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Leadership Lessons from a Life Transformed with Elena Sarango-Muniz

The Randal Osché Podcast: Season 1 | Episode 5

In this podcast episode, I sit down for conversation with Elena Sarango Muñiz, a leadership coach who shares her transformative journey from Lima, Peru, to becoming a successful entrepreneur in Houston, Texas. We dive deep into her early motivations and the decisive moment that led her to move to the United States with minimal resources in hand. Elena shares her challenges while adapting to a new life and persistently pursuing her dreams.

As we chat, Elena reflects on the importance of taking risks, guided by her parents' wisdom, and how that played a vital role in shaping her career and personal growth. We also discuss her professional evolution, transitioning from her roots in hospitality to becoming a coach, emphasizing the crucial role leaders play in nurturing a thriving culture within organizations.

Elena's story is a powerful testament to persistence, faith, and the profound impact of effective leadership on both personal and organizational success. Don't miss this as we explore the inspiring journey of a woman who transformed her life through hard work and determination, offering invaluable insights for us all.

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyOvercastPodcast Index, Podcasts AddictAmazon Music, or on your favorite podcast platform.


Elena Sarango-muniz Quotes:

  1. "I am driven by my passion to help others uncover their potential and align their values and purpose to their professional goals for a life of authenticity and bliss."

  2. "With over 25 years in Human Resources, I've learned that leadership development isn't just about skills; it's about transforming cultures and cultivating growth mindsets."

  3. "My motto, 'Making the invisible visible one conversation at a time,' really encapsulates my approach to emotional intelligence and leadership."

  4. "To anyone following in my footsteps, I’d say the most crucial piece of advice is to truly believe in strong partnerships and the human connection."

  5. "One of the most pivotal moments in my career was deciding to transition from a corporate HR leader to a leadership coach, which allowed me to impact individuals on a deeper, more personal level."

Randall Osché Hypothetical Quotes:

  1. "Elena, your journey is incredibly inspiring. What drove you to make the leap from corporate HR to leadership coaching?"

  2. "You mention emotional intelligence quite a bit. How do you see that playing a role in today’s leadership styles?"

  3. "Facing challenges is part of any career. Could you share how you've navigated these roadblocks and what you've learned from them?"

  4. "Success can mean different things to different people. How do you define success in your coaching practice and personal achievements?"

  5. "Looking towards the future, what are you excited about in your field, and what goals are you working towards now?"

What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments!

And that's it for today's conversation here on the Randall Osché podcast. Thank you so much for joining us and we hope that you've enjoyed listening as much as we've enjoyed recording it.

Many many thanks to our guests today for sharing their knowledge, their experience and their life lessons. If you found today's conversation insightful, interesting, inspiring, please join our growing community by subscribing. Randall Osché podcast on your favorite podcast platform, and never ever miss another episode.

 We'd love to hear your feedback. So keep the community alive by sharing your takeaways from today's episode and use the hashtag Randall O'Shea podcast. Your feedback and interaction fuels our continued efforts to build a safe space for meaningful, long form conversations. So thank you so much for the support until next time, stay curious, stay inspired and keep the conversation going.

The Randall Osché Podcast - Elena Sarango-Muniz (Episode 5)

[00:00:00] Elena: I realized that what a leader is the one that creates the environment, the space to where everybody thrives at the same time, where everyone has a voice, when you are able to recognize the strengths, but also the weaknesses, but you don't tackle the weaknesses with discipline, you tackle the weaknesses with conversations, with listening with development. 

[00:00:29] AI: Hello and welcome to the Randall Osché podcast. Where we create a safe space for meaningful and thought provoking conversations. We have long form interviews with entrepreneurs, thought leaders, artists, and change makers in order to deconstruct their journeys and to pass out valuable life lessons and life changing perspectives for listeners like yourself.

[00:00:52] AI: So that you can, as Randall says, learn their lessons without their scars. So whether you're tuning in on your daily commute or during a workout or cooking dinner, we are happy to have you join us. So take a seat, relax, grab a cup of tea and join the conversation. Now let's dive into this week's episode.

[00:01:18] Video: You made 

[00:01:30] AI: it


[00:01:34] Randall: Elena Sarango Muñiz, welcome to the show. For the people that haven't heard of you yet, could you just briefly introduce yourself? I'm sure that we'll get into more details later, but just who you are, what do you do?

[00:01:47] Randall: And then we'll go from there. 

[00:01:48] Elena: Great. Thank you, Randall, for having me here. I'm Elena Sarango Muñiz. I am originally from Peru. From Lima and I have been in Houston, Texas for already 30 years. So more than half of my life here in the United States. And I have a beautiful but small family, one child, a husband and my four legged daughter.

[00:02:13] Elena: I am a leadership coach. I started my own business last year. So that's what I do full time. That's what I'm enjoying every day. 

[00:02:23] Randall: Excellent. Thank you thank you for sharing. So, one four legged daughter, right? Is that what you said? That's right. I like that. So originally from Lima, Peru. I think that that's a good starting point as any.

[00:02:35] Randall: Let's get started there. Tell me how and when you decided or how it came about to go from Lima to Houston? 

[00:02:42] Elena: Yes, so I am the last child out of seven. My dad was married first and so I have three half brothers and one half sister and all boys in between. And I was the last one to leave the house.

[00:02:58] Elena: I grew up seeing my brothers leaving the house one by one. The ones that were single left the country, actually. So, for me, seeing that growing up in that family, it was a natural, step for me to finish college. I studiedat the University of Lima business administration. And I knew that for me to be successful, to get out of at that time, a very difficult situation in Peru, you know, we had the shining path going on.

