Cari Jacobs-Crovetto

Cari Jacobs-Crovetto – Building A Culture Of Clear Communications And Feedback

People Strategy Forum | Cari Jacobs-Crovetto | Clear Communication


Feeling like your boss speaks a different language? Is your team communication stuck on mute? This episode dives into the importance of clear communication and constructive feedback in the workplace. Communication expert Cari Jacobs-Crovetto emphasizes the need for mindful listening and authenticity from leaders. She explains the concept of “intuitive listening,” which involves letting go of self-interest and focusing on the other person’s message. Cari also discusses the challenges of communication in a global and virtual work environment, and offers suggestions for leaders to improve communication and feedback with their teams. Tune in to learn how cultivating a culture where clear communication and constructive feedback paves the way for organizational success.


Cari Jacobs-Crovetto – Building A Culture Of Clear Communications And Feedback

Welcome to the show. We’re a show that guides leaders to elevate the workforce. We believe that people are at the heart of successful organizations, but team members’ well-being, rewards, and career development are all essential to a happy, healthy, and highly productive workforce. This show discusses the practical and effective leadership strategies for top executives, senior professionals, and talent managers.

First of all, before introducing our guests, I want to acknowledge our hosts. We have Howard Nizewitz. Howard is a practitioner in both compensation strategies and a systems expert. He also does HR Consulting as well. Howard and I have worked together for years. I’m glad to have him here on the show.

Also, we have here with us Char Miller, who is a human resource specialist. She is an expert in talent management. She works here with us at CompTeam and also advises executives and leaders on having that appropriate lifestyle as a leadership coach. We’re glad to have Char here. She has deep expertise and HR as a former Chief People Officer at some large Health Care organizations.

Also, we should have Sumit Singla here with us. He was just on but he’s in India. Broadcasting out of India, every once in a while, the internet goes down there. Hopefully, he’ll be joining us shortly back on the show here. I’d like to introduce our special guest.

We’re going to be talking about unraveling the art of building a culture of clear communication and feedback. We’re privileged to have Cari Jacobs-Crovetto with us. She’s a beacon of leadership development and a maestro and fostering environments where we need to have that dialogue and feedback to thrive as an organization. Cari’s journey is a testament to the power of intuitive listening, emotional intelligence, and authentic expression and creating meaningful workplace connections.

Her unique approach empowers leaders and organizations to not just articulate their purpose but live it enhancing workplace happiness and carving out legacies that last. Join us with Cari as she shares her wisdom in cultivating a culture where clear communication and constructive feedback pave the way for success. Cari as we dive into the discussion, first I want to talk a little bit about your background because you have extensive experience in communication, marketing, and framing stories. Talk to us a little bit about your experience and how you’ve come to where you are now.

At The Beginning With Cari

First of all, hello, everyone. Sam, thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be part of this discussion because feedback and having good communication are at the heart of any great relationship, but certainly, I feel like it’s the engine that makes successful companies move forward. A little bit about me. I spent 25 years working in marketing first in an ad agency and then in-house as a marketing leader. I was eventually Chief Marketing Officer. Some of the brands that I’ve worked on include Lexus and Procter & Gamble. I worked for Fox Entertainment. I worked for CBS Entertainment.

I also launched two solar companies here in the United States. The second one was Sunrun where I was leading the marketing team. I also now serve on the board of GAF Energy, which is a spin-off from GAF which is the largest roofing company in the United States. We are working now to build in an innovational aesthetic primarily so that you can have your roofing done and you can have your solar nailed in right along with your traditional panel. I did that through 2019, 2020. In 2020, I had one of those moments that so many of us have where I decided that I wanted to make a pivot in my career.

The truth is I’ve been tricky and troubled and passionate and all the things that you might say about leaders who are probably good at what they do but oftentimes problematic. I’m trained when it comes to communication. I was trained when it came to management and leadership. Along the way as I figured that out, I began to get passionate about what it means to be a great leader. In 2020, I transitioned and so for four years now, I’ve been serving as a learning and development leader. As you said, I’m facilitating courses at Stanford on feedback primarily. I work with executives and mid-management people who are hoping to be executives all over the world now to become great leaders.

