Author: Rachel Cooke

Rachel Cooke is a leadership and workplace expert who holds her M.A. in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University. Founder of Lead Above Noise, she has been named a top 100 Leadership Speaker by Inc. Magazine and has been featured in Fast Company, The Huffington Post, and many more.


Does anyone else feel like the loudest thing on the internet these days is the debate about quiet quitting? Something in its alliterative brevity has struck a chord. Like, with everyone! We continue to spin in the debate over whether it’s good (we’re finally boundary-setting) or bad (people have gotten lazy), whether it’s old (disengagement rebranded) or new (Gen-Z and millennials’ pandemic response). And I feel like we’re missing the bigger points. If this is a new term for you, let’s start with a basic definition. Like all things relevant today, quiet quitting gained its fame on TikTok. According to…

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There’s a lot of buzz these days around the concepts of Inclusion and Belonging. We know they are important drivers of employee engagement and retention. We all want to experience inclusion and belonging – and to help create that same experience for colleagues and team members around us. But how to make that happen can sometimes feel mysterious. I had the opportunity to speak with Bain & Company’s  Julie Coffman and Nishma Gosrani. Julie is Bain’s Chief Diversity Officer and the leader of their Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion practice. Nishma is a partner in Bain’s Financial Services practice whose…

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Hey, it’s Rachel Cooke, your Modern Mentor. And today we’re gonna acknowledge the elephant in the room—that after months and months of Great-Resignation-talk, we may be looking at the possibility of a Great Recession… and maybe some layoffs ahead. So if this is something on your mind, let’s talk about some steps you can take to be ready for anything that may come your way. I was 16 the first time my heart was broken. I saw it coming. And even though it was done with kindness and empathy (seriously—he had a lot of emotional intelligence for an 18-year-old guy!)…

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Ikigai is a Japanese concept that combines the terms iki, meaning “alive” or “life,” and gai, meaning “benefit” or “worth.” In combination, it refers to your life’s worth or its purpose. It’s a new-to-me term I recently picked up in a piece from Positive Psychology. And in this moment it resonated with me big time. Who isn’t on a hunt for purpose these days? We’ve talked and talked about the Great Resignation as people have continued to leave their jobs, noting a feeling of “meh” at work. They want something more. And now that resignation may be evolving into the Great…

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You know how you strive to stay productive during the day…only to get sidetracked by the notifications on your phone or the donuts in your kitchen? If you’ve ever felt like you could be so much more productive if only those distractions would quiet down, then get ready to feel empowered. I invited Nir Eyal – author of Indistractible: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life – to join me on the Modern Mentor podcast today. Nir’s research has uncovered tons of actionable advice on how to take back the reins and stay in the zone of productivity.…

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Here’s a thing that happens to me all the time: I’m facilitating a meeting with a team of executives and they’re discussing a complex part of their business. I pause to ask a “dumb” question. (The ability to ask questions like that is one of the perks of being an outsider looking in at an organization.) Instead of getting an articulate answer to my “dumb” question, I get blank stares. People blush and clear their throats. Why? Because the question that seemed so dumb to me is one none of them actually knows the answer to. And it’s not because…

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We continue to live in unprecedented times—there’s no playbook. We’re living and working differently than ever before, and we’re breaking some eggs as we go. Whether it’s making a Zoom faux pas, accidentally bringing a political view into the workplace, or missing a deadline because you were distracted by homeschooling your kids during your workday, there’s a whole lot of “I’m sorry” happening around us. But the thing about apologies is that if they’re not done right, they can backfire. An “I’m sorry” that feels disingenuous or patronizing may leave the other person feeling resentful, mistrustful, or uninterested in working…

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Something went wrong at work and fingers are pointing at you. You know it wasn’t your fault. Do you stand up and defend yourself at the risk of being labeled “defensive?” The answer is yes. And today I’ll be talking about what distinguishes defending from defensive, and how to stand up for yourself when the moment commands it. What’s the difference between defending yourself and being defensive? The line between defending yourself and being defensive can be blurry. Three core characteristics distinguish being defensive from defending. 1.Reaction versus response When an accusation is made against you, your body’s fight-or-flight stress…

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Over the years I’ve had bosses who inspired me, pushed me, challenged me, scared me, bored me, made me laugh, and made me cry. Now I’m my own boss and frankly, the jury’s still out. Bosses come in all shapes, styles, and fashions. And some are just better than others. I recently received a question from a listener named Lisa who’s struggling with an overly critical boss. She said: [My boss feels the need to] ‘take the whip to the horses’ so we can get things done. That might work for some people … but it does not work for…

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Dorie Clark has become the go-to expert on personal branding and reinvention. She believes we all have something unique and exceptional to bring to the table. Dorie is the author of Reinventing You and Stand Out. She offers insight and tactics on how to define what your special something is, and how to put it to work for you. Listen to our inspiring conversation by clicking the audio player or the link to your favorite podcast platform above. Here are the key bits of advice I took away from our conversation. Stand out with your unique story Being successful means…

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