If people were just their job titles, how boring a place the world would be! We are whole people – with hobbies, humor, and creativity.
Instead of reserving those pieces of ourselves for when we get home, showing them at work is highly valuable. Powerful things happen when we up our creativity – it sparks innovation and ideas that supercharge our workplaces.
How do we bring more of our wholeness to work? Why is vulnerability so important in leadership?
In this episode, comedian, creative and the COO of Pear Analytics, Tracie Mendoza shares how she brings her full personality to work, and how it impacts her team.
If you’re not being creative outside of your workspace, how will you be creative within it? -Tracie Mendoza
This Episodes Transcript
[0:00:00.0 JT]: I’m excited to share the following conversation with you. It’s about creativity, heartbreak, and laughter, all of the components of real life and how it impacts your leadership. Today I am talking to Tracie Mendoza, co-owner and COO of Pear Analytics. Over the years, Tracie has done a little of this, in a little of that from comedy to retail management, to education, consulting, recruiting, just to name some few. But Tracie finally landed in the sales field, and this was no surprise to those around her because in kindergarten she actually had a line form around the building because she was charging people a whole quarter to color in her Pink Panther coloring book. She has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and a go-getter mentality and sets out to accomplish whatever she puts her mind to. Tracie graduated from Dallas Baptist University where she had a BAS in a communication and theology and MA in LA in both fine arts and history. When not leading a team, building a business, and working hand in hand with her clients, you can find her shopping, traveling, playing with her pups, and of course, always making people laugh.
[0:01:12.6 JT]: Welcome back friends. This is your place for cutting edge tools, exercises, best practices, and modern leadership strategies. Because when the world is changing, it’s time to bring our leadership styles along for the ride. Whether you’re a company leader, a corporate visionary, an entrepreneur, this show gives you new insights into the neuroscience and a language of leadership plus practical steps and tips to lead your teams in a powerful way. It’ll also help you keep your people happy and engaged, all while achieving your biggest goals. I’m your host Jen Thornton. I’m a talent strategist, a brain-based executive coach, speaker, and the founder of 304 Coaching. Now let’s fix leadership.
[0:01:56.5 JT]: So, hi Tracie, and welcome to the show.
[0:01:57.4 TM]: Well, hello. Thank you for having me. I’m so excited to be here.
[0:02:01.3 JT]: I know. It’s gonna be a fun show. Tracie and I have known each other for a few years. We worked together in a past life and have been able to stay friends and support each other through all of our chapters of life. We’ll call them chapters of life.
[0:02:19.8 TM]: Yes.
0:02:21.6 JT: In fact, we’re gonna talk about some of those chapters today. But before we jump into our conversation, I’d love for you to tell the audience about your work. What do you do when you get up every morning? What’s your work?
[0:02:34.9 TM]: My work? Well, what do they always say? Find something you love doing and it doesn’t feel like work. So that’s me now. I am in digital marketing and have been for the last eight, nine years, so it’s been amazing. And I joined my now business partner in his endeavor and we joined forces and it’s gone great. So Pear Analytics, that’s my business.
[0:03:01.8 JT]: Awesome. Well, I wanted you on the show because one of the things I love most about you is how you embrace life and embrace your family, your friends, your like people you work with. When I think of like living a whole life, I always think of you. And so I wanted to bring that energy and those best practices to our audience. And where I’d love to start is, you’re a very creative person and that shows up in a lot of ways. You can tell us all about that. But tell us what type of creativity do you enjoy doing outside of work and why is it important for you to balance your creative mind with your work mind?
[0:03:44.8 TM]: Yeah, sure. So for me, creativity can mean a lot of things, right? Because basically that’s sort of, I always tell everybody in my family, you either have a bunch of officers or a bunch of artists. I mean, there’s really like no one between at this point. So an artist meaning anybody who can paint and draw to somebody like myself who just loves to stand in front of an audience and be funny and make people laugh and turn your sorrows into joy. That’s kind of one of the things I really love to do. But being creative nowadays, I do things like whether it’s cooking and trying to pretend like I’m Gordon Ramsey or to planning parties and events. That’s something I love to do and I kind of do overkill and I’m usually getting in trouble for that, but I can’t stop once it starts, it just flows.