You were recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the top 50 CMOs in the industry out there. Why the shift into this new environment of helping leaders and cultivating their success?

It’s such a great question. I often look back on my life as so many of us do and I look for the thread through. The things that I feel like have been true about me always. One of the things that has been true about me is I couldn’t see. I had burned out corneas until I was almost six years old. I was five and a half when my family figured it out. I can remember the day that the optometrist put the glasses on my face and I turned and I looked at my mom. She came in so sharply and there was this beautiful moment of seeing her face, but there was all the contraction that happened.

I realized now looking back that for the first 5 or 6 years of my life, I was in this wild intuitive space. My husband jokes that he can turn off the light and I can still find the furniture in a room. If we go to a hotel, I can turn it off in two minutes and memorize the furniture in the room because the skills are so heightened. Those were the same skills that I used in marketing. This ability to feel and sense. As you said, intuitively lifted into the world whether that’s people or friends or what a brand should be. That’s been this thread through.

I naturally felt called because I had been such a troubled and tricky leader frankly and I was starting out my own experience. I was called to help other people do the thing. There was a lot of lack of permission to be authentic and to be ourselves and to have direct, troubled, tough, hard conversations, great conversations, warm, loving, and caring conversations. There was this weird way that we were asked to leave that out the door when we walked into work that I fundamentally found unsustainable and honestly led to a lot of unhappiness. I had a personal hope and I have a personal vision that the workplace can transform with more open and constructive conversation.

The workplace can transform with more open and constructive conversation. Share on X

Intuitive Listening

You mentioned intuitive listening. How should we define that? What exactly do you mean by intuitive listening?

The first step is listening. Often, we hear that people who have been doing this for a long time that we’re on ready to speak more than we are to sit back and listen. There’s a way that listening can look like, “I’m not talking.” That would be like phase one of what looked like listening. Phase two of listening is I’m listening to the words that someone else is saying and I’m leaving space for someone else. That’s a good step two.

Step three is where you let go of your own interest for a period of time, so much so that you can hear the true impact that you’re having on someone else that someone is trying to share with you. You can almost disconnect from the selfish interest enough to show up for someone else. It doesn’t mean you can’t come back to yourself at some point, but so that you can be part of interpersonal conversation. Certainly, you’re letting go of a good chunk of your self-interest so that you can intuitively hear and ask curious questions that have the heart and meaning of someone else. That’s the broader listening.

That’s interesting. As I’m sitting here thinking of questions, I have to do both the listening to what you’re saying and formulating the next thing that I want to say for the conversation for this show itself. How do we break that down to make sure that there’s balance there?

It’s such a great question. Usually, we get into college, and even in high school, we start performing. We’re doing or performing or being graded on our productivity. We get into college and more of the same thing. You noted that I facilitate at Standford and so what I see is master’s school. I would teach in the Master School of Business. We’ve got students who are coming in from all over the world who’ve been type A, who’ve been taught to perform and perform.

Then all of a sudden, we reach a stage where performing is not enough and we have to move from this doing stage to just being in the stage. To answer your question, how do you do both? How do you show up and be in a room while also producing in a room? A big piece of that is holding both intent and impact.

Understanding at any given time the impact that you’re having on a group, the impact that you’re having on another person, leaving enough time and space, and slowing down enough to be with that impact before you necessarily get entangled in your own doing in your own intent into what your plan was or what you were trying to get across or what I’m trying to do here. I’ll tell my clients all the time to slow down. I’m a fast talker. It’s less of that. This is an internal game of slowing down. In that slowdown, you can be with the room. You can be with another person, but you can also slow down enough to be with your spouse.

