Thought She Needed to Have All the Answers as Manager: Pamela Kellert

Thought She Needed to Have All the Answers as Manager: Pamela Kellert


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My guest for Episode #181 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Pamela Kellert. She helps female professionals in STEM sectors transition to senior management roles by learning strategic non-technical skills.

Pamela is a seasoned Strategic Leadership Expert with over 16 year’s experience working in Strategy, Business Development and Project Delivery, heading diverse teams at leading organisations across Australia, Asia, Europe and North America. 

She has managed complex engineering projects and profit & loss responsibility of over $100 million with a team of over 100 employees. Throughout her career, Pamela has coached professionals in their leadership journey and created a systemised online coaching program to help women accelerate their careers to senior leadership roles. Learn more via her website.

In this episode, Pamela tells her favorite mistake story about how she thought she needed to have all of the answers when she was promoted into her first management position. If she was promoted for being good at problem solving, shouldn't she be solving all of the problems as manager? How did Pamela realize this was a mistake and how does she help other women learn from her mistakes?

We also talk about questions and topics including:

  • As manager, how should one integrate the ideas and solutions of others?
  • When to delegate and when to intervene?
  • Being promoted to senior leadership roles – what are the different challenges there?
  • Moving into a new function? Challenges there?
  • Do some executives never learn the lesson you did?
  • Challenges / mistakes with STEM women who want to step up into leadership positions and then into senior management… ‘
  • Is it important to have a female mentor? Also a male mentor?
  • Getting along by changing behavior vs. trying to change the broader system? How others should react vs. how they do?
  • Apologizing before saying something… diminishing language? — societal expectations?
  • Making yourself smaller physically? Women vs. men…
  • Different advice for women working in very male dominated environments?
  • Finnish prime minister backlash — compare to Aussie prime minister or Boris Johnson
  • Being aware of biases
  • Systemic sexism vs. System racism

Scroll down to find:

  • Video of the episode
  • Quotes
  • How to subscribe
  • Full transcript

Find Pamela on social media:

Watch the Full Episode:


"...not everybody wants to be stretched, but some really want to be stretched and see how far they can go. So it's always a very individual situation. "
"Women, particularly when they're in higher senior roles,  tend to network vertically, which means that they tend to collaborate much more either within that team or with other quite often women in more junior roles — versus men, who tend to network horizontally, which means they leverage the capability and experience of their peers. And therefore they get to learn much more from their peers and also bounce off ideas on a much more strategic level."
"Delegation is an opportunity to let others grow."

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Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. He is also a Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Marketing with the healthcare advisory firm, Value Capture.