[0:04:35.3 TM]: And I wanna keep going. So, and then just learning new things. I love to learn new things. I love to just research and try something new. And some people may call it, Hey, jack of all trades, master of none, but I think that’s fun. Like, I may not have mastered all of this stuff, but at least I dabbled and had fun doing it. And now, okay, what’s next? So that’s sort of some of the things I do when I’m, when I’m not working.
[0:05:04.2 JT]: You’re not working. As we talk about it it’s all Smushy, our lives have intertwined. So one of the things you talked about through creativity is really that innovation. Like for example, you said when you are planning an event, a party, like your ideas get ahead of you and you just go do all these things, why do you think that using a creative part of your brain actually creates innovation for people?
[0:05:31.1 TM]: Well, I think that it’s pretty… I think about, okay, let’s take it back for a second. Back in the day, even in the chapter of life we met in, you go to work, you go to the building, you do the thing, you interact with both clients and employees and all of this stuff. You finish, you clock out, you go home, and it’s just like a routine thing, right? And then like you’re watching TV, your reality shows, whatever it may be, and you start back over again. And if you are not being creative outside of even your workspace, how are you gonna be creative within your workspace and find the joy in that as well? And I think it really does like make a person whole because it brings, like you just said, the two worlds together.
[0:06:15.5 TM]: They intertwine. And when I do like an overflow of like, creativity outside of what my normal everyday activities are, it makes me be more creative in my normal everyday activities because then I get this charge and it feels like I could be doing even this and that. I was thinking the other day I was making a TikTok of my dog walking and instantly within 30 seconds I had 700 views. And I’m like, wait a minute. I need to learn how to TikTok the right way.
[0:06:43.5 TM]: So I start trickling and YouTube-ing and trying to get on and all the things, and it was fun for the [0:06:49.8] ____ that it was. And when she does something cool again, I’ll be ready.
[0:06:54.9 TM]: But then it made me think about my clients and like, hey, went from a social aspect and how could we even broaden more of what you know they need? And from a even the digital Google Ads or the SEO whatever it may be, that can really bring to life what they’re trying to show that their client and customer, right? So it all intertwines.
[0:07:15.8 JT]: It all intertwines. We are not two people anymore. We are one in how we work and be creative and do different things. It’s interesting, just even for myself I, this year I wanted to see as many concerts as I can. And if anyone’s been around me that I have been like concert yes. I don’t even, like don’t even care who it is, if the answer’s been yes. But it’s been so fun. And I think it was even for myself, kind of that reminder that you have to go and be around creative things or be creative or any of those types of things really gives you energy. Even makes me think of right now we are painting our interior of our house and for like several weeks I was running to the store and getting paint swatches and trying, so like our walls have like the grids, you know where there’s like four colors in every room of the house you know those moments. But it gave me so much energy and excitement and I noticed that I was excited to go run my weekend errands ’cause that meant I got to stop by the store and look at paint colors too. And so it was interesting as you talked, it made me think of my own experience about how just small things really help us find the excitement and energy when we’re not just in the grind 24 hours a day.
[0:08:37.6 TM]: I mean, it does. ‘Cause even when we moved into this home, we were so used to new builds so we could kind of go into the design center, pick out everything, everything looked perfect. We moved here and it was like, what did we just buy?
[0:08:52.0 TM]: And so we literally were like, I was like, I’ll fix it, I’ll fix it. So from what you just, it just kind of jarred my memory. Like it was, it was fun. Like every time I turned around I was like, can you do this? Can you do that? Can we do and of course it takes money, but it was fun to like be creative in that area and going, what can I find next? I was like you, I was all of a sudden a Home Depot girl and that was kind of fun for the moment.
[0:09:13.5 JT]: Find new places we love. And so, you mentioned it very briefly, but we, those who know and love you also know that you enjoy standup, that you do standup. And why is that exciting for you and and how does that start to impact how you lead when you’re on, not on the stage but at work?
