.
  • How journey mapping is a powerful tool to enhance the customer experience and linkages to employee experience.


Share your career views. Tell us what you think.

How Trader Joe’s Does Experience Right – An Insider Perspective

How Trader Joe’s Does Experience Right – An Insider Perspective

How do you keep employees engaged to deliver great customer experiences (CX)? There are many answers to this question, of which creating a company culture where everyone feels included, valued, and appreciated are significant factors.  You can see what “Doing CX Right” means by visiting Trader Joe’s, known for transforming grocery shopping since 1967.

Employees consistently go out of their way to deliver amazing customer service and experiences for each other. I believe that’s the secret sauce. There’s a clear commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), and shoppers can feel it. I encourage you to go to any location and watch people’s interactions, as you will learn so much about humanizing business as a brand differentiator.

Besides observations, I’ve gained insights from talking to Trader Joe’s staff at all levels of the organization, especially in June, known as Pride Month in the United States. (It’s when festivities, parades, and events occur to honor LGBTQ voices and experiences and raise attention to issues community members face.)

My conversations with store staff validate my beliefs about the connection of employee experiences impacting customer satisfaction. They go hand in hand. Employee appreciation isn’t just a nice to do. It’s essential for retention,  brand advocacy, and long-term business growth (see stats and chart below).  

A View From The Inside Of Trader Joe’s

Interview with Heidi Leindecker, Assistant Manager at Trader Joe’s, La Quinta, California

Stacy: What’s the significance of Pride Month? Why shall businesses care?

Heidi: Pride month is about equality and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community.  It’s a time to reflect on how far we’ve come, dating back from the 1969 Stonewall Riots to where we are today and unequivocally how much more there is to achieve with gay rights.  It’s a time to spread awareness, as well as a time to celebrate the freedom to be ourselves.  It’s about being proud of who you are no matter who you love.

Stacy: Is Trader Joe’s supporting the LGBTQ+ community?

Heidi: Trader Joe’s is a role model for hiring diversity and practicing inclusion. The company cultivates a positive image when it comes to inclusion and its brand amongst employees and consumers.  Trader Joe’s puts the employee first and makes sure that everyone is treated with integrity and respect.  Employees are treated equally in the same manner as customers are treated equally.  As employees are treated well, the feeling naturally overflows to the customers’ positive shopping experience.

Stacy: How has Trader Joe’s supported the LGBTQ+ community?

Heidi: Prior to same-sex marriage, Trader Joe’s supported domestic partnership by giving the employee’s partner equal benefits, including medical, dental, and vision.  They also extended the benefit of 10% off of all store purchases to their partners.  The company continues to recognize the partners of the employees by giving them an open invitation to all company parties and events.  Trader Joe’s has a Zero Tolerance Policy for sexual harassment and their training material is updated annually. For example, recently there was a video training that management and crew members viewed that included the importance of gender pronouns.

Stacy: Is Trader Joe’s doing anything to recognize Pride Month?

Heidi: One of the ways that come to mind how Trader Joe’s recognized Pride Month is that all stores received in June really nice cut and potted rainbow roses. These flowers have been very popular with our customers and were also advertised in Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer.

Stacy: What can other company leaders learn from Trader Joe’s for their own employees?

Heidi: Trader Joe’s invests largely in their diverse employees and creates a happy atmosphere where workers want to help customers with a smile.  Employees are appreciated, valued, and free to be themselves.  They are encouraged to go above and beyond and they have the freedom to find unique ways to help customers.  The friendly vibe of Trader Joe’s comes from the personalities of the individual employees, in addition to the company culture.  Trader Joe’s encourages their employees to have fun at work and trusts them to give customers an experience that they can’t get anywhere else. The company believes in the importance of sending a clear message that they stand for equality and acceptance, not just during Pride month, but every day of the year.

Heidi Leindecker, Assistant Manager at Trader Joe's, Shares Employee Experience Perspective during Pride Month

Thank you Heidi for sharing your social views and business perspective. You are an admirable woman leader and wonderful spouse to my sister❣️

By the way….for data lovers

Global consultancy McKinsey & Co published an extensive report that reveals companies in the top quartile of gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to experience above-average profitability than peer companies in the fourth quartile. That number was up from 21% in 2017 and 15% in 2014. Also interesting, when it comes to staffing, companies that have higher degrees of racially and ethnically diverse employees have a 35% performance advantage over companies relying on a “culture fit” that tends to trend white and monocultural.”