I wish Sumit was on here because he brings in the concept of the different cultural aspects and I’ve had discussions with Sumit because when he has conversations, he’s listening. There’s this period of silence, of course, when he’s framing the next thought he’s going to have. In India, there’s more comfort with that dead air compared to Americans. We seemed like we wanted to fill every single moment with some noise. Is that what you mean as far as giving yourself time?

It’s a huge piece. I lived in India as well. I understand that cultural nuance that taking space and taking time, but even in other Asian countries like China, for example, or in Japan where the leadership style is one of super uber-low ego. A soft leader is a leader that doesn’t speak. The quietest one in the room is often seen as leaders. In America, the best leader is judged by who can stand up and give the best presentation and who’s got the most charisma. In some ways, we can take some cues from our global friends about what it means to leave some space and slow down and become more quiet.

People Strategy Forum | Cari Jacobs-Crovetto | Clear Communication

Clear Communication: In some ways, we can take some cues from our global friends about what it means to leave some space and slow down and become more quiet.


I noticed too oftentimes with any student regardless of where they come from. There’s the quiet on the outside. My question is what’s it like for you on the inside right now? They’re like, “I’m battling werewolves on the inside.” I mentioned earlier that this is often an insight game which is about how to quiet yourself inside as well.

Speak of the devil, here comes Sumit joining us back. He got an internet connection. Hi, Sumit.

Hi, I’m so sorry. I had a bit of an emergency. I had to run off.

No problem. We were talking about you. I was talking to Cari about how we’ve had discussions in the past about how in India, when people are having a conversation and about listening, you’re more comfortable with having that dead air in between as you’re thinking about the answer. Also, it’s very rude to interrupt people typically. There’s more patience and communication. When you interact with Americans, have you found that listening is significantly different from the American culture?

I think so. You’re right in saying that people are a lot more patient when it comes to listening and therefore, a lot more comfort with dead air. The first challenge that an Indian who’s new to communicating with Americans would face is where exactly to start making a point because we tend to talk at a different phase and we tend to think at a different pace as well.

Since it’s rude to interrupt, it would be rare to talk over somebody else. I guess the other person might think this person has nothing to contribute because they are staying a little too quiet. Sometimes it can get into that spiral where say an American would feel obliged to fill the dead air and Cari on talking and the Indians wondering when will this person pause for me to get a word in?

Responding To Different Cultures

I know, Cari, that you are guiding your students that you were an assistant at Stanford. How do you respond to them when they’re dealing with different cultures like this as mentioned giving space?

It’s a very global environment at Stanford, particularly in the MBA school. Most of the time, we are an experiment in Global Communication. We have students from all over. What I’m seeing more oftentimes is, and this is where leadership comes in, a great leader 1) Understand the nuances of different cultures. 2) To keep psychological safety in the room is certainly ensuring that those people that come from all over and that were holding space for all different kinds of ways of being with humanity.

I think even the clip down from that and of course, I’m in a situation where I’m facilitating different people so I have the floor but oftentimes the leader will have the floor. The leader can use that floor to educate by how they show up in a room and guide and facilitate the conversation in ways that are not so American. This concept of slowing down that you were talking about I started off talking about being slow inside your body. That’s not something that a typical American is taught is okay. We’re taught, to hustle, get it done, move, produce, show up, and be.

If you’ve ever seen some of the most prolific leaders. You can tell they’re down and being there listening, they’re thoughtful, they’re asking questions. I tend to gravitate more to the people. I’m wondering how other people feel on the panel but the space, the slowing down to make room how are you impacting someone? How are they impacting you? What is the dynamic that showing up in this group right now? Versus racing to the finish line to get something done. It’s very different. This idea of having the skills also to be able to check in on that as a culture, to be trained as a culture that this is okay. How did I land on you, Sam? Char, how are you feeling? How did this feel for you and the leaders taking that time?

I find it concerning because it seems like we’re going more downhill than uphill in terms of leaders talking over each other, you watch the news, and people are talking over each other. What do you think, Cari? Are we going in the right direction here?

