Break Free from Sticky Floors & Glass Ceilings with Erica Rooney

Ep: 211

As women, we’ve all faced challenges when it comes to balancing demanding careers with the needs of ourselves and our families.

These competing responsibilities can make it feel like we’re stuck to the floor, preventing us from even attempting to break the glass ceiling. 

But it’s important to understand two things:

  • You have more power to influence your workplace than you think you do. 
  • There are leaders and organizations out there that won’t ask you to sacrifice what matters to you in order to do impactful work.

If you’ve ever felt guilty about leaving work early even though you’ve had a productive day, or felt pressured to remain at your desk until the clock strikes 5, then it’s time to unpack your “why’s” so you can regain and reclaim control over your time. 

Today on The Bridge to Fulfillment Ⓡ, Blake welcomes Erica Rooney, a relatable & impactful Keynote Speaker,  Executive Coach & Consultant, host of the Podcast From Now to Next, and a Chief People Officer. With 10 years of experience in HR leading organizations in gender equality crusades,  and coaching Executive Women, Erica has created a framework that empowers women to get seen, get heard, and get promoted by breaking free from the sticky floors that hold us back from busting through the glass ceiling.

In this episode, you’ll hear why so many women often feel powerless to address the issues that affect us most in the workplace. You’ll learn about the biggest mistakes we make that keep us firmly attached to sticky floors, and how to overcome them. You’ll also learn how harnessing empathy and promoting authenticity is the key to modern leadership, helping women break through the glass ceiling once and for all.  

To harness your power and finally break through those sticky floors and glass ceilings, you first have to overcome the limiting beliefs that are keeping you stuck. 

What You’ll Learn:

  • The biggest mistakes women make that keep them stuck on sticky floors (9:47)
  • How your beliefs about worthiness play into every aspect of your life (12:08)
  • Starting to unpack what’s keeping you stuck (16:04)
  • The connection between authenticity and breaking the glass ceiling (27:02)
  • Juggling work-life balance as a parent (32:23)

Favorite Quotes:

  1. We as women are so in tune to making things nice, that we often undermine our value. We sign up to bring the cupcakes, we sign up to take the notes in the meetings, we do all of these things that as standalone acts don’t seem like a big deal. But as we add them up over time, they become a really big deal. –Erica Rooney
  2. How you do one thing is how you do everything. If you have a belief system that says I’m not good enough, I’m not as good as people think that I am, or I’m not really worthy, that will play out in every single part of your life. –Blake
  3. As high achievers, we get so outcome-focused that we don’t realize you’ve got to deal with the barriers first to get to the outcome. –Blake
  4. Empathy is truly a female trait, and we are seeing empathetic leadership is one of the driving forces that companies want. So showing up as your authentic self, not being afraid to set those boundaries, as well as recognizing that you don’t have to lead like a man, you have to leave like you, will all help you break through that glass ceiling. –Erica Rooney

Connect with Erica Rooney
Instagram: @ericaandersonrooney
Facebook: @fromNOWtoNEXT
Tik Tok:

Additional Resources: 

Rather than hoping the grass will be greener, identify what the RIGHT next step is.
We can help you do just that.

Get clarity on where you are on your journey to career fulfillment, where you’re headed, optional paths to get there, and the right next step to take.

Start your complimentary, Personalized Career Fulfillment Plan by going to

Want free resources to set your job search up for success? You can get them by going to:

For other programs and opportunities to work with Blake, go to


Erica Rooney 0:05
I worked for a company. And I had a 45 minute commute on a good day. Loved the company, right? Loved my team. But I always felt like I had to lie about when I was leaving, or why I was leaving earlier or what I was doing. I wanted to be a good mom. But I also wanted to be a really good employee, like I wanted to do good work, and I wanted to grow. And I just constantly felt this inner turmoil because all the men that I reported to had stay at home moms as wives, so they all claimed like yeah, work life balance. But every single one of them would judge me for leaving a minute before five o’clock. The biggest takeaway is that there are companies out there there are leaders out there that are not like that. I feel like it is my responsibility to show that to all of my team so that they don’t even have to question whether or not they need to put work first, when I think back about like, why I didn’t say anything or do anything was because I didn’t know I had a different option. I didn’t know that there were companies out there and leaders out there that lead like that. So just know that there are a lot of people out there who lead that way, you just have to go looking for them.

Blake Schofield 1:26
Hi, I’m Blake Schofield, founder and CEO of The Bridge to Fulfillment®, mom to three, USA Today top 10 professional coach, and former corporate executive who got tired of sacrificing my life for a comfortable paycheck. My mission is to expand women’s perspectives and empower them to achieve greater impact at home and work without sacrifice. This is The Bridge to Fulfillment®.

