Jean Durham, Master Certified Intelligent Leadership Executive Coach at ILEC
Jean has more than 20 years of military service and has recently retired. The Marine Corps has definitely taught her that organizational skills coupled with hard work pays off; loyalty and teamwork are a must for the task at hand; and that a culture of strong leadership can really make a difference.
Her new calling is to help leaders become the absolute best versions of themselves. She wants to help change the world, and she knows that can happen one leader at a time.
As an executive coach, she enjoys working with and helping people with the same drive, compassion, understanding, and sense of adventure that she possesses.
Connect with Jean on LinkedIn.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- Executive and leadership coaching is more important than ever post-pandemic
- Help women overcome gender inequality in the workplace
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Atlanta Business Radio brought to you by on pay Atlanta’s new standard in payroll. Now here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:24] Lee Kantor here, another episode of Atlanta Business Radio, and this is going to be a fun one. But before we get started, it’s important to recognize our sponsor on pay. Without them, we couldn’t be sharing these important stories today on the Atlanta Business Radio. We have Jean Durham with intelligent leadership executive coaching. Welcome, Gene.
Jean Durham: [00:00:43] Hi, thank you, Lee.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:44] Well, I’m excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us a little bit about your practice. How are you serving, folks?
Jean Durham: [00:00:50] Yeah. So intelligent leadership executive coaching. We’re dedicated to growing strong leaders at every level, building cultures and and driving results. Of course, so I’ll seize coaching methodology. It includes a proven philosophy system and tools that empower leaders and future leaders to unlock and unleash their potential. So really, Ilex purpose is to accelerate the development of these leaders while helping organizations build and sustain strong cultures.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:22] Now what’s your backstory? How did you get involved in coaching?
Jean Durham: [00:01:27] So I was active duty in the Marine Corps in my transition was slowly approaching. I didn’t know what I wanted to do after the Marine Corps. And and just so you have it. There was a transition coach that reached out to me via LinkedIn. So he and I worked for several months trying to figure out what what it was that I wanted to do, what my calling was, and I knew that I didn’t want a corporate position. I knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur in franchising. Just it sounded right up my alley. And we went through a couple of them, which I didn’t feel was a good fit for me. But he introduced me to Elysse and I was like, Yes, that is my calling. That’s what I would like to do.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:10] Now let’s talk a little bit about that transition period. Here you were. Your career was in the armed services and now you’re transitioning into civilian life. And for some people, that could be overwhelming, it’s like, I don’t know if I can do anything other than what I have been doing, but for other people it might be like I can do whatever I want now, you know, the world is my oyster. There’s infinite choices. How did you kind of navigate that? You know, the, you know, the trap of some sort of scarcity, but also the trap of so much abundance that it’s, you know, it’s almost paralyzing.
Jean Durham: [00:02:46] Right? I know exactly what you’re saying. You know, it’s it’s a rarity that you’re going to find a marine who truly like joins and then wants to do more than four years. I think we’re all just doing four year increments until, you know, twenty two years passes and it’s like, OK, I think it’s time to move on and do something. It’s risky. It’s scary. Absolutely. But no one, no one ever did anything great being scared all the time, right?
Lee Kantor: [00:03:16] But how did you kind of narrow your choices like you looked at franchising? And I would imagine some of the appeal of franchising is there’s a structure. There is already kind of a roadmap that I, if I’m a good steward to this, then I should become successful. That’s attractive to a lot of people as opposed to you had the background to to have your own kind of internal philosophy of coaching and leadership based on your history. So something drew you to a already an existing methodology.
Jean Durham: [00:03:49] Definitely. I am a big believer in big fan of structure and organization, you can imagine. But the best part about me being a coach with Elysse is that I get to take my experience from before and couple it with this awesome coaching system. And it’s it’s a really nice package of what I get to do. So I don’t lose anything. I get to be me and use the system at the same time.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:17] So it kind of shores up some of the structure and operations that maybe you weren’t familiar with or didn’t already have fully baked. So you can start kind of off and running and just kind of leapfrog from that foundation into your own kind of skill set?
Jean Durham: [00:04:32] Yes. Yes, precisely.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:35] Now in your in the world you were in is a male dominated field, obviously. Is part of your practice going to be kind of aimed at women who are in male dominated fields? Is that an area of practice for you or you’re taking all comers?
Jean Durham: [00:04:52] Of course, I want to help as many people as as I can, absolutely. But helping women who are in male dominated industries, I that is a that is a demographic that I’m very interested in helping. Absolutely.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:08] So how do you go about the kind of the sales and marketing for that? Like, how do you identify people to even start having these conversations with?