[0:09:37.6 TM]: One of my biggest things is I always feel you can cure anything with laughter. I don’t care what it is, you can cure anything with laughter because when you’re laughing, you’re not thinking about the other things that a million things that are making you wanna cry or making you wanna stress stressed out, whatever it may be. And I used to tell my audience, the louder you laugh, the funnier I will be I promise.
[0:10:00.0 JT]: That’s good.
[0:10:00.7 TM]: So because that energy stems energy, right? And I did a lot of standup and sketch and it was a lot of improv and witty comments and wittiness and stuff. And I think what’s helped me in my first and foremost when I started in, I started out in sales. And so you got to be quick, right? You got to be ready to talk the next thing and be on your toes, be on your feet. So that was the same thing with improv because you don’t want anything to just kind of fall and people go, why did I pay for this?
[0:10:30.8 TM]: So, being able to really just be quick about things, but mindful about, I always tell people, know your audience and it’s really the truth. If you don’t know your audience, you’re always gonna fall flat. It’s just the way it is. So I think being part of being making people laugh I think it started with my mom. I’ll never forget the day my mom found out I was funny. I had been funny my whole life.
[0:11:01.3 JT]: Funny.
[0:11:02.3 TM]: Yes. And one day I walked in and I was just kicking one after the other, and I’m just, and she’s laughing and my mom had the best contagious laugh. You wanted her on the front row of your audience. And literally she goes, get out of here. I never knew you were so funny. Get out of here. And I’m like, no people pay for this. So yeah, I mean I, it just, it’s something that has been with me since my childhood and I think I come from a family of jokesters and we don’t take things too seriously. We had to have thick skin to be in my family.
[0:11:34.7 JT]: Oh good. Yeah. And so when you think about growing up and kind of thinking about having that thick skin or being able to find the humor when things aren’t humorous, how has that impacted how you lead your team as the COO?
[0:11:50.8 TM]: We all went through a very tough time, right? Everybody in the world, not just us, COVID and things kind of happen and people pulled back a little bit and you start to see some of the, now we started working from home in 2016 before it was cool. So that was nice. We were set up there. So we were already used to this video chatting and all the things. Our clients weren’t. So it kind of helped there. They were like, oh, this is legit. Okay. So that helped us. But I think when you have tough times and you may be going through something financially or you may be thinking like, oh my gosh, we just lost one of our biggest clients because they had to pull back ’cause they’re closing their doors or whatever it may be.
[0:12:30.0 TM]: And you got to keep a positive attitude for the frontline, right? Like, I mean, you wanna be able to be vulnerable with your team, but you also wanna be able to filter and you also just wanna look at the bright side of everything, right? And you think about it. And that’s kind of the way, I’ll remember in another life I had where I was like, we need this many, we’ll call them apples for the sake of the conversation. We need this many apples for the month, we need this many and I would have this old calculator and I’d be like, we need, okay, all you need to do is… And they’d be like, you and that old calculator. Put it away. No, we can do it divided by three, blah, blah, blah. And you, all you need is one, one and you’re good. So you get two.
[0:13:12.6 TM]: So it was kind of one of those you to divvied it up. And that’s sort of how I’ve always looked at everything. I break it down so minute that it doesn’t seem so huge and I feel overwhelmed. So I always look at everything, the big picture, and then I just start chopping it away a little at a and then I chop that away for everybody. So everybody feels a little bit like, ah, and Tracie is laughing so we can all laugh. Feels good.
[0:13:35.7 TM:] Yeah We can’t put rent this month, but I’m kidding.
[0:13:39.2 JT]: I think you make a really good point in there. It’s that, oh, Tracie is laughing, so it’s okay. And I think that’s a huge piece of leadership. Times are gonna be good and times are gonna be bad, and our teams look at us and our reaction dictates their reaction.
[0:13:58.8 TM]: Oh, wonderful.