[00:03:33] Elena: The economy was bad. We had a bad precedent. I knew that I had to just leave the country. My brother, the one that is right before me, Rafael, he was already in Houston. So when I was in Lima looking for a job, still trying to find out when do I need to make this change? I call him one day and I said, I can't do this anymore.

[00:03:57] Elena: I need to, find a job or I need to do something else. So him and I tricked my parents and we told them that I had gotten a scholarship, a free scholarship to go to the University of Houston to study my master's. And my parents were like, okay, when are you leaving? I said, Oh, Monday. So this was like Wednesday of the previous week.

[00:04:21] Elena: So, Monday I left Peru with a hundred dollars in my pocket, super sad, super scared, but very excited at the same time. And I came here to Houston and my brother would go to university to study. And I will go to the library at the university of Houston and sit there all day waiting for him.

[00:04:45] Elena: And I will study for the GMAT. And I actually got a full scholarship to get my master's and I did hospitality at the Hilton College and I was supposed to go back to Peru, you know, after getting a master's, it will be easy for me to go back to Peru and find a job. 30 years later, I'm still here. 

[00:05:06] Randall: Sounds like that has worked out well for you.

[00:05:08] Randall: I got a bunch of questions. I'm intrigued by the story. I think there's some things that, given the theme of the podcast, I think that we can, parse some, lessons out of there, but maybe going back to, tricking your parents, what was the dynamic where, I'm sure we've all been there and can relate.

[00:05:24] Randall: But what was the dynamic like where you and your brother had to strategize to like trick your parents to get them to be okay with going to Houston because your other siblings had left the country, or at least some of them had already left the country. So I think that they would be used to that, but why was that different for you?

[00:05:42] Randall: And why did you have to strategize and trick them to say, Hey, I got a full ride, I'm going to go get my master's in Houston with my brother. 

[00:05:49] Elena: Fair question, Randall. I was the little girl of the family. I was my dad's baby and I was very close to them. Me leaving the house was not even thought about, discussed, or anything.

[00:06:05] Elena: In Peru, I have to clarify, back then, now things have changed, although it still happens, back then, you would not leave the house until you would get married. I mean, you will get married and then you leave your parents. And again, that's still happening in Peru. I have some friends that have gone through that.

[00:06:24] Elena: But for me to leave just because I want to pursue something that is unknown and you don't know what's happened to your little girl, you know, it was even with me going to live with my brother for the first months, it didn't sync really well, especially with my dad. My dad was in the military, so he was very strict and he, he wouldn't let me date or anything.

[00:06:50] Elena: So it was a very strict discipline, which Now looking back helped me a lot with, putting myself where I am right now. But at that moment, it was hard. He even told me, if you leave the house, you're not welcome back again. And of course, after, yeah, after a year or so, he missed me so much that I said, I want to go back and visit.

[00:07:12] Elena: And I was able to do that. And he welcomed me with open arms, right? Because I was already, studying and I was, it was a little lie, but just at the beginning it became a reality. 

[00:07:22] Randall: Yeah. I mean, sometimes I'm not advocating lying anybody, but like sometimes you got to do what you got to do right to move for the greater good.

[00:07:30] Randall: So, I don't want to get sidetracked here, but while we're talking about it, you said that in Peru at that time, you stayed at the house, you lived with your parents until you found a partner, got married, moved out. Right. Was that for men? Is that like a cultural thing for men and women or just women at the time?

[00:07:47] Elena: Both? No, for men and women. Yeah. So in a way my, and I'm sure we'll talk about this later, but my brothers to me were my mentors, right? I saw them leaving the house, except for a couple of them to pursue their dreams, their careers.I have a brother that is a very successful architect in Paris, and he left with a backpack as soon as he presented his thesis. And he slept in a park bench in Paris for the first couple of weeks until he found a job at an architecture firm. So to me, those were my examples of, go and find your bliss. And for that, you're going to have to go somewhere else. 

[00:08:31] Randall: Yeah, I love this. I got so, so many things I want to know.

[00:08:36] Randall: So, getting back on track so you tell the fib to your parents, you go and you study. Your brother, I assume is going to university as well. Like he's taking classes, correct? And you left with a hundred dollars in your pocket. What was the sort of like financial situation for you and your brother?

[00:08:55] Randall: Was it just him and you? Were you financially secure, not financially secure? Like how far were the two of you from living on park benches or sleeping in a library? What was that like? 

[00:09:05] Elena: I moved in with him andhe first paid until I found a job. I worked. So when you go through school as an international student, you're only allowed to work part time.

[00:09:20] Elena: And I found my first job as a front desk agent at a hotel. I started contributing to the finances. We lived in a tiny little apartment in a very rough area in Houston. We shared that apartment. It was a one bedroom apartment. But my brother was, you know, he's wonderful. So he helped me. I remember my budget was like $10 a week or something like that to eat outside.

[00:09:50] Elena: I don't remember it as being rough because I was actually enjoying it. I was living life. I was living my independence that I always wanted. And I found a job and I was able to start bringing money. And after I finished college, the hotel hired me full time. So I was making more money.

[00:10:10] Elena: By the way, when I was going to school, I was working the overnight shift, and I tell everybody, that was my Ph. D. 11 p. m. till 7 a. m. 

[00:10:21] Randall: You were the night auditor. 

[00:10:22] Elena: I was the night auditor. I learned a lot in that role. 

