Ep 109: How to Use Stacy Mayer's 15-Minute Ally Meeting Strategy to Get Promoted

  • Why your brain tricks you into believing it’s difficult in hybrid or remote work to build relationships
  • What are 15-Minute Ally Meetings and why this strategy was created
  • How 15-Minute Ally Meetings actually work
  • What kind of amazing results you can expect using this strategy

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If you or folks on your team consider themselves high achievers ready for that next promotion, but find it challenging to identify strategies to build relationships in this hybrid or remote first work world, this episode is for you.  Those days of building relationships with management in the hallway, the proverbial “water cooler” moments, are now few and far between.

I’m sitting down with my colleague Stacy Mayer, a Certified Executive Coach and Promotion Strategist who is on a mission to bring more diversity to the leadership table. Stacy and I talk about a  strategy she came up with to help folks build trust with leadership, get promoted, and prevent burnout. 
Listen in as we dive into the challenges of the hybrid work world for high achievers, and how simple 15-Minute Ally Meetings can accelerate landing promotions.

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Welcome to Rock Your Brain. Rock Your Life. The only podcast hosted by a high achieving tech entrepreneur and certified coach that teaches you how to use proven cognitive tools to rewire your brain and break through the second pandemic. Burnout. If you lead a company or badass team and need a proven evidence based cognitive course to retain and develop them, this podcast is for you. Sarah helps humans break through burnout, have insane work life balance, and feel magical at work and in their lives again. Here's your host certified coach and tech industry entrepreneur, Sarah Moody.

Okay, Rockstars. Welcome to a super exciting podcast this week. I am so honored to have my colleague and friend Stacy Mayer. Did I say that right?


Oh, thank God Stacy Mayer. I mean, we gotta get pronunciations of humans names, right?

Right. um, Stacy and I actually met in Simone Seoul's, who's our coach, she's one of our business coaches. We met in her mastermind called the Mystery Room. And Stacy also lives in the bay area, of course, we're like fellow Californians. And, um, I love what Stacy's doing. She is a certified executive coach and promotion strategist, and she's on a mission to bring more diversity to the leadership table by doubling the number of women promoted to the C-suite each year worldwide.

I mean, y'all how amazing is that mission? Yes. Go women. Yes. So what I love also about Stacy too. Well, I love a lot about Stacy, but so yes, helping women get promoted, but she's really strategic in the way that she thinks. And so we're gonna have a super informal conversation today. Stacy. Welcome to you.

Thank you so much, Sarah. It's so exciting to be here.

Aww, yay. Yay. Okay, so here is. When I heard about what Stacy was doing here is what I immediately thought would be so amazing for you to hear as my audience. So she tackles topics like executive communication, getting more respect in the workplace from challenging bosses, avoiding the common mistakes of like sabotaging your career.

So lots of ways you can act and like strategically manage your career. And so it's a really beautiful compliment to, you know, what I focus on is beliefs, beliefs, beliefs, and thinking full on in the belief world as well. But she's also been like the action strategy world as well. So, so what she's gonna share with us today is one of the strategies that she's defined for how to support women get promoted.

And so. I'm gonna ask my first question girl. And that is actually talk a little bit about how you got into this field.


you got into the world of coaching. Yeah. Give us a little, yeah.

Oh, that's a great question. So I always wanted to be a coach. I used to be an actress in New York city and I had a coach. Uh, so this was, uh, gosh, 15 years ago.

And so for those of you who aren't used to always having coaches and things, you know, it's different. Right. So I was one of the only actors that I knew that had a life coach and I just was completely fascinated by it. It changed my life. So when I moved out to California and started to get more into the personal development, spiritual space, I was like, I am going to be a coach.

This is what I'm going to do. So I left my job at the hedge fund and bought a one way ticket to India. Traveled around India for a while, trying to find myself, um, and did, in some ways, came back to California and was on unemployment for quite some time. And what was happening was, a little bit of entitlement, which I teach some of my, this kind of goes to the mindset as well as the practical.

So the mindset side of entitlement is when women are really overqualified for their job. Like they're really, really good. Or like maybe they're even in their forties or, you know, they're like, I've been doing this a long time. Why am I competing with this 20 year old? Or why am I competing with a boss that clearly doesn't have a clue.