On today’s episode of The Bridge to Fulfillment® I’m welcoming guests expert Erica Rooney. She’s an impactful and relatable keynote speaker, executive coach and consultant, host of the podcast From Now to Next, and a chief people officer. She’s got 10 years of experience in HR leading organizations in gender equality crusade, and coaching executive women. As a top culture expert, Erica invigorates and educates organizations through change, driving a positive experience for employees, and guiding executives to the process of change that lead to massive success. She’s on a mission to help women get seen, heard and promoted, empowering them to break free from the sticky floors and to bust through the glass ceilings.

You know, in my conversation with Erica, I think some of the most impactful pieces actually came towards the end. And so I encourage you to listen to the full episode what Erica shares about her own personal journey to empowerment, about the sacrifices she made in her career. And ultimately, her path to being empowered and authentic, to being able to show up as a leader for women, and as a leader for organizations, is very inspiring, and certainly aligned with my perspective that the more women that are truly leading from a place of authenticity, and from a place of vulnerability, and from a place of really leading from their strengths and the life they want to lead, the more we as women can truly see what’s possible for us. So I hope you enjoy this episode. And without further ado, here’s Erica.

Blake Schofield 3:41
All right. Welcome to the bridge to fulfillment Erica, I’m so happy to have you.

Erica Rooney 3:46
Oh, it’s awesome to be here. Thanks for having me today.

Blake Schofield 3:48
Yeah, absolutely. So we were just talking about the fun of podcast and how you can bring people together and have real conversations that make an impact. And so I’m excited for our conversation today. With that said, I’d love just to launch. Can you share a little bit with me and with the audience about who you are and how you kind of ended up on the path that you’re on today?

Erica Rooney 4:07
Yeah, so it always seems like such a loaded question. But I’ll start where I am today, which is I’m a chief people officer by day, but I also own and run my own business, host of a podcast, working on a book, mom, fitness fanatic. All the things, right, but it didn’t start that way. I actually started my career out in health and wellness and it’s very interesting how my career has evolved over time because only really like looking back, can I see like that red thread that ties everything together. And so my my why has always been that I love helping people. And I actually started in nursing school very quickly realized I don’t like blood and guts, like, that is not for me and didn’t know what I wanted to do and fine if by chance by the universe whatever you call a divine intervention. I don’t know I ended up working at a local gym, as a personal trainer, and absolutely fell in love with it was fortunate enough to land an internship doing corporate wellness. And I did that for about eight years of my career.

Erica Rooney 5:09
And I say like, the problem that I have is I have too much of a growth mindset sometimes. So I’m like, always looking for that next thing to go after. And I will never forget when I was like, I don’t know, early 20s. And I landed that first job as a corporate health and wellness instructor, I was like, I can’t believe I found the job. I’m gonna retire from like, I literally thought that right, which is hysterical, because looking back, we all know what we think when we’re 21 is usually not accurate. But I hit the glass ceiling that I had very quickly, right, there was nowhere for me to go. And so I really had to start thinking about what I wanted to do next. And I didn’t know right, and I was so far down this corporate America track that I didn’t have like a career counselor, career coaching was not a thing back then. And I was just kind of throwing anything at the wall to see what would stick like I took project management courses, I was doing Agile stuff, none of which is like resonates with my soul.

Erica Rooney 6:04
And then I tried HR. And I actually really enjoyed it. And at first I got into HR because I was like, awesome, there’s a huge corporate ladder to climb, they’re like this can be a really great place for me to go and got an HR loved because I was helping people like it wasn’t in their health and wellness goals, but it was in their career pathing and working through difficult conversations and FMLA and all this other HR speak. But I was able to help people. And that growth mindset then kicked in. And you know, in under 10 years I was in the C suite, which is amazing, because I get to really drive a lot of change. And I get to help a lot of people, but I’m not as close to the people. So like, the farther up the ladder you go, the farther you are away from the people. And I was really missing that. And again, being in the C suite, my 30s. I was like, What am I supposed to do after this. And I was kind of having this like, I don’t want to call it a midlife crisis, but definitely an “Oh, crap!” moment. Like, I don’t know what I’m gonna do.