That’s a tricky question, Howard. I do. Sometimes, I write a lot about polarity in some of the things that I publish. I firmly believe that sometimes two opposing forces will get louder before they break and come to the center. I live in a world of leaders. I’m in the Bay Area which has its own bubblesless to it, but I’m hoping all this is quite a break out of that and listen to the world around me. We’re either going to go one of two ways.

People Strategy Forum | Cari Jacobs-Crovetto | Clear Communication

Clear Communication: Sometimes, two opposing forces will get louder before they break and come to the center.


We’re either going to crack and have and keep the depth of polarity that’s happening where you’ve got, people who are so interested in listening and hearing and becoming more balanced leaders and moving away from traditional masculine archetypes. I don’t mean men. I mean masculine archetypes of being. You’ve got people who are holding on with all their might, women and men. At some point, something’s got to give or we stay here. This is what happens inside every human being truthfully.

In every human being, there are these moments where this doing self wants to move forward and grab and claim and tick on something, and then there’s this other part of us as we become more nuanced that wants to come forward that’s more open-handed. That’s leaving space and room and curiosity and understanding. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get to a place where what’s rewarded is the ability to understand a room and to drive compromise versus polarity?

What do you think, Char? How do you manage executives when you’ve led teams of executives and ensuring that there’s good communication among the team and not one perspective dominates the room?

Good topic. I have had a lot of my career biting my lip as I have watched executives stand in front of a room and dominate the conversation, and one employee feedback that the whole meeting is about what the executives think and on their minds. I am the one who had to give brutally honest feedback to the executive to say stop, listen, and pause. I know that because I too am a very talkative person and I’ve worked over the years for my communication style even though my undergrad is in communication and psychology.

It is about breaking down the ego and giving honest feedback and maybe avenues. The talent management team needs to come up with some very creative out-of-the-box thinking to help the executive feel more comfortable in that face-to-face communication. A decade ago, facilitated brown bag lunches with the executives, not the CEO but all the executives, and helped employees feel more comfortable to give honest feedback. I do believe we all know this, what is the number one transformation that we’ve seen back from the Blackberry days?

Now, it’s all around our smartphones and our social media outlets. I feel many of our population employees are more comfortable on a social media aspect and perhaps opening up that brown bag on some platform or employees can add to the chat, get some critical questions, some critical responses, and then all so allowing the voice of the employee to be heard. Also, the executives will follow up. Another thing I saw with employees very frustrated about they go to an all-employee hands forum and many of them would bring up issues around process issues or things like that.

On New Technology

We’d have hundreds and hundreds of comments and questions whereas six months later. I often heard from employees saying I never heard any follow-up. I never felt that any communication happened. I guess my mindset, Cari. What is your thought about the new day and age of social media and that type of life communication? We do in-person meetings but if we’re Global, we can’t necessarily do that. What are your thoughts about the new technology and how executives can move that along?

Another sharp polarity, Howard, between AI and what will come forward as the real or authentic. As more and more get sucked away into AI, there will be more and more of this authenticity that’s called forward from humanity. It almost sounds very surreal when I talk about it. There are more robots and machines than we humans.

As more and more get sucked away into AI, there will be more and more of this authenticity that's called forward from humanity. Share on X

The piece for humans will be how do we keep ourselves authentic and real. Social media is grabbing every piece of information that’s out there and turning it into AI and already happening and will continue as a giant AI machine. Every time I think of everything that’s going into social media, I would be careful that we’re populating social media with what we want the world to be, number one.

Number two, I’m a big fan of I don’t care how you do it. Get off that and get on the phone, get in front of a human being so you can see their face and you can have a conversation. Bringing back that authenticity and that realness piece in the face of everywhere we’re going is going to be more important than ever. I honestly think we’re ready for it. We’re exhausting ourselves in many ways. I heard this astrology expert who said that we’re in a time when everyone is famous. Everyone can be famous right now. We’re so invested in being famous.

