How to transition away from corporate executive life with Michelle Cox
Tory Archbold Interviewing Michelle Cox
Making the transition from being a corporate executive to pursuing an entrepreneurial life takes courage and strength. My next guest has not only made this leap again and again throughout her career, but she has also successfully pursued creative entrepreneurial endeavours while climbing the corporate ladder and working on two ASX boards.
In this episode, I’m talking with the phenomenal Michelle Cox. Michelle has over 25 years of global executive experience. She has worked in a variety of National and Global Executive roles throughout a range of different industry sectors. Michelle’s career includes being a CEO, COO, and CMO for several world-leading brands and companies.
Michelle has been an entrepreneur throughout her career and has acquired and started a number of companies.
Currently, Michelle holds a Director role on the Board of Tourism Tasmania for the past six years and is a Non-Executive Director on the boards of two ASX listed companies Experience Co (ASX:EXP) and BSA Limited (ASX:BSA).
We discuss the near-death experience that led Michelle to find her power and voice to speak out for women. The experiences she went through after her surgery led her to understand the judgement that surrounds women without children and it gave her the inspiration to write a book ‘It’s Okay Not To Have Kids – We are more than our parental status’. She is a powerful advocate supporting women entrepreneurs and business leaders to break through into the top boards and make real change.
Michelle founded a new company in 2019, The Wabi Sabi Series. It includes a podcast and book series of short transformative topics that often aren’t spoken about.
Michelle doesn’t conform to the corporate stereotype as a creative. She cultivated her ceramics hobby into a successful new business making tableware for clients. In November last year, she opened Atelier 9 – Avalon with the purpose of connecting the community through creative endeavours.
I’m very grateful to have Michelle on the show to discuss her powerful story. She has found her power through her journey, successfully navigated her corporate executive life and her creative pursuits, and raises women up to succeed. She advises all women to just go for it and pursue what makes them happy.
[2:02]: Michelle Cox shares when her Mum passed away. Michelle Cox was then diagnosed with cervical cancer at 29. Two years later, she was misdiagnosed several times over 9 months. She wasn’t shy about having tough conversations but felt intimidated talking with a doctor – ‘White Coat Syndrome’.
[4:46]: Michelle Cox learned so much from these experiences but she was only trying to survive at the time. She always had a career focus and became a role model for women.
[5:51]: Michelle Cox found that she was being judged for not having children. People would often make insensitive comments so she decided to speak out about it.
[6:50]: Michelle Cox stepped into her power and did a Ted Talk on the topic in the Opera House in front of two and a half thousand people. She has now written a book entitled ‘It’s Okay Not To Have Kids – We are more than our parental status’.
[7:57]: I empathize and understand being judged as a corporate woman.
[8:36]: When you have dealt with your own mortality you learn not to care what other people think.
[9:08]: Michelle Cox learned to have conversations with her friends about her corporate presence on her social media who may disagree with how she is presenting herself and busting stereotypes.
[10:25]: People have an opinion on what you should be like as an ASX director, and it isn’t Michelle Cox.
[10:55]: Michelle Cox is a high-energy woman on an ASX board with seven men over 50 years old. She doesn’t conform to the traditional female board member stereotype. People don’t believe you can be creative and high on the corporate ladder.
[12:00]: Michelle Cox is a natural-born leader and a team player. She brings a lot of people with her and raises others up.
[12:42]: There have been changes in business but slowly. Michelle Cox has been on boards for 20 years and she is still the only female in 2 ASX boards. It isn’t changing fast enough. Women need to support other women.
[14:01]: Michelle Cox encourages women to go for it. She shares her journey from becoming redundant to beginning her own entrepreneurial journey.
[15:31]: Michelle Cox had to decide if she wanted to become a CEO again. She weighed her choice and decided to run a budget to decide how much money she needed to earn to live their best life.
[17:14]: Michelle Cox talks about how happy she is in her life now. She is doing something different every day, making an impact on others, and she feels great.