emotional intelligence

From C student to the C-suite: A true story on emotional intelligence

Tami Holzman’s “From C student to the C-suite: How I Use My Emotional Intelligence to Gain Access to the Most Influential People in the World, Even With All My Sh*t and Insecurities,” a book review by Ramon Santillán

emotional intelligence

I have read my fair share of “career experts” and “job gurus” who give advice that sounds good on paper.  Problem is, sometimes what sounds cool in theory doesn’t work in “our” real world.

I remember this one book in college that was part novel, part career guide.  The book related how this fictional character overcame the trials and tribulations of being a student who is trying to find his first accounting job.

Ideally, you would read the book and then follow the steps the main character did and you would end up with a job.

This is a summary of the book:

  1. Call your dad and have him introduce you to his friends, one of which is probably a partner at an accounting firm.  Why?  Well, because your dad is a partner at a law firm so he should know other professionals high up in their organizations.
  2. Meet that partner at a country club where you both have been members for many years.  That will show him that you are part of the community.
  3. Focus 100% on your job search.  If needed, take less classes on your last semester.  (No mention of what to do if you have a job while you’re in school.  You don’t need a job if your rich dad is paying for your college.  See #1 above).

I’m sure this advice would work fine for some people.  But what about the rest of us whose fathers aren’t partners at their law firm, who don’t have connections, and who have to work to survive, much less to be able to attend school?

emotional intelligence

Tami Holzman, author

That’s why I loved “From C Student to the C Suite” written by Tami Holzman.  Her “no BS” approach to succeeding in your career really resonated with the rebel in me.

I want to share some great insights from the book that will help you get ahead even if you did not get a fancy Ivy League degree.

1. Value Emotional Quotient (EQ) over Intelligence Quotient (IQ)

Tami explains in detail how even though intelligence is great, you do business with people so being able to connect with them is more important that trying to be smarter than everyone else.

You have probably seen it in action where the people who are not necessarily the brightest, somehow always know who to get in touch to help them out with a problem.  Strive to connect with people first before you wow them with your brain power.

2. Your past does not define your future

She technically did not graduate from any of the four colleges she attended (she needed 3 more math credits) and still was able to deliver success to her employers and clients.

Many times, we impose self-limiting beliefs on ourselves because of what we have or have not done in the past.  No degree?  No problem.  If you can deliver value to your clients, they really will not (or should not) care where you got your education from.  The higher you go up in your career, the more you will notice this to be true.

The book keeps it simple to where you do not have to read some study to figure out what it means.  She lays it out in plain English so you do not have to wonder what she meant.  She talks about how she made a BFF (Business Friends Forever) over a bra mishap.

3. Ask for the sale

emotional intelligence

Tami Holzman’s book cover

I love her approach for “asking for the sale.”  Just like interviewing, most people go into a meeting, spill their guts out and then just walk out without having asked for the job or the business.

You have not done your job right if you do not ask for the sale/job before you leave the meeting.

4. “Be Present: aka put your f*cking phone away”

The chapter title pretty much gives it away.

By the way, this is not one of those theoretical, I have never tried it but it sounds good on paper books.  Tami is straightforward with how she dishes out her advice and she does not mince words.  This respectful, but candid way of writing is part of what makes this book endearing and useful.  There were times where I felt like Tami was sitting me down and just telling to me straight how to improve my career and life, f-bombs and all.

Do you want proof of how much I loved this book? This is my actual Amazon review:

Perfect book for anyone who wants to succeed without being put into a “box”

I recommend this book for anyone who:

  1. Wants to succeed despite not having the “perfect” grades/degree/experience (she doesn’t even have a degree)
  2. Women who want to learn how to better sell themselves and reach the C suite (she uses all the tools at her disposal to move up while staying true to herself)
  3. People who want to learn how to connect with others at networking events (great tips on how to start talking to people)
  4. All of the above

As an interview consultant that works with MBAs, this book will be recommend to all my clients, particularly female ones. It is just an awesome example of how you are “enough” just by being yourself. Also, the book design was very cool. I would buy the book just to look at the “Tam-isms”.

