#26: Michele Stowe:Leadership Development Junkie talks about Developing Leadership Superpowers

Michele Stowe has a thing or two to say about leading change. She also has a thing or two to say about a lot of the most joyous – and least fun – parts of corporate life. 

From the title of the podcast, it’s probably no surprise to you that Michele Stowe is also a self-described comic book nerd. In our conversation, she tells us about how and why she decided to leverage a comic book tool in her coaching repertoire. It’s the kind of thing that makes you tap your forehead and ask “Why didn’t I think of that?” 

If you have ever been through a corporate downsizing, whether on the receiving or “giving” end of it, her story about an early experience will hit home. Memories of several of my experiences came flooding back as she described her role, which happened very early in her career. I could just picture 22-year-old Michele wearing her only business suit telling bankers twice her age the reason their badge failed to operate that morning. The story shaped her in very important and useful ways, as we hear in this conversation. 

This podcast is like a master class in leadership development and change management – and in taking risks. One of my favorite quotes was this: 

“I can…try some experiments, fail, learn and try again, I can emerge to be someone completely different, I can emerge to be that someone that I was meant to be, or at least that I was meant to be for now.” 

Michele has also learned a LOT about true motivation and purpose from working in Mercy Housing, led for many years by Sr. Lillian Murphy, one of my favorite people ever. You can hear Michele a talk titled “Annie Get Your Nun”.  

Here’s what Michele has to say about herself:   

For over 20 years, Michele Stowe has been guiding individuals, teams, and leaders of a wide range of organizations to create authentic, equitable, and fulfilling change, producing real, sustainable proven results.

Born in the US and raised in Germany, where she also lived and worked for many years, Michele graduated from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania and earned her Master's Degree in Organizational Psychology at Columbia University. Following an executive career at Fortune 100 companies that spanned almost two decades, in industries ranging from real estate to pharmaceuticals, she executed a professional pivot into the nonprofit sector, and became Chief Operating Officer of Mercy Housing.

A self-described "leadership development junkie," her diverse experience in the for-profit sector - opportunities to leverage her multinational background - helped stoke her professional philosophy, but it was her time at Mercy Housing where it caught fire. One of many achievements, Michele created a comprehensive talent management program for the company's leaders that structured everything from onboarding to succession planning, all wrapped around the organization's core values. 

Five years ago, Michele brought her vast array of knowledge and experience to bear and founded SkyRocket LLC, a coaching and consulting service that leads clients through a dynamic and thought-provoking process. Drawing from her own C-Suite experience and incorporating research-based approaches that foster creativity and self-discovery, Michele is able to tap into the client's own resourcefulness to help them align and clarify goals, elicit solutions, and hold them responsible and accountable. Certified by the International Coaching Federation, Michele is also a Hogan Assessment practitioner and a highly sought-after speaker, offering these services to any size audience or venue through SkyRocket.

A proud comic book nerd - a medium she cleverly uses as one of her professional methods - Michele lives, works, skis, and hikes in Colorado with her family.  

Guest contact information: 


Additional Links:

The Hero’s Journey 

Atomic Habits 

Mercy Housing 

Pulte Homes 

Up in the Air 

Laurie Santos, The Happiness Lab 

Annie Get Your Nun 

The Elegant Pivot 

Crucial Conversations 

Dragon Boating