Jean Durham: [00:05:18] Sure. I mean, so I was in the Marine Corps for four, twenty two years, and so I know what it’s like to be the only woman in the room or the only woman at the table. And I know what it’s like to have a little bit of time before your voice is heard. But you know, what I learned is that I had every right to be in that room or at that table because I earned it. And sometimes working twice as hard as men is is what it takes. But it is noticed and the people who might have questioned my ability to do my job well that that ceased. And so that’s something that I that’s my unique perspective that I can bring to the table.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:01] And then how do you identify the women out there that might be going through the same thing, but maybe don’t have that support and maybe that inner confidence? Or maybe they have some sort of imposter syndrome that they aren’t kind of worthy of where they’d like to go? How do you identify them so you can help them?
Jean Durham: [00:06:22] Well, it’s it’s going to take a lot of conversation, and that’s my job. And that’s what I want to do is I want to establish relationships with with these folks. And so of course, I I don’t think I can show up at a production company and be like, Yes, that’s the woman she needs. My help. It’s just it’s it’s going to be a lot of meeting people and kind of digging out like what the challenges are and where I can help.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:51] Now in your journey to find IAC, I guess you worked with a coach yourself to help identify a variety of franchises of which you chose ILC. Are there kind of do you see some sorts of referral partners in your future that you could be working with to collaborate so that they can? You can work together to identify that ideal client fit and or serve that group.
Jean Durham: [00:07:18] Oh, sure. I actually am looking into a couple of groups here in Savannah. It’s a it’s a pure it’s like a yeah, it’s like what you said, it’s a referral network, so we’re all out to help each other. I’m definitely joining a lot of different groups in that arena.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:36] Now, when you retired from the Marines and began this kind of journey, does the armed services provide kind of a pathway or are they just say, Well, that’s your last day, you know, good luck. And off you go it.
Jean Durham: [00:07:56] Know there is a transition readiness seminar that every marine is is required to go through upon transitioning out. So the Marine Corps has has set me up appropriately.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:09] And then what was it like kind of that first day that you were untethered from the Marines?
Jean Durham: [00:08:16] It was very weird. I know that’s probably not the best word I could use, but it truly was. It was I. I no longer was required to wear the uniform that I had been wearing for 20 twenty years. It it definitely put my thoughts and feelings about the Marine Corps in perspective. While you’re in, you might be like, Oh, well, this is kind of awful, and I think I really need to move on. And then that last day, you’re like, No, no, no, no, no, I really want to stay in now. I miss you guys already.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:50] Did you find that that you your identity kind of changed because like when you were part of a team like the Marines for a period of time, that’s how you probably identified. And then now you’re a former marine. Do you feel like kind of a little bit of an outsider?
Jean Durham: [00:09:08] I do, and I do. It’s because that’s that was one thing that made me truly unique is I was a female in the Marine Corps. The percentages are so low, I think I made up six percent. That’s a very small number. And then it’s almost like I lost it. But upon my transitioning transition out, I, I did not realize how many people, how many veterans were out there that were like, No, no, no, we’re we’re still a family and you were still a marine and you can count on us and we’re here for you and like, OK, I love this. This is great.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:46] Yeah, it’s one of those, I guess, transitioning from anything that you’ve been so intimately involved in for so many years. It becomes part of you. And then when you kind of take that next step in the journey, you know, it’s it leaves a mark. Definitely now being part of a franchise like ILC also comes with some support and teamwork. Have they set you up to be successful in your market or what are some of the things they’ve done to help you kind of launch your practice?
Jean Durham: [00:10:22] Oh my goodness, this has been some of the most supportive staff I have ever worked with. They were with me every step of the way leading up to me being awarded the franchise. And that did not stop. Once I got the franchise, they I have calls with them on a weekly basis to make sure that everything is going well. They honestly, I had no idea I had someone pitch my story to you on my behalf, and I just I’m ecstatic. Like, there’s there’s only so much marketing I can do. And then you’ve got this extra team out there that’s like posting content on your behalf and reaching out to the media to be interviewed. And I’m just I’m it’s so wonderful.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:08] So let’s share some advice or maybe some of the wisdom you’ve learned over the years for the listener out there, maybe it’s that woman that’s in a male dominated field. What is some things they could be doing today? What some action they could be taking in order to, you know, take their career or their business to a new level?