Erica Rooney 7:01
And I really decided that I would get into executive coaching. And I started working with women, and loved it, it was one of those moments where I was taking on more than my 40 hour a week job like I was doing this on the weekends. And I was so lit up inside when I would start to do it that I couldn’t ignore it. And so I really kind of poured myself into creating this business that I have. And helping women get seen get hurt and get promoted. My whole mission is to bring more women into positions of power, but to keep them there, because we’ve seen recently how women get into these positions. And then they all got to jump ship because it’s too crazy. Life is too much. So my job is to help women do all the things

Blake Schofield 7:43
I love that and love hearing your story in terms of, you know, the trials and tribulations we go through when we try to figure out who we are and what’s the right path for us. Because I went through so many of my own, I actually started my career in human resources, because I got my degree in psychology and thought I was going to be a marriage and family psychologists. And so I started looking at the path and I realized, wait a second, I don’t really want to go get my PhD, I don’t want to move to this other state to have to go to this great school and then be stuck in that state because that’s where my relationships are. I want to choose who I work with. And by the way, I don’t want to work with people on the same thing for like two and a half years, I actually want to help people create positive change in their life.

Blake Schofield 8:23
And to your point back in those days, there wasn’t really a lot of that, like the personal development realm back then was like Tony Robbins and a couple of men who maybe had come back from serving in a war and had these stories to tell, but there wasn’t really a path or so in the way that there is today. And so I spent my first several years in HR trying to figure out what it was I wanted to do and couldn’t see myself doing it the next 30 years to your booth ended up in merchandising and building businesses and turning them around and doing that for 16 years with a lot of highs and lows in that journey to actually leave corporate America in 2017. And really find the right path for me.

Blake Schofield 9:03
And one of the things that I think drew me to have this conversation with you is that we have an equal passion for helping women truly maximize their value. And that’s a big part of the work we do here at the bridge to fulfillment is help women actually really understand what their gifts and skills are, and how they can build that bridge to help other people really understand. You know, often my clients are doing that from the standpoint of transitioning to new companies or new roles. But I think there’s a lot of synergy in terms of the skill sets and what that actually looks like. So I’m interested to sort of hear some of your perspectives on what are some of the biggest mistakes women are making today that are creating or keeping them stuck in sticky floors or stopping them from actually breaking some of those ceilings?

Erica Rooney 9:44
Oh my gosh, like that is a question. And what I will say is the most common one that I get when I asked women to talk to me about their sticky floors, is not knowing their value, not knowing their worths. And that’s a hard one because it’s very raw and like vulnerable, you know, it’s not, oh, be more decisive or have a stronger executive presence, you know, it’s very vulnerable about I don’t value myself. And it doesn’t always show up that way. But I will give you a prime example of how it can show up and why it’s so easy to miss. And so for example, being an HR 15 years, I can read a resume and crank it out, turn it around like that, right? You just be like, nope, that’s terrible resume, here it is 100% perfect. Takes me five minutes. There are men out there, who will charge you $350 for that, okay. But as a female, I’m much more inclined to be like, no, no, it was only five minutes of my time, like, let me make it. Like, don’t worry about it. People charge for that. But like we as women are so in tune to making things nice, that we often undermine our value, we sign up to bring the cupcakes, we sign up to take the notes in the meetings, we do all of these things that it standalone acts don’t seem like a big deal. But as we add them up over time, they become a really big deal. So knowing your worth is absolutely the number one sticky for that I see in women across the board.

Blake Schofield 11:19
Yeah, what you’ve said is so true. And I see it in such a multitude of ways, because the work we do here is very different than traditional career coaching. Traditional career coaches focus on resume, how do you interview? What are the right interview questions, not that we don’t do that. But to me, those are tactics that come at the end, that are marketing elements, that if you don’t actually remove that mental barriers, the belief systems, the lack of self awareness, the lack of really understanding how you work best and the right environment, and how to actually align that none of those things will actually ever solve your problem.

Blake Schofield 11:56
But when you talk about this thing of we give, and we give, and we give, and we never even think about charging for these things, or we never consider it that way. I think that that’s very true. And it’s true, not just in the workforce is I often say how you do one thing is how you do everything. Because I find that to be really true. Meaning if you have a belief system that I’m not good enough, which is the most common core belief system, every high achiever has, by the way, doesn’t mean anything’s wrong with you also doesn’t mean it’s true. If you have that belief system that you know, I’m not as good as people think that I am, or, you know, I’m not really not worthy, that will play out in every single part of your life. And so to your point, it’ll play out and I’m just going to help somebody, I’m never going to ask for anything back, I’m going to constantly take on more work, because then people will see maybe that I invaluable, or my hard work will allow me to get promoted, or all of these things. But then it also happens in our family life to where we put up with, or we put up with things or we don’t ask for help, we think we have to do everything on our own. So I love hearing you say that because it’s such a huge piece of the puzzle. And for women, I find that usually far more significant than it is for men.