[00:10:27] Randall: I'm gonna come back to this, but I love hospitality. I worked in maybe every job in hospitality.

[00:10:34] Randall: And I have a theory that if you have worked in hospitality for a period of time, you are a superior human being. I don't quite know why that is. I started out as a dishwasher, I think when I was 17, I was definitely 17 and dishwasher. Then I started cooking and then I cooked through high school, through college.

[00:10:57] Randall: When I started my career, I had part time jobs working in kitchens. I worked at a hotel like a lodge. It was like a lodge, I guess, hotel. But I was also a front desk person there. I've waited tables, I've been the bar back, butfrom the relationships I have with the friends I've met in the industry that were also bar backs and waiters and waitresses and they cooked with me.

[00:11:20] Randall: They seem to be like, the most grounded people that I know to this day, the most enlightened people that I know to this day, and are, you know, successful however, they would define success, right? I don't know why that is, but if I'm reviewing a resume to hire somebody and I see they have like a hospitality background, tell me more, I'm intrigued.

[00:11:41] Randall: I think that you probably have a superior skill set to everybody else because I don't know, maybe it's cause I think that hospitality is a different world like you can do things in hospitality and even on construction sites I work construction too. If you did things in the corporate world to happen on construction site You'd be fired instantly. If you did things in the corporate world that happened in a restaurant, you'd be fired instantly. 

[00:12:04] Randall: It's a different environment and I don't know. Again, I want to circle back to what you were saying, but do you have any thoughts on how hospitality not only shaped you as a professional, but helped grow you as a person? 

[00:12:17] Elena: I agree a hundred percent, Randall, with what you said, every person that I meet that works in hospitality or has worked in hospitality has that DNA of serving others and showing up as a human being at the level of the other human being for the purpose of connection.

[00:12:38] Elena: I worked at a company. You know, but for this was the company that I worked for, for the first 14 years of my life and it was the Ritz Carlton and the Ritz Carlton motto is we are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen. And that to me got so embedded into my subconscious that even now throughout my HR career, I saw that showing up and people appreciating that about me.

[00:13:08] Elena: And now that I have my own business, I do the same thing with my clients. I treat them as ladies and gentlemen with respect as I am serving them. And that not only brings me joy, but it makes the other person feel like you are really connecting them and we were at a point you know, in the hotel industry where at least in this company, where there was a huge initiative about connecting emotionally with the guests. So they could feel at their second home when coming to visit you. 

[00:13:43] Elena: So that emotional connection that you were able to create when you would say, Mr. Osché, so good to see you. How was your vacation with your children in Disney? You told me last time you were, and they will be like, Whoa, you remember that?

[00:13:57] Elena: And those making somebody feel that they matter and that they're special, has been the flagship of my, I guess, success. 

[00:14:07] Randall: Yeah, I love that. So I do coaching as well and some people have hired me to Oh, and I've been in sales for the majority of my career, like over 15 years at this point.

[00:14:18] Randall: Yeah. And they're like, I want to be better at sales. Randall, can you help me? He's like, yeah, I can help you. All right. So we have meetings and, I try to help them become better sellers. But there's been kind of a disconnect of what they think sales is and how they think they can get better at sales and what I think they're looking for and what they think they think they need to be a competent seller.

[00:14:39] Randall: Is like, tell me the tricky language to use to convince people or manipulate people to get them to buy the thing. And if that's what you think sales is, you're wrong. What sales is, is understanding the other person and offering them a service or product that makes their life easier.

[00:15:00] Randall: In order to understand what they need and what their challenges are and how you can sell them something to make their life easier, you have to understand them as a person. You have to be genuinely curious. You have to build relationships. You have to listen more than you talk so you can say, Hey, Mr.

[00:15:16] Randall: Osché last time we chatted you went on vacation. How was your vacation? That's sales. You have to build relationships before you can sell anything. I remember working with this one individual, this is his first sales job. We would use his weekly interactions as like a case study and deconstruct what he did and talk about what he could have done better.

[00:15:36] Randall: And the first thing I remember we talked about was. He showed me his presentation that he was presenting to them. And I went through it. It was 30 some slides and it was like his pitch deck. And I was like, okay, so like at what point in time in the opportunity do you show this to somebody?

[00:15:52] Randall: He's like, Oh, this is like first meeting stuff. I was like, that's strange. It was like, but you don't know anything about them. So you're showing them 30 slides that 29 of them could be irrelevant because you spent zero time being genuinely curious about what they do, what's important to them and what their roadblocks are for them to get to where they want to be.

[00:16:15] Randall: And then the whole time I sort of had to fight him about like, this is more of a process than manipulative language. And I think getting back to the hospitality part of this I remember understanding people being genuinely curious get you far and not in a bad way. People want them to be made like feel special and if you express a genuine interest in people and you remember some of those nuggets about them that's just being a nice person, that's meeting people where they're at.

[00:16:44] Randall: I remember I stayed at a hotel in Madrid, Spain, called the Urban Hotel, or just Urban Hotel. It's part of a boutique hotel group. Derby Hotel Collection, I think. I think there might be like five. There's one in the UK, maybe one in Barcelona, definitely one in Madrid is where I stayed, one in Paris.

[00:17:01] Randall: Anyways, because I'm familiar with sales and I'm familiar with making people feel special. I pick up on it when people make me feel special. And so the Urban Hotel, I forget what it was exactly but I was there for like three or four days and I remember I had an interaction at the front desk.