[0:14:00.0 JT]: So, if we are mad and upset and throwing things and screaming and calling, like, guess what? They’re gonna be in fear. They’re not gonna be innovative but like you said, if you can say, here’s how we’re gonna do it, here’s how we’re gonna break it down, it’s okay, and have a sense of creative calm around it, then the team is like, oh, okay. And their fear goes down. Therefore, as fear goes down, everything in our brain that we wanna use, all the good stuff, the problem solving, emotional regulation, all that goes up. So it’s amazing how something that could seem simple, like keeping your humor in the workplace actually drives innovation and drives collaborative thought.
[0:14:44.7 TM]: Yeah. Because I think people just get a little bit more relaxed, like I said, around humor, right? Like, people love to laugh. Even I used to do this thing…
[0:14:53.4 TM]: We went and we were visiting Breckenridge, Colorado before I ever lived in Colorado, and I go out there and I, my friend, this is back in the day when you had the big camcorders, and he would carry it around. And I go, I have an idea, I have an idea. I said, I’m gonna walk up to people, I’m gonna say, let me make you laugh. If I make you laugh, I win. If not, I’ll give you two bucks. And then that made them laugh. So literally just going up to people and doing whatever I could to make people laugh so that they I’m like, you’re, aren’t you on vacation? You should be smiling. So it’s just, I think laughter is contagious. I think that people can find a little bit more of peace in it and serenity and I think personally my journey has always been about servant leadership. And so I always wanna be able to serve the people that are with me and get in the trenches, per se. But like, let’s have a good time doing it. I wanna have a good time.
[0:15:57.2 JT]: Let’s take a quick break from the conversation. Does your company need to prepare those upcoming leaders to take the reign. To learn more about our leadership academies and our coaching, and to see if your company is a good fit for our transformation programs? Visit 304coaching.com.
[0:16:16.0 JT]: Absolutely. Who doesn’t? And we’ve been talking about having fun at work and the laughter and the creativity and all that that brings your innovation. And there’s some times that difficult things happen and that makes it harder than others. And you’ve been through, over the last year some difficult times, share what you’re comfortable with around that difficult time. And then let’s talk about how that has impacted things.
[0:16:41.6 TM]: Yeah, absolutely. So in 2021, I lost my mom to a very rare cancer. So rare that I think only 10% of the population even would ever even get this type of cancer. And so she was a fighter. She was, like I said, my best support system. My snort laugher, just my everything, right? The person that I would talk to about anything, I could literally come downstairs and be like, let me tell you what happened today. So I might not be venting to everybody on the team, but I’m telling her, and we’re talking it through. So she was my coach. She was, she pretty much everything that encompassing, but we didn’t always have that sort of relationship. It was sort of this thing that evolved over time. And mother-daughter relationships can be a little weird, right? And so, I think when I was 25, it just kind of flourished and became this amazing thing.
[0:17:29.0 TM]: So I’m grateful for that and the time that we had and the time we got back. But definitely one of the most difficult times. And as a business owner, sometimes you don’t have time to go, I need a moment to cry that if everybody could just stop what you’re doing.
[0:17:41.3 TM]: I know we’re trying to make money over here and get clients, but I need to cry. No that was not gonna happen. And in fact I think, most recently I shared with you that my mom was literally gone and laying in the…
[0:17:56.7 TM]: The bed next to me. My mom would probably snort laugh at this story. And I’m literally telling somebody like, this is what’s happened. I get a phone call, okay, well, oh, hey, so-and-so didn’t ever show up for work. I’m like, okay, all right, well this is what we’re gonna do.
[0:18:12.4 TM]: So it was kind of like, now I got to go back into a little bit of work mode, right? So, but the thing for me was going back and you didn’t, I didn’t have time to really go, Hey, I’m gonna take these next month of or brief minute or this next whatever. It was literally like I hit the ground running. And for me it was, I had a great support system in regards to some of the people at work. I can think of one in particular that I literally would get on a call with and go, okay, so this is what we’re gonna do and this is what’s happening. And then all of a sudden I would just be like, and then just start crying. And I’m like, I’m so sorry. I don’t know. It’s okay, Tracie. It’s okay. And sort of helping me through that, supporting me through it, and allowing me to be me. The person who was the cheerleader and the laughing and the all the things for everybody else.