Erica Rooney 13:04
Well, and what’s crazy, too, is that it’s not as simple as like knowing your value, because very few people will be like, Oh yeah, I don’t know my value. You know, we are all intelligent people here. But it’s these little things that just creep in. And unless you are getting really quiet and listening to that voice, you don’t even recognize that it’s there. And when I’m working with women, and I’m asking them about sticky floors, and how do they show up? A lot of them are like, well, Erica, if I knew what it was, I wouldn’t be doing it. And I’m like fairpoint, but hear me out. And these sticky floors, like come up in moments of stillness. And I am not a solid meditator kind of person. I’m very high energy. It’s very hard for me to meditate. But I tell people to meditate. I tell people to have quiet time in their life. Because those are the thoughts that creep in the limiting beliefs. I’m not good enough. Those things creep in during the stillness during the quiet probably when you’re trying to fall asleep is when those thoughts start flying into your brain. And you have to be very intentional about listening to that thought. Because in the day to day actions, it doesn’t necessarily scream, I’m lacking value, I’m not worth it. But it’s in those moments of stillness that you can kind of grab on to it, then you can begin the questioning what you’re doing now, is this true? Is this helpful? And you can start to move through this process of uncovering your limiting beliefs, your sticky floors, and then busting through them.

Blake Schofield 14:40
What do you think I assume that because what you really are working on is helping women get promoted and move forward. You probably are working with a lot of women who feel undervalued in their jobs and who keep getting passed up for promotion or feel like they’ve been in the company’s for a while and nothing’s moving. Is that true?

Erica Rooney 14:56
A lot of high achievers, yes, who things have come to easily, right, and they progress, progress, progress, and then they hit this wall, right? Whether it is they’re stuck in a career, or they have a different type of boss that they’re not used to working with. And they just kind of get stuck, for lack of better words.

Blake Schofield 15:13
Mm hmm. And so what would you say for somebody who’s in that circumstance? What’s the first thing you would recommend them to do? To start to unravel? Because I always say the lessons we need to learn always show up. The question is whether we’re listening to them or not. So anytime we’re in a situation where we’re looking for a specific outcome, I often think that especially as high achievers, we get so outcome focused, but we don’t actually realize you got to deal with the barriers first, to get to the outcome, what’s the most common thing you think women need to do that are sitting in a circumstance where they’re either dealing with that boss that is making them question because I watch this all the time question, my confidence, am I really good am I going to be able to make it in this job, or, or are sitting in a situation where they feel like I don’t feel like I’m being valued. And I don’t know if I can actually get the promotion or move up in the way that I want to.

Erica Rooney 16:04
So one of my biggest focuses when it comes to issues like this is, and it’s based in the fact that there is so much out of your control as a person, you can’t change another person, how they lead, how they act, what they think about you, all of that is out of your control. So you need to change what is within your own span of control. And so usually when I’m working with women about this, there’s usually something that’s going on that kind of exacerbates the feeling it’s agitating, we dive into it. And I try to look at it from the reverse standpoint of like, what about this situation is helpful for you? What is the lesson in this situation? And what do you need to do to move forward? And it can’t be outcome based on someone else? It has to be outcome based on you.

Erica Rooney 16:55
So for example, do you have a boss that expects you to work 80 hour work weeks in order to get a promotion? What do you expect? What is most important to you? Is it that work life balance? Are you getting that work life balance and working with them to protect their own piece first and make sure that they’re learning from the situation? And it might be learning that I’m not going to get promoted here unless I do 80 hour work weeks, right? Like, unfortunately, that culture does exist in some places? And if that’s the case, if that’s the truth, what do you want to do about it, because there’s a couple of different options. And we explore all of those options, and they very quickly, it helps them align with their core values, because that’s such an intense piece of finding harmony and balance within the workplace is understanding your core values. Because most of the time, when women are seeing this friction, it’s because they’re working for a company or in a situation or with a client that goes directly against their core values.

Blake Schofield 17:52
100%, I often tell women if you’re experiencing the rollercoaster of fulfillment, and fulfillment in your career, or you keep experiencing these same patterns, over and over again, that these are all signs and symptoms of misalignment. And what you’ve just said, right is one of those versions of misalignment is my value system. And the way I’m being asked to work or the way this company works, or the way my boss wants me to work doesn’t match. But then there’s also I think a lot of other things like we all have natural ways of working, that are intuitive to how we do things. And if you don’t understand again, those things about yourself, you could be in the right company or with the right boss, but doing the wrong work, or doing it in the wrong way. And so I’m such a huge advocate that self awareness plus empowered action, equal fulfillment, if we don’t understand who we are, we don’t understand our value. We don’t understand how we work best, we don’t know what we need in order to thrive. And we haven’t worked through the personal limiting beliefs, triggers or patterns that are actually keeping us from getting what we want, we can’t actually achieve what we want in life. And it’s really hard to take empowered action. Because if you don’t have clarity, you don’t have the belief system and you don’t have confidence in yourself. You can’t create things. And so am I a huge proponent of what you’re saying, which is, essentially, we have to work on what we have control over in order to actually create what we want. And I think one of the biggest things I think I see consistently that keeps women stuck is an outward focus.