[00:17:19] Randall: I don't know if I was asking for directions to go somewhere or complimented them or whatever it was. But the next day I go to check out. And they asked me how the thing was that I talked to somebody else about the day before. I'm like, how did you know? I was like, yeah, it was great.

[00:17:37] Randall: Thank you for asking. Like that makes me feel special. But what's your, I want to know, like what's your internal process is that like person B from the day before told person C that Randall is doing this thing and we should ask about him to express a genuine interest in him and his stay here in Madrid.

[00:17:52] Randall: But that stuck with me. I mean, we're talking about it now. Now I have a desire to, go to every Derby hotel. It's, like, on my bucket list. I enjoyed the hotel so much. Aesthetically, it was comfortable. The people were nice. And they went out of their way to make sure, I felt seen, heard as a tourist in their city. And because of that, they're likely going to get more business from me. So it's a win win for everybody. 

[00:18:18] Randall: That's perfect. That's how you create loyalty. That's how, you create recommendations and referrals. And it's the same.

[00:18:27] Elena: I mean, I can't afford a Ritz Carlton you know, rates anymore, but I usedto travel so much. And even when I was not working with them, that would be my preferred hotel to stay in. And whenever I can, I will get a, you know,I know how to get some discount rates in hotels. So I would definitely say that, but now that type of service has been taught in other hotel companies.

[00:18:56] Elena: Obviously it's like everybody calls you by your name. 

[00:18:59] Randall: When I was in wealth management, one of the firms I worked at the regional manager, president, whatever, like the boss's boss's boss. Right. He would always say ladies and gentlemen, serving ladies and gentlemen.

[00:19:10] Randall: That was his motto. Yeah. He's like, we need to be ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen, like there's a certain amount of, prestige to us and there's a certain amount of prestige to our clients and if not, there should be. And we need to be ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.

[00:19:26] Randall: So yeah, like it is, it is a thing. 

[00:19:28] Elena: And I think that hospitality DNA that we have helps us to connect even with strangers. My life is so much better because now when I see a stranger, I smile and I tell them and I go to any store and I use their name tag and when I call them and I look and I said, Oh, Hi, Randall.

[00:19:50] Elena: How's your day going? They're like, how do you know my name? I said, well, your name tag says Randall. And they're like, Oh, I said, nobody else calls you by your name. That's why you have the name tag in there for. I said, nobody uses my name. You were the first person that calls me by my name. And it amazes me.

[00:20:09] Elena: It's such a wasted opportunity. To connect with a stranger and make somebody's day so much better because that smile and them remembering that somebody acknowledged them by who they are just leaves a big impression on people. 

[00:20:25] Randall: Yeah, it's two things I want to point out here. One.

[00:20:28] Randall: Is in the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Have you ever read that? 

[00:20:33] Elena: I have. 

[00:20:34] Randall: The most influential book I've ever read in my life. But in the book, Dale says, talks about calling people by their name, and he says, the sweetest, I forget the quote exactly, but the sweetest sound to somebody is the sound of their name, right?

[00:20:47] Randall: And it's a missed opportunity if you don't use their name. And it does make you feel special whether you have a name tag on or not. When somebody says like, Hey, Randall, instead of saying, Hey, you or whatever. So the other thing I want to point out here is I think that there's you know, I don't know the best way to say it, but be the first.

[00:21:06] Randall: Like, I think that's another principle that I, people can take away, is a lot of times, and I have grown out of this myself. But we're waiting for the other person to acknowledge us, we're waiting for the other person to use our name before we use the other person's name. We're waiting on the other person on the sidewalk to smile or nod at us before we smile or nod at them.

[00:21:26] Randall: The funny thing is, we're both waiting for the same thing and then it never happens because nobody initiates it because nobody's being the first. So I would just say to listeners, be the first. Be the first person to use the name. Be the first person to say hello. Be the first person to ask the barista how his or her day is actually going.

[00:21:45] Randall: Be the first to smile at a stranger. It could make a huge impact. It could be the only smile that they see all day. And you never know where that little interaction might get you through your day, right? I want to make sure we get back to the story from the whole Peru thing.

[00:22:01] Randall: So if you have any thoughts on this, we can wrap it up, but I want to make sure we get back to the Houston transition here. Any final thoughts on the hospitality thing? 

[00:22:09] Elena: Just one thought, that modeling that we do by being the first one, is not only, to impact the person and make their day better.

[00:22:20] Elena: It makes your day better. You feel so much better. And in my case, I don't know if you have children, Randall, but I have a son, a teenager. For me, modeling that in front of him is so important because I want him to be that way too. So it's not just, 

[00:22:39] Randall: about the person, but it's also those around us that can observe.

[00:22:43] Elena: It's contagious. 

[00:22:44] Randall: Yeah, it is contagious. 

[00:22:46] AI: Let's take a quick break from today's episode.

[00:22:49] AI: If you're enjoying the conversation, please take a moment to look us up. You can find Randall on Instagram at Randall Osché, that's spelled Osché. At R A N D A L L O S C H E, and you can catch the show notes and other resources at Randallosche.Com. And now back to the episode. 

[00:23:11] Randall: Dale Carnegie actually says this in the book somewhere, too, is It's almost like doing things that's almost a selfish act because it makes you feel good as well, right? Like you smiling at somebody is you going out of your way to try to make somebody feel special But then they're gonna smile back at you and then it's returned and then you get your dopamine hit and then it feels good for you as well. So It's a win win.