On a side note, I reached out to Tami just to tell her that I love her book and she responded!  It’s always good to know that truly successful people do not just talk the talk, but they always walk the walk (in Jimmy Choo’s).

Meej Chaparro-Traverso successful workplace relationships depend on a balanced life

Growing up, Meej Chaparro-Traverso (Meejie) was part of a very large Puerto Rican family and experienced warm relationships and a loving and caring environment. She then developed a deep sense of responsibility towards helping not just her loved ones but also those less fortunate than her.

Meej Chaparro-Traverso, founder and CEO of MEEJ, LLC

“Relationships are at the core of our existence and it is the quality of these relationships and the interactions that we have with ourselves, our environments, and with others, that determine the level of success in our professional and personal lives”, she believes.

Meej is the Founder and CEO of MEEJ(Motivational Empowering Energetic Journeys) LLC – a training, and coaching consulting firm that focuses on the development of resonant professional, personal and social relationships.

How it all began in her relationships

Meej minored in Psychology at the University of South Carolina, which helped her later in life when she married an officer of the United States Marine Corps and had to face the numerous challenges and sacrifices of the Military culture.

During that time, she began to volunteer in the Military, working as an Exceptional Family Member Program Coordinator for MCCs (Marine Corps Family Program), then as a FAP (Family Advocacy Program) Specialist and a Multicultural Family Program Manager for The United States Army, (ACS) at the Army Community Center in Fort Brag. The training she received while working with the military enhanced and redefined her interest in making a difference to the community. In 2003, Meej returned to school and completed her master’s in human relations from the University of Oklahoma, Normandy.

However, in 2011 her personal life took a different turn. Challenged by problems in her marriage, she became a single parent. In order to balance her professional and personal life, she decided to start her own business as it would give her the freedom and flexibility to adjust her schedule according to her children’s activities.EPI Meej Chaparro relationships

She returned to school to complete several programs related to her specialty and many independent courses in social and positive psychology at Rutgers University, and the Rutgers Entrepreneur Pioneer Initiative Business Program from Rutgers Urban Entrepreneurial and Economic Development Center, which she graduated from in 2016.

Challenges along the way and lessons learned

Balancing her professional, personal and social life along with parenting, proved a colossal challenge especially because she was experiencing financial problems in her newly acquired singlehood.

“In my attempt to find balance in my life I began to assess what I have named the 3 pillars of relationship development success™; (my professional, personal and social life) with the type of relationships and interactions within those environments, and the level of success I had accomplished in each area,” she said.

She realized that relationship building skills and techniques are a result of intentional, effective and powerful communication (verbal and non-verbal), which often led her to success.

“Thus, it seemed logical to assess and identify my default personal relationship and interaction style as well as best practices of my effective relationship and interactions. I concluded that habitual behaviors present in all three of my environments (at work, at home, at play) led me to create bonds and solidify relationships,” she explained.

She started to engage in skills that helped her influence and build positive relationships in her place of work and in other aspects of her life. I wanted to ensure integrity, balance and alignment of my professional and personal mission, vision, and goals.” says Meej.

And as an entrepreneur, she decided to do what she had learned to do best – make a difference in the quality of life of others. That is how her relationship development strategic business was born. She developed and perfected the processes and techniques that she now uses in all of her training and coaching programs.

Meej’s strengths and how she incorporates them into her daily activities

When asked as to what according to her are her salient strengths, she replied, “My strengths as a business owner are my thirst for knowledge, my ability to form positive resonant relationships and my open-mindedness. Openness to multiculturalism with the concept that we are all interconnected is truly my standard approach for business.”

And she continued, “If you want to be successful, it is important to balance your professional, personal and social lives. Identify positive relationship and interaction styles that have proven to be successful for you and then turn them into habits. Plan, prepare and time manage. Most importantly, whatever you do, ensure that it is a product of your passion and that it is aligned with your personal and professional visions”, Meej told