Blake Schofield 19:25
So I had a woman a week or two ago, reach out to me, and she actually said, I asked her what do you think is stopping you? Because she basically said you don’t have all of these degrees have gotten all of this education. And I think people are jealous of me, and then proceeded to share a number of other things and everything from her lens of life was because I have X, Y and Z degree. I deserve a promotion. I deserve X, Y or Z. But what I could see in that process was that in what she shared was, it has nothing to do with people being jealous of her. And you can’t control that. And you can’t act on that. And you can’t create career change on that. But what is it about her perspective and how she’s probably interacting with people that’s creating the scenarios where people continue to pass up on her for getting a new job. But if we stay externally focused, it’s my boss’s problem. It’s the crazy hours expected of me, it’s the whatever, we can’t ever create that change, because you are a victim, then of your circumstances and everybody else?

Erica Rooney 20:29
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, that’s one of the biggest things that I focus in on is whatever is in your span of control, because there’s so much outside of our control, that you can’t do anything about that. But you can control how you approach the situation, and how you look at the situation. And you very well may have a whole bunch of people that are jealous because of whatever reason, but like you said, that’s outside of your control. It’s so interesting to you, because I always remind my my people that, you know, they’re not thinking about you as much as you think they are. And you are just one little thing, like, and I often equate this, when I have team calls is I say, Who are you really looking at on that screen? When we’re having a team zoom call, convince yourself, I know what you want. So you know, and so we really talked about it. But we are all focused on ourselves. And that’s not necessarily it. And I know you said there’s this outward focus, and that’s more of like the outward blame. It’s not my fault. But what about it is your fault, what about it is in your control. And that’s something that looked through.

Blake Schofield 21:35
It was an interesting thing to me, because I personally believe have witnessed and continue to see on a weekly basis through my clients that when you move from an external focus, what do people think about me? How are they going to feel about me? How are people going to judge me? And you move to an inward focus of really understanding who am I as a person? And how do I work? And what’s special and unique about me? And what do I really want from my life, and you begin to understand how our belief systems are formed, and how they create emotional triggers and patterns in our lives. And you begin to shift those for yourself, I see massive impacts that you can have on the boss who thinks you need to work 80 hours, I see massive impacts that you can have on a co worker who is driving you crazy.

Blake Schofield 22:22
I had a client a couple years ago who was so miserable in her job. And she was like, I know, I just started the program, but I gotta quit, I cannot do this one more day, I cannot. And I’m like what’s going on. And she said, my boss literally throws meetings on my calendar all of the time. And it’s driving me crazy. And she’s like, I can’t get any work done. And every single week I go into status, she just dumps more work on me immediately. And so we start talking to us, give me a couple of weeks, give me a couple of weeks, let’s talk about this. Let’s build a plan. Let’s see what we can do. Three weeks later, she’s a completely different person, peaceful, happy. She says, You know what, my boss agreed to two days a week where she won’t put any meetings on my calendar. Also, she stops dumping work on me and our status every week, I’ve been able to actually be in charge of that. And part of the process was her learning and understanding who she is and how she works best. She’s a project based person, she needs to plan things out. She needs space. She used to have structure in her life. And she had a boss who ran counter to that. And so she needed to be able to own that and ask for what she needed. She also needed to understand who her boss was, what were her boss’s triggers, and why was her boss doing this? And how could she be an advocate to help lead her leader.

Blake Schofield 23:33
And so I think that as we talk about sticky floors and glass ceilings, and we talk about owning what’s in your control, so think it’s important to understand you can have massive influence on the people around you, when you gain control over yourself. And you can begin to see things from a much more empowered place. Because she would have believed that there was no way she could ever keep that job. And not only did it entirely change that experience for her working with that boss, but she impressed that boss so much that she actually had wanted to leave the company, she had some reasons that she really needed to work from home. And they didn’t really do that. And so she’s like, I’m gonna have to leave this job. But can you just make it better while I’m here? Well, it improved so much. They saw her leadership and her ability to manage things, they actually created a job for her that was 100% remote, that was a promotion to do all the things she wanted to do. And she would have never have believed that that was possible. And yet I see things like that happen all the time, when we can come to understand what you’re saying, which is what isn’t my control. But also understand that there can be shaming and a lot of victimhood and saying that’s not in my control. I can’t control that boss, I can only control me. But I would actually say to you probably have far more influence on that boss, if you can understand and control yourself. And then you can use those skills to understand how to work better with other people too.