Right. And so what was happening to me, and the reason why I was on unemployment was literally entitlement. I was like, I should be so much further along in my career by now. I should have a beautiful, amazing coaching business. It should all be working out. And so then therefore I just sat and did nothing. So I got my butt in gear and I started to, just take a step back and to be humble.

And I said, you know what, maybe I could support a coach. And so I actually started working for a women's leadership organization in the Bay Area, and I wasn't a certified coach yet, but I did tell her that I wanted her job someday. Tip number one that is, if you want a promotion, just tell your boss that you want their job someday.

So that will be very flattering and they'll start to take you under their wing. So I told her that she loved it. She thought it was a brilliant idea. She really took me under her wing. And then about five years later, I ventured out on my own to, really focus on getting women promoted. You know, so it was a little bit like, okay, it's great that we're taking risks and we're speaking up more as women, but for some reason, the titles aren't coming along with that or the pay wasn't coming along with that.

So I focused specifically on that strategy and that's been the crux of my work and really owning how can we double the number of the women in the C-suite and stop waiting for our companies to take on that mission, but to do it ourselves.

Ooh. Oh my God. I love, I love what you just shared for two reasons.

Number one, you got curious. And that's a big thing that I teach all of my clients and all of my students is get curious. If you're not seeing the results you want, what's going on for you. And then you completely change how you show up in the world. Once you get curious, right?


Then number two, what I love about what you just said too, was.

That I just lost my train of thought probably because I didn't sleep that well last night, because you all know, I have Marley my little dog, right. Who's right over there. And he is not feeling that great. And so I didn't sleep that well last night. So I just lost my second train of thought, but that's okay.

we'll get curious about what it is.

 I'm gonna get curious about it and it's gonna pop up and then I'm gonna like fire out my other like big, like yeah. Moment as Stacy was chatting. Um, All right, Stacy, let's talk about this strategy that you've invented called the 15 minute ally meetings. I wanna know what are they and why did you create this strategy as well?

Like y'all when I heard about them, I was like, oh, this is some good stuff.

Yeah. So basically it came from a place of curiosity. So 2020 March of 2020. I had several women in my programs kind of freaking out. Right. So they're we're, we were all the whole world was freaking out in March of 2020, but one of the reasons they were freaking out is because their promotion strategy or it, and, you know, and we could also call that success strategy at work.

Right? How are we successful in our job in, in executive leadership was based on bumping into their bosses in the hallway, literally. And, and think about it when we were in the office, how many times did a senior executive leader pop into our office and start talking to us? And if you are, lucky enough to be a white male colleague, that's invited to the golf course.

How great is that right? Or to the bar after work. If you have the time to be able to support that. Right? And so these are the strategies that a lot of people tend to use to network at their organizations and to build relationships. But what I started to notice, so this woman came up to me and she was just like, I, I just don't know what to do.

I'm noticing, like I have no more face time with my boss. I'm kind of freaking out. I can see this downward spiral. I'm gonna lose all of my authority and stuff like that. And of course, from a place of curiosity, I was like really? Because that doesn't have to happen. Mm-hmm and another thing that a lot of women would tell me would be something like, you know, they say, I need to move near headquarters if I wanna be an executive leader at this company.

And I was like, eh, is that really true? So I do a lot of that work. Right? It's the hard work belief work, right? Like, eh, I don't know if that has to be that way. But we have to take ownership. So from a place of entitlement, we can't just say, well, you know. Screw them. I'm not gonna move towards headquarters or, you know what I can't, because now I'm working from home and my kids next door, and I guess I'm not gonna get promoted.

Right. So we have to take ownership and do something different. And so that's when 15 minute ally meetings were born. So I was like, okay, well, how do we recreate the bumps in the hallway? Because what's happening there is that you're building an enormous amount of trust. We see it, like we make jokes about the golf course all the time.

But the part of us that knows that that's where real trust is born is it's not because of your achievements. It's not because of your brilliant presentation to the CEO. It's those little tiny moments in between. And Simon cenek talks about this. He says that, you know, the individual dates with your partner when you first.

Meet them is not necessarily where you fell in love. It's all the moments in between. It's the little conversations it's the late night talks. It's that moment of glance. Right. And that's when we really build trust with other people. And in order for you to be promoted, right, people have to trust. You right.

Mm-hmm . And so we think like, trust that you can do the job, like yes, absolutely. But that trust that you can do the job is only, I mean, I think 20% is your actual work effort. Like the actual ability to execute on the job. They need to trust that you are a person who makes high level decisions. Right. That you are a person that, they want on the executive team, right?

