Gina Larkin is an inspirational lady who left her corporate world as senior marketing executive of Visa to pursue her passion of helping other women transform their own lives so they can enjoy both professional and personal fulfillment. Lucky for us, we were able to catch up with her as she travels the world now, often providing leadership coaching from her surfboard, to get some helpful tips for you!
Gina, tell us about what you are doing now?
I am a Transformational Leadership Coach focused on empowering women in leadership. I work with professionally-minded go-getters and soulful adventure seekers who desire a career and life that’s filled with meaning. They are executives, leaders, and curious humans looking for change in their lives. It is my life’s purpose to help them find it. My coaching practice includes private 1:1 executive and personal leadership coaching programs, one-day intensives, workshops, and custom retreats.
How did you get to where you are today? What pivotal moments did you face along the way and what inspired you to do what you are doing now?
For a couple of decades, I was living the dream in San Francisco. I worked as a marketing executive managing large teams and multi-million dollar budgets for global companies, most recently in the financial services technology industry. I was fulfilled for years, until one day I wasn’t. I ignored the gut feeling that it was time to move on and immersed myself in nothing but work. After a particularly challenging product launch, I became really curious about the impact of my career. Is this it? Am I living the life I want to live? What legacy do I want to leave behind?
"I was fulfilled for years, until one day I wasn’t."
It was during a sabbatical in early 2013 that I had an epiphany. I realized that the most exciting and fulfilling part of my career was empowering people on my teams to thrive. I was passionate about their success and living balanced and fulfilled lives. This realization, and the process of unlocking my own inner genius, took me down an evolved and gratifying path as a Transformational Leadership Coach.
What do you see as the major opportunities/challenges for women today and what solution or advice to you have to offer?
From a coaching perspective, I would like to address two behavioral opportunities that are discussed frequently in my coaching practice:
Create Community and Sisterhood
I hear it all the time: Women behave badly toward other women. I believe that fear and (perceived or real) scarcity drives this behavior— lack of promotions at the top, lack of recognition, lack of resources. What if we tried a different perspective? What if we believed in abundance—that there is enough for everyone? Would we behave differently toward women? We can control where we put our energy– it’s the same amount of effort. Make a conscious effort to support, empower and celebrate each other. Commit to sisterhood and all women will rise. Let’s make progress together.
Learn from the Inner Critic
We subconsciously hold ourselves back. The inner critic takes over and we stay in a safe place that keeps us from moving forward. If we stand in our most confident, powerful self, we will ask for what we want knowing there is always a “yes” somewhere in the ask. Try this perspective-- Why would we risk not getting what we truly want? Get curious about what’s holding you back and then lean into the challenge. Share the experience with a trusted friend or colleague. Ask them to be your accountability partner and commit to taking a step forward.
Who helped you in your journey and what advice did they give you that really shaped your thinking?
I was fortunate to be led by amazing marketers during my corporate career. The people who stood out were also amazing human beings. Fast forward to my evolved career as a coach, I look back at a global marketing meeting when the keynote presentation was delivered by Gopi Kallayil, Chief Evangelist of Brand Marketing at Google. He shared the following principles which started my career transformation:
- Find meaning and purpose in what you do.
- Touch people’s life and have an impact.
- Know who you are and how you can change.
- Ask yourself each day (which he does): “What impact am I going to have on the people in the font of me today?” There is sacredness in every interaction.
What one thing would you have done differently early in your career if you had the right bit of advice?
I was so focused on my career plan and progression that I wasn’t in flow. What I mean by that is that I was really good at “doing” (the overachiever club!) and terrible at “being.” You need both. If I had it do over again, I would create space for creativity, spontaneity, and change. I would listen to the inner voice and explore more “what if?” opportunities-- that is where the magic happens! Having said that, I had an amazing marketing career that led me to discover my purpose and evolved career as a transformational leadership coaching. I am doing the work I was meant to do.
Final tips to share?
Knowing and living to your purpose is a key measurement of a happy and successful life. Take a pause and go back to the fundamentals. Identify your values and use them as screens for evaluating decisions in your career and life. Ask yourself - “What do I want my legacy to be? What do I want people to say about me?” From there, evaluate what you need to change in your life. Live with intention and take inspired action every day.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, money or talent would be no object, what would you be doing?
A woman can dream, right? One of my personal values is “play” and my current obsession is surfing. I would be a professional surfer traveling the globe to world-class destinations. I find nothing more exhilarating catching clean, glassy waves!