I mean look at me. I’m on a podcast right now. Everyone is trying to be so famous that no one is even hearing each other anymore because we’re all invested in the time that we’re taking the push our own thing. We’re on to that. We’re smart people. I believe in humanity. I desperately believe in humanity. At some point, we’re going to figure out that we’re spinning around amongst ourselves. How do we stop that craziness? Sit down with somebody face to face and be real, be authentic, show up. As humanity, we need to show up in the face of something that’s going to be completely inhumane.

I know Sam was going to mention something but as a follow-up here. Oftentimes, the feedback since we’re talking about feedback that the leaders emphasized to me was their lack of boundaries when it came to the 200 to 300 emails a day. Yes, we do have technology tools to help us manage our emails but the feedback I always heard from many leaders even mid-level leaders is that I can’t get a hold of executive Brown because she is constantly at her desk on her computer. I never saw whoever it was. I mean any person.

Again, a talent management strategist is going to look at how many numbers of meetings we’re putting in front of the leader. How many emails we’re bombarded with? How many reports that a leader have to do? I know those are all very important. PowerPoints, remember the day of PowerPoints?

I had to create how many PowerPoint, which is not communicating but giving the leader the freedom to do that. As you said earlier in our prediscussion, the soft skills to be able to have the time and make the time to literally get around and go on the night shifts and get out on the floor and get in the back of the semi trucks, which I had to do and my former HR days. Spend the time talking to your employees and understanding. You’re absolutely right. What are your thoughts, Sam?

Improving Communication And Feedback Loop

I was about to ask the same question, Char. How does a leader ensure that they’re assessable? When they’re so busy, how do we improve the communication and feedback loop with executives? What do you think, Cari?

I’m keenly aware. Sumit and Howard, I’d love to hear the input of both of you. I don’t know if you have thoughts on this question. I’ll give the short answer, which is this is where AIs are positive. My hope is that AI can take a chunk of this away. As we put more emphasis on what it means to be a great leader, we can spend more of our time. This is where the beauty of AI comes forward. Some of that technology can be offloaded and we can be able to spend more time with each other in humanity.

By the way, I want to say here that I don’t think that this is about having a squishy conversation. This needs to be at the heart of the business. As we’re thinking about strategy, as we’re thinking about we were in the room building the future of the company, this is where feedback becomes important. This isn’t like you have a conversation on the side over coffee, and that’s the only time that you’re listening.

I think about finding that balance in terms of technology and human interaction and clearly one doesn’t replace the other. As you said, it could facilitate having greater interaction because you’re taking some of maybe the more routine tasks off your desk. I’m not sure where they are yet. The one thing that strikes me that’s scary is that my wife and I will go out to dinner and we’ll see a table across four youngsters and they’re all on their phones. They’re not talking to each other and they’re all too busy on their phones. It’s odd.

It’s very true. I was guesting on a podcast for a young man who was 25 years old and he said, “I’m not happy and most of my friends aren’t happy because we don’t know what there is to be happy about.” He asked me, “Do you think the answer is we need to stop doing this and we need to start doing this?” I said, “Absolutely.” I trust that they’re going to figure it out. I know that’s maybe a blind trust, but it hasn’t failed me yet. We do need to keep training these soft skills.

This is why this course that I facilitate at Stanford is so critical. The students call it the touchy-feely course because it’s completely outside of the curriculum. That’s what they would expect from the curriculum. It’s part of the most popular course in the MBA school at Stanford because we’re teaching them. Here’s how you get back in touch with who you are and what you feel, what your body’s feeling, and have to slow down and carry yourself so that you can hear other people.

Do you think it’s become more complex with people working from home now with more and more remote workers? You don’t have the direct face-to-face interaction that you would have normally.

Yeah, it is. It’s becoming more challenging and that’s why it’s so critical. When I’m coaching, I can’t tell you the number. I’m shocked at some of the younger people that I coach and I’ll tell them to go have a conversation and we’ll roll play the conversation and then they come back to me and they’re like, “Here’s how the conversation went.” I see them pulling up Slack. I’m like, “No.” Again, the wisdom keeper’s job is to help them be like this is why and this is the slowing down.