If there's only five people on the executive team, they want you to be somebody that they want in the room. And so 15 minute ally meetings are a way of recreating those bumps in the hallways, those little conversations in a virtual setting. So they're basically literally that 15 minutes on their calendar.

You're not gonna talk about work. You're gonna just talk. Right. And so you can talk about leadership. You can talk about things that you're pondering curiosity, right? It does. I don't mean you talk necessarily about your kids and your dog. You can totally, but really it's about work in a different way, a higher level way, like what I've been thinking about, what, what problems do I see?

What have you been thinking about getting to know them on a deeper level, kind of how you would in the bumps in the hallway, that little in between moments.

You know, I've been reading a lot about, um, How corporate America is shifting from the employee experience to employee life experience. Mm.

Understanding the humans on their team and their company from a holistic life perspective. And that's really come out of the pandemic and so understanding everything from, yeah, what's going on at work, but also too, if you want also talking about stuff, that's going on outside of work and really starting to build, a relationship that exists outside of work as well.

Like more and more. I just it's. This is, it's like new HBR research that came out in the last month. That's talking about this. And so I love, that's another thing that I just love about what you just said too, about these 15 minute ally meetings. I mean, you get to decide what feels right in terms of the agenda.

It sounds like you've got a really great high level construct, but also too, it could be a great way to start. Thinking about your teams who are craving that connection and that humanity and that kind of like shared experience and let's get strategic about work as well.

Mm-hmm yeah. Yeah, for sure.

So tell us how these 15 minute ally meetings work.

What do you recommend?

So the first

thing is, and, and so specifically what I'm talking about is with anybody who is a higher level than you. So that's kind of something to think about because you're gonna be really inclined to schedule these with your peers or even with your team. because it feels a lot easier than reaching out to your boss's boss's boss and scheduling a 15 minute Alai.

So we're stretching our brain in terms of who we're building these relationships with strategically. The second. Way that they work is that they're only 15 minutes. Totally legit. I'm being very serious. That they're only 15 minutes. So you're sending an email invitation. You're actually saying, Hey, can I get on your calendar for 15 minutes?

And what this shows the leader is that I value your time. I'm, you know, this can't be really deep about work, right? It has to be about something a little bit different. It's curious people aren't necessarily doing it. And so it's like, oh, I wonder what she wants to talk to me about. Right. So that, yeah, that sounds fine.

So a lot of executives will say yes to them. And then the third rule, and I really say this not even tongue in cheek, but it really should not be about work. And what I mean by work, what I qualify as work is literally your job and what the other person works on in a day to day basis. Like that weedsy part of work.

So a lot of times people will try and make these meetings about a specific topic. So they'll hold off to have the conversation when they have something to bring up strategically in terms of their team and they wanna get the CEO's opinion on it. That's actually telling the CEO that you don't value their time.

It's a mind switch and it's incredibly important at the executive level that they see that you understand human connection at that really high level. Like what matters to them. And if your CEO is not your boss. Your CEO is not gonna give you advice on the project that you're working on.

Like talk to your boss. Why are you talking to me? Why did you just waste my time? So instead we're not gonna waste their time. When you were talking about sort of things that matter to us, I thought, well, a great example would be if you're a woman of color and say there's only four other people of color at your entire organization.

And you would like to have a conversation about diversity, right? Just in general, not about what you are gonna do, but just like curiosity. Right? What do you think moves the needle? What does mean change? Right. You know, it seems like we have a lot of people who are really burned out you know, even on my team.

What would help, like in your experience, what shifts that right. 15 minutes, that's it. You're just having an open conversation, but it's about the topics that really matter to you versus, your work , which also could matter to you, but that's not what these conversations are about.

I love it. And it's such a beautiful way, too, of like, as you said earlier, what's so important is building trust.

Mm-hmm like building this relationship and building it in an ongoing way. So do you also have a recommendation too for the frequency of

oh yeah. Yeah, no, that's great because they're not one and done. And so I think it could be anywhere from once a month to once a quarter, like, you know, depending on who the person is.

But so often we wait to have the meeting with our CEO when we can, when we can block a whole hour and we could fill that whole hour. I say, this is just the first meeting with your CEO. You're gonna meet with them again in three months right. And so I think that it's just really a different way of thinking about it, but it's what would happen if we were truly in the office, would I be kind of brushing past this person, having these side conversations?