[0:19:06.5 TM]: It was really cool to see the table sort of turn and this person kind of be that for me and allow me to be vulnerable. Because for me, my partner travels all the time. I’m here alone a lot. And that I was just moved into a new neighborhood, so it wasn’t like I had a lot of like, oh, and all my friends were in Texas and I was in Colorado, so it wasn’t like I had people at my fingertips to go, can you bring me supper? Can you all the things. It was just kind of like, let’s do this thing. So yeah, it was a very vulnerable time for me. But I am so grateful for the foundation. I feel that had already been laid for others to be vulnerable and others to have their space and their time with whatever they may have been dealing with, that they were able to give me that in return when it was time for me to have that kind of moment.
[0:20:00.1 TM]: So, but what was cool about it was I feel like I spent, ’cause grief happens in waves, right? So people tell you that and you’re like, I don’t know what you’re talking about. And then all of a sudden you’re just sitting there and you’re like, I wish my mom was coming to my birthday. Okay, I’m done. All right, next so you’re, why was I crying about that? And so it just comes in these waves. But what I’ve learned in the last, I would say probably since March of this year, so 2021, so March of this year is when I had like the coolest breakthrough ever. And it was really about all this time of taking care of so many people, so many things and everybody else’s stuff that I hadn’t taken the time to take care of myself. And so I really just started thinking about me and the 40 pounds I gained when my mom passed away, I lost thank God.
[0:20:54.8 TM]: And then I’ve been doing just some, a lot of cool self-care stuff and really just learning about what’s good for Tracie and what’s good so that I can be better for everybody else because I was still helping people, but a little wounded in the inside, right? So, I’m walking around trying to play baseball and run the bases with crutches, and it was literally like, I can do it, but I’m not that great at it. So it’s like, how do I lose these crutches and really start running the basis for not just them, but for me to make that home run. So that’s kind of where I’ve, where I am in my journey to date, and it’s been, it’s been awesome. Yeah.
[0:21:36.8 JT]: I love, there’s so many great things that you talk about in there and authenticity, that’s what came to my mind as I hear your story and everything you’re doing and what you’ve been through. And really beginning of our conversation, we talked about all the fun stuff and the laughter and the creativity, and then we talked about the fact that my favorite quote is Viola Davis, Life and careers happened at the same time. We started talking about not all days are funny, but you have really shared with us about vulnerability as a leader that when you can have emotions as a leader, when you can be honest with your emotions as a leader, your team is there for you when you need it and you can be there for them. But again, it goes back to that conversation we’ve had on some of the previous podcasts about we’re whole people and that wholeness we have to show and we have to offer it to others. So I love the fact that your team was there for you as much as I know you’re always there for them, and that everyone is allowed to be vulnerable and honest about where they are throughout the day. And I think that’s fantastic and we need more of that in the workplace.
[0:22:49.1 TM]: I agree. 100%. Yeah. That’s awesome.
[0:22:52.1 JT]: So that takes us today, you’re coming to the end of your year of self-care, so I can’t wait to hear about all the things you close the year out with, but I’d love to learn more about how all of this actually comes together and we’ve talked about creative and the emotions and vulnerability and how it spurs new ideas, and you have a new business model that you’re launching. So tell us how that idea came to fruition.
[0:23:20.5 TM]: Awesome. Yes. So we do, my business partner and I, we founded what’s called, Pear Tree Companies, and under that umbrella we have our current company, which is Pear Analytics, and it’s digital marketing, custom website, stuff like that. And then, what we’ve learned though, as we’ve continued on this business venture with Pear Analytics is that, and it really, it was one of those aha moments once we moved here and I had to start hiring someone for this and someone for that. And all of the things, there’s a lot of small businesses and I realized that a lot of small businesses don’t really have the financial backing to start something in regards to marketing. And marketing is something that if you’re in any business, it’s just something you need be it a website and marketing. I always tell people if you have a website and you don’t have marketing, it’s like having a beautiful Ferrari and it just sits in the garage.