It’s not just telling them not to do it by Slack. It’s like let me tell you why. Let’s walk through what happens on Slack versus what happens when you’re sitting with me. I literally will say, “Can you feel me with you right now? Can you feel it?” “Yeah, of course, I can feel you with me.” That’s the feeling we want to have. I’m very aware of what you might be thinking right now. I’m curious to hear from you.

I was thinking about technology and the fact that it’s not perfect far from it. It can be a replacement for the human experience. It can be an addition. The example I was thinking of very recently was an airline that messed up with the schedule and a person wrote them very sarcastic message on Twitter or Instagram saying, “Thank you for destroying my anniversary. I had these plans and because of your kindness, my wife and I were sitting at the terminal.”

Because it was picked up by AI and they did some sentiment analysis, they interpreted that as positive feedback and responded by saying, “We are glad to be of service and we look forward to you flying with us again.” Of course, it went viral. If they had simply deployed a real customer service person, it wouldn’t have cost them so much in brand value. Lots of such examples are coming by where it’s a lazy implementation of technology and people think, leaders especially think they can get away with listening less and acting more. I don’t think that’s a solution.

I think as a leader, you need to be listening in. Yes, you can probably amplify some of the messages. You can filter out some of what you’re hearing but surely technology is not a replacement for humans at least yet. I’d love to be proven wrong in the next decade or so, but that’s where responsibility can still make a difference. The companies that have these leaders are the ones who are going to win and who are going to get the best talent, whereas others will suffer because of this lack of focus. What do you think of that?

I love what you said. Even more, it makes me lean into what human beings offer, which is this authenticity. It is the heart. Sometimes it is the unseeable intuition that we have that the machine cannot replicate. An invention is going to come I don’t believe from AI. Blasting the future forward is going to come from AI. It’s going to come from the invention of humans. Knowing our worth and knowing the value that we bring. That’s going to be so fascinating.

People Strategy Forum | Cari Jacobs-Crovetto | Clear Communication

Clear Communication: What human beings offer is this authenticity. It is the heart. Sometimes, it is the unseeable intuition that we have that the machine cannot replicate.


We’ve been running on the technology training course for so long. What will happen when we don’t need to run that hard on that side of it anymore? Is that going to open up space for us to maybe bring in more of what human beings offer; heart, soul, listening, caring, intuition? The spiritual element of life. I don’t mean religion. I mean the spiritual element of asking ourselves why we’re here and what we’re doing.

When we’re thinking about technology, this is a great conversation as far as where the world is heading. Recently in the past few years, we’ve seen the onset of AI in chatbots. Apple put out the Vision Pro which is a spatial computer. All of this is pointing towards communication that is not necessarily face-to-face, but having some virtual presence. What are your thoughts there, Cari? Is this going to be effective or is this a learning curve that people and leaders will have to go through as far as implementing this technology? Can there ever be a replacement for face-to-face communication?

That’s a visionary question. First of all, I have to say that my decks are stacked because my husband’s worked for Apple since 1988. We have Vision Pro, we’ve been playing with it in our home. He tested it when it was an incubation. What I will say about the Vision Pro is that it is less about these glasses. They’re important but the framework that technology that they’re sitting on is the ability to walk through the world and stay engaged with the world while integrating technology into it.

Apple figured out a different road and that technology is going to be the future of how we behave as humans, the technology that is inside of the Vision Pro. I’m going to step back. When we think about our bodies and our systems and how we’re created where these neurobiology are mixed with the brain, and there’s something that happens between the two that equals emotion. Could that theoretically be replicated? Maybe. The difference to me will be in the interpersonal component of that.

