Rena DeLevie loves the creative industry. That's why she knew she had to change it. After years of being mismanaged and upset by leaders who ruled with fear, DeLevie started partnering creatives to help them become compassionate, effective leaders. Now, she has a job that matters — and lets her work in her PJs.
We talked to DeLevie about her work as Chief Compassion Officer (what a title!) at Management for Millennials, about her journey to liking herself and her work in a cutthroat industry, and about how she unwinds. Then, she shared her top tip for women who want a job with heart.
Fairygodboss of the Week: Rena DeLevie
Chief Compassion Officer, Management for Millennials
Dobbs Ferry, New York
Tell us a little about your career. How did you get to where you are now?
I partner with creatives to help them become rock star managers and business leaders. Most creatives are promoted into management with no training at all; It's such a set up for failure. I teach compassionate management, where we use compassion and accountability in place of fear. It's a management methodology I created based on what I wished I had experienced in my 30 years with Fortune 500 companies; first as an art director for 8 years, then in creative operations/management and consulting.
I got here by being pooped on for years in the creative industry, which I love, and decided I wanted to empower other creatives to be both compassionate leaders and artists. It's completely possible.
What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?
It was enormously fun to give a TEDxTalk!
What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome?
Taking things personally was a big challenge. I worked hard to identify when I was taking something personally and torturing myself as a result. Now, I teach a 4-step process to NOT take things personally. What a relief it is!
Who is YOUR Fairygodboss? and Why?
My therapist was amazing in helping me learn to like myself. My work stems from the revelation that I'm pretty darn great as I am; that I can shift from believing every thing my inner critic says and step back and make my own choices. This is where the healing comes in — and the spaciousness to grow fully into yourself. If your therapist doesn't make you feel good as you are, find a new one who does.
What do you do when you're not working?
Hang out with my son, read, draw, sing and laugh. A lot.
If you could have dinner with one famous person - dead or alive - who would it be?
Eleanor Roosevelt. She's inspiring because she never let society's expectations of her inform her decisions. She was a powerhouse and made positive changes for us all.
Lightning Round: What is your karaoke song?
"Teach me tonight," the Phoebe Snow version.
Lightning Round: What is your favorite movie?
Lightning Round: What book would you bring with you on a deserted island?
"The Unbearable Lightness of Being." Although that could be quite depressing.
Lightning Round: What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?
My shopping vice is clothes. I love them! If I won the lottery, I'd have a weekly massage and a chef.
What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?
No kidding, follow your heart. Take the job that excites you rather the safe one that will please some voice in your head. Trust your heart.
Why do you love where you work?
I work from home, so I get to do webinars in my PJs and coach people all over the world. Sometimes I get dressed and go into offices and that's great fun also, because I like people.