"Creative Confidence" with Andréa Mallard
Imagine graduating from college and flying to Europe for your first job as a journalist. Instead of things going as planned, you end up bartending in the red-light district to survive. That’s Andréa Mallard’s “fall from grace” story, but it’s not where her story ends.
From making friends with the head pimp on the street to becoming Chief Marketing Officer at the inspiring and innovative company, Omada Health, Andréa’s journey is filled with personal insights about finding the creative confidence to lead on your own terms. In her interview she busts a few myths that keep you second-guessing yourself, shares her perspective on work cultures that support whole people, and offers advice on how to integrate work and home life.
Andréa: …I was hugely under-qualified, but I realized that everyone around me was just as unqualified. But they didn’t feel the lack of confidence like I did. So I needed to get confident fast. That was the way I thought about it: I have to fake it ’til I make it because everyone here is faking it. That same week I reached out to Chris Anderson who was the then Editor-In-Chief at Wired Magazine. I admired so much what he’d done with the title and where it was moving and he so graciously took me out to dinner. I don’t think he realizes the impact he’s had on my career. I just admired his work, I admired Wired, I wanted to learn from him and so he took me out for dinner, and he told me that even he felt like an imposter.
Andréa: So here he is, he was probably in his late thirties early forties at the time, heading a hugely successful magazine that was iconic and culturally relevant, and even he had moments of complete self-doubt, where he felt like a fraud.
Majo: Yeah, I don’t think people realize that people in leadership, people who are high up feel like imposters, feel like frauds themselves.
Andréa: Completely. And it gets worse the higher up you get, it turns out. So for him to admit that to me gave me the courage to say, You know what? We are all figuring this out as we go along. I’m gonna get in this race, too. So I went back to that Stanford course and I reached out to Bill Stump and I essentially said, I wanna work for you. And luckily he was willing to take a leap of faith on me because I had the moxy he was looking for, if not the experience at the time.
Majo: What a huge internal shift of just observing and realizing, Okay, there’s a game here that people are playing, let me get in on this.
Andréa: Yes, and at first it might seem unethical to do. But the way Chris put it was: You know you have the talent, you know you have the drive, what you need is the opportunity. Go get that. At whatever cost, go get the opportunity and the rest will follow. I needed someone to give me permission, for better or worse, to do that. And that’s what I always tell everyone now: Stop waiting to be invited.
Majo: Yes. Oh my god, it’s so key.
Andréa: Stop waiting to be invited. Insert yourself.
- Majo introduces Andréa Mallard. [1:45]
- The “lost year”: How Andréa ended up stranded in Paris and tending bar in the red-light district. [3:55]
- The wake up call she needed to stand up for herself and land a job at Forbes Magazine. [9:59]
- Analytic vs. creative and Andréa’s decision to be both, plus the epiphany that helped her get confident fast. [14:52]
- The big secret around feeling like an imposter and how to stop getting in your own way. [20:02]
- On sexism in the workplace, being a working mom, and how to integrate work and home life together. [25:00]
- Why it’s so important to be your authentic self at work. [30:52]
- Andréa talks about being a leader on her own terms and shares a 100% unique example of creative confidence. [35:31]
- The most exciting thing about working at Omada, plus Andréa’s advice to her younger self. [40:48]
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