Erica Rooney 24:51
Absolutely. I always tell people like all feedback isn’t necessarily great feedback, but it does teach you something. And that’s, you know, teaching you how you can respond to your boss how you can work with your boss. What I find so interesting is that there are so many people out there that don’t go through those core value exercises because they think it’s just for companies or it sounds too woowoo or fluffy. But it’s that breaking it down to like what it truly means. And when you can connect that like you can figure out if you’re a project based person, right, or if you’re more fly by the seat of your pants, or if you’re someone who wants to live, very micromanage II or someone who wants to be totally freelanced. It just opens up more opportunities for where you can excel.

Erica Rooney 25:35
But people don’t often dig in and do that work. Or they think like, yeah, all values are great words, I’m all these things. And it’s like, but pick those few that really resonate with your heart resonate with your soul. And then whenever you find yourself in those questioning moments, why am I not getting along with this boss? Why am I feeling so stressed, you can dig in and find out those things about yourself and about others. Because this is why so often we do these team profiles, disc profiles and Myers Briggs. Because the more we know about other people, the better we can be at meeting them where they are at. And one of my biggest things is always believing the best in people, there are very few people out there who are truly mean spirited. Most people want to do good work, they want to be a good friend, a good partner all of these things. But because they see the world through a different lens than we do, because of their life experiences, they operate differently than us. Again, all amazing thing. It takes all kinds of kinds for the world to go round. But the more you understand about people, the more curious you can get, the better the situation can be for everybody. Mm hmm. 100%.

Blake Schofield 26:45
So one of the big things you shared is your passion is helping women break through glass ceilings, I think we’ve talked a little bit more about the sticky floors than the glass ceiling. So let’s kind of transition there, I’d love to hear your thoughts, what are the key things that you think are important to really be able to do that?

Erica Rooney 27:02
Honestly, this is the toughest one, but it is so important, especially for future generations is to be your authentic self. So often, especially as women, we try to change and shift who we are to meet the standards of what it is to be a quote, good leader, when all we have to learn from our old white males who are already sitting there, you are different, we are different. But being your true authentic self is so critical to being a strong and good leader. And I think we’re starting to see the shift in that. But showing up 100% as your authentic self is what got you to where you are now. And it will be what gets you to where you need to do next for women, like we’re told to speak up but not too loudly, right? We’re told to lean in, but not too far. We’re constantly being pulled in these different directions. But we are also starting to see these things that are extremely powerful that women have like empathy. Empathy is truly a female trait. And we are seeing empathetic leadership is one of the driving forces that companies want. So showing up as your authentic self, and not being afraid to set those boundaries as well. Recognizing that you don’t have to lead like a man, you have to leave like you. And that will help you break through that glass ceiling.

Blake Schofield 28:18
Yeah, it’s such a big one we were talking about that before we you know, started the podcast is that their knee, I just believe so much that there needs to be more authenticity and more vulnerability in women seeing successful women be who they are. I spent 18 years in corporate retail. And, you know, I grew up with two parents that were workaholics that taught me early on how to be successful from the lens of how it was to be successful for them growing up and what the environment was like. And I watched my mom be taken advantage of told she would be promoted for if she met X goals. She exceeded those goals. And they gave the job to a man instead. And watched all of this in my childhood. And so when I first started, my career very much was work and personal life are separate. And they are not the same. And you don’t bring those in because it’s quote unquote unprofessional over and over again. And I watched in my career who were my favorite leaders. They were the people who were genuine and real, who admitted when they made mistakes, who had real lives, who asked for feedback from their team who didn’t have all of the answers. And I began to see this disparity between the story that I was told and the reality that I was living.

Blake Schofield 29:34
And I think the last, you know, decade or so there’s been so much movement forward in terms of really helping people think about work differently. And I still think there’s such a huge way to go. Because to your point, most organizations have been built by men, and they’re structured in the way men communicate and structure and you still see right women 50% of the workforce and less what 14% of the C suite still today and why is that happening? I think women don’t want to sacrifice their family for their career. And they believe that that’s the only way. I also consistently see, they’re still not enough examples of very successful women who have balance, authenticity, or living life on their terms, I still see a lot of corporate women in the C suite that are honestly angry, and bitter, and sacrifice their whole lives for their careers. And a huge part of my passion is to be able to show women that there is another way that you can write the very successful, in fact, you can be, in my opinion, more successful, because you’re actually balanced. You’re taking care of your health, your family, yourself, and you’re making a positive impact. And when we as women show up authentically as who we are, we can start pushing for the change that in my opinion, is still really necessary. And a lot of companies like why do I care if you’re sitting at the desk if you actually get the job done? Who cares? I’m so done with that, like when women come to me say, Oh, my boss is calculating, and I’m a salaried employee that makes six plus figures. And my boss is calculating my 30 minute lunch break, get the hell out of that place. I’m sorry, that is ridiculous.

