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CeCe Morken is the new CEO of Headspace—one of the world’s most popular wellness apps, helping millions of people take control of their stress.
With three decades of leadership experience, CeCe joined Headspace as a Chief Operating Officer to steer the meditation giant through the height of the pandemic. And just 6 months later, she proved herself right out of the gate, earning a quick promotion to CEO.
We discuss CeCe’s incredible rise to the top, the valuable lessons she learned throughout her 30-year career, and her advice for students navigating life after college.
Why Saying “I Don’t Know” Is Your Secret Weapon
During our discussion about leadership, we spoke about the popular misconception that, as a leader, you must know everything. CeCe shares a personal anecdote as to why she rejects the notion that leaders should have all the answers.
Early in her career, while giving a company presentation at her first board meeting, she recalls being asked by a board member what her thoughts were on specific data. CeCe vividly remembers not knowing the answer, but rather than admitting that, she tried to wing a response without any substance or credibility.
The lesson learned from that experience? "[...] All I needed to say was, ‘I don't know, and I need some help here because I'm just not sure what to do next.’ And when you do that, it shows that you're authentic because you're super human, and nine times out of ten, somebody can help you with the answer...the odds are your team has more of the answers than you're ever going to have."
Leaders don’t need to have all the answers, they must rely on their team and pull the genius out of them.
Advice For College Students Entering The Job Market
One of the most challenging things for college students is making the transition into the workforce. Typically, six months or so from graduation, soon-to-be college graduates begin sending out resumes and looking for work in their chosen fields.
During normal times, the job market is highly competitive. But now, the pandemic has made the process even more challenging for upcoming graduates.
However, no matter the workforce climate, CeCe has advice for college students who are just starting to pursue their careers. First, she points out that a job should be aligned with something you believe in. Otherwise, you likely won’t give it your all. And, when you don’t believe in the company you work for, it starts to feel like "work." On the other hand, as the adage goes, "When you enjoy what you do for a living, you'll never work a day in your life."
CeCe affirms, "There's nothing better than doing a job that doesn't feel like work. So, my very first thing is—to the degree possible—make sure it is something that you have passion about."
She also notes the importance of researching organizations that you apply to, but suggests not to worry about the role itself. It’s far more important to "fall in love with the company" because roles will change throughout your time there.
So, as CeCe stresses, "Make sure that you're in love with the company, its mission, its purpose—I think that's a great way to get started."
Follow Your Passion, Not A Paycheck
The words of wisdom CeCe offers to graduating students are equally applicable for anyone in the job market. As a company interviews you, you’re also interviewing the company to ensure they share the same values, integrity, and mission.
That said, earning money is a big part of why we work in the first place, so we wanted CeCe's thoughts on deciphering, is there ever a time to prioritize a paycheck over everything else when looking for a new role.
"I don't think so,” she explains, “I think it is too important to do the thing that gives you passion because you will be so much better at it and so much happier. And the paycheck, to me, shouldn't be the motivation."
NSLS members: Listen to the bonus episode to learn more about why Headspace became the go-to stress management app for millions of people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Student discount! Get a full year of Headspace for $69.99 $9.99
Watch the Headspace Guide to Meditation on Netflix
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