[00:23:34] Randall: Back to going from Lima to Houston we were talking a little bit about the financial situation.What I'm intrigued about there, maybe I don't have a specific question, but you would just talk to this is the mentality that you and your, like you said, your one brother went to Paris and he slept on a park bench.

[00:23:55] Randall: For a couple weeks until you could find a job and then once you got a job you could find a place to stay And then you left Peru with a hundred dollars in your pocket and your brother was generous enough to support you until you found a job and then once you had a job you're able to pay some bills. But still nonetheless your income wasn't super high, right?

[00:24:14] Randall: You were getting by, but, you know, not luxury. You weren't Ritz Carlton. Like you weren't staying at the Ritz yet. So from my personal standpoint, I grew up in a small rural town in Pennsylvania where I don't believe I saw any, people going to white collar jobs that it was just like factory workers and blue collar folks.

[00:24:33] Randall: And honestly, if I think about it, like in that town, you didn't see a ton of luxury cars, there weren't any BMWs or Lexuses there's all pickup trucks and old Oldsmobiles, minivans so there was this world that I wasn't exposed to when I was younger, but now you know, going to college, going through my life's journey.

[00:24:53] Randall: Getting different jobs in finance and wealth management and earning more money along the way. I've been able to from my perspective as a younger kid, to as an adult who has been fortunate to make money, more money than what I had earlier in my career and travel a little bit. I understand it from both perspectives because I've lived it from both perspectives.

[00:25:15] Randall: I was at the point where I would go on a road trip and sleep in my car because I didn't want to spend a hundred dollars on the hotel room. And I'd rather spend that hundred dollars on dinner or fun or something. So a long road trip, like, Oh, we're just going to sleep in the car today.

[00:25:28] Randall: Right? Like that's what I've done. But now I've also been on the other end of it where I don't look at the price of the hotel. If I want a bed to sleep in, I'm going to get the hotel. Right. As an example. But for me, I think sometimes I get caught up inthe comfort, maybe I think there's a book called like comfort crisis.

[00:25:44] Randall: I've never read it, but the title seems appropriate for what I'm talking about right now that you get accustomed to live in a certain lifestyle. And you think that you can't like downgrade or go backwards, right? Even for a short period of time. And I think that can preclude people from having other opportunities, right?

[00:26:04] Randall: If you say I need to make $5,000 a month to cover my fixed expenses. Part of that $5,000 a month is a two bedroom apartment when I really only need a one bedroom apartment. Part of that $5,000 expenses is I need to have this kind of car and this car payment is X number of dollars.

[00:26:22] Randall: But I can't downgrade to this other lower end model of car, which would save me money, right? Which are all really good problems to have because in that scenario, not sleeping on the park bench, but yeah. What are your thoughts on how you and your family, like you and your brothers took the chance, took the risk to go to different countries.

[00:26:44] Randall: To provide a better opportunity for yourselves and doing so with limited financial resources and limited, I think is even very generous, but no financial resources, maybe if that makes sense.

[00:26:56] Elena: Yes, so we came from a situation where in Peru, even though there are a lot of wealthy families, you know, it's a third world country. And so the purpose, I believe, of all of us the ones that left the country. The purpose was not necessarily the financial enrichment or financial, you know getting betterin life when it came to that.

[00:27:24] Elena: It was more about pursuing the education that we wanted and finding a good job that gave us opportunities to succeed in our professions. So it was more about that. I don't think, I mean, yes, I left with the American dream of being an executive at an American company, that was my dream.

[00:27:48] Elena: I didn't know what kind of executive, I didn't know what company, but I wanted to have an office and have employees. And to me, it was more about the development of self rather than the, I want a house, I want a nice car. Those came. Right, they came naturally as I progressed in my career, but in my case, and I believe in my brother's case, and actually I have one brother that is very frugal that, you know, he's kind of against materialistic things and lives a very frugal life.

[00:28:23] Elena: I think it was more about the self realization, the being successful in our careers so we could enjoy, you know, what we did in life and in the meantime impact others. And if I look at all my brothers, that's really what they've been able to accomplish. 

[00:28:43] Randall: One of the things in my life that I've realized, so, my family, for whatever reason, like, risk adverse, very conservative, people. My dad, for example, worked for the same company employer for, I think, 40 years. So, you know, even for me, being at a company for five years and saying like, Hey, it's not getting me to where I need to be.

[00:29:02] Randall: I need to go work for a different company. That's like a shock for him. Like, why would you do that? The world's different for us, for me now than it was for him then. But that's just part of the culture in my family that we are risk adverse individuals. And then as I grew into myself as an adult one of the things I realized is I was risk averse as well and being risk averse was precluding me from opportunities and various facets of my life.

[00:29:28] Randall: So I had to cultivate in myself the ability to take risks, right? And I think hearing you reflect on your story is there had to have been like a level of risk associated, like, I'm going to go to Houston, like your older brother, I'm going to go to Houston. I don't know how I'm going to figure it out.

[00:29:45] Randall: And then your other brother, I'm gonna go to Paris. I don't know how, I don't have enough money for a hotel or an apartment, but I have enough for a flight there and I'm gonna figure it out when I get there. And then you, you had the ability to go live with your brother so you at least had a roof on your head. But still only a $100 in your pocket between the two brothers that we're talking about and you, What relationship did the three of you have with taking a chance like that?

[00:30:10] Randall: Like yes, you wanted to get educated. That was the primary driver not wealth. But you didn't have like your brother in Paris didn't have a place to stay that's a big thing. So yeah. What's the association that maybe the three of you have with taking chances at that point in time in your lives and I guess we'll just. I do a great job of asking multiple questions and not giving the person a chance to ask.