Erica Rooney 31:13
You know, it’s interesting. It’s interesting how they’ll calculate that 30 minute lunch break, but they won’t calculate the other days where you work two extra hours a day for a month on end to make a project meet.

Blake Schofield 31:23
Yeah, yeah. And I think for so many women, especially women who are very loyal, they may stay at the same company for 10 or 15 years and believe that every single company is like this. And I know one of the reasons I stayed stuck in my career for so long is every company I looked at, I was like, well, it’s just more of the same. Yeah, I often tell women that when you go interview for companies, companies are like, people, they’re millions of different company cultures. In the same way, there are millions of different people and their perspective, and just shifting this idea that you need to show up as a certain person in order to get hired at x company. Right? That’s me putting me in a box, deciding this is who I am. And then I take that job, and I’m miserable, because I have to be a certain person to work there. Instead, what if you actually considered showing up as your authentic self and looking for an environment that once people that are your authentic self, it’s almost like dating or marriage, you find the right match?

Erica Rooney 32:23
No, I’ll tell you a story. So before I have the role of the role that I have, now, I worked for a company, and I had a 45 minute commute on a good day, loved the company, right? Loved my team. But I always felt like I had to lie about when I was leaving, or why I was leaving earlier, or what I was doing. I’m a mom, I’ve got two little kids back then they were even little are right, we’re talking like a couple months old and a three year old. And I wanted to be a good mom, right? I wanted to be at the plays at the school, and to see them after work for more than just the 30 minutes at dinner time. Because then it was bedtime, and this that and the other like, I wanted to be a good mom. But I also wanted to be a really good employee, like I wanted to do good work. And I wanted to grow. And I just constantly felt this inner turmoil because all the men that I reported to head stay at home moms as wives. So they all claimed like yeah, work life balance. But every single one of them would judge me for leaving a minute before five o’clock. And I was always trying to calculate like, are they at their desk? Are they not at their desk? Can I leave now? Or do I have to wait until five? And it was just so much work to to do that. And I never felt good at either of them, right? Like I either felt like, okay, great. I snuck out of work. 10 minutes early today, I’m gonna get a little bit more time with my kid. Or I felt like, well, crap, I can’t sneak out because he’s right there having a meeting. But you know, so then I was just sitting on my computer looking at People Magazine, you know, so I wasn’t even doing good work. But it was just trying to keep up this facade.

Erica Rooney 34:00
And so now the way I lead as an executive is I do not blur my team’s background, my Zoom backgrounds at all. I work in a playroom. If y’all could see me, there are Lego tables and doll houses and beanbags. And a dog behind me it is I’ve got a little corner. That’s it, right. But when I lead and when I have company meetings, I make sure that all of that shows. And then I also block off for 30 minutes every single day of the week, Monday through Friday to pick up my kid. And people know that after that. I have a kid at home beside me. I’ll take meetings with you but I also might be stopping to do homework. I take all my big important meetings after drop off before pickup anything else after that I try to keep low key like emails. But I intentionally tell people that I do this because my kids are home and I want to be able to also help them with their homework and stuff. So I tried to lead very intentionally like that. And if I cannot make a meeting, or do anything because of a kid activity or doctor’s appointment, I will straight up tell people I have this going off my kid, it’s a baseball game, I gotta leave early so that they can see that if I can do it right, I’m in a position of power. It’s a privilege to sit where I sit, because nobody’s going to tell me I can’t do it. So I need to show others that it is okay. And for them to be comfortable. And I lead a team of amazing women. Some of them are parents, some of them aren’t right. So for my parent people, they’re obviously like, awesome, great kids stuff. But for my nonparent people, I’m like, You need to take your dog to the vet, you need to go get your hair done. You need Botox, what you need to do, go do it your life and your priorities are way more important than work that will be here when you get back. And as long as you’re getting that job done. I don’t care.

Blake Schofield 35:42
Yes, thank you for that. I appreciate you standing up as an example for women about what’s possible and recognizing, ladies, when you’re in a position of leadership, whether that is senior manager, director, VP, or the C suite, that we are the ones that have the opportunity to create that change. Because when you stand on your value, when you ask for what you want, when you live an authentic life, you not only make yourself happy and create more of what you want, but you give other people the permission to do the same. So I just I thank you. And I give so much kudos to you, Erica, because we have to be the trailblazers to show people what’s possible. And often, I think there becomes a tipping point where women see enough of it that they begin to realize it’s possible for them to because exactly what you explained that I sit at my desk and I can’t leave that is the life I lead for 18 years almost. And it was horrible.