Would I be having more coffee chats? Right. That's the kind of in between trust that that we're building in these conversations.

That's awesome. And what are you seeing in terms of results? Out of the 15 minute ally meetings, like how, you know, how quickly are you seeing that results happen and what are some of the examples of results that your clients are experiencing?

The very first thing is inside out confidence, right? So I believe confidence is actually created through action in terms of get out there, do it, try it, and then you'll feel. So when I notice somebody who's just like, oh, you know, trying to figure out, overthink the 15 minute meeting. I'm like, you just need to schedule it girl.

Like you need to get in there and just do it and experience it. Now the beauty of 15 minute ally meetings is this really set up that you can't fail. Actually, you're much closer to failing. If you talk about work, if you don't talk about work, it's just opinions. Like it's just life it's set up to not fail. So you really can't fail.

Now. It could feel like a dud. You're like, wow, that, that was just actually a boring conversation. And I probably don't really wanna do it again, but that's okay. Even that's even like high level failure. It's like, who cares? Right. A lot of our conversations are boring. And so in terms of results, confidence is huge confidence on a couple different levels.

If you are having a conversation with your CEO on a regular basis, . You feel much better, right? You're not, when you're presenting to the management team, you're looking around the room and you actually know and have had conversations with half of that room recently. Right. So it's already gonna build your executive level confidence from the inside out, right.

It starts to make you feel like that executive in a real like cellular way, not in a way that's like, you know, fake it till you make it right. It's like, let's do it. Let's build those relationships so that feel included, we feel like we belong. And then from a technical standpoint, it has led to many, many promotions, right?

Like there is just no doubt that this process, so one of the biggest pieces of advice that people's bosses will tell them if they want to get promoted is you need to build relationships with the executive team. I can't be the only person that is sponsoring you. That knows what you're doing. That knows how awesome you are.

And that's even that piece of advice is if you're lucky, if you have a good relationship with your boss, who's smart enough to tell you that it's such a true in terms of getting promoted is that they have more than your boss has to know how amazing you are. So, when that happens, what happens is your boss says, Hey, I would like to promote Sarah.

And then three people who are in that committee in that room are like, oh my gosh. Yeah, Sarah great. Done. Right. It doesn't have to become a, like, you know, Sarah's been working on these things, these projects, she's really great. She's an asset to our team. And like, they're just like, oh no, I know she's an asset.

It's great. She schedules meetings with me all the time. Like I. I get it. I get what she cares about. I get what matters to her. Yeah, she'd be awesome. And so it makes those yes decisions very, very quick and easy for your boss to be able to present you and to get you that promotion. And, and so that has happened time and time again.

 And then I will say, one third result is jealous peers. So, if you've ever seen, like somebody get promoted and you're like, oh, they just kissed butt to get there. so, like, so what. Yeah. Like I'm like, you know, I, I do a lot of Instagram reels that you gotta stop carrying what your peers think.

Your peers, not only don't help you get promoted, but they can also hurt you with these negative comments and make your self-esteem go down. And I don't really care. So yeah. I'm glad you responded that way, Sarah. Cause that's how I feel too.

I'm like, eh, humans, it doesn't matter. What other people think.

What do you think?

Yes, yes. Yeah. Yeah.

That's awesome. Okay. Any other, any other kind of closing thoughts, closing advice, anything that you haven't, um, shared that you wanna share around this? Awesome. 15 minute ally strategy. What it's so funny, like while you were talking about the hiring committee and your manager saying, you know, I wanna promote Sarah or whomever.

For example, I had this visual of like what you're doing with this strategy. It it's almost like you as the human are becoming ivy in the company, right?


Building all these connections with all these executives, right? Like a beautiful ivy tree on a wall

mm-hmm .

And so of course it makes sense. When you go for that promotion, because like everyone you're you're you covered the wall.

You're a beautiful, you know, Ivy and everyone.

I, that leads me to my final point. When you asked if I had anything else I wanna share as women. And this is a very strong generalization, but it's what I see to be true is that we crave connection. We want to get promoted and be that ivy, right. We wanna be connected.

We don't, we're not really interested in getting promoted and then having to prove ourselves the entire time that we're there. And, you know, be like, I I'm really smart. I deserve to be here. Right. I have to prove myself constantly, constantly, and on an island making. Decisions by ourself and all of those great things.