[00:30:32] Randall: So we'll just one question there. 

[00:30:34] Elena: That guy over there, that's my dad. He actually lived until he was 99 years old. So he had a long life and he always modeled. I didn't know that it was risk taking. It was more about, follow your dreams, follow your passion, listen to your inner self. And I think that's what we have always learned and we've known that that is the truth, is to really listen to what your inner power is telling you to do, what feels good, what doesn't feel good.

[00:31:12] Elena: Sometimes you follow it, sometimes you won't, and I've done that many times, but when I followed it, it's meant a big risk, and even though sometimes those risks, and I've taken more than just leaving Peru, there's been other situations and my brother's the same thing, and it's all of them actually, where I see that.

[00:31:33] Elena: So it has to be the parenting, really. And my mom's motto, she's still alive, and she always tells you, if you don't try it, you will never know. So I think in my case, it was the parenting.

[00:31:46] Randall: Kudos to your parents. I think those are two very valuable lessons, right?

[00:31:49] Randall: There's people I work with now and adults I come across that they either expect things to work out without trying, or they preclude themselves of the opportunity because they don't try. And then, I think there's a myth associated with following your dreams, that it's a bad thing.

[00:32:05] Randall: But I think with the people that I've worked with, and even in my life, that you revert at some point in time in your career or your life, the thing that you wanted to do when you were an 18 and people were like, Oh, that's idealistic or don't do that. You end up going back to that thing. So just know who you are.

[00:32:24] Randall: Like you said, listen to your inner self. I think that was your dad's advice. Listen to your inner self and just do it. Right? So great. Again, shout out to your parents, because I think that's great. Two pieces of great advice. 

[00:32:35] Elena: And with that goes having faith. That's the confidence, right?

[00:32:40] Elena: I didn't know that confidence means having faith on yourself. That you will be able to, whatever happens to you, it's going to pass. It's going to take you to wherever you want to go, whatever you're dreaming of. And you said something Randall, which is, you know, the people go back to their childhood dreams.

[00:33:01] Elena: Unfortunately, not many people make that shift in their lives, right? And they just live in this autopilot of, you know, well, this is what I have. And they're victims of their circumstances when they can actually create their circumstances. They can put themselves into situations taking risks, but having that vision very clear.

[00:33:24] Elena: That's what I coach my clients. With the most right is creating that vision first and usually is taking them to when they were 10, 14 years old and what is that you love doing? 

[00:33:36] Randall: Yeah, I think that I would agree. I think there's a stats like 60 percent of the working population in the United States hates their job. But I would, I also want to know this stat, which I don't know if it exists, that what portion of the 60 percent actually try to get a different job.

[00:33:51] Randall: I bet you that's not too high. Because you do become a victim of your circumstances and things are hard. But it's hard to stay in a job you hate. It's also hard to go get a new job. But like which hard are you going to choose? The hard that potentially provide you with happiness or the hard that you know, like it's the devil that you know you're going to stay in the job that makes you miserable.

[00:34:11] Randall: But with that, let's talk a little bit about, I'm sure we're going to skip over a bunch here, but you get your degree. Tell me about what you're doing now.

[00:34:21] Randall: So let's transition to what you did right before you started your leadership coaching. And then maybe we'll whatever the relevant work experience was that led to the leadership coaching will segue to that.

[00:34:32] Randall: Yeah, no, that's fine. So after I worked for the hotel for so many years, finally I got my green card, and because I married my husband, who's an American citizen, and I left the hospitality industry just to try something different. 

[00:34:49] Elena: I wanted to prove to myself that I could be as successful as I was in the hotel industry, that I could be successful in other industries. And so I left to oil and gas, I was there for five years. And then I joined a UK based company called Lloyd's Register.

[00:35:08] Elena: It's a global company. And here's where I discovered coaching. My boss was a certified coach and she managed her team in such a beautiful way. And I said, I want to be like you when I have a team. And so she actually sponsored me. I just spoke about this at a company, one of my clients invited me to go and talk to her company.

[00:35:32] Elena: And I talked about the role of a sponsor, a mentor coach in someone's career. And to me, this was a pivotal moment when she sponsored me to get certified in coaching. And from that moment, my life changed. I did not do management anymore. I did coaching and even at Lloyd's, I was implementing coaching programs.

[00:35:57] Elena: I became very passionate about it. I could see the results, leaders started to trust me more. So I became more of a business partner for leaders from all cultures. I mean, my best client was a leader that I supported in Japan. And you know, people would say, how do you get him to open up to you that way?

[00:36:18] Elena: And, and he was just pure coaching, creating that safe space for them to just be themselves and open up. And after that experience, I left that company and I joined a tech company, a global, very successful tech company. This was my last job before I left corporate. And this was like, it was serendipity.

[00:36:42] Elena: I applied December 31st. They were calling me January 1st on a holiday for an interview. And that Wednesday they flew to Houston to interview me and they hired me pretty much on the spot. This is because I was so confident with the way I was at that moment, very self aware that I was like, this is not an interview.

[00:37:05] Elena: This is a conversation for me to see if this is the company that I want to work for. So this is where I solidified my confidence on my ability to coach leaders. Again, I continue coaching leaders from internationally, south of every corner of the world, South America, Asia, Europe, here in the U. S.