Jean Durham: [00:11:28] Sure, absolutely. I’ve got a couple of things, so it might be a long answer. First and foremost, lead by example. Women have always been and will continue to be under the microscope, and unfortunately, that when a mistake is made, it’s noticed. So it starts with how you carry and conduct yourself. You know, you want to model and develop the behaviors that you expect. And I want to coach women into becoming more self-aware, getting more comfortable with being vulnerable. And when I say vulnerable vulnerability is associated with feelings of fear and uncertainty, absolutely. But when someone is truly vulnerable, it, it builds trust it. Builds empathy and understanding it opens us up for growth, and it allows us to be our authentic selves. I would like to encourage women to showcase their talents. So I mean, confidence is built through helping someone realize their self-worth. And it’s it’s a it’s a game changer. And, you know, women have a voice and they have a unique perspective that men just don’t have. So when they speak up, it builds credibility and increases their confidence. And I mean, at the end of the day, women might just have to be their own advocate.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:53] Now you mentioned earlier working in the film and entertainment industry, how did you kind of get involved in that group?
Jean Durham: [00:13:02] Well, the film industry, it it fascinates me as a whole. I just like I like everything about it, especially the behind the scenes stuff, what goes into it? But of course, over the past few years, I think it’s gotten highlighted for some, some negative things and. I I wanted to get into that in particular, just because there are certain beliefs about women’s leadership abilities. There are harmful stereotypes. There are, of course, the sexual harassment and women as a whole in the film industry, they’re underrepresented. And so that’s that’s definitely an area that I would like to to try to help.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:48] Yeah. And Georgia has this, you know, kind of a this burgeoning film industry that we are taking the country in the world by storm, by producing so much stuff here. So there’s definitely opportunity.
Jean Durham: [00:14:00] Oh, definitely. Oh my gosh. Great state.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:03] Now for you in your practice, is there anything that you would recommend a somebody transitioning to think about when it comes to launching into a career in coaching? I know you went the route of a franchise, but there’s a lot of other routes for a person. But but to have the confidence and to transfer some of that knowledge and just I mean, the military does a great job in creating leaders. There’s nobody that trains probably more leaders than the military. And I think that this country in the world would be better served if more of the more out there leading, you know, and get some of that brainpower working to make the country better and better place. Any advice for that person to take that step and to get into coaching into a leadership training?
Jean Durham: [00:14:57] Oh, oh my goodness. Because you’re right there, there are so many different programs. Oh, if I keep keep doing leadership development yourself. I just made a post earlier on LinkedIn about how I joined the local Marine Corps League and it’s like, you know, you don’t want to. You don’t want to get the training and then just sit and try to to to train, folks. You have to continually evolve with with what you’re you’re putting out there to the world. So read more Listen to more podcasts. Listen to Atlanta Business Radio. Just continually educate yourself.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:40] Yeah, I think that sometimes when you’re so immersed in something, you might take it for granted and not realize the gift that you have and that that has been kind of given to you, that you have an opportunity to really make a big impact. And don’t sell yourself short. I think that all the people that transition out of the military have a lot to offer, and then businesses would be smart to really think about them as employees. And a lot of those veterans should consider, you know, doing their own thing and helping other people level up.
Jean Durham: [00:16:14] Oh, absolutely. Thank you for saying that.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:17] Yeah, I think it’s a it’s a it’s a wonderful resource that the country has, and I think we take it for granted. And I think a lot of the veterans don’t really appreciate all the value that they have to give. And I think that there’s a lot of opportunity there that we can all benefit by the work and the sacrifice that the military folks have already given. But there’s there’s a lot of work to be done.
Jean Durham: [00:16:42] No. Absolutely, yes.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:45] So now if somebody wants to learn more about your practice and get on your calendar, what is the best way to connect with you? Do you have a website?
Jean Durham: [00:16:53] Oh, I sure do. It is extremely long. So do you want me to just go ahead and say it?
Lee Kantor: [00:16:58] Hey, you said we’ll put it in the link, but why don’t you say it out loud?
Jean Durham: [00:17:02] Ok, it’s if you go to Jeanne Durham dot intelligent leadership for education or for executive coaching.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:11] Right. And that’s G.A.. And you are a smart, intelligent leadership.
Jean Durham: [00:17:19] That’s correct.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:20] Well, Jean, thank you so much for sharing your story today. You’re doing such important work, and we appreciate you.
Jean Durham: [00:17:26] Oh, thank you so much for having me on today, Lee.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:28] All right, this is Lee Kantor UCL next time on Atlanta Business Radio.
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