You’re having to suddenly replicate if you were to try to replicate the interpersonal side, which is so complex. I would be shocked if we could ever replicate that. There’s so much happening inside of our biology in the interaction component. If you think about the number of even small interactions that we have every day with the person we’re getting coffee with, with our family, those tiny moments. I guess we would be reinventing humanity at that point. It would be the singularity which is getting way sci-fi.

We can come back to feedback for a moment and say, at the end of the day, the piece of understanding and slowing down enough in our own system to hear ourselves and hear another human being. That can’t replace human experience. There’s something that needs to happen in the middle of us that I don’t know that could be replicated because it’s unpredictable. What do you think? You’re spiraling, Sam.

I’m thinking about the future of communication. I can imagine. In this forum that we’re having here, we could all be sitting on our couches and having the virtual presence of one another but there are still things that would be missing, like the temperature in the room. All those environmental factors are unique to each one of us, each of the pain that we are experiencing as individuals. Sometimes we’re in the same environment. We have that connection of sharing that environment.

I think that there’s a lot in the future that needs to be discovered and it’s interesting how we’re going to bridge that. I do want to take us back to how can leaders best communicate and encourage feedback from our people in an effective way. Cari, if you want leaders to know about effective communication, what are the basics that our audience should be able to take something impactful out of this conversation that they can apply right now?

The number one most important piece is that it’s an inside game. It is impossible. You can be quiet. That is what I call stage one listening. I can be quiet and make space for someone else to talk while I’m secretly planning in my being all the ways in which I’m going to respond. There’s another place I’m going to respond. What about there? What do I think? What is she thinking? We have all this doing that’s happening inside of us while we may not be talking.

That’s a stage while we’re listening. Stage two is where we start to move into more of the inside game, which is how are we now taking in another human being. Stage three is now interacting with a beautiful infinity loop. Now, how am I doing that dance, which is watching my internal self? Understanding my internal self. Number one, understanding my own conditioning, understanding my triggers, understanding my habits, my narrative, understanding all of that in relationship to the person or people so I’m core sitting in front of me communicating. That’s an inside game.

This is why I lean a lot into mindfulness and meditation as a big piece of my coaching because the practice of meditation was never meant to be that you sit still so that you de-stress. That’s like taking your finger slicing the icing off the top of the cake and walking away. The real practice of meditation is to know one’s internal working so deeply to be so mindful of it in every moment that I can now respond with a depth of clarity and empathy to the world around me. That’s the inside game.

If you don’t get that piece right, you casting about in the wind and that’s what inauthenticity starts to come through. People can recognize that they might not know why they don’t trust you. There’s a feeling of, “I don’t know what it is.” You get somebody who’s seated and sitting in themselves and has done the work to know how they show up, how they lead, and how they affect people. I have a way of thinking that I affect people in both positive and negative ways. I have a pronunciation. What’s that word?

I’m saying it wrong. Howard, do you know? It looks like you were about to interject but I have a way of thinking that is very dramatic and that’s been true since I was 5, 6, and 7 years old. Some people can react to that. They can back up, “She’s a lot.” I have to be aware of that. Doesn’t mean I have to change but I have to say how is this for you? How is this landing on you? Are you feeling free to give back to me right now? Am I getting your best self? Am I getting your ideas or am I coming in strong?

I agree with you, Cari. I hope I’m saying this right. I pulled up at Standford for Business Graduate School or Graduate School Stanford Business. Am I correct? I want to make sure I’m at the right university. I am looking here. You and your team, colleagues, and faculty have an amazing amount of development courses for executives. What I love is that you talk about diversity. I’ve never seen this back in my university days.

We had a section on strategy and talent management, but the fact that you have everything I don’t need to list off all the aspects of diversity, but that is super important. Also, I consider my former education and like you said Cari the areas that I could approve or my executives that I coach could improve ongoing development because you’re right, things have changed and how we communicate and be there and present and communicate is very different I believe then it was years ago.