[00:37:28] Elena: And when I was at my highest, at this point, is when I made the decision that it was time for me to leave and start my own business. Here we go again taking that leap of faith taking that high risk. I am still there you know, as you know, I'm building my business but I have not looked back one bit. I'm enjoying what I'm doing 200 percent.

[00:37:53] Randall: I love that.

[00:37:53] Randall: I love that you shared that. I find leadership is particularly interesting to me as a leader of people at different points in time in my career as well. I guess why it's important to me, to be honest, is I've had a lot of bad leaders. I think people misconstrue what a leader actually is.

[00:38:12] Randall: It's not a manager, a leader isn't a manager a leader is a leader. And those roles and responsibilities look wildly different. At least in my opinion, maybe you can like elaborate or tell me I'm wrong. But it's very important to me because I've had a lot of bad leaders. A lot of bad managers, I guess, that weren't leaders that made it uncomfortable for their employees to be around them.

[00:38:37] Randall: And they were incompetent and bad, incompetent managers and incompetent leaders. And then it just made a bad work environment for them and for their employees and their staffs. So when I had the opportunity to become a leader for the first time in wealth management. It was not something that I took lightly and I wanted to make sure I put my best foot forward and to be honest, the thing that I would do as I develop my leadership skills and style.

[00:39:06] Randall: Was to do the opposite of what those bad leaders were doing. Right. And then I would pick different things from what I read, I would educate myself on the matter. I'd read, I like history, so I'd read books about historical leaders and what they did well and why that resonated with the armies or the people that they had led.

[00:39:25] Randall: And then I would implement these things and I developed a style that worked for me. And I think that, it worked for the people that I was leading as well. But it's important to me because there's so many bad leaders out there. Which I think is a great market opportunity for you.

[00:39:39] Randall: But why is it leadership? I think for many reasons. It's a wildly underrated skill and ability because I think there's a misconception. I think there's a large misconception of what leadership is. I think, if I had to guess, I would say most organizations don't distinguish between being a manager and being a leader.

[00:40:00] Randall: What are your thoughts on that and how is, see the double questions? I'm doing it. What are your thoughts on the difference between being managers and leaders and how organizations think about that? And why is your coaching around leadership specifically and not other things that I'm sure you'd be able to assist people with?

[00:40:19] Elena: That's a great question, a double question. I've been actually contrary to you, Randall, I've had amazing bosses. So my inspiration to become a coach and to coach leaders is because I know what it looks like to be an amazing boss. And I want people to experience that. I want teams to experience that.

[00:40:44] Elena: That's my motivation to do what I do. So I was a manager, you know, first, and you, what you think my manager is when you are first promoted is okay. Now they they're giving me the responsibility To make sure that things happen and that's through not only my hard work, but the team. So I have to give orders.

[00:41:05] Elena: I have to, you know, be tough and I have to put discipline and organization. And at the beginning, I was a bad manager because I thought everything was on me and just on me, my responsibility. Then when I see the leaders that I see, when I have the bosses that I have, I realized that what a leader is the one that creates the environment, the space to where everybody thrives at the same time, where everyone has a voice, when you are able to recognize the strengths, but also the weaknesses, but you don't tackle the weaknesses with discipline, you tackle the weaknesses with conversations, with listening with development. 

[00:41:56] Elena: There's a Harvard study. I can't remember, it's something about emotional intelligence in executive roles, I believe is the name of a study. Harvard has a study where it says that it's very interesting. There's a chart that shows that low to mid management have the highest EQ emotional quotient.

[00:42:17] Elena: And as the role goes up in hierarchy, up to the CEO, that chart goes down, meaning EQ is lower. And one of the reasons why that is because companies. And that's why I want to change with coaching. Companies tend to promote people because they've been there for many years. Okay. Now, Randall, you've been here for five years.

[00:42:41] Elena: Now you deserve a manager role. And for manager, you go to, you know, director and senior director and VP, and you end up as a CEO somehow of the company. Without the people skills to actually have that role. So you can see the difference in the culture, the difference in engagement, the difference in the success of the organization by looking at, you know, the C suite and how they are.

[00:43:09] Elena: So I think that's when coaching comes. Coaching comes to where you see those gaps. And the company becomes aware that if the C suite or top leaders do not embrace the concept of,

[00:43:23] Elena: what I do and my emotions have an impact on my employees. And I have to be able to recognize that in them as well, because they're important human beings for my success and the success of the organization and that's how you change culture. 

[00:43:39] Randall: Yeah. I wrote it down from when you were talking that leaders create culture for people to thrive, right?

[00:43:46] Randall: Is that, yeah. Right. And I think managers are just paper pushers, right? Like you can be a leader slash manager, but you wear different hats. The manager facilitates things, a leader cultivates environments where people can thrive and show up and be their full selves. The other thing that you mentioned, I think that there is also a wild misconception of this in the marketplace is that experience does not equal competency.

[00:44:10] Randall: I'm going to say that again. Experience does not equal competency. Organizations want to hire you because you've done the job before and they forego the opportunity to hire somebody. Who has say a transferable skill set from a different industry to like go with somebody who's a mediocre person because they've been doing the thing.

[00:44:29] Randall: But their experience doesn't equal their competency, you know, just because you've worked at a company for 15 years and you've been a middle manager doesn't mean that you should be promoted. Experience does not equal competency. And I think maybe part of the challenge there for organizations is they need to be a little bit more comfortable with the risk conversation that we were having earlier to be able to make some of those decisions of, you know, being better at evaluating talent, which I also think is lacking.