Blake Schofield 36:41
I remember one time I had a boss that was such a workaholic, twice a year, we had these big business reviews that we had to do. And it was an insane amount of workload. And I remember we were so sad when meeting with her at three o’clock, it kept getting pushed back and the perspective of the company and perspective of the boss was you stay here until I leave. While I have two little kids, I panic called my husband, I can’t tell you how many times in that nine months, I worked so hard to please can you go get the kids from daycare because I can’t leave. At six o’clock, she comes to start our meeting, I’ve now eaten food from the vending machine, because that’s all that’s available, my husband has now gone to get the kids, she keeps us till 830 At night, and then tells us to come in early the next morning to finish this meeting that was supposed to happen at three o’clock. And I’ll never forget because she went to some event for her kid in the middle of the day. And all the kids got up on stage. And they got to talk about what their wish was. And her child’s wish was that her mom was around more. And she told us and she laughed about it. And I thought if that were me, and that were my child that stood in front of all those people and desperately wanted their mom just to be around for them, I would have been devastated emotionally, I would certainly not have shared it with people because I would have felt guilt and shame. And that same night, she continued to work late. And that was the day I decided I would never work for that woman again, and I left that company.

Blake Schofield 38:10
But I share that because I live to that experience every day fearful I couldn’t leave that if I left before my boss left you would think I wasn’t committed. So when you went to that example, I was like that is the life I lead every day for for decades, right. And that is the polar opposite of the life I lead today. It’s the polar opposite of the life you lead today. And I hope, if there’s anything that our listeners have gotten from today is that if you don’t feel valued today, in your job or in your life, if you feel like you have to put on this fake facade to be successful, if you are sacrificing the things you really care about in your life, you don’t have to. But it starts with creating that change and deciding that you want to do something different. And then finding that person who’s been there and done that that can help you figure out remove the barriers in your way and help you build a plan and shift that so that you can create a far more fulfilling and a far more happier life for yourself. Because we all deserve that. I truly believe that. And unfortunately, fortunately, and unfortunately, things are changing. But there’s still a lot of opportunity to go, that there are plenty of places that you can go with leaders just like Erica who understand and are modeling that behavior to allow you to have great impact in your job continue to grow and continue to be challenged but also not sacrifice the rest of your life to do it.

Erica Rooney 39:32
That is the biggest takeaway is that there are companies out there there are leaders out there that are not like that, you know, and again, this is a situation that sometimes you have control over sometimes you don’t need only you can evaluate the situation and know what that outcome needs to be. I very well could have sat down with that, you know, my boss at the time and said, Listen, this is how I’m feeling but I didn’t feel empowered to do that at the time. Right. And so I feel like it is my responsibility to show that to all of my team so that they don’t even have to question whether or not they need to put work first sec, no, never we will be here we will get the job done. So it’s such, you know, when I think back on that, and I think back about like, why I didn’t say anything or do anything was because I didn’t know I had a different option. I didn’t know that there were companies out there and leaders out there that lead like that. So that would be my biggest takeaway is just know that there are a lot of people out there who lead that way. You just have to go looking for them.

Blake Schofield 40:33
And you have to believe that it’s possible for you. Because if you don’t have the belief system, you’ll never take that change. And I agree with you. I didn’t have that belief system. I didn’t know it was possible. And it’s a huge part of why every week I’m on here sharing these stories and bringing women on like you to be able to help expand women’s perspectives about what’s really possible for them so much for joining us today. I will end with this. Is there anything else that I didn’t ask you that I should have? Or anything else that’s on your heart that you just feel as important to share before we wrap up?

Erica Rooney 41:03
Oh, gosh, I mean, we could talk for another six hours, probably. But I would say if you are a working woman, if you are a parent or not a parent, you can do all of the things but you need to prioritize what all of the things means to you. And I talk a lot about this with some of the women that I work with. But I don’t bake brownies for the kids school. I don’t volunteer at the PTA. I don’t even go to all the baseball practices, I go to the important ones. And that’s how I fit in all the things air quote, right. So figure out what all those things look like to you and know that you can’t have it. You just have to define what that looks like for you.

Blake Schofield 41:47
Awesome. Thank you so much for joining us. And for those of you listening until next time, have a great week.

Blake Schofield 41:58
Thanks for joining me today. Rather than hope the grass will be greener identify what the right next step is. We can help you do just that. Get clarity on where you are in your journey to career fulfillment, where you’re headed, optimal paths to get there, and the right next step to take. Start your complimentary personalized career fulfillment plan at Again, you can get your personalized career fulfillment plan at Thanks again for joining and have a great week ahead.