[0:24:17.5 JT]: I like that.
[0:24:18.3 TM]: So, you never get to drive it ’cause you’re not driving traffic to your site so that people can see who you are. And so we started another company for smaller business startup type businesses that is affordable marketing and it will allow you to grow, from the seed, so from a pyrus to a pear. So currently we’re we at Pear Analytics, what we would love to do is help you take your small business and grow it to then go to pear, because now you’ve just outgrown pyrus and wow, you’re doing amazing. And that means that together as a partnership, we’ve done a great job and we definitely want to launch that particular company by November the first. And so right now, it’s pyrusdigitalmedia.com right now what where we’re offering, to the first 25 people that actually go to that site, $250 off.
[0:25:14.4 TM]: And that is gonna get you a lot, trust me, for what we’re doing. Like it’s just doing, it’s just amazing. Like, I don’t know, I just, I’ve always been for like the startup type small businesses that are like just starting out because man, you have an amazing idea and you’ve got this awesome concept and it’s really about helping you get it off the ground. So that is something I’m very passionate about. I could talk about that for, I mean, do you have another three days? Literally, I love when people start businesses. Like, I feel like it’s me, it’s weird, it’s like Christmas. Like I get so excited. And that was one of the things I did when I moved to San Antonio was really like help and consult and sales and all of the things for all these types of startups.
[0:25:54.0 TM]: And it was so much fun and talking to venture capitalists, all the different things, right? And seeing the marketing come. And so that’s one of the reasons why with that creativity where it was like, hang on, we need to think about something here and I’m gonna tell you why I’m thinking this. And we both just kind of it was like, the one thing about Ryan and I will say we constantly hunch like, I’ll either say something and he’ll go, oh my gosh, I was gonna talk to you about that. Or he’ll say something and I’ll go, oh my gosh. Like I was literally gonna, so we sort of always seem to be on the same page when it comes to business for sure. So.
[0:26:31.0 JT]: It’s nice. Not all business partners can say that. So it’s fantastic that you too can. Again, you brought out when you were hiring people to remodel your house, and you had told us very early in this episode that part of some creativity was the home design and being in a different type of home you’re always in new homes this time you’re in an older home gave you new skills. And those new skills sparked those conversations what sparked an entire new business model. And again, I think that’s the full circle of when we are using all parts of our brain our work brain, our creative brain, things just come to us. And if I had put you in a room and said, you better come up with a new business model now, you’ve an hour to do it and it’d better work, you probably wouldn’t have come up with anything.
[0:27:21.2 JT]: But being a person who lives a whole life allowed you to come up with this incredible idea. And thank you so much for offering the discount to our listeners, and we’ll put all of those details in the show notes, so that everyone, can check that out. So Tracie, it has been an incredible conversation. We know that you and I can could sit here and talk all day about ideas because we both love ideas, but I just wanna thank you so much for your authenticity, your vulnerability, your creative mind, sharing how creativity really drives your leadership and drives the success of your organization. So thank you so much for joining us today.
[0:28:06.1 TM]: Oh, thank you. I really appreciate it. The opportunity. I feel so blessed to be on the show with you, and you’re just amazing. My gosh. You’re like, let me take this full circle for you. I love the way you just summed it up and bring it together. So thank you for taking all my thoughts and bringing them to where they, I love that. That’s amazing. So.
[0:28:23.0 JT]: Well, as a coach, I do that often. That is a skill I have listening and then finding the full loop. So I’m glad that, I was able to use those skills with you today. So have a fantastic day everyone. Thank you for joining us, and we will see you next week on the next episode of Let’s Fix Leadership.
[0:28:46.3 JT]: Thanks for listening to Let’s Fix Leadership. By hanging out with me today, you’re already on your path. If you’re looking to learn more and to see if your company is a good fit for our coaching and leadership education, then hey, visit 304coaching.com. If you got value out of this podcast, share it with a friend and it would mean the world to me if you would leave a thoughtful review and a rating on iTunes. Thanks again for listening, and I appreciate your work in fixing leadership.