You also talk about development. Why do you think many of our executives perhaps don’t consider ongoing development, particularly in communication and having those dynamics with their employees? Why do you think so many executives perhaps say, “I already got my graduate. I already got my degree. I don’t need any more development.” How do we encourage our executives to perhaps take these types of courses and perhaps take these types of programs?

I have to be seated in the core of the business. It has to be a piece of what they’re measured on. We have to be able to show that when we do this, teams accelerate faster and perform better and they’re more innovative. There has to be that thread through. If it is on the side where you can go take a course, or you can go improve your listening skills. It’s very hard for most executives 1) To make the time to do that. I strongly encourage them to do that. 2) Wrapping it back inside the business and making it real for them is critical and key.

I agree. The last thing I was going to mention is I also was in charge of an L&D department and it was always about the number of hours. A lot of that was online learning and I love the fact that you have in-person, online, and hybrid options that are more specific to the actual person, the communication aspect of that person, and the way they learn best.

It’s not about the hours you took, the seminar you went to, or the number of online courses. It is the most meaningful and those will make a serious impact on the business. Also, it gives you a lot of gratification for the fact that I went to this course, I went to this educational program and I was able to positively impact my team and ultimately impact my business because isn’t that all part of success? I appreciate your perspective. It is difficult sometimes to encourage some of our senior leaders to take the time for that education.

At the end of the day, this is coming to me now, maybe something is thrown out there, someone who can make it happen, but wrapping happiness. How happy are you wrapping that up inside of these practices? I can tell you from my own personal direct experience and then from those people who I’m working with, who I’m coaching, there is a correlation to doing this inside job work and being able to show up in a listening capacity. In a direct feedback capacity, by the way. That is directly correlative to my happiness. The emptier I feel, the less I am connected to myself and those around me. The more I’m connected to myself and those around me, the happier I am.

There is a correlation to doing this inside job work and being able to show up in a listening capacity. Share on X

That’s so powerful. One thing that you mentioned and this is my big takeaway from our conversation is how you connected meditation to communication. I’ve never made that bridge before. Thank you for that. It’s so important for leaders to release the baggage that they can bring into a conversation that may inhibit their ability to listen effectively to consume feedback appropriately. That has been a huge takeaway for me, Cari. One thing as we reach the top of our time here, how can leaders out there who are tuning in reach out to you and learn more from your teaching and so forth? What are the best ways that they can take advantage of your expertise?

My individual moment of fame amongst the millions of moments of things. If you want to reach out to me and find me if you’re interested in learning more or working with me, I’m at and there you will find a few things. You’ll find different ways that you can work with me including executive leadership coaching, but also meditation training. I offer a free hour if you want to chat. If you want to feel what it feels like to work one-on-one with me, there’s a complimentary session.

Thank you so much. This has been such a great conversation. I appreciate you bringing all these learnings to us. Thank you for your time.

What a great group of people. I only wish we had more time to keep chatting, Howard, Sumit, Char, and Sam, thank you.

Thank you so much.

Thank you everyone for joining us at the People Strategy Forum. We look forward to talking to you again on our next great topic. Thank you, everyone. Take care, everyone.

Thank you.


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About Cari Jacobs-Crovetto

People Strategy Forum | Cari Jacobs-Crovetto | Clear CommunicationCari Jacobs-Crovetto is a visionary in leadership and organizational development, leveraging over 25 years of experience in marketing and business strategy to foster environments where bold, brave change is the norm. Her career is distinguished by her ability to enhance strategic thinking, emotional intelligence, and mindfulness within organizations. As the founder of her own company, Cari has committed to a philosophy that leadership excellence transcends titles and requires continuous self-awareness and transformation.

With a broad expertise that spans advertising, marketing, business strategy, learning and development, and consulting, Cari helps organizations unlock their potential by surfacing innovative strategies, building stronger brands, creating impactful marketing initiatives, and developing high-performing, emotionally intelligent leaders. Her approach is designed to drive excellence across teams and inspire next-level thinking.

For more insights into her transformative work or to engage with her directly, visit or email her at [email protected].

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