[00:44:56] Randall: Getting rid of some of these old, thought processes of you've been doing the job for 15, 20 years. So you must be good at doing the job. Not true. And giving people the opportunity to do a job they've never done before. They might thrive. And they might think of problem solving in a new creative way because their experience is different than your experience.

[00:45:16] Randall: But you preclude your organization from growing and learning if you just do the same thing time after time. 

[00:45:22] Randall: Yeah, I think it's very compelling what you're sharing. 

[00:45:25] Randall: As it stands today, with you and your business,what are some of the things that you're trying to accomplish?

[00:45:30] Randall: What are you working on right now? What's your focus maybe for 2024? 

[00:45:34] Elena: My focus is to grow my business. I do want to impact more lives. Through the development and transformation of the leaders that those lives are being led by. So my focus is creating content. I like creating content. I do a lot of, you know, posts and blogs and things like that.

[00:45:58] Elena: And also connecting, connecting with people, my network, going to events and networking situations. Being in podcasts and so just being out there, putting myself out there and not, you know, wait for business to come to me. Eventually, my goal is that it is a word of mouth, that it's referrals that will bring clients to me. But for now, my focus is to grow my business because I'm not looking back. This is what I'm going to be doing for the rest of my life. 

[00:46:30] Randall: I love that. Many options makes tyrants out of us all is a go to quote. I think I've used it at least on two previous episodes.

[00:46:37] Randall: I think I attribute it to Matthew McConaughey in his, first book, I think it was called green lights. But I think like you said, it's your only focus now, right? You're not going back to a corporate job. You're building your business and I think as another takeaway for listeners, I think when you do that, you become laser focused on doing one thing.

[00:46:56] Randall: You put all your time, energy and effort into doing that. And you limit all other inputs and that's how you go further faster, right? And I think to the Matthew McConaughey quote of too many options make tyrants out of us all. You take the options off the table, things become crystal clear of what steps I need to take to accomplish the things that I want to accomplish. 

[00:47:18] Randall: So, kudos to you. I wish you the best of luck. And I'm sure you'll get to where you want to be with your practice because I mean, just in a couple of conversations that we've had and recording this today, I think that you have fantastic insightson what it means to be a professional, what it means to connect with human beings, what it means to be an exceptional leader and the responsibility that you have to be a good leader to the people that are in your charge. 

[00:47:45] Elena: Thank you, Randall. 

[00:47:46] Randall: Before we wrap up here today, you're welcome.

[00:47:48] Randall: Absolutely. I have one question, but I'm going to get to that one final question. I'll get to that next, but any final thoughts, concerns or questions or, you know, final things you want to leave for the listeners?

[00:47:58] Elena: I guess one, you share something that you go by and that you use as part of living your life every day, I think one beautiful, you know, mantra, I guess I like to use for me too, because having your business and being a risk taker, as I have been all my life comes with a lot of consequences, right?

[00:48:20] Elena: And a lot of ups and downs. But I've always known, I saw with my family, right. And in the workplace that those valleys are always going to, there's a wall that you still can climb and there's that wall that you're going to get to the top. And yes, there's going to be another valley, but there's always that strength as long as you have faith. Faith in whatever I'm not religious but faith in whatever you want to call it God, Ultimate, you know power whatever it is. Things will get better all the time.

[00:48:56] Elena: And I've gone through situations where I was like, Oh my god This is the worst that can happen to me. But things always work out for you because those Valleys, those roadblocks are placed in your life for you to become stronger, wiser.

[00:49:14] Elena: And I think if people keep that in mind, cause I see people, you know, getting so stressed out and depressed and, hopeless about their situations. And I'm not diminishing that some situations are very difficult. I've seen it very close to me too, where you lose a child or something. I don't even want to imagine what that feels.

[00:49:36] Elena: But if you don't have that desire to keep going and knowing that things will work out at the end for the best, because that's the way your life is designed already you know, that will help you keep going and dreaming. 

[00:49:53] Randall: Well said Well said. 

[00:49:54] Randall: Final question What would the 20 something year old lady who left Peru to go live with her brother with a hundred dollars in her pocket think of the person that you've become today.

[00:50:06] Elena: What would that younger self think of me today? 

[00:50:09] Randall: Yeah Yeah, you said you had a dream when you left, I think that to become an executive and have people in your charge, but you know, what would her looking at you today, what do you think she would think of you? Like proud or accomplished or you know, you could have done more I don't know like what would your 20 year old self think of where you're at now?

[00:50:30] Elena: Very proud , you did it girl, and I always knew you could do it. She would say I know it's hard, but we got where we wanted to get to and I'm very proud of you. 

[00:50:41] Randall: Yeah, I love that. 

[00:50:42] Randall: Well, Elena Serango Moonies thank you very much for spending the time with me today.

[00:50:48] Randall: I really appreciated your insights, your story, sharing it with us. I know we skipped parts that we could have dove into a little bit more, but perhaps there's going to be a round two. 

[00:50:57] Elena: There we go. I loved it. Thank you, Randall. I really enjoyed this conversation. 

[00:51:01] Randall: Thank you.

[00:51:02] AI: And that's it for today's conversation here on the Randall O'Shea podcast. Thank you so much for joining us and we hope that you've enjoyed listening as much as we've enjoyed recording it.

[00:51:14] AI: Many many thanks to our guests today for sharing their knowledge, their experience and their life lessons. If you found today's conversation insightful, interesting, inspiring, please join our growing community by subscribing. Randall O'Shea podcast on your favorite podcast platform, and never ever miss another episode.

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