So what we want, what we desire. Is to feel included. Part of that inclusion is that Ivy, that people just call on us for an opportunity. You know, I'd love to have you on my team, or even I'd love to have you come into this meeting because we need your opinion. Like that's what we want genuinely. And when we think about avoiding burnout and stress, it's about that inclusion.

When we feel connected, it allows us to take care of ourselves genuinely. Yeah. So the process of 15 minute ally meetings creates that connection. So when you do get promoted, you are promoted in a community. Not on an island. And I think it's so important for us to take the result that we want and put that result into the process that we're gonna get there.

So we're gonna, we want to be connected once we get to the executive suite. So let's start getting connected today in order to stay connected. Once we get to the executive suite.

Quick question, as you talked about confidence. When you have clients who are like there's, I don't know what to say. I, I know after I do it, I'll feel more confident, but I have all this resistance.

How do you coach them on that resistance?

So a couple of things is patience. So I never make anyone feel bad about not scheduling them. Like I have women in my advanced programs who are paying me a large amount of money to remind them that they still haven't scheduled the 15 minute ally meeting that they promised me six calls ago to, that they were gonna schedule.

And I think that's really important is that what we're doing is slightly different than the norm. So that fear. Is real mm-hmm and we are, there are a ton of consequences in the corporate world. Like literally, like we could just say getting fired, right? Like, you know, it's like if we make the wrong move and so I just try and gently remind them that it is fail proof and why, and really just that curiosity. The nature of a 15 minute ally meeting is one question and done, right?

So, so there is a simplicity to it. So it's not like we have to figure out a lot of what to say. We just have to figure out one thing to say. And so that's also really good. And then the other piece is community. So there are so many women in my program who have had this work for them. And so when you have a coach that tells you that it works, eh, okay, great, Stacy, like, you're not the one who has to send the email to your CEO and then you see one of my corporate badasses as they call them.

Who's like, yep. I was freaking out too. I sent the email and you know what? They responded. No. And so then Stacy coached me to send the email again. They were, they actually, that time they just ignored me. Stacy coached me to send it again. Right. And then now look at me and they can physically look at that woman.

And they're like, oh my God, you are such, such an amazing leader. I want to be like you. And so they're like, all right, I'm gonna send the first email. Right. I'm gonna, I'm gonna schedule the meeting. And so gives them that confidence when you see. People who are your actual colleagues and not just the coach who saying, you know, trust me.

It's like, they're like, no, I actually did it. And I was scared just like you. And it worked.

Yeah. I love that too, because. What we're talking about is our brain's natural resistance. When fear comes up, could wanna go and do something, right? This is something new. It makes sense that you feel fear like your primitive brain is like, it's like danger alert, alert the saber two tigers gonna kill you.

And so it's so beautiful, Stacy, that you actually coach you hold a space. You have patience. You stay curious with your clients. And coach them to the result to making the call, you know, having their back along this journey of we're all scared about different things in our life and just love all of ourselves, including that fear.

Yeah. Yeah. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. you know, so it's like, it's a little hard, but it's, it's, that's part of why the transformation, why the connection feels so strong, why the freedom feels there once you're able to kind of get over that hurdle.

That's so awesome. That's great. So I love what you're doing because.

Like it comes back. Yes. It's gonna help you get promoted, but it's also the strategy's also gonna help you around that craving of connection, which I'm seeing with all of my clients, they're dying to feel connected, building trust, getting promoted, and all the things. So, Hey, thank you so much. Thank you.

Yes, for being on the podcast. All right. Rock stars. So this is. How to use stacy's 15 minute ally meeting strategy. You're gonna build leadership trust trust with leadership. The strategy's gonna help you get promoted, prevent burnout, and definitely build some community and start feeling more connected in this hybrid world and remote first work world.

All right, Stacy. Thank you so much for joining us. Rock stars have the beautiful rest of your week and I'll talk to you next week. Okay. Thank you. Bye bye.

 If you're loving what you're learning in the podcast, you have to come and check out the rockstar program. It's my coaching program, where we take these neuroscience based cognitive tools and we use them daily to break through burnout. So you can fall passionately in love with your life and your career again.

So join me over at SarahMoody.com/rockstarprogram. I would love to have you join me. You can also follow me at Sarah L moody on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. I can't wait to see you.



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