The Value of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Customer Experiences

Learn more about the impacts of employee experiences, and contact me to discuss how to improve your company culture through simple and effective tactics.

10 Leadership Lessons From Growing Up With A Wallstreet Mom

10 Leadership Lessons From Growing Up With A Wallstreet Mom

Doing CX Right podcast show on Spotify with host Stacy Sherman
Doing Customer Experience (CX) Right Podcast - Hosted by Stacy Sherman
Doing CX Right podcast show on iHeart Radio with host Stacy Sherman
DoingCXRight on Google Podcasts with host Stacy-Sherman.
Doing CX Right on Listen Notes with host Stacy Sherman

Listen to interview featuring Mom Eileen: Doing CX Right Podcast Ep 50

Updated post in honor of my Mom’s 80th birthday on 4/1/2023.

April Fools Day (4/1) is a joke but my Mom’s experiences and stories are very real and worth sharing to help others. I hope you’ll watch my video or listen to podcast interview featuring my Mom.



Family Background Information:

My Grandma, Dorothy, was a certified public accountant, which was rare at the time. While she is a role model in so many ways, I appreciate my Grandpa Phil, who supported her in getting educated and pursuing her passions while caring for her family. She might not have been as successful without his encouragement and reassurance.

Apples do not fall far from the tree. My Mom, Eileen, and her three sisters followed in my Grandmother’s footsteps. They were accountants too. Over time, my Mom and one Aunt left the field to pursue other passions while two continued as women leaders in their industry. My Mom found her way to Wallstreet and never looked back.

Visiting my Mom at the American Stock Exchange during my childhood years was a common occurrence. It was fun; however, I did not comprehend what she did for a living as an options trader or why she was yelling “buy, sell, puts and calls” while doing odd hand signals with others in the room. I also didn’t understand how she had a “seat” on the floor, yet I saw no chairs anywhere. While there was a lot that I didn’t grasp then, I saw and appreciated that my Mom was among the few women in the room. I also noticed that she wore a jacket color that signified prestigious status. (Interesting video about the history of trader jackets from Peco CEO). While I admire that my Mom had one of the “cool” jackets, it’s the fact that she earned her way to the top that impresses me most.

There are many stories to share from growing up with women leaders who were ahead of their times. The following is a summary of what I have learned to inspire you to pursue your passions no matter what.


10 Leadership Lessons to achieve goals even when roadblocks exist:

  1. Believe in yourself. When there is a will, there’s a way, even if you’re a minority in the room.
  2. Have a plan while open to detours, such as switching careers, to achieve more happiness.
  3. Take nothing personally, as my favorite book, The Four Agreements, explains. People may not welcome you with open arms. Kill them with kindness and proceed.
  4. Acknowledge negative emotions and then set them aside. As the author, Susan Jeffers, says, “Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway.”
  5. Focus on relationships and strengthen your network. Express appreciation to everyone who helps along your journey.
  6. Establish and lean on your tribe to elevate confidence. A support system makes a huge difference.
  7. Be a change agent. Trust that everything is possible over time. (You’ll need #7)
  8. Adapt to the times. While my Mom is no longer at the American Stock Exchange (it closed), she leverages technology and trades online from home.
  9. Use your expertise to help others. My Mom teaches people how to succeed as a Stock Options Trader and other hobbies that she’s mastered.
  10. Know what you are good at and stick with it. My Mom excels in Math, contributing to her success in Accounting, Stock Options trading, Bridge, Backgammon, Blackjack, and other strategic games.

Watch Interview To Hear Inspiring Stories & Leadership Lessons.

Show Topics Include:

  • Life growing up in the 1940 with parents who were ahead of their times
  • How women can thrive in business even when a minority in the room  
  • The importance of a support system, especially men in the workplace
  • Leadership advice. Hint: there’s plenty of room at the top
  • The bright side of rejection
  • Ways to gain confidence and a can-do mindset
  • Playing the game that has to be played to win
  • Advocating for what you need and turning a “no” response into “yes”
  • One key takeaway for improving experiences and having a more content life
  • Advice to younger 20-year-old self if you could go back in time
  • And more experience lessons from Mom

If you like this article, check out other inspirational leadership topics:

Click here to read about how to “Crawl, Walk, Run” your way to success.

View Podcasts and articles to make Diversity & Inclusion your game changer.

Contact me if you have an inspiring story to tell about being a change agent and success tips for others.